Stuart Trier: Hey, guys. Welcome to Marketing Cheat Diets. Today, we have on the show Ed Stapleton from ClicksGeek.com. He is a PPC white label master, and he’s going to share some tips, tricks with us. Hopefully, we’ll get a lot of value from what he has to share. He’s been in this business now going on three years, has had tremendous success working with SEOs to scale up their business providing this white label service.
Ed, thanks a lot for joining us here on this show. Why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got into this business?
Ed Stapleton: Sure. Thank you for having me, first off.
So, going back three years or so ago, my partner, Robert Andolina, and I founded this business. I came from the SEO side of things, and hired my partner, Rob, at the time as a subcontractor. And I, coming from the SEO world, thought that PPC was dead or it was too expensive and it didn’t work for local clients. And I’d been fed the whole line that the SEO training industry preaches that PPC is just too much. And Rob showed me the difference, showed what a properly built, successful campaign can do and what you can do for a business. And he took one of the clients that we had and three X’ed them in a matter of a couple of months and knocked my socks off and really changed my opinion about PPC and what was possible. And being able to deliver that steady flow of leads in a very short time frame.
So soon thereafter, I dropped out of the SEO game and put all my focus into the PPC world. Rob and I founded a company together, and we’ve been off to the races ever since. And when I say off to the races, I mean we’ve stumbled clumsily along the way and made mistakes and tried everything under the Sun to generate leads and do our thing, but it’s been a fun journey thus far.
Stuart Trier: Awesome. So when you guys first got started in this, how did you end up finding the clients? I mean, it sounds like you had some SEO clients to sell, but once you started making that transition over to the dark side, just PPC, how did you end up finding your clients?
Ed Stapleton: We tried everything. We tried in person networking. We tried cold calling, cold email, direct email, networking groups. You name it, we’ve tried it. We’ve done it. We’ve either failed or succeeded at it. And I think one of the important things with prospecting is to find what you’re comfortable doing and then throttle down and do it as best as you possibly can.
Our business is a little bit different in that we don’t need that many clients. And I’m not saying our business. I mean, our industry, digital marketing as a whole, you don’t need hundreds of clients to be very successful in this business. You could do extremely well with a dozen clients if that’s what you wanted, if you charged correctly.
So finding something prospecting-wise that you’re comfortable with, and then pedal to the metal.
Stuart Trier: Okay. So, as you were doing that, what became your go to special sauce? And I understand you started with the spray and pray. It’s pretty much what everyone does. So, what did you find successful in the PPC industry, worked in terms of … I mean, again, like you’re saying, your white label, so you were really marketing to people you understood. You’re marketing to SEOs it sounds like primarily. That must’ve been an advantage understanding that buyer persona.
Ed Stapleton: Right. Yeah. I’d say a lot of cold email has done well for us. Outbound cold calling has done well for us. Marketing within groups on Facebook has done well for us. Even direct mail has done well for us on the white label front.
So we’ve done all different aspects. I’d say 2018 is going to be heavily focused on outbound for us, whether it be cold emailing, cold call.
Stuart Trier: Awesome. All right. So what were some of the challenges as you were scaling up? And how did you overcome them?
Ed Stapleton: Yeah. I’d say building the internal systems. I know you’re a big systems guy. Documenting processes and building systems internally so that you don’t get in your own way, and just identifying weaknesses in our build out process. Had to just remove just friction from the launching process and how to get people into market as fast as possible. As soon as someone pays and they press go, no one likes a two or three week ramp up period to get to market, because your next payment is right around the corner, so you want to be in market as fast as possible. And that goes for SEO as well, that month one of research mode isn’t going to cut it. You need to be in market, do your thing as fast as possible. Figuring out that process and hammering that out was a big … It took a while, but it was very helpful for us.
I think also figuring out what to say no to is very big, not trying to be everything to everybody. Stay in your lane. And it’s okay to say no to bad deals, bad people, bad situations. If you get that gut feel that this is a bad deal, you can walk away from it. There’s nothing wrong with that.
So I’d say some of those, those are some of the big things we’ve learned.
The other thing is really be sales focused. You’ve got to be focused on revenue generation, revenue generating activities, prospecting, setting appointments. The name of this business is, or the important thing in this business is setting sales appointments, having those sales conversations, and deals will from it.
Stuart Trier: Okay. So, what’s your process like? Is that automated, or are you pushing them to a Calendly link where they’re booking, or are you just dialing, getting them on the phone? How do you get those appointments with your prospects, I guess?
Ed Stapleton: That’s a great question. Calendly somewhat. I don’t have tremendous success with getting people to automatically do Calendly. I try it, but more often than not, it’s just easier when we do the back and forth and pick a time. I know it’s not the most efficient way to do things, but I’ve seen a big drop off when I’ve sent Calendly links and actually getting them to fulfill and pick a time. It’s like the email disappears or something. But when I have the conversation about the time, it works. So we do Calendly, but not as effectively I think as we should.
And yep, sorry. What was the rest of the question?
Stuart Trier: That covers it. So tell me a little bit more about PPC. I mean, I do a little bit of PPC, more on Facebook probably than AdWords. Are there any tools, tips, tricks that you would give to people that are newer in the journey, just starting out in terms of wanting to experiment with PPC? What are some of the things that should be in their toolbox?
Ed Stapleton: Got you. Okay. So, I’d even go back a little bit further and identify niches that you’d want to target before you even get to the toolbox. PPC is not right for everybody. Some niches are too expensive. Some niches have too low of a lifetime value for clients that it just doesn’t make sense for. Or it can, but it’s very much a one off basis and it will make things harder to scale for you. So I’d say identify niches that you want to go into that have high lifetime values at decently low click costs or at least, if the click costs are high, the cost per acquisition is acceptable to the client.
So I’d say start there. On our blog, we’ve got a list of the top 40 or so niches that we think are best for PPC. Your standard, your roofing, your plumbing, a lot of the medical sub-niches, your pediatrist or ENTs, your lawyers, your family law. It’s the usual suspects in local business.
Once you’ve identified that, go to Google Planner. As much as everyone hates it, the Keyword Planner is the core of my research. We find a lot of the other analytic tools, I don’t want to name them, but I bet you can name a couple off the top of your head, aren’t as accurate when you get to the local levels for search volumes, especially how much of it is going to come from the long tail, which is the majority of the traffic you’re going to see with pay per click. So I don’t really like those tools. I really go more often on Google Planner.
Stuart Trier: Okay. So you’re seeing the long tail is where most of the action is going to happen. Are the long tails bid up as much as the traditional keyword that people are chasing, at least from the SEO perspective?
Ed Stapleton: Yes and no. I’d say there’s probably the most opportunity there for you to pick up some low hanging fruit. So yeah.
The beauty of AdWords is that you can only pick up so much with SEO, because you can only put so many keywords on a page. You can only develop so many pages without it getting ridiculous. So, PPC is able to just drag in a very large net of keywords to target, and you can do so cost effectively depending on the match types that you use.
Another beautiful thing about a successful or an AdWords campaign is that, you know on Google Analytics and you get the not provided link or the tab and it basically hides all the good keywords that’s driving traffic for you? With a pay per click campaign, you can actually go through and see all the raw data of what’s driving traffic for you. So that alone is worth a thousand, two thousand bucks depending on the niche just to have that data, see what’s driving traffic in your local market. And then you go back and build out anchor text with that or block content or video content or whatever it might be.
Stuart Trier: And again, I imagine that those keywords are probably fairly consistent within a niche, city to city, place to place?
Ed Stapleton: Yep, absolutely, the variances being the geo modifiers, the name of the city, and the other people in the other cities, how they bid. A lot of times, people think that just bidding higher is the way to go, and sometimes that drives up, needlessly drives up market costs, but in reality, it’s usually not the best thing to do, but it happens, and you’ve got to fight against it.
Stuart Trier: So, having worked with digital marketers in SEO, and I mean, there are people that are probably doing other kinds of digital marketing, be it social media, what is your ideal client or what is somebody that’s watching this that has clients, let’s say, that are selling SEO or social media or even content, too, how would they incorporate your service in terms of adding value for their business, either in terms of not having the headache and being able to have that full service offering or being able to make some money in terms of markup? What have you seen from your experience, how your people are using your service?
Ed Stapleton: Got you. Okay. So there’s a couple different ways. There’s the SEO that has an SEO client. He brings us in to build and launch a pay per click campaign for the client. And we give them an immediacy of leads. We are the medium, long term … I’m sorry, immediate to long term strategy, whereas SEO is maybe your mid to long term strategy.
We get the phone ringing very quick. Gets the foot off the neck of the SEO, let’s them sleep at night, and gets the client happy because the phone is ringing. They can do their thing with SEO. They can do their link building, do everything that they need to do, and PPC will bring in leads from the outset.
That’s a very popular combo for us, the one two punch. Those types of people are either doing one of a couple things. Some of our clients are just passing our costs through. They’re not really upcharging at all. For them, it’s a peace of mind thing. Now, the other end of the spectrum, we have guys that are charging two or three or four or five times what we’re charging. Really, it just comes down to their positioning in their market, their ability to sell, and most importantly, the client’s ability to get a return on the investment.
The other end of the spectrum, you’ve got a full on digital agency that’s offering a full suite of services, and we’re just in that suite. And they may upcharge 10 or 20 percent. They may upcharge 50 percent. It really just depends on what their internal threshold for margins are and where they want to be at.
Stuart Trier: So do you guys do just AdWords, or do you do other PPC, so Facebook ads as an example, or even ads that are going to go through on YouTube? I guess they’re still part of the AdWords network, but do you do YouTube ads? Do you do Facebook?
Ed Stapleton: So, we don’t. We’re a strictly AdWords, search network, lead gen company. So we do some remarketing on the display network, but we don’t do any YouTube as of yet, or as of right now. And we do a little bit on the Bing side, but we run as far and as fast in the other direction from Facebook ads.
Stuart Trier: Perfect. Okay, so you’ve been in this business a little bit. Say somebody watching this is interested in getting into this space. Obviously, they’re at the beginning of their journey. What are some of the things you wish you would’ve known three years ago when you got into this that you can share with the audience and hopefully make their path a little less bumpy?
Ed Stapleton: Pipeline. Pipeline, pipeline. Always be setting sales appointments. If you’re sitting around not doing anything that day, pick up the phone, send out cold emails, whatever it needs to be to generate more sales appointments to build a pipeline of potential deals, because a good majority of the deals you try to close are not going to close, and that’s just it. That’s how it goes. That’s the nature of the beast.
So always be prospecting. Always be out in front of more people. Prospecting and sales is the name of the game in this industry. You always have to keep going. The moment you sit back and you’re comfortable with the revenue, you’re going to lose a client or two and it’s oh shit mode and you’re in trouble. So prospecting is the name of the game.
And for a lot of people, it’s a painful thing. So if that’s the case, I’d say watch your videos. You’re big on prospecting. Go to YouTube. There’s tons of stuff on prospecting. Pick up a book. The book I sent you, Power Phone Scripts, is an awesome book. Yeah, the book is awesome.
So sales is very formulaic. It’s not charisma. It’s not anything other than a system for getting people through the process to say yes, or say no. It just depends on … Not everyone is qualified, so it’s not always a yes.
There’s Fanatical Prospecting by Jeb Blount. It’s another great book. Another great one, if you wanted to get into the cold calling side, is Setting Sales Appointments by Scott Channell. That’ll give you actual scripts from other web design agencies within that book itself.
I’d say the most leverageable skill for us or for people in this industry is the ability to sell and the ability to get appointments. That’s one thing my partner both wish we realized sooner, on putting systems in place to make that happen.
So other road blocks or other things I wish I knew. That’s a good question. Well, we covered a couple of them earlier, the ability or saying no to deals that just didn’t make sense. But I’d say most of my advice would be sales oriented.
Stuart Trier: Okay. In terms of people that are playing with this, either for their own business, so they own their business and they’re on AdWords or they’re trying to play with it themselves with their clients, how do most people lose money in this game? Right? I mean, you hear a lot that people are, they look at it as a losing slot machine or whatever they want to refer to it. Obviously, they don’t have a technique in place where they’re doing something wrong. What are some of those easy wins that you can point out that hopefully will save some people some dollars?
Ed Stapleton: Sure. So, right when you create an AdWords campaign, AdWords pushes you towards Google Express. Google Express is terrible. It’s a broad match kind of done for you platform, and it just takes your money faster than you could put it in. So I’d run away from that one.
The problem is, though, is when you go to regular AdWords, it’s an intense platform, and it’s intimidating and it’s scary. There’s a lot going on. There’s a lot of buttons. There’s a lot of tabs. So it’s intimidating.
Broad match is a problem. Broad match is where, let’s say, you want to go after roofing, any combination of words with roof or roofing in it will call up the broad match. So it’s like, “How did that kid fall off the roof?” Your ad is going to appear for it. And it could get ugly really, really quickly. And to show you how many people are using AdWords typing in words, it’s staggering.
The biggest thing, though, is landing page. Most people are sending the traffic to a home page or an inner page that’s got, it’s got no headline. It’s got no social proof or testimonials. It’s got no calls to action. It’s got no hook, no offer. It makes people hop to do business with you. And so a landing page is really, it’s vital to the success of a campaign.
So, let’s say your campaign is converting at five percent or ten percent. That means for every hundred clicks, five or ten are becoming leads. If you could get that into any acceptable range of our benchmark range, you’re hundreds and hundreds of percenting it down the line. You’re really doing a multiple of performance on a campaign for doing nothing else than just driving the traffic to the correct place.
Stuart Trier: What’s a benchmark for that that maybe you can share? I know it probably varies from industry to industry, but there must be a ballpark.
Ed Stapleton: Yeah. So most legal and home service based stuff, we’re really not happy if we’re below 20 percent, and high end of the range is in like the 60 percent range –
Stuart Trier: Wow, that high.
Ed Stapleton: Depending on, yeah, what the offer is. So realistically, 20, 30, 40 percent, you’re in a really good campaign, good landing page. You’re hitting that message to market match. You’re speaking the language that the prospective client is thinking and typing into Google. And that’s where you’re getting those high conversions from.
Stuart Trier: Awesome.
So, as part of your service, is that something that you consult with, or is that something you do for your clients in terms of helping them with their landing page to obviously improve optimization?
Ed Stapleton: That’s a good question. That’s something that we actually do. If the client doesn’t want to do it, then there probably won’t be a deal, because you’re handcuffing. You’re making it harder for us to do the job. Back in the day, AdWords management was just about driving qualified traffic and qualified keywords to a page. Now, we are responsible for converting that traffic into leads and making the phone ring. So if we’re not able to use all the tools at our disposal to do that, then it doesn’t make sense for us to put our reputation on the line, just the extra headaches that go along with not being able to use everything that we know is best practice.
Stuart Trier: I assume you’re running call tracking on those pages, as well?
Ed Stapleton: Yep, yeah. So we use CallRail for call tracking. We use Instapage for landing pages. We use Swydo for reporting. To be honest with you, I don’t even know if I’m saying Swydo right, if it’s Swydo, Swydo, but it’s a good reporting software. That’s what we use. And that’s the bulk of our tools.
Stuart Trier: Okay, cool.
Ed Stapleton: Other than that, it’s Pipedrive for sales activity, and that’s pretty much it.
Stuart Trier: Awesome.
So, I mean, you spend a lot of time in this industry, and obviously, with so many clients, you probably don’t have to spend as much time keeping up, but I’m curious. Any recommendations for either courses or where people can learn this skillset?
Ed Stapleton: For selling it or for –
Stuart Trier: For doing it, for doing it.
Ed Stapleton: For doing it. That’s a good question. Mike Rhodes. He’s an Australian. He’s one of … I believe it’s a Perry Marshall, Mike Rhodes course now. I think it’s 60 or 70 dollars a month.
Stuart Trier: Good.
Ed Stapleton: We had that membership for a couple years. I’d say that’s a good place to be.
Stuart Trier: Okay.
Ed Stapleton: Pretty cost effective for what you’re going to get from it.
Stuart Trier: Any Facebook groups or any other communities you hang out in that add value?
Ed Stapleton: I’d say yours, Lion Zeal. Daryl, Daryl would be a great guest on this show, as well. Mark Luckenbaugh from LCT, Local Client Takeover.
Stuart Trier: Yeah.
Ed Stapleton: Those are our core ones that we’re in.
Stuart Trier: Perfect. Great.
All right, so –
Ed Stapleton: Oh, and also, and Foot in the Door. You got to get into Foot in the Door.
Stuart Trier: There you go, Foot in the Door, a little shoutout to [Steven King 00:21:04] and [John 00:21:04], my partners, with that.
Ed Stapleton: Yep. I love that logo, man. That animated logo is awesome.
Stuart Trier: In terms of how you spend your time now. I mean, you’ve gotten it up to scale. You’ve got your partner. You’ve got an employee working with you guys. So how do you spend your days now? Is it fully in terms of sales? Do you spend some time actually doing the work, or does your employee take care of the work while you’re banging doors down?
Ed Stapleton: So, I focus on the front end of the business. My partner focuses on the back end of the business, so the actual fulfillment of the work. My side of the business is mostly the nurturing of leads, sales, sales conversations, client management, and then just, a lot of my sales conversations really aren’t sales conversations. They’re more, I don’t want to sound corny, but mentoring or sales training, where I’m providing advice on how to go out and actually sell this stuff and how to think about different markets, how to look at Keyword Planner to see if there is an active campaign that we could go and do.
So here’s the thing. A lot of markets make sense for pay per click. They don’t make sense of pay per click when there is a middle man in there and there’s that extra bit of budget. So that’s where it gets a little bit tough, where I can go successfully run a campaign for somebody, but if you want to make money on it, too, then it becomes a little bit more difficult, and we just need to take that into account.
So a lot of what I do is just help walk people through deals and make sure they make sense.
Stuart Trier: Okay.
So one of the questions I like to end with is, what’s something you spent a hundred bucks on recently that you’re enjoying?
Ed Stapleton: Only a hundred?
Stuart Trier: Well, you could kick it up to 200, but let’s keep it below 200. Not everybody has that.
Ed Stapleton: Well, I just got a new iPhone in the mail yesterday, so that’s the new purchase I’m a little happy about.
Stuart Trier: Did you get the 10, or did you get –
Ed Stapleton: I just got the 7. I was on an Android, so I made the switch back over to the dark side.
Stuart Trier: As a shareholder, I thank you.
Ed Stapleton: Yeah.
What did I … Oh, you know what? I just got … I have a four foot by six foot whiteboard coming in behind me, so as a nerd, I would say that’s the thing I’m most pumped about, or a stack of books I just purchased.
Stuart Trier: Awesome, awesome.
Ed Stapleton: Yeah.
Stuart Trier: Great.
Well, I really appreciate you taking the time.
Guys, if you’re still watching this, please give us the thumbs up if you enjoyed this video. We’re going to be sharing more with other entrepreneurs in various aspects of digital marketing. If you haven’t hit it yet, hit the subscribe button for the channel. If you have any questions, make sure to drop them below. I’ll make sure to link to a lot of the resources that you mentioned just so that there’s an easy place for people to be able to find it.
And again, thank you so much for taking the time today and hanging out with us.
Ed Stapleton: You’re welcome. Enjoyed it.