Transcript of Interview with Nicholas Kusmich
Dan: Welcome to another episode of Shoulders of Titans. This is Dan Lok and today I am so excited, I have the privilege of bringing you another titan. A professional speaker, a strategic consultant and a leading authority on Facebook and social advertising. He’s the secret weapon of some of the biggest names in the world like marketing titans like Joe Polish, Jay Abraham, best-selling authors like Robin Sharma, television personalities like Dean Graziosi and Tony Robbins, just to name a few. And someone who is a great friend of mine, so we’re actually in the same mastermind together so expect we’re going to have a lot of fun and just joke around a bit in this interview as well. So Nicholas, welcome to the show.
Nicholas: Dan, thank you so much for having me I’m excited about our conversation.
Dan: It’ll be fun! So maybe tell us a little bit about your background and how did you got into Facebook advertising?
Nicholas: Almost by mistake, to be honest with you. I mean, I think the entrepreneurship journey was almost by mistake as well. My parents, well my father specifically, got sick when I was 17. He had his fourth heart attack and him and my mother had a small little convenience store business that they had to get rid of because he couldn’t work anymore. So at 17 years old I was the only breadwinner for my family and I felt the burden, oh I wouldn’t say burden, I felt the responsibility of my family, to be able to provide for them. So that kind of opened me up into the entrepreneurial world, trying to figure out a way to make ends meet and try to take care of my family.
A few years, well actually a lot of years after that, I remember sitting in an event and at this point I had already done Facebook ads and I had been pretty darn good at it, and was sitting in an event and the person on stage asked, “how many people in this room are using Facebook ads to grow their business?” And about 80% of the hands went up, including my own. And then his second question was, “well out of all of you, how many people have found Facebook ads to be profitable.” And mine was the only hand that stayed up.
Nicholas: So then I realized, I think I’m onto something here: it looks like there’s a need that people want this but most people can’t figure it out themselves. And so that day, in that chair, at that event I made a decision to say, I’m no longer going to do just digital marketing and I’m no longer going to do just a marketing consultant. I’m going to double and triple down on being a Facebook ad strategist. And that decision has led to where we are today and the rest, as they say, is history.
GETTING RETURN ON YOUR INVESTMENT
Dan: One thing I like a lot about what you do is, I mean there are a lot of Facebook gurus and experts out there, but yours – what your focus is on, generating return on investment. In fact, highest return on investment for your client. Talk to us a little bit about that.
Nicholas: Yea well you know what? you’re right. I think there are some great people out there who are Facebook “gurus” and they talk about the technical and technical things and they try to get people publicity and all this kind of stuff, and look, that’s great, and I think those people are great, and they do great work. I just don’t focus on that. I have one metric that matters and that metric is return on investment. That’s the only thing I care about when we run ads. Now in order to accomplishment that I usually, I like to talk about Facebook ads and online marketing similar to an iceberg.
You know, there’s 10% above the water that everybody can see and then there’s the 90% below the water that no one is aware of. Most of the people out there, and the reason why they’re not getting the results that we are, is not because they’re not good at their job, it’s just because they’re focussing on the 10%. It’s the tactical, technical stuff that does help a little bit but it doesn’t really move the needle. What we focus on is the 90%. It’s the social psychology: it’s why people buy, and what do they do and all that sort of stuff. And when you put that together with the tactical stuff, that’s how you get some of the higher returns. So that’s what we focus on.
THE PSYCHOLOGY OF COPYWRITING
Dan: Yes, definitely, and what I see, when you do your ads, when you do your campaigns, I notice, probably most because you understand human psychology, but yours, you’re a very good copywriter and that makes a huge difference, versus, you know, I’ll just slap an image and just put some words out there and then they wonder why it doesn’t convert, right?
Nicholas: It means a lot that you would say that to me in terms of being a good copywriter. I think, you know, in the true core, in the true skill and the true mastery of copywriting I wouldn’t consider myself all that good. But what I try to focus on, and I think this is the economy and this is the situation that we’re all in, in a social world is that I have one goal when I write copy, and that’s really to connect with the person who’s reading it. So even if I’m not that great of a copywriter, I feel like if I can connect with the person on the other end then that’s going to help cause a transaction. I don’t know who said it, so I’m going to take credit for now until we find the real source, but somebody said, “good communications is not when your ideal prospect understands you, good communications is when your ideal prospect feels understood by you.”
Dan: Yes, very true.
Nicholas: So my whole goal whenever writing copy, or even selecting images for that matter, is keeping that in the back of my mind: what can I do to have that person feel like I understand them and I think that’s kind of what helps with what we do.
THE FUNDAMENTALS OF FACEBOOK ADVERTISING
Dan: Yes, and definitely I know we’re going to talk about the strategies. But I wanted to maybe take a step back and talk about the fundamentals. Let’s say for someone who is listening to this and they’re saying, “well there are many things I can do to drive traffic and to get leads.” Why Facebook advertising?
Nicholas: Yea so I think there’s the mackerel level, and that’s every single day there is over 2 billion people..
Dan: Just 2 billion right?
Nicholas: Yea, only 2 billion. Every single day there is literally 2 billion people who are on the Facebook platform. So what does that mean in short? It means that everybody, no matter what type of business you’re in, no matter if you’re going for clients or customers, whether you’re b to c, or b to b, to me at the end of the day it’s all h to h – it’s all human to human. No matter who you’re going for, they’re going to be part of that 2 billion who are on Facebook at any given time. So one, it’s the bigness of Facebook. Your clients and your customers are there, no questions asked, hands down. But the other side of it is just because Facebook is so big is not really what makes it so great. It’s the fact that it’s “small.” And what I mean by that is: Facebook, although we know it as a social media platform, in reality it’s the greatest data aggregator in the entire world.
The little joke that we have here is that Facebook knows us better than we know ourselves. And how do I know that? It’s cos when I woke up this morning I looked at my Facebook news feed and it said, “hey do you remember last year you had this for lunch?” And it showed an image that I took last year of the lunch that I had. Now I completely forgot about that, but Facebook didn’t. So the idea is, I mean Facebook knows what we like, who we follow, where we’ve been based on check-ins, what we browse on the internet, what we’ve bought, etc. etc. etc. And so now as an entrepreneur, now as a business owner, we have the marketing capabilities and the targeting capabilities unlike any other platform on the planet. So if anyone asks me why Facebook? It’s really because a) the 2 billion people include your customers, and b) there’s no other platform on the planet that allows you to segment and to target like Facebook can. So it’s just a powerful combination.
Dan: Maybe walk us through like how much targeting can we do. Just to scare our listeners a bit, right?
Nicholas: Also, the opportunities are literally endless. But if I wanted to I could target 24-year-old females who live in California at a specific zip code, who shop at Wholefoods, read women’s romance models and spent some money on their Amex in the last 3 days. Now I don’t know why I would want to target that, but if I did we could very easily do that. I know I was consulting with a Maserati dealership in Bevery Hills and they asked us just to target very specific postal or zip codes, just because they knew that that’s where their clientele lived. The opportunities are endless and it’s actually quite scary who you can actually drill down and target if you needed to.
BUDGETING FOR FACEBOOK
Dan: Now Nicholas, does that mean for an entrepreneur, does that mean we have to have, you know, like the clients you work with, does it mean that we have to have a big budget of tens of thousands of dollars, hundreds of thousands of dollars, a monthly budget to test Facebook ads? Like how much do we need to kind of, to get it going and test it around?
Nicholas: That’s such a good question Dan, because, like, I get that question all the time. Because people will say, “well sometimes Nick you’re spending $100,000 a day, do I need to spend $100,000 a day?” No, here’s the answer: the budget doesn’t matter. What you need to have is what Ryan Dice calls “a predictable selling machine.” So what I mean by that is if you have something you know that every time you send 100 people there, that let’s say 3-5 of them buy, so you know your conversion rate is 3-5%. If you know that happens like clockwork, every single time you send 100 people there, let’s say 5 of them buy, so you have a 5% conversion rate. And then you know how much those 5 people are worth to you, then Facebook becomes very easy.
Because as long as you can acquire a customer or a client cheaper than the value of that client to you, you are in the money every single time. So then if you want to spend $5 a day, and know that you’re going to make $10, who cares, spend $5 a day. If you know you’re to spend $1000 and make $2000 then who cares? So to me it has very little to do with how much budget you have, it has everything to do with: do I have a predictable selling system that if I send someone somewhere, do I know based on the data that x number of people are a convert? And if the answer is yes, then Facebook advertising is going to really, really help you and if the answer is no, what the heck are you doing in business?
That’s really what it comes down to. So you need to figure that out as fast as you can and then be able to run paid media to these predictable selling systems.
THE ETIQUETTE OF FACEBOOK ADVERTISING
Dan: And I love your metaphor, I think it was something like you talk about, although there are billions of people on Facebook, but I think a lot of entrepreneurs, when they advertise, they have this assumption that, oh yea they’re going to buy my stuff versus what you were saying is: no, no, no, no, they’re going there, they’re looking at their friends, their stuff, their wall, right? You are interrupting them, right? They don’t know you, they don’t like you, they don’t trust you. Let’s start with that first, right? So talk to us about that philosophy.
Nicholas: Yea so the story I like to give behind that, it’s a made up story, but the story I like to give behind that is I have people imagine that they’re at a family barbecue. So they’re in their back yard, they’re having a great, nice hamburger, they’re talking with their family, catching up on gossip and then all of a sudden some guy comes through the backyard gate, takes food off your table and then starts interjecting himself into your conversation. Now that in itself would be bad enough, but then he opens up his big-ass bag and he pulls out a vacuum cleaner and he tries to sell that to you.
So the question I usually ask people then is, how would that make you feel? And the general response is: well, pissed off, angry, I don’t like him etc. etc. Of course not! But why would you feel that way? Well because a) he wasn’t invited, b) I don’t need a vacuum cleaner and c) even if I did need a vacuum cleaner my back yard barbecue party is not the appropriate place or time to sell this to me.
So people say, ha ha that’s very funny, but the reality is that most entrepreneurs and marketers do that on Facebook. So if you imagine that the Facebook newsfeed is your backyard barbecue, you know, people are in there just to hang out, to catch up, to socialise, that sort of thing, and then you come on and basically say, “hey, buy my shit,” you are that vacuum cleaner sales guy. I mean, you’ve built no rapport. Like you said Dan, they don’t know you, they don’t like you, they don’t trust you and you’re trying to sell them stuff. So I think it’s important to understand the platform that you’re on. You know Dan, if you woke up and you went on Amazon today or you went on Ebay today I’m assuming you probably have a credit card in your hand and you’re ready to buy something.
Nicholas: Why? Because those are commerce driven platforms and people are expected to transact on them. Nobody wakes up in the morning credit card in hand logging onto Facebook and saying, “I’m looking for something to buy today.” Different type of platform. So as you alluded to then, the greatest mistake, and if people ask me, “what’s the greatest mistake an entrepreneur can make on Facebook?” The greatest mistake you can make on Facebook is to try to sell something on Facebook. You need instead to see Facebook as a platform to reach your people with your message and then potentially generate a lead or give them some good content that will then enter into kind of a sales discussion further down the road.
So the straight line is not the straight line if you will. Most people say, “hey if I have a widget to sell and I have a person on Facebook that should buy this widget, I’m just going to put up an ad to sell the widget.” In other words, the straight line, the shortest distance between two points. And I would argue and say, “no, you don’t want to do that because a) you’re not going to sell anything and b) people are really not going to be happy with you.” Instead, what can you put in between? Can you offer some content? Can you generate a lead? Can you give them a video or something that at least starts that process of having them know, like, and trust you? And then you’re in a much better place to start having some sales conversations, because at that point you’ve already kind of built some rapport with them.
Dan: I love it, because that’s a powerful distinction: so view Facebook not as a sales channel but as a lead generation platform.
MAKING THE PERFECT FACEBOOK AD
Dan: Maybe walk us through this, I know you charge a lot of money for this, what makes a perfect Facebook ad?
Nicholas: Ok, so there’s a lot of things we can talk about, and I have a ten stage process that we typically teach, and it’s 90 minutes and we could be here for hours, but I’ll give you three things that I think are important for a perfect Facebook ad. And I call it “look, hook, and took.” “Look” refers to attention. So when someone is scrolling through their Facebook news feed, the first thing you need to do, before you can try to persuade or influence anybody to do anything, the first thing you need to do is actually catch their attention. Because if you’re trying to persuade and influence before you’ve even caught their attention, you’re going to realise that nobody is watching.
So how then do we first capture their attention? And that’s what “look” stands for. I say that 80% of the success of any ad comes down to the image, because that’s really what the platform is driven off of. So if image is the way to do that, how do we choose and select images that are going to capture attention? Well there’s a couple of thigs you can do, but I would say this one is one that people can take away from: and that would be to select an image that provokes emotion through storytelling.
So the general theme I like to say is, hey, if you’re picking an image, pretend that you weren’t allowed to use words in your ad. What image would you choose then? I mean it just gets your mind thinking about, ok well what kind of image would I choose? Because we all know that nobody transacts based on logic, they all transact based on emotion. So we need to connect with people on an emotional level. And the best way to initially do that would be through selecting an image again that provokes emotion through story. So think more along the kind of metaphor line as opposed to your traditional stock photo or something like that, that people have probably seen a million times before.
Dan: So, and then I think you also talked about if you make the colour of the image have more contrast, that would also bump conversion as well.
Nicholas: Yea because again, just think about it from a user experience. If someone is scrolling through their newsfeed and they’re seeing image after image after image after image and you just throw another image in there, well it’s nothing that’s going to really stand out for somebody. So when I was thinking about this, I was thinking, well how can I get my image to stand out? Well first I could pick an image that actually provokes emotion through story, but then if I do something as simple as increasing the contrast of that image, all of a sudden that image is going to pop a little bit harder than everybody else’s image and then it’s going to stop someone for a split second to catch their attention. And that’s all I need, because if they can stop for just one second and start reading my copy, then we’re going to be in a good place. So that would be the “look” portion of a good successful Facebook ad.
Dan: Got it, okay. And the second part?
Nicholas: So the second part is “hook”. And “hook” stands for creating connection. Now again, there’s a whole tonne of things that we can do talking about that, but I would say this: at the end of the day, even if you don’t see yourself as a very good copywriter, my thing goes back to what we mentioned earlier: can you connect with that person and build rapport through your copy? And I think the easiest copy sequence that someone can use to just start this process is the “feel, felt, found” formula. In other words, you’re not necessarily going to say these words exactly, but through your copy you want to say something along the lines of, “hey I know how you feel, I have felt the same way too, until I have found this new discovery.” And that’s where you talk about your video or your lead magnet or whatever you’re giving away.
But the idea is before you do anything on that ad, you want to make sure that you’re creating some sort of a deep connection with that person’s fears, frustrations, wants and aspirations. If you know that that person has fears or frustrations or wants or aspirations, you want to be addressing those in your ad because again that comes down to that person saying, “wow, this person really gets me, I want to see what else he has to talk about.”
Dan: Nicholas do you find that, I’ve seen ads where sometimes it’s quite short in the copy, I’ve also seen some that’s quite long. And then when you click on continue it goes into almost like a mini sales pitch. What’s been your experience with that.
Nicholas: So I find myself right in the middle. So I don’t like really, really short copy because then people think it’s just an ad. And I want to make sure, again staying true to the social context of Facebook, that when people see my ad they don’t think it’s an ad, they think it’s just some guy sharing some great stuff. And so shorter copy typically means it’s an ad. On the other hand, I do want to respect people’s time and their ability to consume my content, and so if I have a really, really, really long kind of almost mini sales letter type thing in the copy, I’ve found that that experience also works against me because then it’s just too much to consume and people might miss some good information.
So my whole perception is this: the point of the ad is not to sell anything, the point of the ad is not even to capture the lead, the point of the ad has one intention and one goal and that is to get the click. So that being said, I’m not going to do super short copy because that’s a little click baitish, I’m going to do medium length copy. Enough to build a rapport and make a connection. Not too long that I kind of lose the person and not too short so it just seems like it’s some kind of straight up ad copy.
LEAD MAGNETS AND CONVERTING – WHAT WORKS?
Dan: Mmm makes sense. And when you’re talking about lead magnets, let’s say we have the ad, and we’re targeted, and people click on the ad and then they go to some kind of landing page. Like, when you work with clients, what’s been converting the best in terms of lead magnet? Is it like a webinar, is it like a video, is it like an e-book, well e-books are probably dead, but what’s been working?
Nicholas: That’s a great question. I believe that people transact with one of two types of currency: either time or money, and both are really big asks for people. So I think, and what we have found in all of our tests, is that, yes webinars convert well, yes four-part video series convert well, yes well-formed videos convert well – I’m not denying the fact that they don’t’ convert. But I don’t think that they are the best lead magnets, I think they are the best conversion tools. So what we found then is that the best form of lead magnet is something that someone can consume and actually apply within 4 to 7 minutes. And usually what that means is some sort of a downloadable pdf: a check list, a resource guide, a cheat sheet, something like that where someone can literally download it immediately, it has very low barrier to inch rate.
People want these things, but the more important part is: we don’t just want that person downloading it and doing nothing with it, we want that person downloading it and actually applying it. Because if they apply it they get a great result. If they get a great result, they connect that result back to you and then they want to keep doing business with you. So the type of lead magnets that I’m a really big fan of right now are some form of a downloadable pdf that someone can apply right away, it’s really actionable and that really sets you up for further discussions with that ideal prospect.
Dan: I love that. As I always say, small commitment leads to bigger commitment. We want them to at least just put up their hand first, and just small pdf, and if they consume that content then it’s more likely that they will consume your other content as well. If you give them a 500-page e-book, then they’re like I’m going to put it somewhere in my folder and then they forget about it.
Nicholas: Right. Well even on that note I think Cialdini talks about it, influence is a principle of commitment or consistency. If someone can do a micro-commitment with you they’re more likely to continue down that path until they’re completed, so, I think it’s a brilliant point.
Dan: Awesome. So from the ad, now the landing page, now they’ve opted in for a one-page checklist, a pdf. Now what’s next?
Nicholas: So the worst thing you can do, and here’s where I differ from a lot of people, is when someone asks for a PDF or you promise a PDF, let’s say, and then they opt in for it, the worst thing you can do is actually give it to them right there. Now I know that sounds counter intuitive. But the reason for that is because I believe people fit into one of three categories: fast, medium and slow. And the worst thing you can do for someone who’s excited about getting content from you is, you know, put a wall up in front of them. If they’re on this momentum process of saying, “hey, I saw an ad, I read the ad, I clicked the ad, I saw a landing page, I read the landing page, I gave you my name and my email,” the last thing you want to do with someone who’s gone through all those steps is basically say “thank you, see you later.”
Instead, you want to give them a potential opportunity to engage with you on some sort of level. So my favourite thing to do at that point is, on the thank you page, I don’t give them the thing that they asked for, I tell them the thing that they asked for is going to arrive in their inbox in a few minutes. And then in the meantime, while they’re waiting for that thing, I just make them what I call an irresistible offer. Now not everybody is going to take us up on that offer, but the few fast people will and it’ll start that transaction process earlier rather than later. So that thank you page for me is designed and reserved for making someone an irresistible offer that they can only get at that time in order to start the buying process early.
Dan: So it could be something for $100, $200 or something like that. It’s like an impulsive buy, right?
Nicholas: Yes, it’s an impulsive buy that’s irresistible. So sometimes, depending on the type of business you are, some people call it a tripwire. So it could be a very low ticket offer. For other people it could be a consultation call because they’re selling higher ticket stuff and so they want to get people on the phone. So they say, “hey, you know what, my consultation calls are usually $300 an hour but because you’re here, if you book it right now I’d love to give you that for free, go ahead and book that now.” Or it could be a little bit of a higher ticket offer. We on my particular thank you pages, we’re selling anything between $300 to $900 on that page. And we’re just letting people know, hey it typically costs this much but because you’re here right now and because I want to get started on the right foot you can have it at a 50% discount and here’s why. And sometimes that will create transactions as well.
Dan: Nicholas is that what we’re trying to maybe break even with the ad spend? Hopefully with a little bit of luck, if we sell enough on the thank you page, that page will offset some of the advertising cost.
Nicholas: Yea that’s a great point. The sooner you can self-liquidate a lead, the better, right? So if we’re paying money to generate leads, then obviously we want to self-liquidate that so we don’t have to wait too long before that person becomes a buyer. And the same thing we’re also doing is creating buying behaviour early in the game. A buying lead is way more powerful than just an opt-in lead.
Nicholas: Someone who actually brought out their credit card and transacted with you, no matter what level that is, even if it’s $1, that person has gone through the effort to pull out their credit card, fill that credit card in, and display that they trust you. And so we don’t want to negate the fact that if people trust us, having a customer list, even if it’s a low ticket offer, is actually a very powerful list. These are going to be our best customers and clients down the road.
Dan: Powerful stuff. Now what about the two other types of buyers?
Nicholas: Okay, so the other two types of buyers are like medium and slow guys. And the medium guy is basically someone who needs your traditional multiple touch points before they purchase. And so that’s where your traditional sales funnel kicks in. So some people have a webinar, some people have a four-part video series, some people have an email drip campaign – whatever it is it doesn’t matter, it just means the medium guys need more than one offer or more than one touch point before they decide to buy from you.
So you’ve got to make sure you have a traditional, some sort of a funnel in place that makes that offer at some point in that buyer’s discussion. And then those people, you know there’s going to be a percentage of those people who end up converting and buying, and then you have the slow people. And most people ignore the slow people, and I would advise most people not to ignore the slow people. Now the slow people are basically those people who opt in for your free stuff, and they hang around on your email list, or your Facebook group or your podcast or whatever and they don’t buy. And they hang around for months and months and months and maybe even years, and they don’t buy.
And then eventually at some point, maybe you released a video or you got them on a podcast, or something. They listened, they saw it, and then they finally turned around and said, “ok I’m ready to buy now.” And the reality is there’s going to be a lot of people who fit into that category as well. So if you ignore them you’re leaving a lot of things on the table, but if you spend the time to nurture those people over time, and again that could be through any form of content: email, videos, podcasts, however you distribute content to your people, when you do that over time those too will come around at the right time and be a customer as well, so you don’t want to ignore them.
Dan: That actually makes a lot of sense. I remember a story, a while ago I was consulting with a client and he sells to boomers. And he would run these tele-seminars. So they dial the phone number, it’s just a very high ticket item. And there’s this particular lady, and she’s been on his tele-seminar for like six, seven times, ok? And by the seventh time she said, she finally bought. And my client was like, “well why did you buy?” “Somehow this time I think your story, something about what you said just really connected with me this time.” Well, it’s the same tele seminar, it’s recorded right, seven times. But it took her seven times to sink in and finally make the decision. That’s kind of interesting.
Nicholas: But it’s so true, you just never know where someone is at on the buyer’s journey, and sometimes it’s going to take a whole bunch of time. But again if we ignore those people I think we’re doing a disservice to ourselves and to them.
COMMUNICATING WITH CLIENTS AND CUSTOMERS
Dan: Then how often should we follow up in terms of email and what do you suggest to your clients?
Nicholas: Yea, you know what, I’m a terrible example of this, because one of my friends is Ryan Dice and he says you should follow up via email every single day, and then when I look at my follow-up via email, I basically write an email once every four months.
Dan: I like that when I opt into your list you actually tell them you’re not going to get a lot of frequent email, don’t expect an email every week or something like that.
Nicholas: Yea I’m very upfront. I’m like, “don’t expect to get an email, sometimes I write something worth sharing and those times I’ll share it with you and it’s not all that often.” So but what I do find, and full transparency there, sometimes if you don’t write somebody for a long time they forget about you. And if they forget about you then it’s almost like they’re a cold lead and you never should have had the lead in the first place. So I think there’s a fine balance. I would say more than focusing on specific frequency, it’s just what are you comfortable doing and how can you communicate it to them in multiple different ways.
So for me, I don’t write much via email to my list, but if you’re in my Facebook group I’m in there almost every other day writing something or interacting or communicating or doing something like that. So I think if you have multiple ways that you can have a conversation with your tribe, or with the people who are subscribing to you, frequency is important, but as long as people feel like they’re having some form of communication with you and you can stay top of mind, then it’s a good thing.
Dan: I think you just touched on a very powerful strategy: the Facebook group. I know you grew yours to now tens of thousands of people in a very short period of time, and even in the email you encourage them, “hey join my Facebook group, let’s connect let’s interact.” Share that strategy with us.
Nicholas: Yea, you know what, I almost came across that by mistake. You know, I felt like I was too late to the email game, not that there’s such a thing as too late, but I almost got worried. I felt like if I were going to send an email to somebody, that Infusion Soft would not deliver the email, and when I do send the email only 20% open up. So I was like, “this sucks, there’s got to be a better way.” And what I found happening was, I had a bunch of people private messaging me basically saying, “hey can I pick your brain, can I pick your brain, can I pick your brain.” Now I’m a people pleaser, so I’d always say yes back then, and it got to the point where I’m like, I can’t do this anymore, this is taking up all my time. So I decided, and I made an announcement, “hey I’m going to just have a Facebook group here because I can’t have everybody private messaging me picking my brain, but if you’re in the Facebook group and you have a question, post it in the group and eventually, when I have the time, couple of times a day I’ll get to it and answer.”
So when it started I think there was like, I don’t know, 15, 20 people in that group. And that’s what they did: they sometimes posted stuff in there and then I just kind of came in whenever I could to provide answers. And then, I don’t know what happened man, but all of a sudden they started sharing and people started hearing about it and 6 to 8 months later there’s tens of thousands of people in there, and to me this is my community. This is where I give of my time, these are the people I help, this is where I generate some of my revenue from. And it just to me has replaced the email list. And again in there I’m there much more often and I’m doing everything I can to build a good community in there, to let those people know I’m really there for them.
Dan: I think that’s a very powerful strategy, because with the Facebook it also feels more personal. Because email, it’s just your address, it’s just your name, it’s here we go the autoresponders, here we go it’s the seven step sequence. But versus Facebook, they can see your face, you know who they are, they know who you are you can post pictures, you can post videos, and if you take the time to develop a relationship and you announce something and make an offer it doesn’t feel very sellsy. What do you think?
Nicholas: Yea I think you nailed it on the head. And I wasn’t even really thinking about that, but in a social context – you know, even when we were at the mastermind, we won’t say who’s it is but it’s kind of funny, but we were at the mastermind and a lot of the communications were happening through google groups. And then someone put up their hand and said, “is there a better way to receive communication? Why don’t we just have a Facebook group?” And at first there was a little bit of resistance to that, but the reality is, like, if you can communicate on a platform that people are already on anyways and they’re used to logging on there and it is a very personal platform, I think definitely like all these sale guards go down.
And at the end of the day my basic premise is: how can I provide value to my community” And if I can provide value, I trust that when the time is right for them to engage with me, they will. So this is my way of providing value. But I think you nailed it on the head: it’s very personal, people feel like they’re creating relationships, people feel like they’re getting value, and as a result, you know, you can turn around and generate sales from it as well.
Dan: And I think it’s also more a two-way communication.
Nicholas: Good point.
Dan: And if there are people who are in the group, if they are spamming other members, you can kick them out, because it’s your group. Versus in email, you know, sometimes you don’t even know are they still opening my email? Are they reading it? I have no clue. Are they commenting? are we connecting with them? We don’t know right?
Nicolas: That’s such a good point.
Dan: Nicholas have you tested like even running ads that drive people directly to your Facebook group?
Nicholas: I have not, not that I think it’s bad, or not that I think you can’t do it, but, again, this thing kind of just happened so organically, where it happened so fast that it’s just the way it is. But that’s not to say that I don’t think that it’s a bad strategy because I believe – I’m not going to say Facebook groups are better than email, but what I am going to say is the more ways you have to communicate with your people the better. And if you treat a Facebook group just like you do an email list, from the perspective of: I want to grow the group with likeminded people, people who are going to be my ideal target, I don’t see why you wouldn’t drive ads to a Facebook group.
Or here’s what I do: if I’m offering a lead magnet of sorts, I’m actually doing both. So if I offer a lead magnet, I’m driving leads to a landing page that captures the name and an email address. On the thank you page I’m going to say, “well by the way, congratulations, I’m going to send you that in the inbox, by the way, I have this free Facebook group that I’d love for you to join.” So now you’re collecting both the lead and the person in the Facebook group, and now you’re able to communicate to them in two different ways.
HOW TO SELL SMALL SCALE ITEMS
Dan: Yea that makes a lot of sense. I think that’s a great strategy. What about for someone listening, because I know you work with a lot of thought leaders in high ticket space, but what if someone is selling, is “hey Nicholas I have an e-commerce business, I’m selling a product for $20, $30, you know? I don’t have like a report or information or lead magnet to give out, what do I do with Facebook.?”
Nicholas: Yea that’s a great question and I think you could do things one of two ways: I would think if you really really want to test, and you’re lazy and just drive ad traffic to your e-commerce store and sell a product you could try that. Again, it violates my straight line principle, but some people have some success with that. What I’ve found though is, even better success is, again, if you just keep in the back of your mind that the straight line is not the straight line and you always should put an intermediary step in between.
A very common practice in the e-commerce space, and we do this as well, is you drive ad traffic to some form of content that pre-frames the offer. So you’re going to actually talk about your product: you’re going to talk about how good it is, why it’s good, you’re going to show some case studies, you’re going to say why this is the best thing, and then set up the sale. And then from that page you can drive them over to the actual e-commerce site. So to me it’s, what is the step that you need to put in between, that’s really going to pre-frame someone to say, “hey I know, like and I trust this person and I think this product is great based on everything that I’ve just read, now I want to buy.” That’s a lot better than going from Facebook ad to product and hope that this product that’s sitting in your e-commerce store is going to have enough persuasion to be able to sell someone something, that’s usually not the case, so I always like putting a step in between.
Dan: Mmm that makes a lot of sense. So that’s basically pre educate and pre-frame the prospect before they even make the purchase.
Nicholas: Yea, again, anything we can do that creates a little bit of connection, that has someone know, like, and trust us and give them a reason to do business with us, is always better than just trying to go straight for the sale.
FACEBOOK GROUPS VERSUS FACEBOOK PAGES
Dan: And what about, let’s say for, we’ve talked about Facebook group, what about Facebook page? You know, sometimes nowadays you have to either spend money to do a boost, you know, all that. Like what’s your take on those?
Nicholas: So this is just my personal opinion, and not everybody likes this opinion of mine, but I totally think that Facebook pages are a waste of time and money. I think you need to have a page if you are going to do any Facebook advertising, cos it requires you to have a Facebook fan page. But I would not hire a social media staff or assistant to populate that page with a bunch of stuff, or to try to grow the page or anything like that. I think for the most part it just strokes our ego. I mean, admittedly, if I had 300,000 followers on my Facebook fan page it would make me feel good, I would think I’m some hot guy that everyone wants to follow, but the reality is that doesn’t typically turn into dollars and cents. So it’s a vanity metric to me.
So I would say if you have a Facebook page, great, you need one for advertising, but I would think that advertising the way we’ve been talking about, Dan, is far more powerful than trying to use your Facebook fan page. Because again it’s a two-step process. Here you’re trying to get fans and then you have to pay to reach your own fans? I think it’s silly. If you’re going to pay you might as well pay directly to reach someone than have to pay to reach your own fans.
Dan: Yea also I think it goes back to, I agree I’ve seen both, the Facebook group you get high engagement and also you get, when you post you’re not paying anything, right? But who knows, later on Facebook might charge, who the heck knows what they’ll do right?
Nicholas: That’s true, that’s true. But I think the key take away here is have more than one way to communicate with your tribe. And if you have more than one way to do that, then no matter if one platform goes down or your emails don’t deliver or whatever happens: maybe you have an app and you have push button notifications, maybe you have desktop push button notifications, maybe you have the Facebook group or the fan page or a podcast for that matter, like you do. If you have multiple platforms that you are able to communicate to the people who are following you, I think you’re much better off than just relying on one.
SELLING HIGH TICKET ITEMS
Dan: What about, so we’ve talked about, let’s say someone’s selling a product or a program online course, but let’s say for someone selling something that’s high ticket but also with a longer sell cycle. So you’ve worked with Joe Polish, and you’ve helped him promote his 25K group, which is high ticket. That’s not a thing that where you’re on a thank you page and it’s like “hey you want to sign up right now?”
Nicholas: I’ll give you a discount.
Dan: Not that type of sell. Of course you get on the call and you follow up. First of all, how do you measure and track that, number one, and what’s the best strategy to sell something like that high ticket item?
Nicholas: Yea, so I think there’s multiple forms of strategy. So some of our clients who sell $5000, $10,000 $50,000 type of high ticket consulting or services offers. The real question is, what can I put in between the ad and that conversation that’s going to pre-frame them the best? So for some people it’s a webinar: so they’ll run people to a webinar, and then they’ll watch a webinar for 40 to 60 minutes and that’ll pre-frame them and then the invitation at the end of the webinar is, “hey, if you’d like to hop on a strategy call where we can talk about this and see how we might be able to help you, schedule it over here.” So that’s one way, it’s a very popular way in this space to sell high ticket. Some people it’s a multiple part video series, so they come in and they see a couple of different touch points via content and then the invitation is always, “hey let’s hop on a strategy call to make the sale.”
You know, in Joe’s case, some of the things we do is we leverage his “I love marketing” podcasts. So he’s got some great, fantastic people that he brings on the podcast, and we drive traffic to his pages that have the podcasts, and that warms them up. And we do that a few times: we have them watch one podcast, then we have them watch a video from one of the 10 minute talks at the Genius Network annual event from really high profile people. And we just have a couple of steps in between that have them really open up to the idea that Joe’s a great guy and the network is a great network to be a part of. And then after they have some of these multiple touch points, then there’s an ad that goes out and basically says, “we invite you to apply for this.” And then we’ve driven them to an application page and they fill out the application and then one of their people will obviously get on the phone, they’ll have an interview to make sure they’re a good fit and if they are they’ll extend an invitation to them and if they’re not they’ll just hold that invitation back.
But at the end of the day, that person who’s getting on the phone at that point is more or less convinced that they want to be a part of this group. They obviously already know the price because it’s in the name, and now they’re just, almost, it’s a beautiful thing that happens, where at that point people are now selling themselves to you, rather than you having to sell this high ticket item. And I see that even in my own business. Right now if I hop on the call with anybody, this is a strong word and I don’t mean it in a bad way, but people are literally begging to work with me, and I’m making the choice of whether or not that’s a possibility or not.
So if somebody’s thinking that far in the process with me, I’m not having a conversation about price or I’m not trying to convince them that I’m the right person for the job for them, they’re already convinced about that. So the question, again back to your question Dan, is what do I need to put in front of them? What pieces of content, what videos, what copy, what any form of content do I need to put in front of them that’s going to get them into the mindset that I want them in before I talk to them? And whatever that is, is what we’re going to drive ads to, and then we’re going to nurture them a little bit before we have that conversation.
Dan: And also I love the way, I share with you even the first time I met you, I love the way you do your branding, your personal branding and then the positioning that you do, I think it’s brilliant.
Nicholas: Well, you know, I appreciate that, and I love your stuff by the way too. But we had this conversation where we were sitting in that mastermind group and this guy was selling like $500,000 or $1,000,000 financial services program, and the video that he was using to do that was a cartoon.
Dan: Yea that whiteboard video.
Nicholas: Yea the whiteboard video. And then you just stopped, and you’re like. “bro, you can’t be doing that, that’s incongruent with your branding, because if I have a million-dollar portfolio that I’m looking to invest somewhere, and you show me a whiteboard cartoon video, I mean that’s not happening.”
Dan: That is not happening.
Nicholas: So, you identified that, and you called him out on it and it’s a great point. Like, I don’t think everybody necessarily needs to have high production value if it’s not congruent to your brand, but if you are selling high ticket, for the most part, it’s going to require you to do something a little bit more than just some sloppy sales letter somewhere and some ghetto video.
Dan: Yes, what’s your perspective like on branding, on personal branding and positioning. What’s your philosophy?
Nicholas: Oh I love that question. Because to me, at the end of the day, marketing is nothing more than establishing pre-eminent positioning in your market place.
Dan: Oh, say that again I love that.
Nicholas: So to me marketing is nothing more than establishing pre-eminent positioning in your market place and then reinforcing that positioning over, and over, and over, and over again. So everything I do from a marketing standpoint has little to do with promotions. You know, when most people think marketing, they think, “oh, copy or headlines or promotions,” and I think those are all important, don’t get me wrong, but when I do marketing I am consciously and intentionally thinking about, how am I going to be perceived as an expert in my space, and how do I reinforce that thought over, and over, and over again through what I do?
And sometimes that comes down to personal branding, so we have, you know, the photos we take and the videos we put out there. That has to represent that. Sometimes it’s just killer content, that helps. Sometimes it’s getting on great podcasts, with great podcasts hosts like you, to position myself that way. And I’m just constantly thinking about, how do I maintain that positioning in the market place? Because once you get there, and to me brand is nothing more than your perception in the market place, so once you get there, to where people perceive you in the light that you want to be perceived in, you will never have to do any “sales” again, because these people are just going to want to do business with you. And so I love that question, because me and you, we talked about it, we’re so on the same page with the realisation that branding and personal branding and people getting an experience of who you are actually does a lot more of the heavy lifting than – and it eliminates the need to be a very strong salesperson.
Dan: And it’s very true, because we come from the world, even in direct response marketing, a lot of the old school, direct response guys are just ugly sales. Make it ugly, just plain piece of paper, no visual. I think things have changed quite a bit. I think at least in the high ticket world. I just, like, from my experience, coming from direct response, and when you’re dealing with other entrepreneurs at a higher level outside of that marketing world, people are not like that.
Nicholas: Right, I agree.
Dan: You know, we joke about it, we’re the two guys that dress – the shoppers in the mastermind group and it truly is an image. Yea you could show up in jeans and stuff like that, but in a business setting, you never get a second chance to make a first impression.
Nicholas: That’s good, so true.
Dan: It’s like you want to charge someone a lot of money, you’ve gotta look like someone who deserves a lot of money.
Nicholas: Sure. And yea, it’s just that misunderstanding of like, everybody thinks they’re Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg. And so jeans and a black turtle neck and “I’m the next Steve Jobs.” No you’re not. I mean, they probably started dressing that way after they built a great business, and even if they did before that, like, those are anomalies, those are not the common folk out there. So I agree with you. And again, I agree with you in the sense where it has to be brand specific, obviously, if it represents your brand, but if you’re going high ticket, and you’re asking for a lot of money from some high level people, your personal brand better represent what it is that you actually do.
Dan: I also love one of the things you do, it’s very, very smart, but I don’t know if people know that. That the way you name different things. Ok, the way you name your process. You’re not just “I do some Facebook ads.” No, no like” micro market maximiser.” Like you come up with a lot of your own terms. What’s the strategy behind that?
Nicholas: Part of it is just to be able to stand out. Because if you’re calling it what everybody else is calling it, then obviously you just blend in and nobody cares. But the second side to it is, it comes back down to the branding. Like, if you can create languaging around your processes, and anything that even appears to be proprietary automatically has this thing in their mind that it must be more expensive or it must be higher level because it’s named something. I think that’s an important point there. And then also, like, it’s funny, we have these great conversations. So one of my processes that kind of underlines everything that I do, and this goes back to the whole vacuum cleaner story, is I say what I do is contextual congruence.
So people ask me what does that mean, and the real answer is it means nothing but it means everything at the same time. But here’s the best part, and here’s where I know it’s really working. It’s when I will get onto a phone call with someone that I’ve never met, and we’re talking about business and we’re seeing if we have a good fit – and I remember one specific conversation: super, super high level entrepreneur is talking to me and he’s like, “hey, can you look at my ads and tell me what you think?” And then he turns around and says this to me Dan, he goes, “I know my ads are not contextually congruent so can you take a look at this.” So this guy was actually using my language back to me.
Dan: That is so awesome.
Nicholas: That’s when I realized that, you know, it’s working. And I don’t think I did that intentionally to start, but now that I do, or now that I’m kind of in the flow of things that way, I think specifically naming things to have them memorable and connected back to you definitely helps.
Dan: And is there a process you go through? Because the titles and stuff you come up with is so awesome. I notice most of the time it’s like two syllables, you have, you know, say “micro market maximisers”, “m, m, m” right. Like what’s your process?
Nicholas: You know; I wish I had one. I don’t specifically. I do like alliteration, so like the “m, m, m” or the “c, c” contextual congruence. I like using words that might have double meanings – so if you hear contextual congruence it could mean a whole bunch of things so it creates a little bit of curiosity.
Dan: Yes, attention accelerator, right?
Nicholas: Right, exactly. So yea, you know what, now that you’re asking me I really probably should put together a process from that, but again…
Dan: And then you come up with a name for that, right? For that process too.
Nicholas: But yea I think alliteration is good, I think metaphor if you can use it is good. I think multiple meanings in words are good. And then if you can kind of find something like that it all tends to work out a little bit.
WORKING WITH NICHOLAS
Dan: That’s awesome. Maybe share with us, I know you’re not taking on any private clients, and you’re very selective of who you take on. Share with us for our listeners, if they want to learn more about you, want to learn from you, what are some of the ways you help people and work with clients?
Nicholas: You know the best way, and you’re right, we only take on a very select crew of private clients – we only take on 15 at any given time and we’re always sold out with a bit of a waiting list, you know 2 to 3 month waiting list typically. The best way, that literally I think the vast majority of entrepreneurs, if they want to learn what we do and execute it on a level that really makes sense to them, is we hold these 2-day implementation intensives, I just came back from one yesterday. And it’s basically a stab against our industry, where a lot of people are like, “hey, you know, come to our workshop and learn a bunch of stuff.” And the problem is, and I know you’re the same way, we’ve probably attended, I don’t know how many workshops and seminars.
We come home and the information is amazing. I’m not saying the information is bad, the information is amazing and I come home with a book full of notes of everything I need to apply in my business. And then I never do it. Right? There’s just way too much to do, you forget about it, there’s just all this kind of stuff. So for me it’s basically, I wanted to provide an environment where people can come, get my private time they can work and get an experience of me working over their shoulders and it’s just, what can I do to get stuff done with them?
And so they leave with a “done” list rather than a “to do” list. So my whole thing is, you show up, I put 20 business owners in a room for 2 days. And you come with whatever you have and you leave with your entire top of funnel lead generation system built with me. Where I’m there writing ads over your shoulders, I’m providing you all the frameworks you need so that when you leave you have nothing to do because it’s already done. So we call that the art of lead generation, we do six of them a year. And it’s by far, hands down, the most powerful experience for a business owner who’s really looking to use online advertising to generate more leads and customers and clients for their business..
Dan: Yes, and I know a few friends who’ve attended, I’m sending some of my people attending Nicholas event, I don’t go to a lot of internet marketing events.
Nicholas: Neither do I!
Dan: And I don’t endorse, I don’t think any one of them. But I definitely endorse Nicholas’ event. I think it’s the way you approach, and I like how you keep a small group not like 100 people who just learn a bunch of stuff. Like you said, they go there and they get stuff done.
Nicholas: Yea and I think that’s the best thing. I think as entrepreneurs we’re busy people, we don’t need more stuff to do, we just need to know that we can get something done. And here’s the beautiful thing, you know this as well as I do, but maybe a listener doesn’t: if you’re living in today’s world, and you are looking to generate clients or customers for your business, there is no reason, ever, period, where you should ever second guess where your next client or customer will come from.
You have the ability, with the tools and the resources and the frameworks that are available to you today, to be able to – literally when someone comes to the intensive, my promise to them is I’m giving them a lever, where they can choose to turn on or off whenever they want to create as many leads, or generate as many leads and clients on demand. And I think we live in a beautiful world that has the technology, frameworks and processes that allow us to do that. So if you’re an entrepreneur listening, whether it’s my event or any other event, commit to the process of learning how to make this work so you never have to wake up one morning thinking, “where is my next client or customer coming from?” Because you never need to have that feeling ever again.
Dan: Okay and can you give us a domain name people can go to if they want to apply for the intensive. And maybe give us, you know if they want to join your Facebook group as well.
Nicholas: So it’s nicholaskusmich.com/intensive is where they can learn all about the intensive and apply for that. And then my Facebook group is called Facebook Marketing Mastery, and if you just kind of request to join, we usually let just about anybody join, and then if you misbehave in there we kick you out without warning. So be on your best behaviour when you’re in there.
BEST PIECE OF ADVICE
Dan: And one last question. It’s not so much a marketing question but more a personal question. Think if you could time travel back to maybe one of your earlier days and just have a 5, 10-minute conversation with your former self to communicate any lessons you’ve acquired with the intention of saving yourself mistakes and headaches. What would you tell yourself?
Nicholas: Oh that’s a good question. I think I would go back and I would tell my younger self “it’s not going to be easy, you’re going to fail hard, but it’s all going to be okay, just keep moving forward.” I think I wouldn’t necessarily want to avoid some of the mistakes. I mean, some of the mistakes were terrible, and they hurt so bad, and even thinking about them now gives me a headache, but at the same time, when I look at those I feel like those helped create who I am, and they also helped create what business we’re in. So I would just kind of reassure myself: “look it ain’t gonna be easy, there’s gonna be tonnes of obstacles along the way and you’re gonna make some epic mistakes, but just know it’s gonna be okay and you just keep moving forward.”
Dan: That’s so awesome, and that’s a great lesson and thank you so much for inspiring us today with your amazing story and all those great strategies. And I think we pulled a lot of golden nuggets out of you that you charge big bucks for.
Nicholas: You’re good at that.
Dan: I appreciate that, we deep dived some very advanced strategies so thank you so much.
Nicholas: No it was an absolute pleasure to be here with you thank you for the opportunity.