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In this episode, I interview the Chief Business Development Officer of BlackBox Social Media. A marketing agency that has managed over 7 million dollars in Facebook ad spend, over the past 18 months.
They have worked with well-known brands such as the San Antonio Spurs, LeadPages, ClickFunnels, and Wishlist. As well as industry leaders like Ryan Deiss, Eben Pegan, John Maxwell, and Russell Brunson.
During this episode Curt reveals his winning formula and what he has learned to build and scale winning Facebook ad campaigns to generate more leads, build a massive following and increase sales.
Mark Thompson: All right, so welcome everybody to today’s episode. I’m joined today by Curt Maly, he is the Chief Business Development Officer of Black Box Social Media. Curt, welcome to the podcast.
Curt Maly: Thank you. I really appreciate it.
Mark Thompson: Well, you are the lucky one because you are the guinea pig; you are our first podcast episode, so welcome.
Curt Maly: Perfect.
Mark Thompson: Well, Curt, what I wanted to do is start off by talking about just little bit of your background. For anyone who doesn’t know you just briefly talk about your history and how you got to start Black Box Social Media.
Curt Maly: Yeah, absolutely. It was, wow, seven years ago now that I think about it when I got into this. Originally, I was running call centers and that whole industry changed. Then, I got into telecom and then that industry changed. Then, I figured I would be a real estate investor, and I don’t know if you remember what happened in 2007, but, well, that definitely changed as well, too.
I found myself in the NFL club, I tell people. I had no funds left, I was having no fun left and I had no friends left whatsoever either. I had to do something different, so I started doing a little marketing online of my real estate business and I started helping out some local business clients.
What really changed my perception is I was invited over to a friend’s house who … He had done over $35 million online and I had just started to get to know this guy. He launched a product that I saw make over $450,000 over the course of about four hours and go on to make about $1.8 million in about seven days. This wasn’t the first time and he did it, and I’m like, “Yep, I got the bug.”
I ended up started working with him and helping him out, and wow, now today we’ve managed over 35 different industries plus. We spent over $7 million just on Facebook. Now, we work with celebrities like the … I can say this because its public, the second most influential YouTube channel on YouTube: Six Pack Shortcuts, they’re one of our clients. We worked with people like Michael Hyatt, the San Antonio Spurs, Eben Pagan. I mean, we’ve worked with some of the who’s-is-who for the last four and half years; five years. Our agency has been 100% referral only.
I have a lot of experience in working with six, seven, eight and even nine figure companies. I have a lot of experience in looking over their funnels and I think my unique spidy trick is I also get to connect with those business owners so I learn about their business acumen.
Today, we’re going to talk about Pay-Per-Click. There’s so much other information besides, “Hey, just click this one button to run this one ad to get a dollar a lead.” There’s seven, eight, nine figure companies that I run stuff for that we’re going to talk about today.
Mark Thompson: Awesome. That definitely helps. Now, when you say the $7 million that you’re managing, is that per year; per month that you’re managing that type of ad spend?
Curt Maly: No, we spend over the last 18 months I just give it as a quantifies. Over the last 18 months we’ve spent $7 million, so on a given month we’ll spend, depending on who is doing what, we specialize in a lot of launches, too. It’s up and down all the time, but anywhere from a couple of hundred thousand dollars a month to $750,000, $800,000 a month that we’ll see flow through on a regular basis, so a lot of great data.
Mark Thompson: How many different clients do you manage at a given time, on average?
Curt Maly: It’s a very good question. What do we have right now? Around 30; 25 to 30. Probably 80% of them would be large and new client, 20% of them being small business.
Mark Thompson: I was in the local space for about five years. I managed a lot of SEO campaigns. Tell me, what makes your ad agency unique? I mean, are you mainly just getting clients based on referrals or does someone just call you up? I mean, how are you setting yourself from the crowd?
Curt Maly: That is a very good question.
Mark Thompson: As you know there are a lot of different social, paid and marketing agencies out there that, for lack of a better term, they sell snake oil, so …
Curt Maly: It’s a great question. I’ll answer that in a couple of different ways. I feel I have a lot of … Well, how do I feel? I know I have a really unique perspective with the following ways. Not only I’m I going to work with these huge companies and small businesses. Like I said, I get to see their traffic, I get to see what their actual funnel is, I get to understand their business acumen.
Now, the people that I run accounts for, they also put me inside of their masterminds to speak to their mastermind groups, so people are paying $20,000, $30,000, $50,000 a year to be a part of these masterminds, and I’m invited to speak, and then of course, network with those people.
The other thing is as I speak on stage in front of, I don’t know, 300,000 to 500,000 people that are small business owners and have digital products, so I know not only here what’s going on with these larger companies but I understand what the small business owner is going through as well, too, so I have a really unique perspective.
Here’s the other thing that I’ll tell you. My stuff’s really predictable so I’ll tell you a really quick little story. I was presenting with NBA with the owner … Well, some of the managers of the development league. I told everybody there and I go, “Hey, look, most of my clients have got a positive ROI within 90 days. Actually, every one of my clients, but I can’t guarantee results.”
This guy from Oklahoma, I’ll never forget, stands up and he goes, “Curt, what makes you different than everybody else?” “You said all your clients are positive within 90 days; cash flow positive. Why can’t you guarantee it?” I looked at him and I go, “There’s one major difference between me, you and all my other clients. Just one.” He looks at me, and my other client who’s in the room shakes his head because he knew what was coming. I go, “Look, my stuff always works because it’s been proven with millions of dollars in lots of different industries. You know the variable is? You. You know I don’t guarantee your ROI? Because I don’t know how predictable you are. My stuff works.
Here’s the deal. I was brought here by one of the other owner or I was referred by Russell Brunson at Eben Pagan, Ryan Dice. You tell me why you called me? There’s a reason my business has been referrals only for five year. Some people say, “Hey, that’s corky.” Honestly, I just … Well, save your sense. I don’t give a shit because I know my stuff works. I really do.
Mark Thompson: I love it.
Curt Maly: My difference is I’m confident and I’ve proven it. That’s the big difference.
Mark Thompson: Let me ask you this, then. You work with, obviously, a lot of existing brands; well-known names. If I’m just starting out, what’s the best way to build out my Facebook presence; my profile?
Curt Maly: Great question. The thing is … I’m going to be really direct with this one, too. Facebook doesn’t care about your money; Facebook doesn’t care about your business. They, honestly, don’t trust me I spent lots of money with lawyers to find this out.
They really don’t. What they care about is they care about the end user; they actually care about you. They don’t care about your advertising. What they want to make sure is they want to make sure that people are on Facebook and they stay on there 20 to 30 minutes a day.
Facebook wants to make sure that the other person on the other end is looking at your content; it’s highly relevant to them, so I want you to back track just a minute think of Google Search. If we type in on Google: Thai Chicken in Austin. Well, Google knows that I’m looking for a place, hopefully, right around my place downtown. They’re not going to show me some Thai chicken in Thailand named Austin.
Facebook wants the exact same thing, so Facebook doesn’t want, hey, click on this weird picture, that … And people click on and it’s not relevant. The only thing Facebook wants is relevancy. If you’re starting out for the first time, what you have to really think of is remember, first of all, your avatar; your customer really focusing your avatar who that is, is going to help you long term.
I always go over four points which is, hey, always make sure you have a product, service or message that you can monetize, number one; I call is keystone. Number two; really define your avatar like … Trap. Number three; setup your funnel which is another process and number; have numbers to track, proof.
What happens is when someone’s setting up their original Facebook page, just remember that less than 1% of your likes will ever see your content, but you want to make sure that you’re writing relevant content, so likes will qualify your paid audience. I’m not looking for likes for social proof. That’s a misnomer in what you call an amateur mistake where people go broke.
Don’t ever buy likes to a fan page, don’t ever go Fiverr and buy likes, but running a like campaign can validate your audience cheaper than any other way out there, so if you’re producing, regular, consistent, relevant content because you focused on your avatar, once you first start running ads, you’re going to start running likes to validate your audience before you go straight to the selling stuff. It’s like dating. Selling stuff’s like getting married, so you just … Real important.
Mark Thompson: Yeah. Now, that makes sense. Marketers are in somewhat of a catch 22, right? They need to turn a profit in order to stay profitable, right? They want to build their email list; they want to send people to sales pages. Now, talk to be about, from your experience, what the cost associated with Facebook ads would be if you’re running traffic to somewhere outside of Facebook, with an ad, going to a squeeze or a sales page compared to trying to drive people to like your page, to engage with your content on Facebook, and then trying to get them on to your sales page or squeeze page from, say, a newsfeed post that you put. Can you talk about the differences there?
Curt Maly: Yeah, unequivocally. For your listeners to set the tone this whole thing you find out that I’m just … That obviously I’m really direct, right? Because I’ve seen this happen so many times and I love talking about this stuff, so let’s go over a couple of things. My language will separate the men from the boys, so here’s the deal.
When someone ached I just need to make money all I need to do is I need to send websites clicks. I don’t have time for engagements; I don’t have time for likes. I’m like, “Great, you don’t have time for your business. You have a broke hobby called the nonprofit. Best of luck to you.”
Facebook could care less about sending direct clicks to a website, so when people, “Hey, Curt, all that I want is get op-ins then follow up with an email.” Well, if you have a qualified click you can always retarget. Retargeting is just like getting your op-in. if they’re quailed you can keep on retargeting. 47% of my online revenue from my own digital products, with over $300,000 of spend in just a couple of months, 45% of the revenue came back from retargeting.
It’s about building that relationship, it’s critical. Digital marketer, one of the largest guys out there in our space, those guys, over 47% … Those guys are great friends of mine, 47% of their revenue came from retargeting.
Facebook doesn’t care about your business. If you have an irrelevant ad that goes to landing page where people don’t have navigation; they can’t click around; it’s not relevant, your ad will get banned; your ads won’t get served. Facebook doesn’t care about your money. Facebook cares about the relevance.
If people to do this fifth grade math thing that people think it’s really hard. If they sit and really think about it, wait a minute, I can drive … I’m going to go through some really simple math here real quick. I can drive a dollar click to my website. Every four clicks I get an opt-in so 25% opt-in rate isn’t bad; $4 a lead isn’t bad.
Now, the people who did opt-in, I can retarget them, right? Well, I have likes on my page and I can … I can follow up with all of those people on my fanpage when I run an ad to my fan page, so if I want to think what’s the cheapest way to retarget my best audience? Is it spending $4 to get one lead where there’s a 20%, maybe, open rate on email lists or do I focus on pre-qualifying audience at $0.50 seeing if they like my message; being able to retarget those people and knowing that those people are qualified because I run a like campaign, let’s just say for entrepreneurs, right? I find out that I can get likes for $0.50; I know these people are qualified and I’m going to start running ads to entrepreneurs because I know that they’re relating with my message.
People who run straight traffic to a landing page or a sales page with no retargeting, no content, no navigation will see their ads not running as much; not being served as much and has a great chance of getting an ad account validate terminated. Someone who may have three or four hops; they may read three or four blogs, and then just, real quick last point on this, you may see because the blog is really relevant, $0.25 click. $0.25 click, $0.25 click, $0.25 click, $0.50 for retargeting then they opt-in. we just talked about $1.50 out there not four bucks, so people really have to pay for the math and it’s going to require multiple hops not sending directly on end of the sales.
Mark Thompson: Right. No, I totally agree, and so what you’re saying is try to keep people on Facebook and give them useful, relevant content. Do you see a difference between, if I’m giving them great useful content on Facebook, or if it’s off of Facebook on your own blog trying to get them to engage there? Does Facebook have; do they take …?
Curt Maly: Yeah, there’s an old adage that people used to say there, “Keep traffic on Facebook.” Seriously? Facebook could care less. Here’s the reason, because you put pixels on your site. Facebook doesn’t care what you do on their site; they can already see that, but what Face … Or on their website, but when you put pixels o your opt-in page, landing page. By the way, when you put that thank you pixel in there that tracks opt-ins or when you put that thank you pixel that tracks buys, now Facebook can separate the opt-ins, the buyers, the leads, the people who took action.
It’s cool to keep people on Facebook so you get engagement, but there’s an old misnomer, “Keep people on Facebook so they can keeping engaging.” No, just keep them engaged, period. Facebook can care less if you send them offsite. If you do send them offsite and you’re relevant, Facebook will display more of your content. Does that make sense?
Mark Thompson: Yeah, it does. Now, talk to me about this. You say you do a lot of promotions for product launches. Someone has a brand new product, they’re launching it, they want to get exposure to it. You don’t want to send people directly from a Facebook ad to that sales page, what’s the best approach?
Curt Maly: A really good question. Videos’ really taking over right now, and especially retargeting and telling a story. For instance, one of our clients we’re working with, they run the world’s largest online yoga conference. They have 50 instructors. It’s amazing what they do when they roll this thing out.
What happens is you’re going to have those alpha personalities like me where it’s like, “Yoga; buy button; $9.97. Great, I’m going to buy right now. Sounds great, right?” That’s only about 3% of people, if you’re good. A large percentage of people will go, “I don’t know, is this the largest yoga thing? I don’t know who this is,” but then they start seeing retargeting ads of all the happy people who participated last time either in a picture or a video. They see a retargeting ad of a testimony, and they see a retargeting ad of an instructor. Then, they see a retargeting ad of another instructor. Now, all of sudden, they’re like, “Wow. I see these guys everywhere.” It is amazing that they have. Now, all of a sudden people start to have more information and a better reason to buy.
Being able to really leverage retargeting long term’s really going to help out, but remember it’s telling a story. It’s not a buy, buy, buy. Those days are gone of the readily direct response for Facebook, especially it’s about introducing yourself starting to tell a story, and then once you tell that story, then it’s okay for retargeting to send them back to the sales page, but don’t retarget non-opt-ins to a sales page, retarget you back to a sales page. Once they’ve built a rapport with you; they’ve seen one or two videos, they’ve seen one or two of the blog posts and they’ve seen some social proof. Give them a reason to allow them to buy …
Mark Thompson: It sounds like its multiple touch points of a consistent relevant message and then over time they’re naturally going to go visit your sales page and see what you’re offering.
Curt Maly: Yeah, absolutely. One of the things I looked at what do we do in 2015, 2014, 2013: all the learning mistakes of students, clients. What can we do to add better value and better service, right?
It’s a … I’ve been using this word a lot latterly, it’s a disservice for me to tell clients hey, let’s run it straight to an opt-in; let’s see if the opt-in send it straight to a buy with no additional up sales, down sales or long tail lifetime value of the customer.
Too many marketers get concerned with one product that, let’s say, $100. They’re like, “I’m only going to spend $25 to make $100.” The dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. Where are you going afford a one-return ad? You may do that, but that’s amateur mistake where you go broke, seriously? That’s where you make money, forget about your customers you go broke.
One digital product is not a business, but if you realize, well, wait a minute, my product is 100 bucks. Unlike me it cost me $125 to get a $100 sale. People say all the time, they’re like, “Curt, you don’t do the math right. You’re dumb.” I go, “No, you’re dumb. Here’s why? Because I just paid for all my ads; all my expense and everything else. I went in the hole a little bit, but the very next offer that I have, which I have multiple, I start making money.” I’ll buy a customer for 125 bucks; I’ll buy more customers and a lot of other people out there because that $125 customer within three months makes me $400. Where else would you spend 125 bucks to make $400? Does that make sense?
Mark Thompson: Right, so it’s really the lifetime value of the customer, and ensuring that you have profitable sales funnels in place and extending that sales funnel so someone that may buy something for $100 from you, in the backend, they could be buying another $100 or $200, then you have these auto-responder sequences, and there’s lots of different ways that people are purchasing your products and services, right?
Curt Maly: Yeah. Let me give you two points with this from some very large players. One of them is a guy name Todd Brown. He’s famous around the world for designing online sales funnels and he’s like, “People who double their offers, many times will quadruple their income.” I’m like, “Hahaha.” He goes, “I’m not suggesting other people do this.” He goes, “I know my business so well. I’ll go a year with breaking even; an entire year.” He goes, “Because what those customers mean to me two, three, four years,” so you can really double and triple the size of your business if you’re figuring out your lifetime value.
Let’s be honest. The first time that someone sees you … Forever, and it’s a disservice, in my opinion, if you put all that work into targeting funnels and everything else and you stop following up or offering other products and services. Yeah, it’s absolutely a multi-touch game and if you’re just used to one or two touches, you’ll be out of business in the next six months to a year, you can quote me on it. Yeah, absolutely.
Mark Thompson: Yeah, and actually I know Todd Brown very well. He’s actually come on a few of my webinar, and that guy can talk about sales funnels for hours and he’s the most interesting person to listen to. You can tell how passionate he is. If you guys are ever interested in learning more about, specifically, sales funnels, Todd Brown is excellent.
Curt Maly: One more quick point to add, if you don’t mind. Todd Brown
Mark Thompson: Yeah. No, go ahead.
Curt Maly: Todd Brown, I actually speak for all of his masterminds, so yeah, he’s brilliant. I’ve got to know him really well, but I was in a mastermind last week with a girl that a lot of people know named, Molly Pitman, from Digital Marketer, and 12 other people who spend about $500 million a month … All 12 people agreed it’s multi-hops to get people through funnel, so if all of these guys spend $1 million a month, we’re all agreeing it’s multi-hops, it’s definitely listen to that watch video. Just want to make a mention of that.
Mark Thompson: Let’s switch gears, I want to talk about the evolution of Facebook ads. Obviously, years back when they started their platform, it was in its infancy. Clicks were really cheap. They didn’t really have the greatest platform. They were letting anybody really advertise on it. Nowadays, it’s a little bit more difficult. They’re banning accounts, the cost is rising. Can you talk about … Just talking about things that Facebook is looking for, and actually more importantly what they’re not looking and the reasons that they’re going out and banning accounts? I’ll be honest here, we gotten an account banned a year ago. I believe it was because we had an exit pop on one of our sales pages, but if you wouldn’t mind just go ahead and talk about what Facebook does not like to see.
Curt Maly: Yeah. I mean, pretty much listening to the whole first part of this interview … Well, hang on a second. Sorry about that.
Mark Thompson: No problem.
Curt Maly: Yeah, listening to the first part of the interview I’ve really given a lot of clues to this point. You can tell I’m obviously very passionate about this, right? Here’s the thing; I’ll just repeat it again real quick. Facebook could care less about your business. You guys have already seen it through customer service.
If your account get shutdown there is no, “I’m sorry I did not know. Can I talk to someone and give me a second chance? Everything managed with Facebook is managed on algorithm. They have over 1 million advertisers. They spend more time coming up with new fun stuff and how to protect their database, which is really huge, than they do supporting their advertisers, and quick honestly, they’re right. They really are.
Facebook wants native advertising. They want people to scroll through the newsfeed and they want people to be like, “That looks interesting. That looks like something that a friend of mine would post.” Not a loud outstanding ad. You got to take a look at Facebook ads like Google Search. When someone clicks on this ad, do they have enough information to go over to the next part? Yes, great.
They’ve gone over … Real quick. It takes us a good great hour … What Facebook wants to do is they want to make sure that everything that you have is congruent. Again, you want to have your ads look like a Google ad, meaning this. Again, when I gave the analogue of Thai chicken in Austin. When I see that link that says Thai chicken in Austin for Google; Google wants me to click on that link, and once I’m on that link be like, “Yeah, I’m in Austin; I’m looking for Thai chicken in Austin. Yes, this the website I want. They want me to read it over. Click around the page once or twice, and say, “This is what I want,” and then clock out my browser or go to a different site like Facebook, twitter or whatever.
Facebook wants the same thing. If people are clicking on your ad, great, but if they go to your landing and leave real quick? not good. Facebook’s going to re-record that. Facebook’s going to record when people don’t like your ad, so when you’re not focused on your avatar in a very clear, consistent message, they’ll actually … Here’s a great thing. What they’ll do is they’ll wait weight people’s opinions. On the right hand side at the very top of every post there’s a little X that you can always X out of, right?
If you don’t plan out your advertising right because Facebook, all they want is relevance. That’s it. Remember, they don’t care about your money; they don’t care about your product. All they want is relevance.
For instance, if you’re running an ad, let’s say, to entrepreneurs, but you’re talking to about how to get a better paying job. Entrepreneur looking it’s like I’m not going to read that and they hit that little X. Well, if I’ve not hit that X in three months and that’s the first ad I’ve hit that X with, that’s huge. See, you got to remember five, 10, 12 people can make a difference on an ad account. I mean, spending $300,000 you’re going to get people who hit that X and say that, hey, I’m not qualify for this, but as little as 10 people can raise their hand and say I’m not qualify that could jeopardize an account. It has to be 100% relevant, hands down. It has to be.
Mark Thompson: Awesome.
Mark Thompson: Right. Yeah, I think so many people get hung up on the shiny object syndrome where it’s like, “Hey, we got this product. Go and buy.” They don’t worry about the lifetime value of a customer and just building that relationship. Like you said, it really is a relationship. When you go out with someone on a first date, you don’t ask them to marry. You’ll get to know them. Learn what their likes and dislikes are and that stuff, so that makes sense.
Curt Maly: For me, it’s the difference between hobbyist and a business owner.
Mark Thompson: Sure. Good stuff. Just a few more questions here and then we’ll wrap things up. This is something that has really bugged me in terms of, Facebook always changing their platform, always changing their terms of service, always having new features and functionality that they’re rolling out. My first part of the question is, how do you keep up with this, and then specifically, one thing I wanted to talk about was the release of the Facebook leads ad program to the public. What’s your opinion on the leads ads versus the traditional newsfeed ads?
Curt Maly: Lead ads are great. I mean, we’re still testing it. It’s still too early to … It can get really cheap or really inexpensive leads, but cheaper doesn’t always mean better, so we don’t really know until we see the long tail of it; 30, 60, 90 days later. Right now we like our initial thing, but it’s like when people tell me, they’re, “Curt, I get $0.05. Great, do I go ahead and buy it?” Well, no, but I have 1,000 leads. “Well, it doesn’t really matter then.” I didn’t buy anything, so we’re still … I like the leads.
First of all, I do like leads looks great. Second thing; how do we keep up with the changes? Well, a lot of people have shiny object syndrome, and what Facebook will do is they’ll start testing. Here’s the thing you got to love about Facebook. With their platform being so big, just imagine they can move something to the side just a little bit, wait 10 minutes and get thousands of responses back, right?
They’re doing testing at major levels, so if they’re rolling something out, typically, they’ve done already done tons of testing on it. As I run an agency, I always focus on the basics so when the latest and greatest coolest thing comes out, I don’t shutdown my business to test out the latest, greatest, crazy thing. Maybe Friday afternoon, I may play around with it for just a little bit.
Now, one of the things that’s really … You always go back to the basics. One of the things that I think is very important to mentioned to answer your question is there is no compliance policy team that meets at Facebook and says here’s how we’re going to write a policy. It’s an algorithm.
There’s an all-knowing artificial intelligence that can tell as people’s habits change; what they want to see or what they do, so stay relevant. It’s the only way for you to keep up with all the updates and not get banned.
Mark Thompson: Curt, thank you so much for coming up. If anyone wants to follow you, what’s the best way to get a hold of you or follow one of your social media profiles?
Curt Maly: I’ll give you two things. Ashley@blackboxsocialmedia. We call her Pepper, so Ashley@blackboxsocialmedia.com because every iron-man requires a pepper is what I told her when I hired her, so we call her Pepper.
We have that. You can also go to Smag SMAG2.com; that is SMAG2.com, and basically what that is it’s just gives you information about me. If I’ll tell you, the biggest tip that I can give people, check out socialmediaadgenius on YouTube. Go to our YouTube channel I have tons of free trainings like here’s how you build an agency, here’s how I work with celebrity clients, here’s some tips on how you can do retargeting, expert interviews with tons of my amazing friends. Go check out the YouTube channel, you’ll find more information than you can probably handle.
Mark Thompson: Curt, thank you so much for joining us. I really do appreciate it. These are some golden nuggets, and I mean, this is actionable stuff. I know we are slowly just increasing the amount of time, energy, money that we are rolling into Facebook just because it is a goldmine of being able to target the right audience, build lead and generate sales for your business, so thank you so much for taking the time and joining me.
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