What Is The Number One Reason Blogs Fail?
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By Yaro Starak
Dan Faggella is a talented Brazilian Jiu Jitsu martial artist and trainer. He started a gym in his hometown, then when he hit growth limitations combined with the unfortunate collapse of the roof in his building, decided to go online and sell digital training products.
He began by recording his training sessions to create a product and then threw himself deep into the world of internet marketing.
Fast forward to today and Dan is making $45,000 in sales per month online promoting a range of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu digital products, with a sophisticated email marketing sales funnel and segmentation strategy.
This is a LONG interview – over one hour and fifteen minutes – where Dan breaks down many of the key elements that make his business work. If you have ever wanted to take your offline practice or service business and transform it into an online digital training product business, you MUST listen to this.
Dan was very generous with his time and open to all my questions. As a result, we got to really pull the curtain back and see how Dan does what he does.
During the interview Dan talked about how he basically “forces” his subscribers to fill out a survey so he can discover the motivation behind why a person has joined his email newsletter.
Using the data he gets from the survey, he can then send tailored messages to certain segments with special offers for his products. This has proven to be a very effective strategy, enabling Dan to convert many more of his subscribers into paying customers.
As we promised on the podcast, here is an example survey Dan uses -
There are some absolute gold nugget techniques in this interview. In particular pay attention to how Dan first got traffic to his new product (this is something I have never heard anyone else do, and I have done a lot of interviews!) and his email segmentation techniques to increase sales.
Here are some of the things we talked about…
YARO: Hello, this is Yaro Starak and welcome to an Entrepreneurs’ Journey interview with a special guest. His name is Dan Faggella. I’ve just realized I haven’t asked how to pronounce that last name but, hopefully, I’m not butchering it, Faggella, okay?
DAN: No, you got it.
YARO: Awesome. Dan is a mixed martial arts business owner and a national Brazilian Jiu Jitsu competitor but, I brought him on the show because he’s doing some great things selling information products in the space of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and mixed martial arts to the tune of about $45,000 in revenue last month as we record this so, fairly well-established information marketing business. So, Dan is going to be talking a bit about that and how he got into what he does and what he’s doing currently.
So, Dan thank you for joining me.
DAN: Yes Yaro, thanks for having me here. You’re one of six people that’s pronounced my name right on the first go.
YARO: [Laughs] Well, double “G” is a bit tricky there. Double “G”, double “L.”
DAN: It is.
YARO: It’s like Tim Ferriss there.
DAN: Yes, it’s not easy. It’s not easy.
YARO: So, we were connected through another one of my previous guest, Ian who had a model train information product, and now, we’re getting into the world of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
Now, this site, the Science of Skill, it’s an amazing looking website. I love to talk all about how you set that up plus how you sell $45,000 worth of product. There’s a little bit of consulting in there, too. But, we got to go back in time because I’m assuming you had to become a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu expert and develop that skill set and then, develop your internet marketing skills.
Were you a sporty kid going back or more entrepreneurial or a bit of both?
DAN: Yes! To be frank, I was not very, I wouldn’t have called myself entrepreneurial in my youth at all. I was basically into art and I was into wrestling around in the backyard and things like that and just sort of sports and things like that.
It really didn’t click for me that I should get into business until I started really associating financial independence with a lot of my other goals, exploring my own capacities and skills and things along those lines, and it really didn’t click in until I ended up having to pay for grad school with a small martial arts gym.
So, back when I was 21, I was a senior at a local university here and I was working at a martial arts gym. They closed down because that fellow was not necessarily the sharpest businessman. Very nice guy but not a businessman and he gave me the mats because I was teaching for him for free, and I had nowhere to train.
So, I essentially put the mats down on my father’s old dusty carpet store. He let me pay for the heat bill, so long as I pay for the heat bill, I can roll out the mats in the afternoon and run classes. That’s how I started an Academy.
It really began there. That was the first brick on my entrepreneur’s journey so to speak.
YARO: Nice. At that stage, were you well and truly an established mixed martial artist?
DAN: No. I mean, not nearly to the extent today. I’m certainly a little better known at this point. Then, I was only a blue belt. Now, obviously, I’m a black belt at this point.
So, blue belts, it’s really only one of the earlier phase of belts. I had won a number of advanced divisions relatively early on so, I had done all right competitively in my own weight class but, I certainly wasn’t a well-known guy and any competitive wins didn’t necessarily help with the business endeavours. They are totally a different skill.
So, back then it was just me scrapping along and a lot of my own training was really just for the bunch of white belts in the back of that store. And then, from there, I had to pay for grad school. We moved out of the carpet store. We got a smaller space and we got a bigger space, and we got an even bigger space and essentially grew that business well before I ever went online.
YARO: Right. So, you’re kind of combining your own passion for the sport, your studies at University and then, running this business about the sport to cover your studies at University. So, I’m thinking those three things were the predominant part of your life.
DAN: Yes. And, very few people saw that triangulation there but, that was the intent for sure.
YARO: Okay. So, how does that progress? What were you studying in University?
DAN: In undergrad, I focused on Kinesiology and Psychology so, body and mind, and I did my undergraduate thesis with a great fellow, John Sullivan down here who is working with a lot of the D1 athlete at URI for Sport Psych. Sport Psych was my undergrad.
Then, when I moved to UPenn, I was always fascinated with human potential, I ended up taking the Masters in Applied Positive Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania under Martin Sullivan that you happen to know from some various books and things along those lines, and I focused my studies there on skill development.
I was a guy who was blue belt, really trying to come up in the game competitively training essentially with a bunch of newbies in a very, very small town so, the skill development thing was not only for my academic interest and for just personal interest but also, because I sort of needed it in order to make sure I could get better even though I was just training with new fellows all the time.
So, it was driving back and forth in Pennsylvania to Rhode Island while I was running the gym and trying to keep the roof over us.
YARO: Okay, I’m curious. With those studies, did you have a career path you were planning on following or did this entrepreneur thing just jumped up with you and that looked like a way better option.
DAN: Yes, it sort of just jumped up in me. To be honest, before I went to grad school, one of my initial ambitions was to simply move down to Maryland which has a very good competitive martial arts academy and just pursue world championships and just make that be my full-time pursuit, really throwing myself in that direction but, I decided that for me, martial arts is very much a microcosm of a fascination with human potential in and of itself so, for understanding and personal capacity in and of itself and those have been my driving, underlying interest.
So, I decided, contribution wise and life, work wise, I’d like to focus on that bigger picture rather just on martial arts.
So, for me, to be frank, Masters in Applied Positive Psychology, it doesn’t necessarily, I don’t know if anybody would understand it on a resume, nor would I ever really want to work for anybody else either.
For me, it was just, I’m going to dive into these no matter how much the cost because this is the premier institution in the world to understand this facet of human potential, and when I get out, my assumption was I’ll get in some speaking, potentially get a book going but, push comes to shove, I’ll be the most informed fellow in the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and maybe the martial arts space in this one particular domain, skill development.
DAN: So, that was my aspiration.
YARO: We have to time stamp this but, I know from just living in the last five to ten years that MMA has just ballooned and become master. Did you kind of take advantage of that with your business?
DAN: Yes, it doesn’t hurt that that sport is on the open now. I think it will continue to be on the open up for at least the relatively foreseeable future so that certainly helped us. Unfortunately, at least in a very local level, there’s still only so much that that can really do again. We were in a town of 8000 people. So, you take the people in that town of 8000 who are even eligible or know what mixed martial arts is, it sort of still boils down to a relatively small number.
It was much better than nothing. It was by no means a wait in full but, I think that the fact that MMA was on people’s attention allowed us to show up in search and end up getting an initial client base.
It certainly didn’t hurt us, I can say that much even in a very small town.
YARO: So, was the fact that you were in a small town and teaching in real life that’s limited, you’re not going to get a massive business unless you branched into other towns and opened up more teaching institutes in the real world, were you thinking that or, did you see the Internet at this time and go, “Why don’t we just take everything in the real world, put it online, and that gives us access to a larger market,” like what’s the growth plan?
I’m thinking you graduated from your studies, you’re still teaching your own physical training institute. It’s like a, “What next?” question must have hit you at that stage, right?
DAN: Yes, it does. And, to be frank, I love martial arts. I love Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu was the first place where I really allocated myself completely to a particular task. And so, I always revere Jiu Jitsu for that.
But, I did know that running a brick and mortar academy was not going to be per se my life pursuit. I knew I’d always be doing Jiu Jitsu in some way, shape, or form. I’m not going to start getting into crochet or something but, at the end of the day, I knew I had sort of moved beyond that and honestly, the goal was to get into larger venture back endeavors in the startup space and the technology space particularly in more of emerging technology and the real serious stuff and artificial intelligence and things like that, again, ties back into human potential in sort of the farther future time frame.
I knew that that was ultimately where I’d be, that I wouldn’t be a small town business owner, that I would move into the grander endeavors of venture backed stuff.
So for me, yes, there was a big thought of that and to be frank, yes, you’re right, Yaro. It was either open another gym to be able to fund that transition which is almost counter intuitive because now, I got to be teaching at two different places, or it was before I unplug and sell the physical academy which I did in May of last year there, before I unplugged, let’s make sure we have some income coming in and the easiest way to build an Internet business to that time, and to be honest, the one that sort of resonated with me was, well, I’m on the mat all day doing Jiu Jitsu, why don’t we put a camera on this stuff and have this be a side business.
So, when I first started, it was very much not serious but, eventually became a very serious endeavour especially as we started coming closer to the sale of the business, and also when we had the whole roof incident.
It wasn’t because I felt thought that Jiu Jitsu internet business was the entirety of my future but, it will be a conduit to my location independence. I know you’re the laptop lifestyle man himself so, I know you resonate with that one.
YARO: Definitely. I’m curious Dan, so you got the camera. Are you thinking let’s just create a little video course, put up a little sales page and see if it sells? Was that where you’re at?
DAN: Yes, it was. Again, initially it was very much dabbling. It’s all of the things that I tell students not to do now [laughs]. I guess that’s how it goes in the beginning but, there wasn’t that much urgency.
So yes, in the very beginning it was okay, get a squeeze page, sales page and that kind of get sucked back into the martial arts business but, yes, when we did take it serious, I think it was engrained in me very early on and this is a thing that I think is really important, was that content creation, I never allowed myself to have the writers’ block equivalent of content creation. If you put a camera on me and we have to have something to sell, I’m not going to come up with junk but, I’ll run over this side of the room, I will write out an outline for a three hour-seminar. I’ll make sure it’s detailed. I can connect the techniques. I thread together the proper concepts, or whatever it is I want to cover and I will film for three hours straight. No if’s, and’s or buts and then, I can put together a PDF guide or whatever it is about that kind of stuff just because producing was something I was sort of forced to do in University.
So, early on, we essentially filmed a seminar. I did not let myself get hung up in terms of content creation. It was really just, let’s get three hours of seminar and put a camera behind it.
YARO: Okay. That makes sense because as a teacher in the real world, as a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu teacher, you’re still standing in front of a bunch of people and physically showing techniques.
So, I can see how that translates quite well. But, I’m wondering, the physicality of your sport, I’m not thinking you were the kind of guy who was used to setting up a WordPress blog, writing a sales copy, doing an email newsletter, setting up a shopping cart to take payment for this product, putting it on some sort of video hosting service to deliver it, coming up with a price, what kind of offer to make, how to get traffic to it. How did that all piece together? Did you have help?
DAN: Yes. You’re right. It doesn’t come with the territory, right. So, when you get your–
YARO: [Laughs] Did you know how to use a mouse? I could be really cliché here.
DAN: I knew how to use a mouse. Luckily, at least to some extent Yaro, I did have to understand some of the ins and outs. I mean, very basic stuff. To this day, if you ask me to write a lick of code, if you try to get me to make a word bold with just HTML brackets and things like that, I literally would not be able to do it.
YARO: It’s the strong tag in case you need to do it.
DAN: The strong tag. Okay good. I should take some notes from you. But basically, I’d understand a little bit of WordPress from building a site for my martial arts gym but, you’re right. The content creation in terms of posting actual video content on a real service, all of the facets of writing sales copy, more advanced sales copy that was half way decent, not just kind of descriptions of things. That wasn’t an entirely new world.
I invested a lot in myself in terms of learning those skills and at the same time, just dove into it. I figured that my default algorithm for learning was, “Okay, I’m going to find the people who are making a ton compared to me. I’m going to see what their video sales letters, their sales letters, their emails, their this and their that look alike, people doing seven or eight figures a year and I’m going to essentially model, take notes on and revamp all the various elements of what it seems like they’re doing very well and I’m going to throw it on the wall. Some things are going to stick but, some things aren’t but worse comes to worst, I’m going to force myself to learn this game.” And, that was the approach I took.
YARO: Could you get specific with that like did you, because it sounds like you’re doing it all yourself. For starters, this is you personally.
DAN: In the beginning, yes.
YARO: Yes, who did you emulate? And even, because I think a lot of people listening to this, they might have a real world business and would love to go and record something and create their first product but, that’s more daunting than anything else especially if you do it yourself. It’s pretty impressive coming from a different field.
I can imagine you hiring someone to stand there with the camera and record you and you get all that done and then, you’ve got these digital files and it’s like, all right. I know I can buy a domain name. I’m going to do that. I’m going to buy hosting instead of WordPress. You get that far and then, you’re thinking, “Okay, now what? How did you… What did you exactly do? What domain name did you have? What product did you create and all that?”
DAN: Yes, I had scienceofskill.com. And then, I also purchased microbjj.com which just for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for smaller people or weaker people. My niche in this space to some extent is people that are like myself, not necessarily the biggest, beefiest athletes out there but, really need to sort of understand and study the technical facets of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu to be able to hold their own against bigger stronger people.
MicroBjj was the site. It was initially just a squeeze page. Now, it has a little bit more information, a bio and other things like that. Still not nearly the fanciest website on the Internet but, certainly does the job.
And so, I got MicroBJJ and the content, again the content was just putting a camera on what I was doing anyway, and I really advise this and I like it as a strategy in terms of advising if somebody already runs a business, there are so many opportunities to put a camera or put a microphone or have someone take notes on what you’re doing all the time.
There are people that want to understand how to do that, whether it’s run a flower shop, train horses, it doesn’t matter. If it’s a skill and people are willing to pay for it in any way, shape, or form, if you put a camera on it, so long as you don’t do a terrible job, there’s somebody that wants to be able to watch that stuff and to be able to learn it.
And, if you can teach it well, then people are willing. So, I did that first and then, in terms of distribution, it was a lot of guest blogging and then, eventually joint venture work that really helped us take off.
So, it was a basic URL like I said, MicroBJJ. It was a basic seminar and then, some interviews that I transcribed and then, it was distribution as much as we could, just getting out there and fighting.
YARO: What was your shopping cart?
DAN: Infusion. So, I still use Infusion.
My initial product, my first couple little sales were through Aweber and Paypal, obviously just terribly limiting in so many ways. I’m a very big fan of richness of a database, ability to target and sub-segment.
I think it was good, actually, Yaro that I came from a town of 8000 people because I learned that every lead must be maximized and then, I never took a single lead for granted. So, I always like to know how much someone spent, how old they are, when they last opened emails from us, when they last purchased from us, what their areas of interests are, what their goals are, all those different things so that, I can always craft very honed messages.
So, for me, I eventually transitioned to Infusion to let me do that. So, I’m sure you’re familiar with Infusionsoft.
YARO: I am, man. It’s really daunting though. I can’t imagine a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu studio owner diving into Infusionsoft and figuring it out to be absolutely honest.
DAN: Yes, it was wild. Well, the way I figured it out, Yaro, is unfortunately, the way you sort of have to figure it out, which is living inside of it. And, by living inside of it, I mean, it’s the online business but, we actually had implemented Infusionsoft in the physical brick and mortar martial arts academy.
YARO: Oh, okay.
DAN: As soon as I got it, I’m a pretty weird guy in terms of going headlong on things so, as soon as I got Infusionsoft, I paid six grand and flew out to Sixth Division who are sort of, to this day, at least in my opinion, and one of them is actually the brother of one of the founders of Infusionsoft. He was employee number six or employee number three or something ridiculous like that.
They were on the most premier consultancy around Infusionsoft. And so I flew out there and had them help essentially build out our initial martial arts academy business so that really sort of showed me a sneak peak looking over the shoulder of some very capable folks and then, it was just grinding it out and learning the system.
But now that I know it, it’s a language I’ll never forget and it’s something that really has let me do what I do in all the various businesses that we’re in now.
YARO: Okay, so with the affiliates and the joint venture partners as the source of traffic, did you basically just ask them to send in an email to the list sending people to your sales letter like the MicroBJJ?
DAN: Yes. I can get as in depth on this as possible. I think a lot of this is good take-home stuff for newer online business owners or folks that really want to be able to start a larger press.
The thing that I did, Yaro was I interviewed some bigger name athletes and it’s really not all that hard. In any given niche, you can usually, if you really try, and you can really send them a good message, and you’re coming from the right place, you can get folks, even big name folks on the horn to write an article about them.
So, in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, I got a number of World Champions to do interviews and then, I got in touch with–
YARO: Like who?
DAN: Oh, well folks, nobody… if anybody listening understands who these people are then, send me an email and then, we’ll have coffee or something but, André Galvão, Caio Terra, Robson Moura, multi-time Brazilian Jiu Jitsu world champions like that. So, those are just a couple various names, André Galvão being a very big one.
I interviewed those folks and then, essentially reached out to a number of the magazines in this space and had said, “Hey, I just interviewed _____. I’d love to at least send you over a draft because we talked about great stuff about this and this and this. Is it cool if I send you something?”
I’ve always found that to be an excellent way to be able to at least let someone accept the draft. So, that’s a good foot in the door to get a yes back from an email is, “I just interviewed _____.”
If that blank is someone that they would love to talk to themselves, then by golly, they’re pretty likely to at least let you whip over a draft.
So, I took my time. I wrote good content. I’ve written for essentially, all the blogs, all the podcasts, and all the magazines in this particular niche but, I started with the magazines because that was credibility.
Once I wrote for those magazines, and that’s the way I did it by the way, and you can do that in any niche, find big names. Email twenty four of them. Even if only two of them get back to you, record the thing and then, hit up the magazines, the ones that everybody understands the names. For us, it’s Jiu Jitsu magazine in the United States or Jiu Jitsu Style out of the UK, both of whom I have done some contributing for and say, “Hey, I just interviewed _____. It was about this, the recent world championship or this recent thing.” The more recent the better. “And, I’d love to at least send over a draft.”
So, I did that then, once I had that credibility and I still had some great interviews under my belt, I went to all the various websites. A whole number of different websites in this niche and said, “Hey, I did this. I just wrote for Jiu Jitsu Magazine. Can I send you a draft?”
If I’m writing for Jiu Jitsu Magazine and these guys all blog and they don’t necessarily pay their guys. They’re not throwing down $200 an article like the magazines or anything like that, they’re likely to say, “Okay kid, you’re probably good enough to send me a draft.”
At which point, you send them a draft and as long as you don’t put them together junk, they let you write there too. You do that enough times, and then, you ask them if you can have a log in and just contribute content once a week.
For me, that was the procedure. It was get the big names, get the magazine box checked. Once the magazine box is checked, it’s really hard for websites to turn you down so long as your stuff is not bad.
You say, “Hey, I just put together a couple of interviews for Jiu Jitsu magazine…” Or, if you’re growing big red tomatoes, yes, just put together an interview with Joe Stevens of BigRedTomatoes.net about XYZQRS…” And then, you go to all those other niche websites and you write enough for them and then, they’ll actually give you a login.
I had that in my back pocket so, the way I went to the JVs was not, “Hey, will you please email this for me?” It was, everybody in their mind probably has an email list that they can help you out with. I don’t have the biggest email list in the world but, I can tell you what I have. I have an understanding of marketing automation software more so than ninety something percent folks in this niche and space, I’m very confident there. And, at the same time, I have distribution on six different, at that time, maybe it was only four or six different websites. Now, I could hypothetically probably have content on twelve in a two-week span if I really want to send out emails and do what we did back in the scrapping days.
But, that’s what I get. So, to get the JVs on board, it was, “Okay, everybody can send out an email. What I can do is I can get an article featuring you, featuring your content that will stick up on a blog forever and you’ll get consistent trickle traffic or you’ll be able to stay featured on, featured on, featured on,” and that was the appeal that I took.
I couldn’t have the appeal of my email list as big. I went a different route which was an easier foot in the door. That let me partner up with some great JVs early on.
YARO: Okay, thank you for explaining that. That’s definitely an accessible way to get yourself on the door of websites and magazines.
DAN: Anybody can replicate.
YARO: What I don’t understand though is with the JVs, you’re offering to get them exposure on the sites that you now write for.
YARO: Were you going to write about their products?
YARO: How does this come back to them promoting your stuff?
DAN: Well, the trade is, “Hey, I’ll write this stuff about your stuff and then, I’ll get some kind of an affiliate commission there and then, you send out an email about my stuff and then, you can get a commission there.”
So, you have an email list. I have distribution on real PR5 websites, let’s make a trade that way. That’s the way it worked out.
You sent it to this funnel and here’s the cut I’ll give you and then, I’ll feature you on all these websites and here’s the cut you’ll give me and we’ll make that our initial trade. So, that was what I did.
YARO: Interesting. So, rather than sort of start out with your own hubsite and build a blog and build an email list, you almost acted like a freelance journalist and leveraged that as a way to get the JVs going.
YARO: I’ve never heard someone do it that way. That’s interesting, Dan.
DAN: Yes, and just so you know too and for the folks at home, I think it was probably two years before when I downloaded your blog PDF and sort of started building science of skills.
So, I knew that a hubsite was important. I was certainly not just going around on other websites. I was always consistently producing content on ScienceofSkill.com and then, also consistently linking back to that content from the twelve different blogs I was writing for.
So, I was really aimed to make Science of Skill a hub. Yes, it was freelance running around promoting for other people but, it was also a great opportunity to flicker occasional links back to my site and build its authority through some real [?] on a lot of the other blog networks in the community. So, I was doing that work in the backend as well and it really served double time because there was no better way to get really authentic links than to have great content than someone else’s site that links to a related interview over some other really cool video or something or your own page. It’s the real deal. That’s authentic as content marketing gets. So, I was doing that at the same time.
YARO: And, those sites were obviously okay with you linking to your own stuff in your column on their site?
DAN: Yes totally. Number one, there’s been very few posts I’ve ever put up there have been blatantly promotional. I’m always writing about a particular technique or an interview video or a skill development principle or something like that and it’s not a big H1 text, “Go to Dan’s website…” Nothing like that at all.
It’s maybe a little boiler plate at the bottom, “Dan Fagella is National Martial Arts Champion and number one best-selling author in the Martial Arts space on Amazon and he writes on skill development at ScienceofSkill.com.” Something like that. Little clip.
Or, it might have been an interview, let’s say, I’m interviewing a World Champion, a really big name multi-time world champion and I’m writing about his principles of goal-setting. Let’s say, a guy like Robson Moura who was a famous eight-time World Champion in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. I might also have an interview with him from maybe a year ago where he talked about similar concepts in a different application, let’s say maybe the competition and I might mention that in the article.
“Two years ago, I was lucky enough to be able to speak with Robson after…” and just linking back to it. So, always hyper-relevant, always very much related, always adding to the richness of the original article when possible, and I’ve never one time had someone say, “Get that link out of there.”
People, I think get it and then, at the same time, they’re happy because they don’t have to chase down the World Champions and write content. I do it for them.
YARO: Interesting. Great tactic. Thanks for sharing that one. So, take us forward then. How does that…? I’m assuming you start making some sales of your product. You’re still running your gym though at this point. When did the transition happen from, and what’s with the roof falling? What was that all about?
DAN: [Laughs] I was really building the Internet business pretty consistently throughout December and January, December of 2012, I suppose it was. Seems like way too far back to even be talking about and then, January 2013. But, it was early February 2013 that the roof failed on our Martial Arts gym so, the roof of this building, this is an old building out here in the old US of A in Rhode Island, in Massachusetts, we have a lot of old mill buildings and they are often where these fitness spaces are help because it’s a relatively cheap space, big open areas, and all that kind of stuff.
This segment of the building, just unfortunately enough, is the oldest segment in the building and it was built, I think before 1850, big rafters, all this stuff, and we had a foot of snow and then, we had two or three days of straight rains with no breaks. A foot of saggy snow ends up being a lot of weight and pressure, and those beams could not deal with it. So, there were a lot of cracks. There were a lot of concave action going on with the roof, a lot of boards and roofing materials failing and we ended up having these gigantic funnels of water coming in through all sorts of different areas in our Martial Arts Academy dumping all over the place, wrecking the dry wall, wrecking the equipment and making the carpet look terrible and we had to rip off all the mats.
It was a pretty crazy time. This is February about a year ago as I’m recording this and that’s what sort of put the throttle on that having something other than a brick and mortar facility to really build the support myself, it’s going to be an important thing. That’s when it let me know in addition to unplugging and having the laptop lifestyle thing, I’d like this for the financial security side of stuff too. That’s when I started taking it even more seriously.
YARO: Okay, so what did that mean in terms of changes?
DAN: What that implied was really honing in on a core in particular offer which for us is a particular membership program based around beating bigger and stronger opponents.
I was doing a lot of one off, Wednesday, Tuesday kind of programs, little $17 course here, $17 course there and we built so many little Wednesday, Tuesday programs because I was teaching so much and it was so easy putting a camera on it.
But, a collection of those kind of Wednesday, Tuesday products, it didn’t necessarily do the job, and I really wanted to find a staple for the business the core product of the business and also a consistent revenue for the business. I did have some membership program stuff going on already but, we ended up to decide to really drive towards this program called David VS Goliath which was a membership warranty program.
So, I created a lot of different front-ends, whether it was eBooks, or interviews, I just put in a ton of work to put together a lot of different video mini-course and things like that to lead people towards an initial email string that would offer that particular course.
So, I started honing and funneling efforts not only in terms of guest blogging my butt off and really driving traffic from everywhere I could but, at the same time, bringing on some other people to now write articles for me, get a couple of other JVs and fan pages to start to fill the top of this funnel and really refine this one area of the machine to make sure that this thing could be cranking no matter what else was happening.
So, getting serious for me was finding that main funnel. I’m a little, I kicked myself today that I didn’t figure out that that’s what you got to do earlier on but, when push came to shove that was really the cornerstone of the business taking off. I was really honing on that one particular funnel. I can go into whatever you’d like in terms of marketing automation, database marketing because that’s when things started to kick in.
YARO: Yes, I’d like to know about that. I’m curious though… Did you model anyone because again, you’re taking footsteps here? So, who were you following?
DAN: All day long. People that I like, I like Jermaine Griggs. I like Ryan Dice. If you watch the Motley Fool, they sell investment advice and things like that.
In terms of videos sales letters and sales letters, it really allowed those people, Dan Kennedy as well so, kind of the glazer Kennedy folks. They have a number of their own sales pages and things like that.
I would essentially take initial elements of some of their funnels whether it was the title for a free resource, whether it was the format and the timing and the layout of a video sales letter, and I essentially plug it and play it into my business.
So, there’s MicroBJJ.com/david is actually one of the front-end videos of the David VS Goliath program. That video sales letter is modelled off of Russell Brunson’s video sales letter for some sort of membership program that he has. So, I was watching it. I’ll never forget, I recorded it on my iPhone while I was on my computer. I was in subway, I think this was maybe right after or before the roof collapsed, I forget. I have a feeling it was after and I was in subway, cranking down some food before I had to teach class. I had Wi-Fi. I was watching this Russell Brunson video. I filmed it on my iPhone. Before I left subway, I already start building out the slides. And, by the time the next week came around, I had the video sales letter recorded. I had that squeeze page up and set up and I had some unique back end emails to be able to drive folks to the particular offer already built out.
That was one example of modelling. I’m a massively big fan of that. I’ve done the same thing with webinars. I’ve done the same thing with sales letters, literally everything. I found someone who’s making ten or twenty or thirty or a hundred times what I’m making and just follow what they’re doing.
YARO: Okay, so can you tell us then, I was going to say, this sounds like a very traditional direct response internet marketing business using all the tools of the trade, I’m assuming here, when you say all these things, you don’t instantly know webinars. You don’t instantly know sales videos. There’s a lot of… It could take a month to do a sales video, sometimes you think for new people.
DAN: That’s correct.
YARO: You’re doing your ties in there in commenting and improving. You must have a vision though. So, are you saying this David VS Goliath, this is a membership site, right?
YARO: And, basically you said before you’re creating a lot of frontend leads so, free resources, mini courses, free videos, free training, you’re seeding that around the internet. I’m assuming you’re continuing with your guest article writing but, you’re probably doing more JVs, you’re sticking out on what YouTube, you’re probably doing Social Media…
DAN: Yes, YouTube is big for us.
YARO: Right. All those sorts of things, and then, it’s all coming back to this one sequence of emails that sells David and Goliath, the course, the membership site?
DAN: Yes, that was the gist. We did have other offerings. So, I have other membership programs. Most of my front ends offer membership programs, essentially all of them, basically with a couple of notable exceptions.
We had some other offerings out there but, 50% plus of it was driving back to this day with David vs Goliath funnel. And then , the other emphasis in addition to that really filling that up and really loading up that program and finding a potential upsells and additional resources that people might want to like, the other aspect of building the business in addition to partnering up with JVs and I had some pretty decent strategies for product launches and interactional JVs which I’d love to get into because I know, a lot of people can learn from that.
The other aspect that really helped us at that time Yaro was understanding database marketing for our list and how to make the most of all of our past prospects, new, old customer, not customer, how to continuously circulate or communicate with those various sub-segments in the back of our list to make sure that they were getting stuff that A, they liked, and B was relevant to what they might be interested in investing in if anything at all making sure it was most relevant to them.
So yes, it was that honed funnel on the front end and I’d love to talk more about JV stuff if you’d like and then, it was really an understanding of database marketing on the backend which really to this day is the driver of the business.
YARO: Okay, there’s a big subjects there. I’d definitely love to talk about this segmentation but, that’s not an area that people usually extend to to a great deal and the fact that you did this coming from a background of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu teachers quite impressive, the JVs as well as a traffic source and doing launches, that’s epic.
But, maybe just so we don’t get completely lost and confuse people as well, there’s usually turning points in the evolution of a business like this like you figure out one thing like “Wow, okay, webinars are crazy at conversion and we have suddenly gone from 5000 a month to 15,000 a month simply adding some webinars to our sales funnel.
Can you reflect back as you were building this whole thing out, what were the biggest turning point changes you made to the business? Without getting too confusing and what we can think about and go all right, let’s test this for my business and what’s the most important thing I can take away from Dan, and apply to what I’m doing.
DAN: Yes, so real a-has and things that cliqued a ton on our end. One of them was finding consistent content partnerships with other people so, I think the default mode of JV in affiliate promotion in the online space is, okay, hey, I have a launch. I have this product. Can we promote for it a little bit. Okay, hey thanks a lot. You send out a couple of emails. All right, cool. Maybe I’ll do some free. All right, great. Maybe I’ll talk to you at some point, a year from now.
I founded that sort of running around from launch to launch was actually frustrating and maybe not all that productive in terms of really building a consistent relationship with joint venture partners and really consistently helping each other so, I ended up going to a number of the folks that I work with in terms of little one off gigs and I got them on the phone and I essentially presented to, “Hey, everybody else is going to be fleetering around from launch to launch.”
I’m fine with doing that still. But, if I could promote for you, every single month in a particular way that’s going to drive towards funnels that you care about and do things that are going to be helpful for you, if you’re able to do something back and we can work something out, why don’t we just stay plugged in month to month, and even if it’s not fifteen emails from me, and fifteen emails from you, let’s say it’s a couple emails on your end and maybe eight blogs and a YouTube video on my end but, we’ll just going to keep that up as a pace and you’ll get consistent leads and consistent exposures. I’ll get consistent lead flow and consistent pumps of seventy to eight leads at a time into my major funnels and will make that a win-win.
That for me was huge and really lessened the amount of time that it was taking to be able to get people on board because the launch strategy is you have this limited time and you have to rally everybody and then, they do one thing for you and then, you have to rally them all again.
So, real turning point was, here’s the people that are soldiers with us. We’re going to be soldiers for them and they’re going to be soldiers with us. I agree to do this. They agree to do this. Bam! Let’s get locked and loaded.
That took so much time out of the business from scrambling around finding partnerships and also added such a consistent and thorough bunch of hits to the major front ends that really drive the business in terms of loading up those continuity programs without having to do internal launches all the time myself which I still do but, it helps a lot to have new pumps of leads.
So, that was a big major turning point and I would hope other people would be able to do something like that. Again, a good example, Yaro, I have a fellow by the name of Steven who’s one of the folks on tbe Brazilian Jiu Jitsu space. I do a sub-segmented email for him. I create right separate blog posts for him, and then, I also give him a YouTube video that he can use on his channel that links back to some of my stuff so that, he can get affiliate payments on that.
I do a ton of content creation for him and get him featured all over the place. In turn, he’ll send two emails out to various funnels of mine, whether it’s a skill development webinar, the David vs Goliath program, etc.
We just kind of have that rocky rolling as a pace. Chuga-chuga-chug and it’s not one off JV work. It’s consistent every single month and having five of those people, now you got a serious faucet pouring into the business.
YARO: How do you construct that, though? You’re valuing two emails in their sales funnel, their email sequence versus eight blog posts and a video that they’re putting on their YouTube channel. It sounds very abstract.
DAN: Yes, I know. It is abstract, Yaro. I’ll be honest with you. Sort of like everything in business, or many things in business, I suppose have a good amount of wiggle room of subjectivity. So, ultimately, it’s having conversations with these people.
Again, the benefit that I had, and I think it’s a very easy benefit to get as a newbie internet marketer is to be the guy that can get content on various sites because even people that have been in the game for a long time, they can’t or don’t write. They don’t have all the contacts. They certainly can’t put up content very quickly.
So, using that as a unique leverage point was something I was able to use. But, ultimately, it was about talking to the JVs, saying, “Hey, I want to find something fair. Let’s you and I talk.” Normally, I will already have two different options in mind that I think would be fair that I think will work out well.
So, when I get on the phone, I essentially explain, “Hey, and here’s what I was thinking…” Normally, that becomes the anchor point of the conversation and then, normally people aren’t throwing out entire chess board games of their own strategy of how they wanted to do it. They’ll just kind of move the pieces around the table of what I put on the table and then, they’ll say, “You know what? Yes, eight blogs, that probably sounds good. If you could send me a couple of YouTube videos, that will be great.” Yes, I’m happy to pump a couple of emails out, and I think this will be some good stuff to promote.
So, ultimately, it’s about hashing it out with that person but, once they’re locked in, you just got to deliver like a champion and then, let them know that you’re doing that and then, they’ll be happy to consistently… the next month, the next month do the same thing…
Then, once it becomes a regimen, “Okay, hey, it’s the beginning of the month. I’m going to do this for this guy, this for this guy, this for this guy…”
Boom! That can all get categorized easy. I can outsource a lot of that stuff and then, I can make sure it all gets done and then, at the same time, without me having to now go crazy and make phone calls and, “Hey, can you please promote…”
I just know for a dog on fact, bam! Bam! Bam! These emails are coming in. So, it is a subjective thing. You’ve got to have a relationship and you got to really talk to the JV partner but, building consistent, I call it “content partnerships” because I’, producing content so that’s what I refer to it as. That has been very transforming development especially in terms of taking away my personal time to work on other projects outside of this business.
YARO: I’m assuming these partners are slightly positioned differently to you for them to be even open to doing this, right? Like you’re similar but, you’re not competing directly.
DAN: Yes, oddly enough, these niche, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, they really aren’t that many folks so, I suppose we might be competing with one another a little bit but, I think, there’s enough of an understanding that if we’re helping out each other then, everybody is kind of competing with anybody anyway but, if we can both give each other fresh and new exposure then, push comes to shove, we’re just taking a little bit more of the pie that’s on the table because we’re sort of building these magnetism between ourselves. Otherwise, we’re sort of fighting for the same folks anyway.
It’s very much not adversarial. Lucky enough, this is a niche where many people are sort of friendly. And, in my opinion, when you talk to somebody on the phone, and you get to know somebody, oftentimes, even if you are “competitors,” if you can kind of vibe and jive a little bit, you can find ways to work together.
Some of them are, I might say, competitors but, at the end of the day, we do have slightly different angles and we’ll just promote each other for our slightly different angles and just understand that being paired up is going to help out in the long run.
YARO: I love the fact that you said you’re not at adversarial but, you’re actually all teaching how to fight each other in the martial arts.
YARO: The irony there.
DAN: Borderline ironic, I do realize that. I definitely do realize that.
YARO: Okay, that’s interesting. Again, I haven’t heard that as a proactive strategy talked about but, I do remember there was a period for a while, I think it was [Mike ?] like you talked about this where he would look to get his product on another person’s thank you page at the end of a product purchase or email opt in exchange for the same thing.
You’d put your product on their page, they’d put your product on your page and therefore, you both got the exposure. They were sort of like these mini exchanges but, it sounds like yours has more of an ongoing always doing some new content, always giving a new video, always doing another new email blast out for them so, it’s kind of like a launch, like you said, mini-launch but, it’s a commitment to keep doing it because I think the great thing there is the reciprocation you’re creating. It does enforce the, well, wow, he’s kind of actually did the way he said he was going to do it. Now, he’s made sales and got some new leads so, I feel indebted to do the same back which is interesting.
I definitely can see the need though to tread carefully and build the relationship because it’s the worst thing you want to do that and then, you don’t convert or something like that as well for them.
YARO: So, I’m sure it’s a very slow testing kind of process you go through to make that work.
DAN: Yes, you calibrate it. You get a gauge for how do this month work for us? Okay, fantastic. Hey, next month moving forward, here’s where I can get your stuff featured and if you have any new products, I’ll promote that and let some other folks know about these things if that’s something they’re interested in and move forward.
So, if you got to adjust whatever the cycle is, you can adjust it but, again, for me, it’s just knowing that a single phone call a month or a single email back and forth a month is enough to get consistent email traction from somebody else and then, I can help them in a way that they literally can’t get done otherwise which is the featured content. That’s just been a very much one of the biggest time savers and a consistent money maker in lead flow for an online business in addition to the database stuff report.
YARO: Okay, so I do want to talk about the database stuff, the segmentation and so on but, before we do that, you’ve raised a concern and I’d love to know how you solved this.
It sounds like you have a heck of a lot of content creation needs. If you’re writing articles for these five partners you’ve got plus your own hub stock blog/content site at Science of Skill, all these columns you’re writing which I guess, sometimes promoting your other friends as part of the exchanges you do but, you’re also getting your own stuff, not to mention delivering product, getting on these webinars, constructing the slides, I haven’t heard you talk about any partners. You did mention the word, “outsourcing” once there. So, I’d love to know what does your business look like today in terms of who does what?
DAN: Yes, so the content creation for the most part is not necessarily my gig anymore. I have a number of folks that have trained under me personally as martial arts students. They’ve understood my teaching style. They’ve been into classes and seminars and whatever else. And, if I’m articulating a series of posts that we’d need or, I’d send them a bunch of videos and have them break them down, they understand some of my stuff to model and they know how to write solid content and they’ve written for my own site. I trust them with my material so, I have them created.
And of course, I look over their material too. I’m not having them post blindly and have them send me links and whatever else and never knowing again if there’s adjustments in sub-headlines. If there are different things that we want to tweak up, we can do that but, content creation article-wise is done elsewhere.
In terms of video, luckily, I just got so much filming done back in the martial arts gym owner days. I still have an external hard driver which has so much stuff on it that it’s not on YouTube, not anywhere else, and anytime I need things, I just sort of go to the bank and pull it out and put it up on YouTube if need be or give it to somebody else to put up in their channel.
So, video, we just saved up a big bank. One of the cool things is if you have a membership program where a lot of your content is locked up, I’m not going to go put all that content up for free. It would be sort of against the point of the membership site. It will also be going against the people that are paying for it but, if you can take a little snippet from month eight or a little snippet from month twelve, you can create another YouTube video. You have a four or five minute segment that might be useful. You can clip out that one little piece and plug it in.
So, I’ll go back to my bank of loaded deep member program stuff, loaded seminar footage that we filmed months and months ago and be able to create videos. That’s easy.
Article-wise, I have other folks doing it. And, in terms of posting the content, I have a very rigorous procedure and I have Screencast recordings of how we do that on every single website that I work with so, I’m able to have that one as well. A lot of the time, it’s actually done right here in house so, I have a girl by the name, “Kate” who comes over on Mondays and she understands the procedure. She’s solid with it. She understands tagging and categories and linking strategies and things like that. She’ll just implement.
So, we have a standard operating procedure for how articles are written and for how they are posted. All that stuff is recorded and then, it’s outsourced so, even if I got thirty articles in a given month to create, which is honestly, not all that unusual. It’s essentially done and completed and I oversee parts of it when need be but, we have it outsourced pretty well.
YARO: It sounds like you’re getting a lot of leverage from previous content you created for all of these.
DAN: Ton, absolutely ton of leverage from previous content and I save everything. So, I have all of my past articles from anywhere I have written anything, anything I put up on the magazine, I always find somewhere online that I can put it, so long as that’s okay with them, and things like that.
So, yes. Leveraging previous content is positively huge. I am not about having to step behind the camera every time I want to write an article.
YARO: And, there’s no teams of Filipinos or anything like that in your…
DAN: No, believe it or not, it’s really… I have a guy, Lord knows where that fellow is from but, he does some graphics for me on oDesk. Actually he charges pretty real deal of money too so, it’s not one of those, “Yes, I have people working for $2 an hour.” It’s not really like that.
The folks that work for me, I have my right hand man, Tim who has really helped build the business from the get go and there’s a lot of the marketing stuff and he’s capable of that. I have Kate who is right here in the USA, and all my writers are folks that I know. They have been my students who have taken classes with me. We’ve beat each other up in the past. So, it’s actually a very much a home-grown thing. It’s not outsourced to Indonesia. It’s all done right here in the Northeast with the small network of people who I happen to know personally.
But, it’s cool because I get the support, people I already know. I’m not just going to send in money through the internet. I kind of like that element of the business.
YARO: All right, well, let’s talk segmentation before we hit the hour mark here, Dan. So, what exactly do you mean by getting the most from every lead and how are you doing it?
DAN: Yes, so as I had mentioned, again, my emphasis has been making the most for every lead since I came up in the town of 8000 people. One thing that I feel is though oftentimes, an online business, even a start-up business, if we’re talking about more of the venture back side of things but, internet marketing businesses as well. In the beginning, you don’t have a massive bucket of leads you can go back into time and time again.
Really, it’s about scrambling to get those leads in the first place. I’ve been there. Almost everybody’s been there at least once so, the focus goes to new leads on the door, new leads on the door, new leads on the door, and sometimes there’s marketing automation and they’ll go through twelve, twenty four emails, whatever that might be and then, they end up in the general bucket list of people that maybe every now and again, you send a newsletter to when you remember to do it every four months.
So, you fight hard to get them. They get their initial exposure to squeezes and sales and email sequence and whatever other automation you might have set up, hopefully that’s a rich in Dan’s automated sequence and you’re testing that kind of stuff which is something that we certainly do. But, then, they’ll end up in the back end in the bucket.
So, for me, the most important thing Yaro and still I’d say, and it’s a rough estimate. I got to tell you. I can handle the financials any day. It’s very tough to tell precisely but, I’d say, it’s safe to say that more than half of my business is done by marketing to sub-segments.
I’ll give you an example of how this would go down. Essentially, I take that list to people who are no longer getting automated messages and I figure out regimens of sending them messages both in a broad level and a sub-targeted level.
So, generally right now on our standard operating procedures that I go by because I’m really into simplify and sort of Tim Ferriss this martial arts business so, I can work on other things and build on other businesses for other people and things like that is we do two broad emails that go to everybody in the bucket list. So, the bucket lists are the people who are no longer getting auto-responders but, they did come in for martial arts of some kind and those are generally a little bit more broad in terms of content. It might be a new interview. It might be a new blog post. It might be a general offer that could pretty much appeal to everybody. It’s not too high tech etc. etc, maybe a new webinar or something like that.
We have two of those that will go out a week and then, we will snipe individual sub-segments, maybe two to three individual sub-segments with two email sequences.
I’ll give you an example. I’ll take people that are over forty years old and they are interested in escapes. I’ll take people that are interested in leg locks but, they never purchased anything. I’ll take people that have spent $150 over the last 90 days and I’ll send them a higher ticket offer and we’ll rotate and experiment with all those sub-segments while the general list will just get those two broadcasts.
So, nobody is getting hit eight times a week but, all the different subsegs over the course of the given month, are all getting content that’s hyper-tailored, very, very precisely to exactly what their situation is. I use testimonials. I relate to them. I use videos that’s exactly up their alley. I speak to exactly who they are.
I acknowledge, “Hey, you haven’t bought anything and you’re interested in leg locks.” I acknowledge, “Hey, you are some of my best customers. You spent $150.”
Experimenting with what that regimen is for your business. If you’re selling face creams, maybe two emails a week is a little much. But, regardless, there’s ways to find, “Okay, here’s my general list. How often do I communicate generally and then, what are the money-making sub-segments and then, what’s the rotated calendar and schedule of how often I’ll target those various sub-segments and how I will present offers to them.”
So, developing that regimen and pumping and churning that in the backend, just churning that in the backend is as important, if not more important than having consistent activities to drive leads on the front end, and I can go a little bit farther into that, how that can be applied in any other business, too but, that’s the gist.
YARO: Okay, a question that comes up to me, and I’m sure the listener is wondering too… How do you know such finite data about your database and how are you able to control it so, you don’t send those eight emails a week or something because I know, with Infusionsoft, you’re tagging straightaway. And, I know you can look up an individual’s lead entry on how much they’ve spend with you and assuming they’d fill out a form that’s large enough, you’ll know how old they are and what they’re flagged as interested in which is helpful but, are you doing a lot of complex, moving from one segment to the other in the sense that, okay, when you send a broadcast, do you then say, “Do not send to this list because they bought this product already.” You don’t want them to get your broadcast that’s already… I think that’s the part that can be very confusing especially with something like Infusionsoft. I’m personally using Ontraport Office Autopilot and it can do a lot of tagging as well and all those powers available but, it’s overwhelming in a lot of ways.
So, I think maybe the best question you can answer here is when you started to do segmentation, what was the first type of segmentation you did. So, we can start with the beginner level.
DAN: Certainly yes. Good default segments. There’s a number of them that you can work with but, good default segments would be how much somebody is spend in a given span of time. So, X amount of dollars in thirty days, sixty days, that’s relatively recent. Rarely, I’ll do ninety days but, how much they have spent in a given segment of time, or how much they’ve spent over the course of their lifetime value with you. Those are interesting segments to be able to parse out.
If all you ever did was have a little tag or an understanding of who spent fifty dollars or more with me in the last… Whatever the number is for you. You got to find what’s going to be relevant for your business and who hasn’t. That alone is an element of important sub-segmenting. Another thing that’s important is understanding their goals and there is something that I did that’s really important for our database adding richness to the database where we’ll sub-segment people by goals.
So, one thing that for me, is really important, Yaro was initially, we start off a qualitative data. So, what is most important for you? What did you come to our email list? What were you looking to learn, etc. etc.?
Then, we boil that down to what the major goals are of our readers. So, it’s either improvement. It’s eventually becoming a teacher of martial arts and understanding skill development in martial arts from a teacher’s perspective, we have people like that, and some people want to be competitors. Those are generally three top goals. Most people are just looking for improvement. But, those are generally the three top goals.
So, an easy thing to do is to “A” squeeze that data from folks but then, “B” instead of sending a broadcast to everybody that’s filled out that survey, send the same broadcast but, change the subject line in the first sentence to match whatever that particular goal is.
If I’m talking about a particular webinar, I’m not going to talk to the teachers about why it’s good for competitors. I’m going to talk about what’s in that webinar that relates to teachers.
So, if all I do is change the first paragraph in a three-paragraph email and I change the subject line, I send that to those three segments that might still be a total of (let’s use easy numbers) 3000 people but, the open rates and the click rates will be two times or four times what they would be if you just hit everybody with the same, “Hey, we have a webinar and it’s good for a bunch of different things.”
So, if you send that one email to all those people, your response wouldn’t even be remotely as solid. So, goals and money spent are very important. One way that I parse this data is as soon as somebody opts in to any of my funnels, they are also tagged with a survey sequence tag which will consistently email them every two weeks or so to get them to fill out a very particular survey which will give them a free video course in exchange for letting me know what the heck they want to learn about.
So, they select a bunch of checkboxes what their interest areas are. They pick between one of the three major goals. They pick their weight class between one of the three different weight classes—below 150 pounds, higher than 190 pounds, or right in the middle there—and, a number of other little individual fields, maybe four or five fields that’s it.
But then, that data lets me, instead of send to, “All right, let’s whip this email at 5000 people,” how about we change the subject line and we send it to 1300 a pop and now, we get, for example, I have an email sequence this week going out to people by weight and size category. It’s about strength and conditioning. But, I tailor the subject line of the email and the first paragraph to small people, to “regular-sized people.” I just don’t know a better term for it.
If you are regular sized person and then, the bigger folks, the people who are higher or bigger than 190 pounds, now that email goes to the same, let’s say 5000 people who filled out that survey but, the open rates will be just phenomenally higher and the click through rates will be phenomenally higher.
So, getting the richness from the database is yes, of course, tracking and tagging in Infusionsoft or Ontraport which I haven’t delve in this deep into but, for me, it’s having a regimen that every new lead, you can’t bug them too much but, every new lead needs to be communicated with consistently and sort of pestered if you will about the major survey, your core survey.
They must have that presented to them every two weeks or so until that thing is filled out and they’ll use all sorts of different bribes to put it infront of them again and again and again. Not too often to bother them but, enough to make that database rich because you’re asking, “How do I know all these information?” I know it because any new lead has to be exposed to this survey again and again and again.
So, that’s how we make sure that we have so much information on any given lead.
YARO: Right, and that survey is just part of Infusionsoft’s built in ability.
DAN: Yes, it’s just a web form and we’ll have them fill out. We can just email to them very simply and again, for any given business, it’s just figuring out what are the most important metrics for you? You cannot make it arbitrary. You don’t want to have them fill out random data you’ll never use.
For me, size is very important because people know me as the lightweight Jiu Jitsu guy. So, size is something I have them select. A few people can identify with that. Major goal, we found to be very important, how much they’ve spent, I know that already from their buying activities and then, determining what areas of Jiu Jitsu they’re interested in.
If they select, “Hey, I’m interested in gear and equipment,” well, if I’m going to promote let’s say a grappling dummy or a gi, I don’t want to bother my whole list. I’m just going to let those guys know about it. We’ve sold dozens of grappling dummies and I don’t get all the money here but, they are $600 or maybe not, it’s robably eighteen or so, grappling dummies at $400 or $600 a pop for one of our affiliates simply by targeting that sub-segment.
Never would have been possible without bothering my whole list unless we knew what are the relevance of categories, what are the relevant interests and let’s design a survey precisely around the information we need to communicate the most richly with our list. So, anybody can do that.
YARO: Awesome. I would love to see the surveys. So, where do we sign up to pretend we’re into BJJ.
DAN: Yaro, if you’d like, I can take a screenshot of the actual survey and you can throw it in the actual blog for the podcast. I’m more than happy and I can even give you a link to the actual survey itself.
YARO: Yes, that would be awesome, Dan. I’d love to sign up myself and just see how hard you’re trying to get me to fill in the surveys.
DAN: It’s not too hard but, it’s just week number two rolls around. You get an extra email from me on a Tuesday. “Hey, I’m giving away these two recorded seminars, yatty-yatty-yatta.”
And then, the email pops up and I show a video clip of one of the seminars and how cool all the stuff is, and I say, “Hey, you can get the full gist to this by simply filling out this form and then, I can send the stuff directly to you.”
I’m more than happy to give you that link in that survey, as well.
YARO: Is there a website we can even just to sign up for your newsletter?
DAN: Yes, sure. Well, for the martial arts business, Yaro?
YARO: Yes, well I’d love to talk about the next business you have too but, let’s just get that one out there.
DAN: Yes. So, if they want to just get in to the martial arts side of things and they’re interested of what I’m up to there, if you go to ScienceofSkill.com, there’s a number of banners that go to initial front end funnels so, there’s one over at the top right, about beating bigger stronger opponents.
If you just click that, it will take you to an updated squeeze page. We rotate that so it’s often sort of stuff that we’re testing and stuff we’re working on but, if you click that there, it’ll take you to an initial squeeze page.
If you opt in there, you’ll see sort of what the front end funnel looks like and then, in about two weeks later, you’ll see what the survey looks like.
YARO: Excellent. So, it does look like you also segment just based on, “Here’s an offer, join this list,” rather than, “Here’s my generic newsletter…”
DAN: Exactly. Of course, and I do not like generic newsletter for everything at all. I like to have segmenting and this is database marketing. This applies to absolutely any business and ultimately, this is where the value that we bring to the table with other people that are doing this stuff is segmenting, for me, it’s either done in context by where they enter their information in the first place.
Is it about leg locks? Is it about beating big guys? Is it about escapes? Whatever it might be, and then, I know how to communicate with them. And/or, there’s also additional surveying and parsing in the backend to determine based on activities, based on form filled out exactly what this person wants.
So, everything is always a datapoint and allows us to communicate more richly to what they actually care about or want to hear about.
YARO: Which leads me perfectly into what I believe you’re mainly focusing on as your next project. Obviously, you’re still running the whole Jiu Jitsu training company, you now, and it’s pretty clear, you know your segmentation pretty well so, you’ve developed a great skill set. You are helping others with that, am I correct?
DAN: Yes. That sort have been the bigger project now and honestly, it’s especially with phone time and the coaching level stuff has ended up taken up a decent amount more time than even the Science of Skill business, is really where we are focusing, basically, when we get to a certain level in martial arts, we’re sort of the odd ball guy from a very small town who had a pretty succinct skill set and decide to niche out into particular area who all of a sudden was getting promoted all over the place and people kind of wanted to know, “How did you put this together? Are you really doing this full time? Did you actually sell your real physical academy?”
When word kind of caught on, we ended up on Tim Reid’s podcast. Tim Reid is that… I think he might be an Australian too actually, now that I think about it. And then, people heard about through that. It kind of caught wind and then, other people wanted to know how to pull it off.
So, one of my main websites for that side of stuff, not just for martial artists but, for anybody who is interested and essentially teaching their expertise is firstInternetincome.com. So, that’s our main Internet Marketing teaching site. Some of my free resources are up there as well as how to get in touch with us.
But, that’s been the big project now. It’s essentially, how can anybody, if they have a skill set that we’re teaching something that they’re excited to be able to potentially build the business around whether it’s financial security or else, how can they replicate similar systems, build their own database and build a consistent income online. I just told you we did forty-five in the last thirty days or so, or last month, I should say in December.
More than half of that is from simply going back to the database that we already had and being able to cultivate a regimen and a ritual that really makes that productive and fruitful. That’s what we teach other people to do now.
YARO: Very good, and that wasn’t even the website I expected you to share. I was expecting your other one, that you’re helping start ups.
DAN: Oh yes, clvboost.com is the website where we implement database marketing and marketing automation for literally any kind of company. So, whether we’re doing some stuff on sort of a lower level with t-shirt company now a fellow who is getting to the nutrition side of things, and other various businesses we’re working mostly with startups and early stage companies in terms of implementing those strategies early on so that, they have a rich database that they can use to sell any product or service.
CLVBoost.com is the website where we do that sort of work, for pure Internet marketing and getting started from scratch in terms of teaching your expertise, essentially modelling the stuff that we did in the martial arts base, that is that First Internet Income.
So, that’s not more for the Internet marketers out there but, for folks that are in the early stage companies and want to kind of get into the Science, CLV Boost stands for Customer Life Time Value is our other website too.
YARO: I love looking into the design contrast here, too. Your internet marketing site looks like an Internet marketing page and your CLV Boost site looks like something that more corporate environment, or people used to more corporate environment will look at and expect to see. It’s funny how there’s that division.
DAN: Yes, it is interesting. Again, I’m not the fanciest website guy in town but, at the end of the day, it’s just appealing to different folks. First Internet Income, we also have kind of a blog, a bunch of different free resources so they’re sort of more to make noise about.
CLV Boost is pretty straightforward. The folks that want to learn from us and at least get an idea of whether or not we can help them. Here’s how you get in touch and that’s that. It’s a much more straightforward kind of professional site.
YARO: And, in the ScienceofSkill.com for the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu which is a very nicely presented content site. You can see that there’s a lot there going on.
DAN: Yes, pretty busy site.
YARO: A lot of content, a lot of stuff on the sidebar to look at too. I actually would recommend people go check out Science of Skill and click some of those banners and then, join your list if you want to see how you’re doing what you do and then, if your guest is at the beginner stage, you’d go to First Internet Income but, if you already established and want to learn how to segment people maybe go to CLV Boost. That kind of separates your different parts.
DAN: Yes, that’s a safe way to put it. First Internet Income is really for more newbie internet marketers. Again, when I first started, I didn’t have sort of a templated approach to selling expertise and that sort of our thing now.
People don’t come to use because they want fancy Facebook PPC campaigns. They come to us because they have a skill that they’re passionate about and they want to be able to share it online and build a scalable business like we did in martial arts. So, that’s really what FII, First Internet Income is all about.
YARO: Okay. Dan, we’re almost in an hour and fifteen. So, if that’s up there for these podcasts, I think you are the longest in a while.
DAN: What a …!
YARO: But, great stuff. Thank you for sharing all of that. I’m pretty clear. I think right now, you’re running those three businesses. I normally would end the interview asking what you’re up to today. I think we just covered the broad range of things you’re focused on with those three main sites. So, I just, I guess, one last thing to ask you, where is this all going? Do you have a bigger picture goal with all these?
DAN: I do. I don’t know exactly… It’s a pretty deep rabbit hole but, essentially my involvement in the future is really going to be more in emerging technology up in Massachusetts and in Boston here and really getting in and constructing an entire consultancy around this kind of work for robotics artificial intelligence, those kind of companies, and eventually getting more into investing and deeper involvement there. So, I’m really working towards further, I mentioned human potential, sort of what I’m most fascinated with. The real future and the science of that side of stuff is where I want to be involved as an adviser, as an investor and that’s where these businesses are now carrying me. But, luckily enough, I’m being able to do it by funding it with my passion and teaching stuff that I care about.
So, I’m moving towards the bigger dreams but, living the dream on the day to day. So, it’s a pretty solid win-win.
YARO: I got one minute. If you can answer one more thing.
YARO: You get up in the morning, there’s a lot of stuff going on here, what do you do today, Dan? What are you? What do you personally work on?
DAN: I woke up. I edited an essay I’m working on. I’m always aiming to get stuff into a lot of different technology and entrepreneurship sites. Again, this is more on the startup space, not the Internet marketing space but, worked on a bunch of writing. I write for about 45 to an hour. I read a book on consulting by Alan Weiss for probably thirty or forty minutes. And then, I went into constructing some autoresponders for CLV Boost and then, went into some work that we’re prepping for for a product launch for Science of Skill for a little bit here and then, worked on setting up another LLC for the consulting kind of work there, I had a number of different phone calls and then, ended up getting on my call with you.
Essentially, just sort of juggling everything. It’s always keeping in good track of week to week what my priorities are and being able to take action on that. Every day, I write down my goals before I do anything else based on my weekly goals which are based on my annual and monthly stuff.
YARO: Correct. Are you going to beat someone up later today?
DAN: You know, I might Yaro, I might though. Actually, not today. It’s a little later on on our end but, hopefully, in the coming couple of weeks, I’ll have another seminar and I’ll get to beat up some more folks.
YARO: Okay, good to know. Good to know.
All right, Dan. Thank you. I got nothing else to say.
DAN: Yaro, thank you so much for having me on, man. It was two years ago when I first stumbled on your site. It’s more than an honor to be able to be here. So, I appreciate it.
YARO: Thank you for sharing so much. You made a great detail in all the story of yours. So, lots of sites for everyone to go check out who’s been listening in and yes, Dan. Thank you. Good luck with the future and I know that we’ll hear more from you because this is high tech stuff you’re doing with segmentations. I think it’s great.
DAN: Yes, indeed. Thanks again, brother.
YARO: Okay, thank you. Bye!
Well, that’s it. I hope you enjoyed that truly epic interview with Dan. There was so much to take away and actually apply to your business. I took notes. I hope you did as well. If you’re looking for more interviews like this then, you must subscribe to my podcast, the Entrepreneurs’ Journey podcast which can be found in iTunes as usual, or you can Google my name, YARO which will help you find the Entrepreneurs-Journey.com blog as well as all my social media channels. Everything is available. Simply by going to Google and typing in YARO.
I am one of the only Yaros on the Internet, thankfully. I also encourage you to check out all my training products. I have my range of products to help you with your blogging business. You can find them all at EJInsider.com in particular if you like interviews, the EJ Insider interviews club is there. It’s a low-entry price. Once a month, you’ll pay a fee and then, you’ll get a sequence of new interviews delivered directly to your email to keep you motivated, to keep you excited and to keep you learning. That’s at EJInsider.com/interviews.
Again, my name is Yaro. Thank you for listening to this podcast and I’ll speak to you on an episode very, very soon. Goodbye!
About Yaro Starak
Yaro Starak is the author of the Blog Profits Blueprint, a report you can download instantly to learn how to make $10,000 a month, from only blogging 2 hours per day. You can find Yaro on Facebook, Twitter and Google+.
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