One of the Holy Grails for a lot of business owners is how to convert cold traffic into customers. Our guest, Justin Goff, is an amazing marketer and entrepreneur who has had a very wild ride over his career.
In this conversation, Justin talks about his journey to becoming the co-founder of a supplement company that sold $23 million in sales, getting bought out for a multi-million dollar payday, then traveling and facing depression.
He shares some real-world stories and opens up about what happens if you chase the wrong priorities in life. After finally realizing that money didn't buy happiness, he recounts how he went on to consult and help some of the most successful entrepreneurs and business owners by showing them how to scale cold traffic.
To learn more about Justing Goff and apply to his private newsletter visit Justingoff.com
Special Note:Â On Sept 9-11, 2019 Justin is hosting a Copy Accelerator intensive in Austin, TX.Â Go here for more details on this exclusive and powerful event.
Justin is best known for helping marketers and business owners to convert their offers on cold traffic. He grew his own supplement company from 0->$23 million in sales in just under three years by focusing on cold traffic growth.
After selling his supplement company in 2017, Justin now helps some of the biggest names with their marketing like Golden Hippo, Dan Lok, Agora Financial, V-Shred, 4Patriots, Mike Geary, Danette May, Six Pack Shortcuts, Natural Health Sherpa and more.
I've got Justin Goff with me. Justin is an amazing marketer and entrepreneur, who has had a wild ride over his career.
Justin has been responsible for not only taking a company up to $23 million and making a ton of money with it.
He's also helped a lot of other entrepreneurs and business owners do similar things using his cold marketing strategies. That is one of the Holy Grails for a lot of business owners is how to convert cold traffic into customers.
One of the other interesting things that Justin will talk about is his ride up the success ladder only to find out that it wasn't what he expected. Having to do some deep personal development and realizing that, it's not necessarily all it's cracked up to be and not necessarily worth the chase at any cost.
We're going to dive into Justin Goff's brain and we're going to pull out all the good stuff also show you what happens if you chase the wrong priorities in life. Justin, welcome to Bacon Wrapped Business.
Thank you for the intro. Thanks for having me.
It's my pleasure. I've heard a lot of good things about some of the stuff you've done and a lot of our mutual friends, I hear, “Justin Goff this, Justin Goff that. He's helped here and he's helped there.â I know that cold traffic is one of the big Holy Grails.
Before we dive into some of the meaty stuff that people are going to want to pull out a notepad and take some notes on, let's go back a little bit.
You've got a pretty interesting story on how you develop these skills because it doesn't sound like you were born with the silver brain and figured it out on your first try and made a fortune and you're coming out of the gate, overnight success.
I'm definitely what they call the accidental entrepreneur. It all started when I was in college. I started as a result of a $1,200 gambling debt that I had in college.
I was a big sports better in college. I was good at it. I would make enough every college football season to basically pay books and not have to get a job and pay part of my living expenses. I loved it for that.
In one year, I got cocky thinking I was better than I was. I was up $2,000 that year. I bet way more money than I had one weekend. I lost all seven games that I bet on. I went from $2,000 to I owed a 6'7″ bookie $1,200 that I did not have. That's how everything started.
Interestingly, at the time I remember there used to be all these guys who would sell their sports pics online. I was like, “I'm pretty good at this. Maybe I could make a website and sell my pics. That's how I can make all this money back.”
I set up this website. This was 2004. This was even way before WordPress. It was the ugliest thing ever. Nobody bought anything. I had no idea what I was doing. I was spamming forums and trying to get traffic. I had no idea what I was doing. I ended up having to go get a job as a way to pay off this debt.
I kept at it for the next few months. It all came to a head when I was back on my parents' house for Christmas break. I'm sitting there in their computer room playing around on my email and I noticed that payment from PayPal for $149.
I had no idea what it was. I clicked on it. I go in there and some guy went to the website and bought one of my pics package. I was absolutely shocked. I jumped up and down, ran around the room like a twelve-year-old girl. I was screaming.
This was that first moment that you made a dollar online? It was June 2nd, 2008 for me. I remember it well.
It's crazy how everyone remembers those because I've had days since I've done $250,000, $300,000 on a big promotion and that past or whatever, I don't think of them.
That first sale, I still remember what the room looked like. I remember the brown carpet. I remember everything sitting there. For me more than anything, that was proof that this was possible because at the time, it was a pipe dream and I kept doing it.
I didn't know anyone who did anything like this. There wasn't the internet marketing community that there is now where you could find a bunch of mentors and stuff on it. This was 2004. I was shooting in the dark trying things. When that happened, it was the first glimpse that there was something there.
Did you build a sports betting business? Is that the next thing?
I looked at a bunch of the other websites seeing what they were doing and I noticed that a lot of them had banners to all these sports sites into Poker sites. This was back when Party Poker and Poker Stars and all that was huge.
I did not realize that they were sending people to those websites and getting affiliate commissions. I was like, “Those banners look cool.” I'm copying them off their websites and placing them on mine. I was like, “That's sweet.”
Finally, I eventually realized what was going on. I found a forum where a couple of guys who were affiliates for Poker sites weâre talking on.
I found out they get paid $125 for every guy they send to them. I was like, “This is pretty amazing.” I jumped into that.
I was a big Poker player as well. I built a couple of poker sites. I did that for a few years. That was the first I got a real taste of making money because I made $20,000 my first year as a Poker affiliate, which was awesome.
The year after I made about $40,000. I made a big leap. The year after that was when I broke six figures. I made $110,000.
How old were you at this point?
I was probably 24 or something like that.
I didn't discover the whole world of digital marketing until I was about 33. I get jealous of people who discovered the email like kids these days or even the past several years or teenagers and figuring this stuff out.
I didn't have to go through all the normal job roles. From then on, it was success after success with zero failures. Is that right?
It's not even close. After I had that $100,000 a year, I stupidly spent a bunch of money. I didn't spend too much. I had enough that I kept. I live pretty strictly. I was living in an apartment that was $300 a month. I was not spending much money at all.
I had a couple of rough years after that. One of them where I only made $5,000 because the whole Poker thing fell apart at some point. I was doing a lot of Black Hat SEO stuff and that's two pages get wiped out and 80% of your income has gone.
I did the Poker thing for a while. Probably around 2009, I got into working out and I started doing the Paleo Diet. I saw good results of that.
The trainer I was working out with, I feel like there's something here. I was like, “A lot of people don't know about this stuff yet. We should make a product out of this and try to sell it online.”
He was all for it. We did that and I didn't understand how to do it. We build a blog. We're trying to grow following. We did that for a year-and-a-half and it never went anywhere.
By the way, isn't it funny is that once you are into this, once you step out of the matrix and you see what's possible with this, everything you see is like, “We should create a product around that?” Everything becomes a product, “There's something to this.”
The hardest thing for me to do is not to do stuff because I've got a file of 40 ideas where every one of these would probably do well and I can't do them. That's where I got into the fitness space. We started making eBooks.
My big revelation around that was 2010, I had a couple of bad years after the Poker stuff. I was not making any money, nothing was working for me.
I was sitting on this eBook that my partner and I put together. I wrote the copy for it. I was super complacent. I wasn't getting it up. I was lollygagging around. I had what I dubbed the week from hell. That's the week that honestly changed my life in so many ways.
In the span of a few days, I had a consulting client at the time who was paying me $4,500 a month to do SEO for him. He fired me because he was moving on and doing some other business. He's like, “I didn't have a need for you anymore.”
I grew up near Cleveland. I was a huge Cleveland fan. This is the day that LeBron James went on national TV and said he was leaving Cleveland and going to Miami. It tore my heart out.
That exact same night, probably about two hours later, my girlfriend at the time, who I had been dating for a few years, who I was planning to propose to, came home from work and said she was breaking up with me.
This was in a three-day span. I'm heartbroken twice. I lost all my money. It was awful. That all happened. I'm left living in my crummy house apartment. My dogs and I were sleeping on an air mattress.
I basically was questioning myself in terms of being an entrepreneur. I honestly convinced myself that I had gotten lucky for the previous couple of years and that I did not know what I was doing. I thought about going out and getting a real job, maybe go work at some marketing firm.
I thought about moving back in with my parents and trying to save money. That thought was so wild to me. I was like, “No way.”
I thought about more and I was like, “I have nothing to lose. I've been sitting on this product that is a good idea. I'm going to go balls to the wall with it for a couple of months and see what it does.”
At this point, I had barely about a month's worth of living expenses left. I was not in great shape. I was busting my ass. I got this thing up, made a VSL and made the offer.
I knew a bunch of guys at the time who were kicking butts on Facebook doing these kinds of offers. I mimicked what they were doing. I was like, “Iâll start running traffic to it like $10 a day to see if I could do anything.”
Was this in the Paleo space?
It was before anybody knew what Paleo was. We didn't mention Paleo until later on. It was essentially a Paleo diet and a very CrossFit style workout.
I was spending $10 a day. I started spending money on it. It made some sales. It wasn't breaking even. It wasn't making money or anything, but it made sales. It consistently made sales. I was like, “There's something here.”
I got a little more down with it. I learned how to dial in the targeting or remove a bunch of the targeting stuff that wasn't working on Facebook. I learned how to optimize the page and the VSL and all kinds of stuff like that.
Within about a month and a half or so, I had it pretty close to breakeven where I'd spend $100 and I'd get back maybe $90 or I get back $102 or something like that.
At that point I was like, “If I'm spending $100 now, spending $500 wouldn't be any different. There's no more work for me. Youâve got to build a fund. I didn't have the money to fund it.”
I started funding it slowly by slowly. I realized, “Why don't I take out a credit card and fund it like that?” That ended up working. The credit card kept it afloat because I was waiting on ClickBank too to pay me, which was a few weeks later.
I thought I'd like to float a good decent amount of money that I did not have. It ended up working. I dialed it in. What was interesting was I went from spending $100 a day to $500 a day to within a few months, I was spending $5,000 a day and that was the max on my Facebook account at the time.
When I was spending $5,000, I was profiting $2,000 a day, straight off the front end. This was back when I had no upsells. I had no backend. I wasn't even mailing these email lists. I looked back at how much money I left him on the table. It makes me cringe, but it made a bunch of money.
For me, it's probably a few months after that I made a $100,000 in profit, straight off this offer off cold traffic that I converted from Facebook. That for me where I was at moneywise completely changed the game because not only did it give you the money to keep scaling this thing.
It was the first thing where I was like, “I do know what I'm doing. I'm not some dude who got lucky for the last couple of years.” I'm like, “I can do this.” That's why that was a huge game-changer for me.
Back then it was a little easier doing stuff in the health fitness, weight loss, etc. Things had gotten a little bit harder in that space and it continues getting harder. Is that the same business that you grew to $23 million in sales or that was a different one?
That was a different one. The supplement company, I started around 2014. I started that with my partner, Brandon. He was a good traffic buyer and I was a good copywriter and marketer.
We started off with a testosterone supplement. This was before testosterone was big. That did well. We scaled that to $1 million in the first year.
We both had the realization that we knew how to do traffic and make offers, but neither of us had any clue how to grow a company. I had no idea how to hire someone or build a team or infrastructure. It was none of us. We had no idea.
How did you overcome that?
At the time, I randomly got an email from a friend of mine named, Allen Baylor, who had done well in the survival space. He was like, “I'm thinking of moving into the health space.” He's like, “Do you have any interest in coming in and working for me?”
I was like, “No, why would I want to do that?” I was angry that he even asked it. I'm like, “Iâm not coming to work for you.” I took a couple of days and I thought about it.
I was like, “Instead of me working with you, why don't we partner together on this business? Brandon seems like he might want to get out of it so you might want to buy him out.”
We ended up talking and that's what ended up happening. Allen bought Brandon out. Allen knew all this stuff that I didn't know. He knew how to scale the infrastructure. He already had employees. He knew how to handle all the operations stuff.It helps to partner together with someone who is good at everything you suck at, and vice versa. Click To Tweet
Basically, everything I sucked at, he was good at and vice versa. It was a good fit. He and I together took that from $1 million to $7 million the next year and $23 million in the third year.
It was a quick growth, but it was very similar to how the first product I did grew because it was all on the back of converting cold traffic. That was our main focus.
What was on that? Were most of the cold traffic coming from Facebook, Google, native ad networks? Was there anything that did the most of the heavy lifting?
For us, it was email and I don't mean affiliate email but cold email. We marketed to the conservative Boomersâ senior niche, which is, anybody over the age of 60 who are reading Glenn Beck and Newsmax and stuff like that.
We would buy ads in all those online emails like Glenn Beck and Newsmax and all that. There are hundreds of them in that niche. We were selling.
We had a product called Patriot Power Greens, which was our first big hit. It was basically a greens powder that came out before all the other greens powders that got big.
We had a unique angle on it, which was my cousin was in the Coast Guard at the time. I was thinking from the standpoint of this customer. I'm like, “I know this customer. I know who they are. I know what they have an affinity for.”
The one thing I was like, “Conservatives have such an affinity for the military.” They love everything with the military. I'm like, “How could we connect this to the military?” I sent this big box of our supplements to my cousin, who was in the Coast Guard at the time.
I was like, “You and your unit try these out. Give us some feedback on it. I want to hear what you think of it.” He did that and a bunch of them gave us feedback.
One of the things that stood out to me in the feedback, there were two guys in the group who were the old guys in their group, most guys in the military like eighteen to twenty years old. I don't remember exactly how old they were, but they were basically old fogies compared to them.
They said in their feedback, âOur PT times had been increasing. We got more energies.â The one guy had mentioned something about being able to keep up the young guys in the unit that he hadn't been able to do in a while.
Me as a marketer, as soon as I heard that I was like, “That is the hook. That is exactly what this market is going to want.”
Is it keeping up at the young guys?
Yes. Their credibility of, itâs like a military tested thing. We put a nice spin on it. They made it sound like it was this elite drink that only military units could use before we ever sold it. They had a great hook on it. It worked like gangbusters. It's absolutely crushed for about two-and-a-half years.
We brought in close to 300,000 new buyers that all spent $200. These are good buyers, not cheap free shipping guys. There's a pretty serious buyer. That offer was getting that to convert on cold traffic propelled everything for us.
You said you did a lot of emails, solo ads, etc. on that. Did you also do much on social media advertising?
No, we were like old dinosaurs. We did an email and obviously everything that worked for us in cold email, we give to affiliates as well. We were like, “Here, you can promote it as well.”
We did a lot of radio. We bought a bunch of remnant radio space and we'd send them straight to the website. That worked pretty well for us. It wasn't a huge part of it. It was probably 20%.
People overlook it. Nobody thinks about radio these days, but especially with certain markets like that, with remnant ad costs being low, that's smart. Fast forward, you didn't sell the business, but you sold your part of the business. You got out of it.
In 2017, I sold my stake back to my partner.
What was the reason you decided to do that? Did you want to move on to something else?
No, they approached me. They ran into an issue where they had this other survival company that was kicking butts as well. We were borrowing the employees from that company.
We paid them a management fee to use their employees. The issue was our health company was growing so fast, they were putting so much time into it.
They basically came to a conclusion where they're like, “We own 100% of the survival company and we own 58% of this other company. It doesn't make any sense for us to put all this time into a business that we own 58% of them. We own our own that we own 100% of,” which made sense.
They were like, “We either want to get out of the health business or we want to buy you out and own the whole thing.” We went through about a five-month negotiation. We went back and forth.
From everything I know of negotiations, ours was very clean and very friendly. We're still friends now. I heard some horror stories from everyone else.
The first business I had, I had a 50/50 partner. I bought him out after a couple of years. Luckily, it was super smooth. We're still best friends. Things can go wrong if you're not careful. You sold out and I'm going to guess you made a pretty penny.
I did. I got a multimillion-dollar buyout. That was great.
Did you get that in cash or was it earn-out over time like pay you over a few years?
I got it all upfront. That was great.
That would be a pretty fun day, fun wire to receive. Am I assuming it was a wire in?
Yeah, it was. It was interesting because at that time I did one of the think tanks with David GonzÃ¡lez here. I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do next. I had all these ideas. I was globally ready to jump into a new business right away.
Everyone at the think tank told me, take time off. No matter how much time you think you should take, just take something off and decompress. You're never going to have a chance again to take time off like those so do it.
I did not want to hear that one bit. I talked to about four different people who had sold their business as well. They all told me the same thing. They said I'm either super grateful for the time I took off or I wish I would have taken more time off.
Nobody said, âI wish I wouldn't have taken time off,â didnât they?
That did not even come up. I was like, “These guys were all more successful than me. They'd been there. I'm going to listen to them.” I took at least a couple of months off.
What was interesting is it made me realize how addicted I was to work because I kept waking up and I go straight to the computer.
I would sit there for two hours and I'm like, “I know I'm supposed to be here. Hitting with the keyboard with nothing to do.” It took me a few weeks for me to get out of that mode and to not feel guilty about not working.
Even though you weren't working, you're probably thinking, âWhat's next? I've got to come up with the next idea. I'm not working, but I'm thinking about the next idea. What am I going to do? How am I going to double up?â
There was a lot of real fear that set in with, “Am I going to be able to do this again? How am I going to make money again?â A lot of that stuff is churning through your head.
I did wind up taking nearly a full year off, which was great. I did a ton of traveling. I did lazy days where I'd get up at 9:00. My dog and I would go to the dog park, go to the gym hang out.
I was telling you, I hit this point where I had a realization that I had been chasing this money my whole life. It was my goal for so long to make a bunch of money. I got the money. I got this big wire transfer. I came to the hard realization that I was as miserable as I was the day before I got it.
That's one of those things that a lot of people don't get it because they're like, “That's him. He's probably got these problems.” If I had that, I'd be totally happy. A lot of people do. They think that's, “Once I get this, all my problems disappear.” It's not necessarily true.
I had a big realization that basically all my life, everything I had been chasing, whether it was money, whether it was women, whether it was status, was all this stuff to fill this hole inside of me of seeking approval because I overall felt I wasn't enough.
That year that I took off, I went through multiple personality development programs. I did Ayahuasca. I did a couple of LSD mushrooms things, Tony Robbinsâ Date with Destiny.
Later, I ended up working with Brent Charleton, who you know as well. Brent helped me dig into what that deeper underlying causes of all this were. It was more me chasing approval more than that.If you feel youâre never enough, youâll always be seeking approval. Click To Tweet
That's one of the more common things for entrepreneurs. I was having a conversation with somebody else. It was one of my business partners.
We were talking about that how when you look at some of the most successful people, a lot of times there is a big chip on their shoulder of, “I'm trying to prove something to somebody and usually I'm trying to prove it to myself,â because of one reason or another.
We feel not good enough or we're defined by our success and what we can do. It's not even about showing off. It's about either I'll show them who is nebulous to them or I'll show myself.
I've got some of that, but I don't have it in a big way. As a driver, I sometimes had gotten jealous of people who've got more of a chip on their shoulder or something to prove because I know it can drive you when things aren't going well.
It's this fire, this anger that will push you through and say, “I'm going to bust out and get that done.” I've got a lot of ambition. I'm still trying to impress people like everybody is. It's hard to get rid of that ego.
Sometimes I've felt like if I had more, I'd be more successful because I would drive harder. This is a weird mental chatter that I've got going on sometimes thinking I almost wish I had more trauma in my life too.
I'm like, “Careful who you call in, Brad. Shut up with that.” It's funny. Brent is amazing because I've also done his training. He helped you find peace inside, is that true?
Yeah. Probably the biggest thing is he opened my eyes to everything that was going on because I was completely naive to all the crap I had gone on.
This last year-and-a-half that I've been working with him has been a lot of ups and downs and me realizing a bunch of stuff and what I was after and what I've been missing.
My big thing and you touched on this, was everything for me was more and more. There was never any like, “I'm okay with what I'm doing now.”
I think that's a huge problem for a lot of entrepreneurs where I'm at a point now where I know what I want to spend moneywise and I'd know where I'm at in terms of that. I'm like, “If I make an extra $1 million this year, it's not going to change anything.”
If I have to go to the point of beating myself down and working an extra twenty hours a week to make that extra $1 million, it's not worth it to me because I know what I want. I know what I'm going to spend. I know the lifestyle I have.
If I make an extra $1 million, it's not going to change anything. That's probably one of the biggest things is getting away from that. Constantly striving to have to do more and more and being a little more realistic and okay with, “You're doing pretty well already.”
It helps to have that FU account in there. Not everybody can achieve it right away, not everybody can take that attitude, but they can because when they realize stop chasing the money and the success for the wrong reasons. We've all done it.
It's funny you brought up something that made me think because I'm the same. I haven't had the big multimillion-dollar exit, especially into my bank account. I've done well. I'm at that place where in my life, I've engineered a lifestyle that is pretty much exactly what I want.
I can get a little bit better, but it would be hard for me to achieve what I consider transformational. Things are good, knock on wood. If I had a big payday of, let's say a six-figure payday, which I get. If I had something like that, it wouldn't change my daily life either.
I get that what you're talking about. It is interesting when that happens when you're like, “If you put $500,000 in my bank account, I would love it. It would be fantastic. I might go have some fun with it, but it wouldn't change everything.”
You go, “Now what? What do I work for? Where do I put the target on why I want to make this money?” What have you identified now? You do a lot of consulting now and on the businesses that you either have now or might start.
What are the criteria that you choose to say, “I'm going to do this not for the money, but because of X?” Have you been placed to that? I doubt that you depleted all your ambition.
No. I've come to the realization too that I'm still very much a driven by money person, which a lot of people don't want to admit that because especially with how we live where everything is very much purpose-driven. Everyone's a huge fan of talking about purpose-driven stuff and all that.
Move out to Southern California where I'm at. The people out here are heart-centered entrepreneurs.
I've come to the realization that I am money-driven. The big thing I enjoy is helping younger entrepreneurs and younger copywriters. I think back to where I was, I had one or two mentors that did help me. I wish I had more.
That's one of the things I took on right away after I had my exit. Two of my buddies who wanted to get into internet marketing knew nothing about internet marketing. They work in regular jobs that are like, “How do I make money online?”
I was like, “Let me think of the easiest thing I could teach you that you could start making money quickly.” The thing I came up with is like, “I can probably teach you to write emails.”
I was like, “I get businesses all the time asking me for email writers. If you bust your ass and write a bunch of emails, I bet within three months, I could get you a client.â
Neither one believed me. They thought I was crazy. They're like, “There's no way I'll be good enough to do this.”
It was funny because I put them on this program where they'd had to write three emails every single day. I gave him feedback on them. I give them a product. I'm like, “Here, take this product off ClickBank and write an email about it.”
Did you give them any training on that?
Yeah. We did training. I would give them feedback on what they wrote. Along the way, they were getting feedback. I wasn't getting paid for this. It was more of my two buddies. It was more to me a quest to see if I could do it. I was curious to see how far I could take them.
This was probably a few years ago we started. Now one of them is going to make probably about $80,000 to $90,000 this year. The other one's going to make probably $120,000 to $130,000 this year simply starting from emails.
I went to college at Ohio State for four years. I was a Sport and Leisure Study major. I did not learn a thing that I used now. The fact that I could teach them how to write emails in three months and they're on pace to make six figures is pretty mind-blowing.
Speaking to some of the business stuff now, I want to transition because I love talking about the journey. I love talking about what goes on between the ears.
I also don't want to waste the opportunity to have a guy who's a master at cold traffic and making things convert. I've got a lot of friends who are like, “Justin's advice helped make this offer work where it was marginal at best.”
Let's talk about cold traffic, and I know it depends on the market, the product, etc. Let's talk about some stories about what's working now. What are some of the mistakes people are making and maybe some of the bigger opportunities to look for at the moment?
I would say the biggest thing everybody comes to me with by far is Facebook. Everybody wants to scale on Facebook. Everyone is more familiar with it.
Everybody ends up forgetting Google, YouTube and ads and all this other stuff. They're like, “It's just Facebook. Nothing but Facebook.”
Everybody wants to scale on Facebook. If you're in any of the big niches that are tough to run on Facebook, so health, financial, make money online, dating, you're running into a problem.
What you could do even a year ago where you could write a VSL or have a copywriter write one and use that for Facebook, use that for native and use it for affiliates, those are completely over. You need a completely different funnel for each one because they each have different compliance regulations.
What we're doing a lot of now is basically what I call watered-down direct response. Taking those hard-hitting sales letters, watering them down.
Itâs not like watering down the copy, but watering them down in a way that when the 22-year-old Facebook compliance person who's approving your ads looks at it, they don't feel this is a scammy direct response offer.
I've realized that's probably one of the biggest things that people don't realize. It's not the words, it's the feeling they get. Does this feel like a bright and cheery and real thing or does this feel like something that's trying to make me feel ashamed because I'm fat and I'm out of shape and stuff like that?
I'll give you a couple of examples. People we work within the health niche that normally have fear-driven video sales letters have replaced those with much more positive and personal stories and those are working well.
They're shorter and the copy is not as hard to hit. You can't force them to watch a VSL like you would on email. This is hard for copywriters emotionally to let go of because you look at it and like, “I could make that copy so much better.”
The reality is if it works and you're able to scale it, who cares if you could make it 30% better because the reality is all you care about.
You could make it 30% more persuasive, but if it's not going to get shown to anybody because it violates compliance and it doesn't get approved, it's not even worth it.
I've been beating the drum this year big time on compliance with Trump's conversion in 2019, which is a big difference and a big change.Beating yourself down and working an extra 20 hours a week to make that extra million is not worth it. Click To Tweet
Even from where we were a few months to a year ago, everybody's scrambling to try to figure out, âHow I can get this back on Facebook? How can I run this on a Google display or whatever?â It's all about compliance.
It's about two things. It's about watering it down and you can't dig into that. Facebook is huge against anything making the readers feel bad. It's got to be much more positive and cheerier. You can get away with a little more if you're telling a personal story.
Instead of you digging in and being like, “Is your back pain leaving you crippled on the couch and you can't play with your grandkids and do your normal walks?” If you told your own story with that same stuff and let people connect with that, Facebook is going to be okay with it.
Another angle there, you can do the same thing. It may not have the same exact punch, but talk about how great my back feels like it used to have those issues.
Can you imagine having a back that feels like you did when you were 22 years old where you could bend over, pick things up to where it's now?
You're doing the same thing but you're talking about the positive spin of it versus the negative spin. It can still trigger their imagination, but it doesn't trigger the compliance feel of, “Look at this guy trying to beat this person down.”
In the Facebook side of cold traffic, there are multiple things. There's the Facebookâs. There's obviously search and display. There's native. There's email and obviously, there are more types of cold traffic.
Those are the big four that a lot of people are pursuing these days, social search, native and email. Of those, I know it depends may be on the product that's being offered. Is there one that you typically start with, whether it's validation, get the biggest bang for your buck?
The one thing I'm a huge component or huge fan of is testing stuff in email and replicating that everywhere else. Especially if you have decent sized internal email list that you can test on.
I'll give you an example of those. Marc Stockman and Jeff Radich, who runs a company called Natural Health Sherpa, super successful guys, two of the smartest marketers I know. They have their copywriters in one of my training programs.
They tested a bunch of stuff through their email and they found out that the words, hormonal weight gain, gave this huge bump in conversions instead of using regular metabolism issues or weight gain or stuff like that. It was only hormonal weight gain.
They figured that out from testing in their internal email list. What they did was they run a bunch of quiz funnels and they went to their quiz funnel and replaced the words they were using there with hormonal weight gain. They got a 22% bump in revenue from that.
It was a three-word change. That type of testing, testing angles, testing words in an email, especially if you have your own email list and taking it to somewhere else is easy and it works well.
One of the more effective strategies that I used with a previous client, a guy named Kent Clothier, who has software called Find Motivated Sellers Now. He has a different name to it at the moment.
When I was helping with his marketing, one of the things we did is immediately after somebody purchased the software, on the Thank You page before it even redirected into the login, it says, “Thank you. You'll be able to log in and next, please answer these two quick questions.”
They were mandatory but they were easy. Number one, âHow did you find us?â That's good information to know, but tracking took care of that. That was more of a softener question.
The second question was., âWhy did you decide to invest in this program now?â We try to get them at their peak emotional state so that we can get some stuff. I cannot tell you how many golden nuggets of email subject lines and pieces of copy.
I remember the one that was the big mover for us was somebody said, “Because I'm tired of killing myself trying to find motivated sellers.” Immediately, I turned that into an email subject line that said, “Tired of killing yourself trying to find motivated sellers?”
I don't remember the exact stats, but it was a 30% lift. It was ridiculous. We started to use that on headlines, graphics, and other stuff. It's amazing listening to the market.
That one little tip right there for anybody else reading is right when they buy, get them right in that peak emotional state and they'll tell you why they bought. I love that.
You'll test stuff out there. If things are starting to work in email, will you typically go look for other email sources that you can buy and hit that before you go on social advertising?
One thing we're helping a couple of people do now, and this is working well, is testing angles in email. If they work in email, we take those straight to Facebook ads.
There's a direct correlation of angles that work in email. They work as well on Facebook. If you find angles that are getting a great response in your email, those exact same angles.
A friend of mine, Shaun Hadsall, who's in the fitness niche. They tested one in an email that did well. They do have a hormone type of diet for women. A lot of their positioning is around it's contrarian. It's avoid Keto if you're over 40 and stuff like that.
It's not good tapping into going against what the trend is because everybody's into Keto and that worked well for them in email. Now they literally transplanted that same thing on to Facebook ads and it's kicking butts over there.
As far as the funnels go, there are a lot of different strategies on this. I'm curious to what you've been doing and seeing working better specifically with Facebook because that is one that I know a lot of my audience are interested in.
The ad copy, are you sending them to opt-in pages, VSLs, long-form sales letters, a combination? Do you see anything, especially with compliance place that's working better than others?
It definitely does depend. The large majority of the people that I help with Facebook are going straight to a sales page. They're usually selling some low ticket anywhere from $9 to $40 type thing. That tends to be what I see working the best.
You also had the even lower than that, which would be the free book shipping book offers. A couple of people who are doing higher stuff where they're sending to an email and putting them on webinars and stuff like that.
I'm not the guy to talk to about webinars. It's not the expertise of mine, but I'm a huge fan of selling them something, get them on your list and let's make money on the backend.
Have there been any sizzling hot backend monetization strategies, whether it's an upsell strategy or continuity-based stuff that you've helped implement on the backend that's made big differences? Almost all the time, that's where the money is made is in the backend.
My expertise is definitely in the funnel stuff. I put almost 90% of my effort into the first upsell because if you look at any of the data, that's where about 80% of the income in the upsells come from, especially if you're making a free book shipping offer that's the Holy Grail of it.
There are three formats I use in terms of what works for the first upsell. These are repeatable across every single niche. The first one is more of the same. I'll give you an example. They bought a three-day worth pack of survival food on the frontend for $10, free plus shipping offer.
The first upsell is now a three-month package for $400 or $500 or whatever. You sold them in a small pack, now you're selling the huge bundle of it, which makes perfect sense. People want more of what they bought.
That's the first one that always works more of the same. That works too as well with supplements. It works in financial newsletters where you bought a month, now we're going to sell you a year, or you bought a year, now I'm going to sell you a lifetime. All that stuff works time after time.
The second one is the done-for-you. Any way that you could do whatever you're telling them on the frontend or any way you can do it for them. Kelly Felix, whoâs probably one of the smartest marketers around, had credit secrets offer that basically showed people how to repair their credit.
His first upsell on it is awesome. Basically repairing your credit is pretty hard. There's a lot of crap. You got to do all these forms you got to fill out.
As much as you might want to do it, a lot of people probably don't do it because there's a lot to do. Him being the genius marketer that he is, their first upsell was literally a program called The Automator that did 90% of that work for you. Who would want to do that?
That's a great example of done-for-you. People love done-for-you. That ties in with the third one. My third one is anything that gives you quicker results.
This one you can do a lot of different things. The classic one is an info product in the health niche. You upsell on the supplement. Obviously here you can get great results following the program, but if you want to be my top 5% of clients who get the best results, I recommend you take this.
The information is good, but let's be honest. You want to take a pill because we do. We all want instant gratification. More of the same done-for-you quicker results. You made me think of something that's not a direct parallel.
My friend, Gulliver Giles. He goes by the nickname, Thor Saleswarlord. He's a crazy Aussie. He's one of the best sales trainers out there. In thinking of the done-for-you because people are buying info, but we do want done for us.
Obviously, that's quicker results, faster, easier and cheaper. I always laughed because you download an eBook on how to be good at sales or how to overcome objections or something. You opt-in or you buy it, it doesn't matter.
Immediately on the Thank You page it said, “Thank you. We've sent it to your email, but what you've requested sucks or the eBook you got sucks,” and it's a major pattern interrupt. You're like, “What?”
Usually, it's not if you buy it, it's an opt-in like, “What you requested sucks. Here's why. Because you came here wanting to get the result and you got an eBook and the problem with the book is it's general and it's designed for the masses but everybody's got unique problems, situations, etc.
What you probably need is somebody to talk to you about what you know, what you personally need, the gaps and how to get from A to B. That's why you can read that book and try to implement this or you can jump on the phone with us and rip off the Band-Aid and figure it out.”In the world we live in today, everything is very much purpose-driven. Click To Tweet
I'm paraphrasing, but I love the pattern interrupt of, “What you asked for frankly sucks.” It's ballsy, but it works. You could probably do that. It totally depends on the market and it also depends on your brand. It was genius.
It's a way, it's a slap in the face going, “What do you want? You don't want an eBook. You want to look good in a bikini. Here's the done-for-you.â
Are there any things that you're seeing that have been traditionally done by a lot of marketers in this space that are not working anymore and people need to abandon? If nothing comes to the top of your head, that's okay. I don't want to put you on the spot.
I can't think of anything of that, but I'll give you a couple of ideas that I see that are working that are pretty nontraditional. Facebook loves these whole-home boring eCommerce products. A lot of Facebook ad buyers I've talked are some of the best things we're scaling.
The one guy I talked to is selling plastic cheap gun holsters. He's doing them as a free plus shipping offer. They're going to a pretty eCommerce style page. Nothing great about it. Apparently, they're making thousands of sales a day.
This guy is building a huge list full of obvious people interested in guns. He's going to sell them all kinds of tactical and prepper stuff on the backend and probably make the killing.
There's somebody else doing the same thing with plain old golf balls on a Shopify site. They're apparently crushing it on the return of ad spend. They're building this huge list, last I heard it was somewhere around one million buyers, who are obviously interested in golf.
I've heard that from a couple of people and I've heard about four or five different examples of it. It makes sense because I was talking to Mike Geary about this and we were like, “How are they making that work?”
We finally came to the conclusion that Facebook wants buyers like that because it's a better experience for the user. It's not hardcore like direct response page. It's a super basic Shopify thing.
He's like, “They're obviously getting cheaper clicks. That's how they're making it work.” That's a thing I've heard whispers of and heard second-hand accounts from a bunch of people that are doing those. I frankly would love the idea. It's a great way to build a serious list.
I've got a little experiment from right around the time you were leaving, but I had a client/partner where we promoted your Patriot Greenstuff.
One of my audience, Brian, reached out to me to potentially help his brother and his brother owned a business called Sneaky Pete Holsters. I don't know if you've ever heard of them, but they made nice custom gun holsters, etc.
They had a great business. He was doing $3.5 million at the time or so. I was talking to him about, âWhere did you get your traffic?â He goes, “Magazine ads.” I was like, “What else?” He's like, “Magazine ads and repeat buyers.”
I'm like, “You're doing $3.5 million on magazine ads?” He said, “Yeah.” He's never done Facebook. He's never done anything else. I was like, “How many customers do you have?” He said, “200,000.” I'm like, “How often do you email them?” He goes, “Shopify sends them a receipt.” I was like, “And?”
He had never done any real online advertising and never emailed his list. Instead of offering to consult with him, I offered to buy his business. In the course of due diligence, we got really close. I almost bought it, but for various reasons.
The biggest red flag there, not to go too deep in the woods here was that the magazine ads were experiencing fatigue. They were no longer working.
During the due diligence, he turns on Facebook ads. He's getting a six to one return on ad spend with doing them himself. He's never bought ads. He throws up ads. He markets it to the entire country and opens it. He's like, “This is great.”
I'm like, “I wish he wouldn't have discovered that before I bought his business.” Long story short, by the time we got done with due diligence, all of his traffic was coming from Facebook ads.
It made me super-duper nervous having gun holsters and guns in holsters in ads because, in a moment, Facebook could turn that off. That was one of the biggest variables that made me decide not to do it.
I did a partnership with him. I managed his entire email list and I was like, “I want this percentage for any of your own products that we buy, but I'm going to go out and utilize this list to buy other people's stuff. We promoted your stuff. We promoted other folks.”
It did well. That's what I smiled about the plastic gun holsters when I was like, “I think I know who you're talking about because I saw somebody make that free plus shipping offer.”
I saw another one, somebody is doing free plus shipping with Bibles. It looks like a Christian list and probably making a bank on that.
I've always thought about that. There's an angle I'm working on now. I don't know if any of my audience have any ideas or want to help.
I've got a client. I won't mention who the client is, but they've got a cool app in the fitness base. They do run and workout tracking. It will measure your distance and your time amongst other things. It's all ad-supported, but it's these nice ads.
It's all corporate sponsor supported. I won't give a whole lot of other details away except that he doesn't sell anything. We have one thing that he sells, but we're trying to find other ways to monetize this.
One of the things I realized is you get about 25,000 to 30,000 new downloads of your app every single month organically and a couple of hundred-thousand people on the email list. He drove 80,000 clicks in a month.
We're in the middle of strategizing the feasibility of this, which is why don't we create a physical product off-brand, not his exact brand but something that a secondary brand that he could have ownership of?
I would have ownership of and we would retain the rest to probably give to an operator who wants to run with this? We know a lot about the market and who they are.
We're trying to brainstorm what would be the good physical products for runners and outdoor fitness, not the total athletes, but the mom athletes that we could create.
We're toying back and forth with general physical products for that versus a supplement like electrolyte drinks and different things of that nature.
We have this captive audience for free that we can shove a whole bunch of traffic in front of to validate if they're going to buy it and potentially kick start a product in that space. This is early of the product brainstorming.
One thing we always used to do and I tell this to a lot of people is we would test every affiliate product to our list and see what works well. Whatever works the best, we go create a similar one.
That's one of the things we're thinking of is saying, “What will these people buy?” I hate to let a good captive and growing 25,000 or 30,000 new people every month downloading his app. He's not paying for it. It's from discovery.
I was like, “I hate to let that traffic source go to waste. Let's leverage that to create a great brand with some real value.â That's one of the nuts I'm trying to crack.
What's the nut you're trying to crack? That could be people you're trying to meet, something you're trying to learn, somebody you're trying to hire, the money you're trying to raise.
My big goal is to launch my monthly print newsletter. I love writing. I write a daily email. We were talking about this a little bit before that you're on my list.
My goal is to expand that to a monthly print newsletter. I've written a couple already. I want to make sure I enjoyed the process of doing it. I love it.
It's interesting because I truly enjoy reading them. I get Dan Kennedy's. I get Ben Settleâs. There's something about a print newsletter is an experience that you can't get online.
My Dan Kennedy one comes and I open it up and lay on the couch for twenty minutes and pour myself a drink. It's me and the newsletter for twenty minutes. I go through it with a marker and highlight stuff.
It's this whole experience that it's almost like people who get their New York Times on Sunday morning and laid it out in the floor, spread it out and read it while they're drinking coffee. It's a totally different thing than reading something online.
I've got Perry Marshall's newsletter. I get the Evergreen Profits. Those are a couple of my business partners, Joe Fier and Matt Wolfe. I'm with you. I like that physical thing.
The other nice part about having a physical newsletter is you have a reason to ride along in there and sell them more stuff.
There are opportunities like that. The one thing I love is the simplicity of people getting it, being able to read it and they don't have to do anything else. Membership sites have so many hurdles because people frankly don't even log into them and look up the stuff.
They hurt your churn rate more than they help. People like to add them to things. The reality is they hurt because people feel guilty because they don't use them. Whereas the newsletter, they don't have to do anything, be at their house and it shows up in the mail and they read it.
Plus what happens, and I know because this happens to me, I'll get it, I'll be excited, I'll flip through it and I'm like, “I'll get back to this.” I'll put it down on my table or my kitchen table or my counter and it's always there.
It's in eyesight as a reminder. It doesn't live inside a membership site or inside my email. It's a physical thing that it's always reminding me, “Grab this.”
That's probably the big rock that I'm planning on launching in a couple of months.
Is there anything you particularly need or want help with, whether it's somebody fulfills that or anything else of that nature?
I feel like I have a pretty good idea of how to do it and how to launch it, how to fulfill it, everything. For me, it's getting the initial offer off the ground and getting that going.
My goal is October to launch that. Until that, I'm building up my email list a little more. When I obviously launch it, the launch goes a little better.
You mentioned there were a couple of people brand new getting started. I was going to ask if you were going to tell somebody who's getting started what to do, but I don't want to go there. You hear that question a lot and I've answered that to a lot of people.
I have a different one because I was talking to another friend of mine and this question came up. He said, “I've got great savings. Iâve got six figures in the bank.” He's a smart marketer. He's got an IT services business over here and he's gabbled. He's had an eCom business.
He's done a bunch of stuff, a Jack of all trades. He's trying to figure out, “What should I do next? I've got the cash to invest in some stuff. I know how to do all this other stuff. It's not a matter of knowledge. It's a matter of what do I think is going to get the biggest juice from the squeeze.”
What advice might you give to somebody like that? They can invest in their business. They can do something. Are there any opportunities you see, whether it's physical product eCommerce? I know this all depends on who that person is and their strengths.
I would agree with that what is the opportunity to me might not be an opportunity you or might not be an opportunity to him. To me, I'm very much at the point where I'm looking for something I truly enjoy doing.
I don't have to be super passionate about it, but I have to enjoy doing it. I have to be able to do it on my terms and it has to be pretty scalable. Those are the big three things that I'm looking for, which is one of the reasons the newsletter appeals to me. It's infinitely scalable. I love writing.
The monthly recurring income and all that would be great. The amount of money I can make from it would be great. It'd be super beneficial to the people who read it.
For me, I run everything through those three filters and it helps me weed out. I have a notebook of 45 different ideas that I want to do. I'm trying to narrow that down to what's my best use of time. It's a hard decision because the more successful you get, the more opportunities there are.
Have you ever run it through an ICE filter? It's relatively simple but list out your top ten ideas or top 50 ideas, put them on a spreadsheet. You can get more complex than this, but this is an easy one to do, which is in one column put Impact, Confidence and Ease. Rate them from one to ten.
If this succeeds, how much of an impact will it have in your business, life, financial or whatever? Let's say it's a ten. If I pull this off, it's a ten. I got this physical product idea, I'm going to start it and blow it up.
If it works, I'm going to get it up to $20 million and sell the whole thing because I've done this before. It's got a ten Impact. Confidence, you might have a lot of confidence that you could do it. That might be an eight or nine.
Then Ease, that might fall a little lower. That might be a six or a five because you know what goes into it. That's not something you're throw out there and do. Now you average that score.
The next one down might be, let's say I want to do the opposite of that. It might be a high ticket, one-on-one consulting. Let's say you're charging $10,000 a client per month.
The Impact on that might be a six. It's not going to crazy move the needle. The Confidence might be a ten and the Ease might be a ten because you know that there are people who would do that.
As you start to go down the list and score them by Impact, Confidence and Ease and the average amount and sort them, it can give you a cool overall score to go, “Maybe that's the one I should do because it's got the best averaged out ICE score.”
Does Roland teach that? I've never heard talk about it.
Roland didn't come up with it. This is an overall strategy. Roland has got a different version which also looks at the various profit levers. It will say these are the biggest business ideas, does it activate one of the profit levers of does it help me acquire customers, retain them, activate them?
This whole ICE methodology is general. I love Roland's framework on that. I always tell him like, “Roland, you're my spirit animal.” That's been an effective and easy way to sort through various ideas.
This is one question that I've started to ask and I'm going to be asking a lot more. I've got a concept I call Cognitive Keys. Have you ever read Ray Dalio's book, Principles, or heard of it?
I've heard about it. I have not read it though.
I got this idea from this. Ray is the number one hedge fund manager in the world and he laid out a lot of the principles that have been attributed to success.
First of all, I asked a bunch of my clients, “Why do you hire me? What's the real value you get from me?” It wasn't, “You help us drive sales and revenue and this, that and the other. It's the way you think, your innovative approach to problem-solving and things.â
I was like, “That's cool but I don't know how I think like I've never codified that.” I sat down one day and I started writing out all these little principles, rules of thumb, mental models, quotes, little things that I've relied on in the past as a reminder that this is a tool.
I started to think of these as keys that opened doors and unlock doors of opportunity or open doors that get shut in my face. An example would be, I don't have to know everything if I can access the people who do.
It's a little cognitive key that I can go back to time and again. Is there anything in your life, whether it was a piece of advice you received, a framework for making decisions, a tool that works like a skeleton key for a lot of stuff that you've ever relied on that has provided you a lot of leverage?
Within the business realm, probably about a few years ago, I heard Jenny Thompson who was the CEO of one of The Agora health divisions say. We're talking about what kind of business we're in. We're doing consulting with them.
We're like, “We're in the health business. We sell supplements. We do this.” She's like, “No, you're in the customer acquisition business. That's the business you are in.” That stuck with me hard to the point where everything I teach now is about customer acquisition.
Because I've seen when you put all the focus on customer acquisition, what it does to a company. When you're bringing in 500 or 1,000 new customers a day off cold traffic, it changes everything on the backend.
The reality is, you can always do pretty well in the backend with B and C level marketing. You can't do that on the frontend.
The frontend is what makes the best people, the best ideas, the most creativity, and all the testing to make it work. That thought that as soon as you take your eye off the ball of customer acquisition, that's when nothing on the backend works as well.
I'm a huge fan of talking to clients about that and getting them to focus on it. I have a client who's doing $35 million a year. I wrote an email to my email list and he responded to it.
He's like, “Iâve got to say you talked about customer acquisition all the time. You drilled into my head. For the last few months, we were so focused on this backend offer that we're trying to get up. We literally took our eyes off the ball of customer acquisition. The bunch of our numbers went down.”
If I was to define that as a key, remember what business you're in, it's customer acquisition. This has been a lot of fun. I enjoyed talking to you, getting to know you better.
For my audience, if they want to follow you and get on your newsletter, which you'll like this. Justin does not have the easiest newsletter to get on. You've got to jump through a couple of hoops, which I love and you should take note of.
JustinGoff.com, he shares a lot of fantastic advice on there. You've also got an event coming up here in Austin?
Here's a good marketing tip. When we used to do radio ads, I found out at the end of the radio ads, the URL that we sent them to make a huge difference in the number of sales. It had to be catchy, an easy one to remember.
After testing tons of these, I finally figured out which one worked. I went out and registered a domain to use when I do podcasts and stuff and to tell people to get on my list. It's Justin123.com. You can apply to be on the email newsletter.
I may have to do something like that because telling people to go to Brad Costanzo and I've got to spell Costanzo is not fun.
It's got to be simple. Justin123.com takes care of that.
Justin, thank you very much for being a great guest on the show. For all of my audience, I hope that if you have not hit that subscribe button, that you will. If this has been a valuable episode, reach out to Justin on social media or on his website.
Let him know, let me know as well. Leave a review on iTunes. I read them all. I appreciate every single one of them. By all means, if you guys ever want to get ahold of me with any ideas or questions, you can shoot me an email to AskBrad@BaconWrappedBusiness.com. I will see you in the next episode.
Justin is best known for helping marketers and business owners to convert their offers on cold traffic. He grew his own supplement company from 0->$23 million in sales in just under three years by focusing on cold traffic growth.
After selling his supplement company in 2017, Justin now helps some of the biggest names with their marketing like Golden Hippo, Dan Lok, Agora Financial, V-Shred, 4Patriots, Mike Geary, Danette May, Six Pack Shortcuts, Natural Health Sherpa and more.