Hi. I’m your host, Stephan Spencer and you are listening to Marketing Speak. I have with me today, Jon Shugart. Jon is a super-affiliate. He is a software developer and CEO of technologies such as Banner Cloud. You might have heard of Keyword Rockstar from years past, he’s the creator of that. He does a lot of webinars. He is a guru at webinar marketing, has made millions off of webinars and off of affiliate marketing and he’s going to share some of his genius with us today. Welcome, Jon.
Hey, hey, Stephan. Thanks for having me, man. I’m excited to be here.
It’s so great to have you. I just love chatting with you. For you, listeners, Jon and I met years ago like I don’t know, maybe five years ago at Elite Retreat, Shoemoney’s really awesome event, and he used to have another one of those. It’s been a while. We just hit it off and we kept in touch and I think you’re just an all-around great guy.
Well, I was always amazed. You were giving a speech. I was always humbled … Not even humbled is the right word but awestruck. I was like, “Man, I want to be like Stephan one day, sell my company and just travel the world and enjoy life.” You inspired me by then for sure.
Thank you. I do a little bit more than just travel the world and sit back but yeah, I do more than my fair share of living the high life, I suppose. Let’s start with webinars because I don’t know anyone who’s crushing it quite like you are with webinars and you use webinars to market your own software and solutions. You use webinars to market other people’s software and solutions. What’s the secret to your success without giving too much away? I don’t want you to give all your secret sauce away but what would be some of the fundamentals that most people are doing wrong?
This world of marketing is interesting. There’s a lot of different ways to market your products and everybody focuses and there’s nothing wrong with this at all and a lot of people especially now, there’s a funnel. talk about funnels and going deep in your funnel and things like that which is all great. The thing about webinars to me is it’s a great way, number one, to give solid value to people that are attending. It gives you an opportunity. Typically, a webinar, I mean, some people do them in 30 minutes, some people do them up to 90 minutes to 2 hours and ours typically are probably the longer type.
In my mind, I want to educate someone and spending an hour, possibly two hours with them gives me that time to educate them not only teach them something new that they probably didn’t know and build trust and rapport with them and then gives me proper time to let them know what I can provide them that might help them even more with something that they’re trying to do. In my world, it’s typically software or some type of information product on advertising with Facebook or Google or Paid Traffic or something like that. However, I mean, it doesn’t really matter whatever product you’re selling, you could do the same thing. Your question was, what are people doing wrong? I don’t watch a lot of people recently, necessarily, I haven’t been on their webinar so my model for webinar is pretty simple. Give them value for about 45 minutes. Teach them something and show them why they want your product basically and then give them a 15-minute explanation and then do questions and answers about it. It gives you a lot of time to spend with them. It’s like having the ability to sell your product to many people at once. My rule of thumb is we like to see 8% … We have 100 people on, we’d like to sell at least 8 people our product. How do you do that? Well, first you got to start with a target audience. If I would say one thing, I mean that’s where you have to start. If you can focus on that, then the webinar part will take care of itself. It’s really about getting that audience engaged. Not everybody wants to attend webinars. I think that’s the secret to my success, is that we focus on people that like to do that. A lot of people don’t, so it won’t work for everybody. I guess that’s one thing I would tell. If it’s not working, it’s probably not your webinar. It’s probably the audience.
Right. This applies also to doing live events, is that if you are speaking to an audience and half of the room are disengaged, they’re the frown-y faces. You don’t need to sell to frowny faces. You don’t have to sway them and get them on your side to loving you. You just have to speak to the smiley faces and get them to sign up and go through your whole funnel and upsells and all that because that’s who you are there for, is the smiley faces. Don’t worry about the frown-y faces whether it’s in a live event or it’s a webinar or it’s people on your list who invariably will be frown-y faces in your list and they’re going to say no to your webinar. They’re going to say, “No, no, I don’t want to waste my time on a webinar.” You’re not speaking to them. Don’t worry about them.
The beautiful thing too about webinars, I’ll just mention this and close in on that topic, is if they attend, if you do a good job with your webinar and don’t make it a sales pitch … Obviously, you’ll have a pitch, but give content, then people will go away with a good taste in their mouth that they, at least, got value from it. That in my mind will attribute at some point to whether they buy your product, that particular product or down the road. They’ll still stay on your list because they get value from it. If all you’re doing is getting them on and trying to pitch them something all the time, then that’s the quickest way for you to lose them from your list. Don’t make the mistake of trying to worry so much about the sell. That will come at the end but give them really good value. Focus on giving them information that they can use, and you’ll keep them.
Right. Deliver massive value. Frank Kern calls it Results in Advance. You teach them something valuable whether they buy your product or not. They’re walking away with something that they can use, some knowledge or distinction that is going to help them in their business and then if they end up buying your product from the pitch with the fast-action bonuses and all that, then great. Otherwise, you still have a happy non-customer who’s potentially going to tell their friends like, “Well, that was a good use of my hour or hour and a half.” You do webinars pretty regularly like how often, how many times a month would you say?
I would do them every day if I could. It depends on the type. We do a lot what we call joint venture, I guess; relationships where our product is a good fit for someone else’s list. I would say those are, if we can get maybe two a week is what we like to do with that. Then, for our own list, we would do maybe twice a month. I mean, eight to ten webinars a month is probably about what we do, sometimes more, sometimes a few less.
We just focus a lot on that model and really that’s how we market our products primarily. I mean, we don’t really go after other types of traffic at the moment, although we are right now because of the webinar thing, we’re working on a platform that I think will help us to do more to, I would say cold paid traffic type situations and be able to market to them that way. If that works, then my goal is to do basically webinars every two hours but I don’t know if I could get there yet.
But these are prerecorded if they’re every two hours or something. They’re not live every time?
Yeah, correct. Live webinars, eight to ten a month is what we do. Then yeah, prerecorded would be the ones that people could attend throughout the day.
Right. What would you say the industry conversion rates are and show-up rates versus registration rates, all that? What are the industry metrics versus when somebody is really crushing it such as yourself? What’s the difference there?
The numbers I’m going to give you obviously are just based on my own experience. I don’t know a lot about what other people do. I can give you really good metrics on what we’re able to do and what I consider to be good. Other people may say, “Wow, that’s not good,” or, “That may be better,” than what they’re experiencing, I don’t know. But my take on it from just talking to other people who also do webinars, usually from a registration page depending on the style and there’s all kinds of arguments to whether or not to use like GoToMeetings, regular plain jane pages or some type of graphical opt-in page. You do see better conversions if the page looks better, if it looks more professional and clean. You can get 50% to 70%. That’s a pretty big range but I try to get at least 50% to 60% opt-in if it’s an email-based invitation, so 50% to 60% of the people opting in, to register for the webinar. From that though, you’re probably only going to see about 30% attendance. Most people these days are conditioned that there will be a replay sent out. Most of them were opting in probably just to get the replay at some point. The sad thing is you lose a lot traffic because they won’t watch the replay, they’ll get busy or whatever and don’t have time. I mean, those numbers are pretty … I mean, if you think about it, you send out an email or whatever, you get let’s just say for round numbers a thousand people to open. The email, maybe you get 25% if you’re lucky click rate so you get 250 people who would click and you get another 50% opt-in so a thousand people would view an email, 125 people are registering. Those numbers will vary but that’s just a ballpark. From that, you’re getting, let’s just say 50 people to show up. Obviously, your copy and what the topic is and how targeted it is to that audience, that can greatly affect those numbers but that’s just some ballpark experience that we’ll see. One thing is pretty certain, if you get more than 30% showing up, then you’re doing good. It was really something that they were very interested in. It’s just hard to get at times for people to attend.
Right. And the farther out you are from the time of the webinar, let’s say it’s three days from the webinar date, your show-up rate is going to be a lot worse than if you get people to opt in or basically get the offer in front of them to attend the webinar the day before?
Yes. The closer you are to the event, the more likely you’re going to get people to show up. Yes, that’s right.
Back to the concept of live versus prerecorded, so live tends to convert better. Correct?
Yes. Live, if you’re interacting with them, absolutely. Because you can also answer questions on the fly and things like that. Yeah, absolutely.
Right. You can answer questions as they’re coming in even like clarify stuff. If you’re keeping an eye on the Q&A chatbox or whatever, you can say, “Oh, and just to clarify on that previous point, the answer or the XYZ,” sort of thing, that is helpful so that people know this is real live interaction. It’s not a fake prerecorded trying to pretend to be live because that happens too a lot.
It does. I mean, there are services out there … I think most people are … I won’t say most but I mean a lot of people are aware of them, and they know when it’s not real.
And there are the mixed versions where you have the prerecorded segment first and then you have the Q&A live as a second component?
Yeah, that’s right.
Do you do those as well?
Yeah, sometimes we do. We’ll do an actual recorded version, just play it so it’s consistent and then just be on there for the Q&A.
Do those perform pretty well or is it really just the whole thing should be live that’s really the best practice?
Actually, those performed pretty well if you have a good recording, and if you’re there interacting with the questions throughout the recording. If you’re doing it live, let’s just say on GoToMeeting or a service like that, you’re playing the video, playing the recording but you’re in there in the chatbox interacting. Honestly, you really don’t know unless there’s like dates or something or you say something in the recording that would give them the impression. They’re not really going to know that it’s recorded especially if you’re interacting in the chatbox. Basically, it’s just like you’re there saying its live. And I don’t think they care.
I mean, at the end of the day they’re like, as long as they’re getting their questions answered that they have and they’re getting the content that they would get whether you’re saying it right then or it was recorded, it really doesn’t matter. But if you don’t do that, then you do see conversions because a lot of buyers, people who would be interested in buying your product but if you don’t answer their questions, then you can’t overcome their objections.If you don’t answer their questions, then you can’t overcome their objections. Click To Tweet
Right. A typical conversion rate for a live webinar might be 8% if you’re doing pretty well and if you’re doing a prerecorded, not answering the questions throughout, you might take a pretty severe hit and only get maybe 3% conversion. Is that pretty accurate?
Yeah. I would say it’s pretty accurate, and let me throw in too though, it does depend a lot on the price point. Our products typically are software-based and information-based and they’re usually systems. Our products are $500, maybe up to $1500 or something like that. That price point is going to convert lower than let’s say at $97-$200 price point. Those conversion numbers actually put the caveat that that’s probably around the average $1000 price point.
Right. That’s a pretty high price point for selling online stuff. Even a live event, $1000 is a pretty decent chunk of change. It starts to become much more of a consorted purchase once you get to that $1000 price threshold.
It is, yeah. Like I said, to get to that price, what we like to do is sell systems, not just info or not just software. It’s more integrated type systems. It gives you everything that you would need to do whatever you’re trying to do. Whether it’s advertise online or do some kind of affiliate marketing or local marketing or whatever. I mean, that’s where we like to play, is in building systems out for people. That, therefore, justifies a higher price because they don’t have to go out and buy something else and something else and something else to do it. We try to put, “If you want to do this, then here’s the system to do that.”
Got it, right. That’s like, I’ve seen programs that include a live event as a bonus but also with online course and maybe there’s a software component or tool as well so that’s more well-rounded solution. Easier to say yes as a customer to that versus, “Oh, I’m just going to sign up for this live event,” or, “I’m just going to sign up for this online training program,” or, “I’m just going to sign up for the software.”
Exactly, yeah. Not everybody can do that. I mean, they may just make a great piece of software and there’s nothing wrong with that. But to get that higher price or maybe they sell it as an annual package and they get a discount but they can get more money upfront for their business on a one-time hit on the webinar because they’re able to … Whereas they come on your website, you’re selling like let’s just say SaaS-based product, software and service and you can get them for $47 a month. But on a webinar, you can make an annual package play and maybe a little bit more information and training and charge $500 or whatever and get that one time. There’s ways to do it.
Yeah. Do you work with affiliates? You’re an affiliate and partnering with other folks to sell their stuff, their solutions to your list. But what about getting on other people’s lists, getting access to other people’s audiences? Do you have affiliates for your stuff?
Yes. It’s an interesting world. As you know, this world is a lot about … really, it’s a relationship-based world. People are funny about who they will promote, what they will promote. I’m not going to say it’s difficult but it took many, many years and a lot of just grinding. Really, it’s about meeting people at the end of the day. We do offer people that, if they want to be an affiliate, so we have people that I don’t know that will do it, but it’s usually rare.
Usually, it’ll be people that I know and have some kind of relationship with or maybe one person removed because we do offer like a second tier referrals like if you know somebody that might be interested, then we can pay you a second tier type situation but that’s as far as we go. But it is all relationship-based especially I found at least in the webinar system, letting you access their customers or their list. They want to know more about you, not just about the product as well and have some sense of trust that you’re going to take care of their list because quite honestly, a lot of them, that’s their bread and butter. They do paid traffic but that’s not how they make their sales per se. They cultivate the list, typically email list.
Yeah. The money is in the list.
Let’s talk about affiliate marketing and what are some best practices for becoming a super-affiliate because there’s the 80-20 role or 90-10 role or whatever most of the vast majority of people who are doing affiliate marketing are making just a little bit of money and it’s that 10% or 20% who are really crushing it, maybe even a lot less than that who are making serious bank by doing affiliate marketing. You’re in that 1% club. What do you recommend to be in that high performing subgroup?
Here’s the truth. The truth is, is that it’s a lot of hard-work, number one. Nobody wants to hear that. People that do make it, I mean they’re in that upper small percentage because they actually do the work and most people will just want the dream. That’s the harsh reality but it’s the truth. Number one, it takes work. “Okay, well, what kind of work, Jon?” That’s kind of a generic answer but he knows it takes work. Well, here’s the thing. Depending on what type of affiliate marketing you want to do if we’re talking CPA-based marketing or things like promoting other people’s products maybe their physical products or whatever. I would probably approach each one differently but I’m going to give you some guidelines, I think, that would be applicable probably to all of them.
Number one, it really is about building a targeted audience. They are interested in the products you’re going to promote because there’s multiple … That’s the beautiful thing about being an affiliate. At the end of the day, you’re promoting to a person and that person has different needs and wants and everything and usually, let’s just say, weight loss, someone that’s interested in losing weight. There’s multiple things that they’re going to need potentially. They’re going to need exercise plans. They’re going to need maybe exercise equipment, diets and food and things like that.
You actually will make more money in the long run if you grab that person and get them on some type of list whether it’s retargeting list, preferably a retargeting list and an email list. That’s what I would say start with. Once you have that list that’s a target, you know what that list wants, right? Weight loss, something like that. Then, you can go about and actually try and make your affiliate commissions by split testing which is it’s going to take a lot of testing on the banner potentially, your remarketing tool or the email copy and possibly the offers as well.
I mean, at the end of the day, those are the two pieces of advice I can give you that’s generic but is applicable at everything which is build a targeted list and these days, retargeting, I’m going to tell you right now, if you can build a retargeting list, you know what that intend is. You’re going to find that that should be very, very fruitful for you and then split-test offers, copy, banners, things like that and rotate them through a tracking. You have to track. Basically, there’s two generic things. Build a cultivated list and do a lot of testing on your offers that you present to them and find the ones that are profitable.
Right. You’re using technology to do the tracking and split testing?
What do you use or what do you recommend?
I had a couple of other platforms that were free like, back in the day, Prosper202 which is great. I used another tool called CPV Lab which is great but honestly, I find myself using Voluum lately which it goes against most affiliate marketers’ takes on things, I guess, which is don’t give up your data because it’s a SaaS-based solution but they’ve done a great job and I enjoy using it. I think it’s pretty intuitive once you figure it out and it’s pretty robust.
Voluum is something that you can use. There’s another one that Voluum just got rid of. They used to have a free plan which was really good for people to get started but they just got rid of that. There’s another one, I haven’t used it but for people that don’t want to pay the money for Voluum, you might try … It’s called adsbridge.com, I think, not to plug other people’s products and services but anyway, those are some options for people out there.
Prosper202 is still available, it’s free. It’s self-hosted, I think. You’d want to go to a self-hosted platform or easiest Voluum or AdsBridge is free. Those are three good ones.
Got it. Just for our listeners to differentiate split-testing or A/B testing versus multivariate testing so the A/B split test is a simple, “Okay, here’s option A, here’s option B. Let’s see which performs better.” You can’t test a whole lot of things simultaneously because you won’t know what worked and what didn’t work. Whereas a multivariate test, it requires better technology but then you can see a bunch of different variables simultaneously, what performs the best price points, colors, headlines, hero images, all that. Are you doing multivariate as well or pretty much just the A/B split?
Yes, I stick to A/B split testing primarily. Unless you’re doing, in my opinion because I’ll split test offers and then split test like banners, things like that because I’m not really designing the landing page per se so it’s more about A/B testing. If you’re building a landing page and it’s your offer and you’re driving traffic to it in a significant amount, then multivariate might be more what you want but I don’t know. For me, A/B testing is really all I do.
Yeah, man, it’s easy. It’s very straightforward. What about for some people in our listener base who will not be familiar with retargeting? Maybe we could just spend a moment in talking about retargeting, how that works and some people might be just starting out with retargeting and only having a very broad retarget so that it’s like, “Oh, they’ve been to my website or they haven’t been to my website versus, “Oh, they’ve been to this blog post or they have been to this offer page or this webinar sign-up page or this thank-you page?” Yes, let’s talk a bit about retargeting and getting some distinctions around getting the most out of it.
Yes. I mean, retargeting is really powerful but like you said, it depends on how you use it. I mean, Google and other places allow you to include and exclude list. If you’re retargeting somebody and let’s say they’re going through your offer and they end up buying, you may want to take them down and start marketing to them a different way, right, than you would just your general audience that hasn’t purchased your product. Just to be simplistic at this point, you can get, I guess, as deep as you want to go and it really is the same concept of list segmentation just like you would if you had an email list and you start looking at who’s responding to what your messages say and who’s purchased what.
At the end of the day, people say traffic and yeah, it’s traffic but what is traffic? I mean, traffic is people. Traffic is an audience. It’s just that you don’t know what that audience is because it’s so random. Once you start looking at that audience and figuring out what their likes and dislikes are and what the segments of that particular audience is, that’s when you can start really increasing your ROI because you’re giving them what they want. I mean, I’m not going to say the word “spam” but I mean, in essence, you’re throwing stuff against the wall and see what sticks.
A lot of people, that’s their approach versus segmenting out and especially with retargeting now, that gives you that ability. Will they visit this page on your particular site or they purchase this product, now you got a buyers list that you can retarget so you got other products that they might be interested in or maybe you might get them a coupon for the next one because they’re a great customer, things like that. You can go deeper with retargeting than you could just general advertising, I guess.
Right. There are solutions that will help you to retarget across multiple platforms so you can do retargeting not only on Google, AdWords where you get The New York Times, for example, that will display Google Ads with retargeting but also YouTube. You can do retargeting with Facebook, of course, and other places as well. Are you using something like Perfect Audience or are you dealing with the separate platforms or services individually like going directly to Facebook, directly to Google, et cetera?
Oh, man, you’re going to make me let the cat out of the bag. Yeah, I’ll talk to you off this and I’ll let you know what it is. Let’s just say yeah, we have our own platform so I have to use that one but I haven’t used Google and I haven’t used Facebook and I haven’t used sites like SiteScout and I haven’t used Perfect Audience although I have many friends that have and they’re supposed to be really good. Yeah, as I like to do, I guess, because of the software background, we’re all on our own so we built our own platform for that.
Got you. Okay. Just to wrap this up here because I want to be respectful of your time here and also, of course, our listeners. I just want to make sure that we talk about Banner Cloud before we let you off the hook here. You got this really killer technology platform that you’ve developed. It’s bannercloud.com. What is it about this technology that really makes a secret weapon for people who want to advertise through banner ads versus just figuring out on their own or using other solutions?
I appreciate that. This has been a pet project and idea of mine for a long time. This is how we started the original Keyword Rockstar. Here, it boils down to this. At the end of the day, I mean, there’s Text Ads on Google and then there’s banner heads or emails outside of what I’m going to talk about but you go to get some type of advertisement in front of somebody if you want to use Paid Traffic, display traffic especially. There’s not a lot of great ways to do that. There are sites out there and there is some technology out there that will do it or you have to have an internal person or you’ll hire somebody or do it yourself. I mean, that’s pretty much it.
I saw an opportunity for myself because I’m not a very graphical person. I basically said, “You know what? I wish I could add some software that I could create multiple sizes at ones,” because I don’t like wasting time, split tests, create clones, make changes because I told you that one of the most important things is split testing but I don’t want to have to pay somebody their time. I want to do it myself or maybe have somebody on my team do it but it’s not graphical and just make the edits. It’s all template-driven and that was the key like start with something that looks halfway decent. Just make a few tweaks and go with that rather than trying to create something from scratch.
The problem is, is that there are some solutions out there like that but the templates are limited and there’s not that many of them. You get stuck running the same ads over and over. My solution is Banner Cloud and the idea behind Banner Cloud is it’s actually a marketplace where designers can create in our platform, not Photoshop or anything like that but in our platform of Banner Cloud. They can create their own designs. They can sell them to end-users, advertisers and therefore, the advertiser doesn’t need Photoshop or anything else. They just edit them in our platform.
We get this marketplace, this crowd source advertising solution and so the advertiser wins because they get multiple designs they get to choose from and the designers win because they’re getting work that they wouldn’t have to go out. They sell products instead of their time and they get paid over and over for that template that they designed rather than just a one-time deal. We win because we’re facilitating it. Anyway, that’s the concept behind Banner Cloud and I think it enables everyone to win.
Yeah, very cool. You got a library of templates. You have a community of designers who will create custom ads for you as well and you can just go in and choose a pre-done template and tweak it very easily just like you can go into, let’s say, lead pages and create a landing page that’s been tried and tested. High converting template used that. You can do the same thing very easily with Banner Ads, with your platform plus the addition of this whole marketplace, this whole community of designers that you wouldn’t have with something like lead pages for landing pages.
Absolutely, that’s exactly right. Yes.
Very cool. Bannercloud.com and yes, just any parting last bit of wisdom that you’d like to share for our listeners?
The number one I’d say, never stop listening to Stephan, that’s the number one thing I would give.
He’s always got some great things to share. Ever since, he’s always helped me out so that’s the number one thing I would say. Number two is build an audience because at the end of the day, whether it’s an email-based audience, whether it’s maybe a retargeting or remarketing, I guess some people say audience, if you know what they’re interested in, then you can find products and services as an affiliate or you can create your own and you can change your life by making money, providing that value to them because you know what they want.
If I was going to end it, I guess one more final piece of information would be, get out from behind the computer and go to events especially anything that Stephan puts on but go to events and make sure that you get out and network with people, okay? Those are the three things that I think are the keys to success in this business.
That’s some great advice. Jon, thank you so much. This has been really valuable and enlightening and I just can’t thank you enough.
Stephan, always a pleasure. Thanks for having me and I wish your listeners many, many successes along the way and I’m sure you’ll have some great people they can learn from but I appreciate you having me.
All right, great. Thank you, listeners. We’ll catch you on the next episode of Marketing Speak.