Stuart: Hey guys. Welcome to Marketing Cheat Guides. Today I have somebody special on the show, Miles Beckler. I’ve been following him online. You may see him in his YouTube videos. He’s been at least online since August, September 2016. He’s put up a ton of good content. Definitely no fluff. Really, really good content. Someone who I look up to absolutely, and definitely someone you should check out.
He’s also … Are you co-founder? How would describe yourself in terms of your role at Ask-Angels.com?
Miles: Yeah, co-founder. My wife and I founded it together before we were married.
Stuart: Awesome. Perfect. Tell us a little bit about how you started that business, and what brought you into that business.
Miles: We’d have to rewind a little bit before that. In college, I was working for the local college radio station, and I was the Promotions Director, and I always had to go to work, like two three times. Before class, after class, before my radio show, I had to go to work.
My Program Director, which was another student was like, “Miles, let me show you this little thing I’ve got going on the side. I need your time on the radio station.”
He showed me a side hustle, and it was a way essentially direct link people from MySpace to an affiliate offer, like a CPA affiliate offer, which is cost per acquisition, and I started making money with it. I started doing what he showed me, and then six months later, they changed their terms of service. They sold MySpace, and it went to zero. 100% to zero. That was like ’03.
Then my wife and I, in ’08, when we met, we were both really into meditation, and so I had this experience of knowing it was possible to make money online, and knowing that it was possible to create audiences and offer them products that they wanted.
We both were fresh out of college. We didn’t know what to do. We were still accustomed to living on a college budget, like a ramen noodles and roommates type budget, so the bar was pretty low for us. We just decided to jump in. I kind of convinced her. I was like, “Hey, look. If you do this content marketing stuff, I know how this works. I can get your content optimized, and I can make sure Google picks it up. I can figure all that out, but you’ve got to write. We need somebody to write and create all of the content.”
She just went literally full speed ahead. I taught her keyword research, and she’s a writer. She’s able to write. She’s comfortable with that medium, and she just went to town, and I really geeked out on the keyword research also, and SEO. This was pre Penguin and Panda, for anybody who’s been in the SEO game for a while, it was different back then. We just kind of out of nowhere emerged as the most aggressive content marketers in this interesting, super small niche, where angels meet meditations.
We started selling … My wife was doing literally angel readings, and we shifted that model to where we record MP3s and courses and video courses, and we now distribute them to larger audiences, versus doing the one on one services.
Stuart: You guys have been in this game now for nine years, going on nine years. In the beginning, what were some of the early challenges? That was a synopsis from the beginning to end. I assume there must have been challenges along the way.
Miles: Yep. How do I install WordPress was a huge challenge for me. How do I install everything. Literally every single step was an absolute, like what am I doing here level challenge. I think the tech has gotten a bit easier, but it still can be quite confusing, because it’s almost like there’s even more options now, so making a decision on what to go with. Obviously WordPress, but there’s just so many decisions. Literally every single step of the process has been utterly challenging.
But out of that, I … Since I had overcome a few challenges, and built a WordPress site, and started to get traffic, I was then able to offer services to local businesses. I guess the biggest challenge was cash flow. How do you, in the early days, devote enough energy to it when you’re getting nothing back in return? Entrepreneurs, you have to learn to love delaying gratification.
I then started applying what I had learned with WordPress, and themes, and content marketing to local businesses, and started selling services, and that was actually a lot quicker cash flow, and we were kind of floating off of me selling SEO services and marketing services while spending nights, weekends, day times on building our info product business. We juggled both of those for about four years or so, before the info business, kind of hit the leverage point, we hit that inflection point.
Stuart: Before you had the overnight success?
Miles: Yeah, right, that we’re still working on and still ramping up to. That’s it.
Stuart: As you were doing that and you put it together, the four years … Would you say that now you’re a veteran at digital marketing, you obviously keep an eye on what’s going on. Is that an expectation people should have, because I mean, there are definitely people who find you later in the journey? They may look at you now and say, okay, your videos are getting X amount of view. Your website with your wife is getting tons of views and you guys are making money obviously online.
What do you think is a fair expectation for people to kind of have that delayed gratification? How much time should they be thinking when they’re getting into it, when they’re making that decision of ramen noodles for a period of time? I think a lot of people today, expect that 30 day … They’re going to buy a course and 30 days from now, the money’s going to be going ching, ching, ching, ching, ching.
Miles: Yep. I think that’s a byproduct of over aggressive sales letters for shiny objects that don’t deliver on their promises, and they’re sold on these huge promises of overnight riches. But it’s not physically possible.
I usually tell people like three to five years. My philosophy is, it takes … If you can go into one niche, and you can create a thousand epic pieces of content on different topics and the keyword research, you’re going to be the dominant force in that niche. I don’t care what niche it is, if you go that aggressive to it. I just stepped up out of nowhere into the internet marketing space, and I’ve carved out quite a little niche in a very aggressive space.
You just run the numbers. So, a thousand pieces of content, if you can do one a day, five days a week, it’s going to take you two and a half years. If you can do three a week, it’s going to take you four to five years. It’s so much about like the learning comes through the doing. There’s so much that happens on that path, and there’s so much pivoting along the way.
You’ve built and grown several successful businesses. I guarantee the business you sold was different than what you thought you were doing on the business plan from day one, because reality smacks us in the face, and our plan gets to here. Oh well, maybe I’ll try that and this and that, and it evolves, and we have to give it that time to evolve.
I try to just … It’s a marathon, not a sprint. People are like, “Okay, Miles, I’ve got a thousand dollars to invest in a business. Can I make money in my first month?”
Probably not. I don’t know. You can take that grand and spread it over three years, and you can run a successful WordPress website. You can write all the content yourself. You can run an email list management program. That expense can cover you for three years. The bigger question is, do you have what it takes to stick with something for three years, and maybe not see results until year two, because that is the big challenge that most … I think that’s the hurdle that most people don’t overcome.
Stuart: That’s one of those things where, like if you’re looking at your business that you have with your wife, that’s definitely the case. But as you mentioned earlier, selling local services in terms of marketing to people, has a quicker cash flow.
Stuart: You can definitely supplement it by going out and creating that cash flow and leveraging off of that.
Miles: If I can just jump in on that, because I think you’re 100% right. It’s so much easier to sell a service to people, than it is to sell an information product. We all want results, but if it’s like, I’m going to hire you to go do this thing for me that has to get done, versus, I’m going to buy and consume and better my life, and better myself, it’s a different kind of stage on that Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, so it really is an easier sell. Most of these businesses have marketing budgets, whether it’s a very defined marketing budget, or whether it’s like, I know I need to be doing that and I’m not spending any money on it, so I’m willing to pay you to do it for me.
I find that that’s such a powerful sale, and I do recommend for people who find my stuff, do both, because you’ve got to get that cash flow machine turned on, and then, you get so much experience. That’s what I got through those four years. I feel like I got 10 to 15 years of digital marketing experience crashed down into like three or four years. Just smashed down to the point where, when I walked away from that, and I was able to turn that off, because of cash flow, it’s like I was such a forged, sharpened tool to 100% devote myself into my internet business. That’s when the leverage kicked on.
That was a byproduct of 16, 18 plus hour days for three to fours years straight struggling, but just committed at the same time.
Stuart: Sure, and I mean, the process must be very similar. You obviously with Ask Angels, figured out who your ideal buyer is, and the buyer persona around it. But I mean, the same thing would happen if you were going in to do marketing services for one of your clients. You’ve got to figure out who their buyer is, what that buyer journey is, what kind of interests they’re going to have at different points in the funnel.
It is perfect training depending on what you want to get into, but it certainly seems like it mimics what you are doing now, as the Chief Marketing Officer/Partner at Ask Angels.
Miles: 100%, and what’s funny is, one unintended consequence is all of a sudden you’re like, “I can make a site on anything,” and then I made like 20 WordPress sites. I diverted my own focus, because I was like, “Now that I’m armed with all this, I’m going to make a site about snowboarding and this. I love that. I’m going to make all of these niche sites.”
But then, none of them got enough attention, and that just slowed my process by a year or two, chasing shiny objects on my own. So then learning to apply that focus and the same stuff. For me, it was always about keywords. When I would communicate with a business owner, one of the questions I would ask them that got them to really click is like, “Do you know what your most valuable keywords are?”
And they’re like “What? I don’t even know what that means.”
“Okay, so people search Google for something, and some phrases mean that they’re ready to buy from you right now. Do you know what those phrases are?”
They’re like, “No.”
I was like, “I can do a $99 keyword research report. I’ll lay out all the keywords,” and that was my entrance point with the owner. I would do a keyword research report, and I was like, “Look, here’s all the potential. Here’s your best phrases. Here’s where you rank right now. You’re not even on the map,” and at that point, it was like a duh. They couldn’t say no.
It’s like, “If you don’t rank for these your business is going to close.”
And they’re like, “Yeah, you’re right.”
It’s like, okay a 1000 bucks a month, 500 bucks a month, whatever it was. That was kind of my way in, and that worked like a champ.
Stuart: Again, it seems like your process is always very similar. Add a ton of value upfront, and then once you’ve added that value, it gives you know, like, and trust factor, and you can move them up that value ladder.
One of the things that you’re well known for, at least in terms of when you broke out on your own with MilesBeckler.com, I think some of your more popular videos are around Facebook, and how you’ve leveraged Facebook advertising, presumably more for Ask Angels. I don’t think you do too much advertising in terms of your own personal brand, do you?
Miles: Zero. Zero paid advertising on the Miles Beckler. My goal is to prove that you can do it with just hustle.
Stuart: Right. But you do quite a bit of ads in terms of bringing people-
Miles: For Ask Angels.
Miles: Absolutely. When I let go of my kind of SEO and that side gig, the marketing arbitrage, as I call it, hustle, I really then had those hours to reapply to my business, and what I decided was, I got into this little coaching training program when I learned about funnels and paid traffic, and creating an offer that converts, that you run as a one time offer, that’s after the opt-in. And then how to run traffic to that.
Essentially, the goal being break-even. You put in $100, you get out $100 in sales, and the byproduct is massive list growth.
When i shifted, I geeked out on that. That was a bout 2014, I started. Still running Facebook ads today. They’re actually profitable right now. It’s a unique ad product in the world of digital marketing. It’s an incredibly valuable … There’s so much potential for certain types of businesses, but at the same time, it definitely not for every business.
Joe Plumber on Main Street, does not need to be on Facebook. That dude needs to be on Google, because when your water heater explodes … You know, you’ve always got to go back to user behavior, and you even touched on that before. Who is this person? What are they doing? Why are they looking for you? Do they want you or need you? And luckily our product, it’s meditation. Everybody kind of wants a better life, but not everybody’s looking for meditation, so it’s a really good medium for us to kind of interrupt them with our idea of, take some time for yourself, meditate, and we can so hyper-target our best customers. It’s a really impressive ad product.
Stuart: In terms of what you see … So I mean, there are people that have tremendous success with Facebook ads, and then there are people that just make Zuck richer. As a Facebook shareholder, keep doing it. I’m happy. Maybe not in the last week and a half, but it’ll be back.
In terms of what’s going on, you see some people that are using it almost to start conversations, top of funnel, get people interested, and then really putting them on that … I call it the imaginary escalator where you’re heating them up. Wherever you’re trying to bring them, you’re bringing them through a conversation.
In terms of how you use it in your business, is it, you’re going from an ad to a sale, or is it more, you’re going from an ad to bring them into a process that’s eventually going to lead them in that direction, after you add value?
Miles: One of the biggest questions I think that every website owner or business owner should ask is, what’s the goal of this website? What’s the goal? For my wife and I, we got really clear that growing our email list is one of the biggest goals that we have, because that asset really is the machine that runs our business.
All roads lead to helping people get on our email list. It’s what I learned, because I didn’t do that back in my first attempt in 2003, didn’t grow an email list, so my income disappeared. Had I grown an email list, I would’ve still been able to kind of profit.
We do a lot of opt-in based advertising, a lot of re-targeting to our SEO traffic. It’s a really powerful way, because we get 700 thousand, 800 thousand visits per month to our website organically, so reintroducing these people directly to our opt-in pages, that’s re-targeting warm traffic. That works like a champion.
I think for most businesses out there, one of the best places to start is actually running ads to your past customers and selling them more things. It’s so much easier to make a second sale to a current customer then it is to go create a new customer from a cold traffic visitor. That usually is the lowest hanging fruit, and that’s one of the places that I like to encourage people, especially service providers, because the moment a business owner starts laying out cash for ads, it’s like, alright, where’s my ROI? What’s coming back to papa?
If you can go after their past customers and sell them more things, the relationship is already there. It’s actually pretty easy to do. At this point, I’m doing what I call funnel stacking. I’ve got a cold traffic funnel on the front end that gets them on our list, offers a one time offer. And then, we bring them over to our membership funnel, because we have a membership program, and continuity income is very … It’s a good lifestyle based income. That’s maybe the second goal, or the goal of our second website, which is our membership program.
We’ve got kind of a, this happens and then the targeting moves them over here when they’ve taken certain actions, and we kind of keep moving them up that escalator of value I guess.
Stuart: In terms of what you’re seeing other people doing though, so like you mentioned, the plumbers, it doesn’t make sense very often for them to be on Facebook, because it’s one of those things that if my toilet is flooding right now, I need immediate service. There’s not much of a buyer journey there.
Do you see a lot of waste happening in terms of … Do you ever click ads just to … Whether you call it funnel hacking or not, do you ever click through and kind of see what people are trying to do, and see a lot of waste?
Miles: Oh yeah. Click through, and you end up on their home page. You’re like, “What? What do I do from here? There’s like 864 clickable things on this page.”
It really is the idea of funnels, I think is a broad term that’s probably overused, but when someone clicks on an ad, there needs to be a decision on that next page. Direct response marketing, I think is a better terminology, and that’s where when I worked with small businesses, the kind of mainstream USA businesses, I was trying to help them apply direct response marketing techniques to their businesses, because that’s how you can measure it. That’s how you can track it, and say, “Look, we put in this much. We got out this much. You have this many new leads. You have this many new customers. We know your lifetime value is this. There’s just such mathematical proof that my services rendered, made you money back,” that it perpetuates the lifecycle and my lifetime value.
Dude, so many people jump into ads. Running “like” campaigns. You can’t go cash likes. I run only website conversion campaigns, and people getting in the chat bot world. Those are some of the ads that, when those go bad, they go so negatively bad. I don’t run chat bots, because I don’t feel like … My audience is an older demographic, and I don’t … The potential for having a bad user experience with a chat bot ad is huge, and when you do it wrong, you burn that possibility for life. I try to keep it simple and focused on, how do you grow that list of people who want what you have, and then how do you grow the relationship.
Sometimes, we do a first click goes to a blog post, and then once they have the re-targeting pixel, then they come back to Facebook, and that gets them to a special offer. For small businesses, sometimes it’s playing the Groupon mentality.
I had a massage therapist and we would give away 30% off a massage. It was in Lake Tahoe, which is a snowboard resort, three and a half … 12 snowboard resorts, four hours away from San Francisco. So, I would target people who had a San Francisco zip code, who were visiting a Lake Tahoe zip code. I know what they’re up here doing. They’re snowboarding, and then we would offer them a 30% off coupon code. They had to bring that in, a screen shot of that in. Very measurable, very trackable, and then … This massage therapist was really good. She was creating lifetime clientele from that, and she got the metrics weren’t great upfront, but she knew that a lot of these people had second homes up there, and a part of their Tahoe experience was getting a massage, so the lifetime value made up for the cost per customer.
Stuart: Awesome. I’m going to give a shout out to your training. I mean, I’ve taken a lot of the paid Facebook trainings, just keeping my finger on what’s going on. I would say your training is better than the paid training.
Miles: Cheers, man.
Stuart: By far. I won’t drop any names of the paid programs that I’ve gone through. The one I will give some kudos to is Nicholas Kusmich. I do like his stuff, but he’s more of a strategist than a tactician in terms of, he’s definitely focused more on the strategy level.
Now that you’ve built this business, you said it’s a small niche, presumably, there’s people joining that niche every day, especially since like you said, they don’t know necessarily that you’re the solution to a problem they have. They want to have a better life, they’re probably finding your content as you continue to push it out. Are you finding that you own that market to a certain extent, and that you’re slowing in growth? Is that why you’ve started to invest in MilesBeckler.com and recreating a whole content there?
Miles: Gotcha. Good question. No, actually the growth rate is still astounding, and what we found is that it’s that know thy customer type thing. A lot of people approach the world of metaphysics and spirituality and where we are through trauma actually. People get hit in the face by life with things like losing a child, heavy, heavy stuff, and it gets them questioning reality in a big way.
Today, Google is one of our trusted advisors. We don’t go talk to our neighbors about these things. We don’t necessarily talk to our family members about these things, because they’re like, “Uh-oh. Have you talked to him? He’s talking some weird stuff.”
People turn to Google, and they go down the proverbial rabbit hole, and we have so much content that meets them at so many different places, that we’ve made it really easy for them to find healing in some of these challenging experiences. That’s been the approach.
Why I started the Miles Beckler thing is two fold. Number one, I had a very limiting belief for years, that I’m a behind the scenes guy. But look at me. I’m talking. I’m loving this, like this moment sharing with you, with your audience, getting into … You turn me on, and you can’t turn me off.
That was a false belief that had to get broken down, and we were digital nomads full time for four years living … I’ve lived in about 20 different countries. The number of times I got asked, “Well, how do you do it? How do you guys make money? How does that work?”
I’d sit down with people and teach them. Finally, I was like, “Okay. I’ve got to start recording this one off, and just put it out there.”
Everything’s free, so when you mention my free content, or my Facebook course, it’s 100% for free. Everything I’m giving out there is 100% for free, so it’s also kind of a test. So many people are gating information behind 500, 1000, and 2000 dollar products. I’m like, what would happen if I just give it all away for free, and since we have a successful business already, the cash flow’s good, I don’t need to make money off of it. I wanted to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt, anyone can start with zero subscribers, zero, zero, zero, and just start putting out content and create something with it.
It’s definitely a watch what I’m doing. Like, yes, learn from the click here and do this type videos, but also watch what I’m doing, and mimic what I’m doing to create success. It was really difficult to explain my wife and mine business. You know, five million visits a year, they’re like, “Oh, yeah. Of course, you can get that.”
But it started with zero also. So I had to … I was like, “Whatever, I’ll just start over again from zero,” and now it’s … That’s fun.
Stuart: Are you envisioning … Originally it was 90 and then it went to another 90 day challenge, and now it seems like it’s a full … Not full time. Do you split your time 50/50, or is Miles Beckler still just kind of a hobby?
Miles: It’s my side gig, for sure, just like Ask Angels was the side gig back in the day. I started with a 90 day challenge, and I ended up doing 30 extra days, so I did 120 videos in a 120 days.
With my wife’s website, on WordPress, she did a 90 day challenge to start things off with the written word. The theory is, that you find that medium that’s easiest for you to communicate through, and go, go, go. We can apply this to clients also, like an aggressive content marketing strategy will absolutely gobble up market share through Google. I think Google traffic’s more valuable. I just can’t write. I mean, I can, it’s just not great and it’s not fun.
But for me, to turn on the record and go, like boom, it comes out. I just decided to start with what works with my DNA, and I’ve got a team kind of reversing my content to get into written format to try to get Google, because I do think Google traffic is some of the most valuable traffic in the world, versus YouTube traffic.
I’m split between the two. I still … My whiteboard over here, the side you can’t see, if full of to-do’s, and every single one of those to-do’s is our Ask Angels business. I have like two video ideas up there.
I’m still 100% in. We have a mission to help a million people a month meditate, and we’re very far from that goal. We think that will help our world in a major way, so we’re actively chasing that goal, and we don’t feel like we’re at a place to be complacent by any means.
Stuart: Awesome. So, where can I send people? YouTube.com/ … Is it just Miles Beckler, or is there not that-
Miles: MilesB. Yeah, just MilesB. I’m the only Miles Beckler out there, so if you search Miles Beckler, whether it’s on Google, or Facebook, or Instagram, I show up. I’m pretty easy to find. I’ve pretty much always got a ball cap on. I try to keep the look the same so you know when you’ve found me.
YouTube, I put out three videos a weeks right now. I put some stuff up at MilesBeckler.com too.
Stuart: Awesome. Last question for you. What’s something you spent $100 or less on, not marketing related, that you’re enjoying? I know that you bought your Jeep and put the camper on it. I know that’s something, but that’s probably more expensive than most people. I like to hear what other people are spending $100 or less.
Miles: Yeah, it’s a little it more than $100 in that Jeep. I might honestly have to bite completely off of Tim Ferris, because I know … I heard this question, and I took one of his tips, which is the Host Defense Capsules, which are a blend of mushrooms. It’s a supplement, and immunity boosting supplement, and we’ve had two people come through our house with the flu, like literally sniffles, and nothing.
With how much we travel, I got six weeks in Europe, and whatnot. Keeping that immunity strong, and we have been absolute immunity gangsters since the Host Defense Capsules. That was something I totally learned from literally straight out of his playbook, but it has absolutely kicked my immune system up to that next level, because if we can’t be healthy, if we can’t bring it on game day, every day, it all kind of fades from there.
Stuart: Awesome. Cool, I’ll have to check that out. I’m a fan of Tim’s obviously, so I’ll definitely check that out. Thanks a lot for joining us here. Guys, if you’re still watching, definitely smash that thumbs up button. If you haven’t yet, hit the subscribe button. Leave a comment below, and make sure to check out Miles B on YouTube, or Miles Beckler on Google, and you will find him. Thanks a lot for joining us.
Miles: Cheers, man. Thanks for your time. I appreciate it.