Brand New to Online Marketing? Let's Start at the Very Beginning
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Robby Amaro is a Partner at Telesto Ventures, that owns 4 E-Commerce companies. He has 2 operating roles in these companies: CEO of Prime Greens and CMO of Vitality Now. He is also partnered in two marketing agencies, and one marketing course (The Marketing Mercenary).
Robby Amaro is a lifelong entrepreneur that got his start selling Kirby Vacuums door to door. He then took his direct marketing skills and began pitching products at Sam’s Club and Costco. He took this knowledge, and tried out his skill set on the internet at Six Pack Shortcuts (now Six Pack Abs) where he started their email program – and took it from $1,000 a week to $16,000 a week, all while learning copywriting and SEO along the way.
He went on to get an equity offer at another direct response company where he was the CEO. The rest is history. He’s operated as a customer service agent, affiliate manager, email marketer, marketing manager, director of marketing and now CMO and CEO so there weren’t any shortcuts along the way. He put in the work.
Finally, he’s known to give way too much information away for FREE, so here you go.
This is an edited version of the audio interview linked above.
Dee Braun: Hi guys. Today we’ve got Robby Amaro and Kaitlyn Buskirk. Robby is going to give you a little short bio of who he is. Kaitlyn is brand new to the space. She’s a new affiliate manager. Her perspective, I think it’s going to be very important, because our whole goal today is to give you a good understanding of what online direct response marketing is and familiarize you with some of the terms so that you at least have a foundation to go forward and as you start learning more, you’ll go, “Oh, I know what that is, Okay.” And everything will make more sense. So Robby, tell us about you real quick.
Robby Amaro: Yeah. So a five second intro is I’m a direct response marketer and I currently am the CEO of one company that’s just getting started. We’re in month two and then I’m the CMO of another company that’s scaling right now and they’re both in the health space. But I’ve been in the space for about seven years and done every single position we’re going to talk about today.
Dee Braun: Awesome. And CMO is chief marketing officer. So Robby, tell us, what is direct response marketing and what does it really mean online? Because there’s real world as well, correct?
Robby Amaro: Yes, yes. Direct response marketing is getting somebody to make a purchase or buying decision day one. Doing it face to face, you can think about people who sell stuff at Sam’s club or Costco who are pitching you at the tables or people who sell things door to door, knife salesmen in stores, [etc.]. That’s all direct response. The whole goal is to get a percentage of customers to buy something the first time you ever interact with them.
Dee Braun: And what is our method for getting them to do that online? What are the methods?
Robby Amaro: Online? There’s ad buying. So buying ads on Facebook, Google, all of the ad networks. There’s email, emailing people or having other people email their list for you. And I believe that’s it. And SMS marketing now. Yeah. Now there’s SMS, there’s Facebook messenger. I can go all day. But again, the whole goal of all of those tools is to get somebody to buy the first time you talk to them.
Dee Braun: Right. Okay. So to have a direct response business, there’s some things you have to have in place and I would think number one is you need an offer. So what is an offer? And go into the different types, you know, info versus, you know.
Robby Amaro: Yeah. I gotcha. So an offer is something of value to whoever your consumer is. So it’s easier to say it as an example. Let’s take a home workout, which is very hot right now because of everything going on [with] lot of people working from home. So a home workout can be an info product that’s really very …. You know, a blog that’s formatted in a PDF that you try to sell on a digital level. So, somebody comes to your website and they get this offer.
The offer is kind of the heart of everything on that page. It’s what value you’re bringing to that person. The sales letter, I guess it’s important, but the offer’s also important. The offer is the thing you’d give them and then the sales letter is how you convince them to buy the thing you want to give them. To put it really simple, the offer is what you’re trying to sell. It’s the product.
Dee Braun: And there are different types. There are info products which can be digital or hard copy or both. Supplements, physical products like dish soap or hand soap. Foods, you know, ingestibles…. consumables, that’s what they’re called. So there’s all different kinds of products. And the way you sell them are through the different avenues that Robby mentioned earlier, whether it’s Facebook advertising, through email or SMS, which is text messaging.
Dee Braun: So in order to sell them, there’s things you need in place. You need creatives. Creatives are the ads that they are going to be exposed to to go buy your offer. Right? So those can be email creatives. The email they actually read, right? Or the Facebook ad or the text message they receive. To get those, the people who specialize in writing those are called copywriters. So we have different people, different professions that make all this work.
And, okay, Robby add the ones I forget, but we have product creators, funnel experts, designers, copywriters. Did I say copywriters? Oh my goodness. Email list managers. Everybody that’s involved in getting an offer to a consumer. So one at a time, a product creator. Robby?
Robby Amaro: Yup. A product creator is the person that create something. I guess it’s the person that comes up with the offer. So they could be everything from a yoga instructor to a personal trainer to a…
Dee Braun: Biochemist…
Robby Amaro: …a plumber to a whatever. Yeah. You could sell anything. A product creator has a specialty in a given niche. So that could be supplements. It could be somebody who formulates supplements, a biochemist. It can be a doctor. Like I have a doctor I work with and he formulates everything we sell. So, it’s just somebody who creates the thing that becomes the offer.
Dee Braun: And because even though a product creator probably knows everything there is to know about their offer, does not mean they know how to sell it.
Robby Amaro: Most of them don’t.
Dee Braun: Right? And that’s where your copywriters come in, because the only thing they do is create compelling words to convince other people to buy whatever is being offered. Copywriters are a huge part of what we do and they can be incredibly expensive all the way down to bargain basement and you pretty much get what you pay for in that respect. Some copywriters do double duty and they also are funnel experts. And a funnel is? Robby?
Robby Amaro: A funnel? So you want to say what actual funnel is?
Dee Braun: Yup. Let’s explain what it is.
Robby Amaro: A funnel is, well, it’s, it’s a couple things. A funnel is how you acquire a customer and then once you acquire them, what you do to sell them more of something. It could be the same product or other products and your upsells because that’s the tough thing. Some people think of a funnel as the sales page and everything upsell one upsell two, upsell three. Like I got the customer, now here’s the funnel to sell them other things. I don’t think of a funnel that way. I think of a funnel as the first impression somebody has.
So your email, like that email is actually the beginning of the funnel and them clicking through to the sales page is the second stage of the funnel. And the same thing on Facebook. The the ad they see is the beginning of the funnel. So it’s kinda like the shape of a funnel – you’re going closer and closer and closer to the end of that funnel. Or they become your customer and you’ve acquired them. And then some people look at it as like, okay, my funnel is once I acquire the customer, then I build the funnel like that. So there’s actually two different ways people look at it in this space.
Dee Braun: Okay. So let’s define a couple things. So we’ve got the creative, which is the email, the ad, the text message, et cetera. We’ve got the sales page, which is also called a landing page, which is also called a written sales letter, which is also called a video sales letter. So that is the page they land on from the text message, ad or email. A written sales letter means it’s all text. A video sales letter, there’s always a video for them to watch. So those are the two types of landing pages or sales pages there are.
Now, if they land there and they’re like, “Oh man, this sounds fantastic” and they click through to order, you start upselling, right? You can upsell there on the order page. Like, if you buy three instead of one, we’ll give you this kind of a discount. An upsell is an addition. Additional upsells and downsells are additional items you try to get them to purchase along with the offer they already know they want to purchase. And those upsells and downsells can show up on the order page, the thank you page, and in what we call an AR series, which is an auto responder series.
So if they buy, you have two upsells after they click order and they finish their order. And I was like, Hey, wait, what about this? They complete everything. Their email goes into an autoresponder series and then you can continue to remarket to them. Is that fairly accurate?
Robby Amaro: Yeah, I’d say so.
Dee Braun: Okay. So let’s say you have everything built and ready. There are other people and other professionals you also need. You need a solid email list and you either need to know enough about managing one to do it yourself, which you can learn absolutely. Or you need an email list manager to help you. And the hurdles they can help you with are things like deliverability, like to keep your emails from going into promo tab in Gmail, or to keep you from getting blacklisted, to make sure that you’re complying with all laws.
There’s all kinds [of things an email manager does] – to schedule, to send, to make sure technically everything is working correctly on the send side. You can either be your own affiliate manager or you need an affiliate manager. So Robby, why don’t you tell us what an affiliate manager is.
Robby Amaro: An affiliate manager is someone who managers an offer and gets other people with email lists to send that offer, but also negotiates the terms of the agreement, negotiates the dates that person will send, has to make sure that person has all the marketing assets they need. I think it’s a big coordination role is an affiliate manager? And you know, I think that’s it. It can be learned, but there are different levels of people with different experience in that field. So, some are copywriters, some are email managers and affiliate managers. I guess that in a nutshell, that’s my simple explanation.
Dee Braun: Good. Okay. So one of the things that we didn’t talk about… It’s not just creating this package of things that you need, it’s also testing. You’re going to hear terms like split testing, A/B testing. What that is, is you need to test to a certain number of recipients. Let’s say you have a landing page and on this landing page, what’s an element that we can use, Robby?
Robby Amaro: On a landing page?
Dee Braun: Yeah.
Robby Amaro: Offer presentation – the way that the offer is shown to the customer.
Dee Braun: So it could be right versus left image or the color scheme, but you pick one element. It could be pricing $29.97 versus $59.97. And you split test that to a group of people. So half the people get one version, half the people get the other version and whichever one wins, that gives you really good data on what will work overall. It’s all statistics. I wanted to put that in case I forgot it. Let’s talk about some more terms that people are going to hear. Cold traffic versus warm traffic.
Robby Amaro: Yup. Cool. Do we want to stay in an email? There’s send names in email now where it’s the name that you see. You know, when you open emails, look to the left, it says the person’s name, people test that.
Dee Braun: From name, right.
Robby Amaro: The from name, send name, the headline, which is huge. Huge. It’s what you see when you are looking at the title of your email. All that is split tested. And so I think it’s just a couple of terms to go into.
Dee Braun: What about the hook?
Robby Amaro: The hook? Yeah, the hook.
Dee Braun: That’s what evokes emotion, it solves a problem, or it implies scarcity. You know, it makes the customer believe, or know, they need it. That they really want it, that it’s worth it. So the hook is huge, which is what copywriters excel at, by the way.
Robby Amaro: Yes, exactly. It’s a unique way of getting somebody’s attention.
Dee Braun: So, a solo email, a dedicated email. What are those?
Robby Amaro: Solo and dedicated. You might be able to explain those better than me.
Dee Braun: Okay. So in testing, when we test emails for an offer, we can either test them to segments, which are portions of our list. That’s a small scale way to see if this [offer] is going to work or not. Instead of blasting it to everyone and it bombing, we can test a small segments and get a really good idea how well it’s going to work. If it’s not going to work well, we may tweak things, or split test some things, rework our creative, change things on a Lander, then do the segments again until we get it to where it’s acceptable. Then if we’ve got it, what we call dialed in, you know, we’ve got that offer dialed in – the creative works, the Lander works, the funnel works, then a full send is blasting it to everybody on your list.
Robby Amaro: Yup, that makes sense.
Dee Braun: So, what is a recip or a reciprocal?
Robby Amaro: A reciprocal is when you email for somebody and they email back for you.
Dee Braun: Which leads right into what is an affiliate deal versus a JV deal. JV means joint venture. It typically means I do something for you, you do something for me, which is kind of like that reciprocal thing. And affiliate is I’ve got an offer that you’re going to promote and I’m going to pay you commission. So for every email opt-in you send me, or every sale, or every end result that I identify that I want to get from this offer – It’s not always a sale. It can be a lead (somebody’s contact information) just as much as it can be a sale – I’m going to pay you X dollars for each one of those. So that’s a commission.
Okay. So let’s see. Banner ads or just display ads for an offer. So all those ads that you see all over the net, those are all offers. It’s just different methods. That’s not direct response, normally a banner, sometimes it can be. And let’s see, a sponsored email or an insertion order or a list rental. What are those? Same thing, but different ways of saying it.
Robby Amaro: Yeah, I think that’s exactly it. I think those are all the same thing. Just different ways of saying it. It’s an email you pay for. You pay a fixed cost to send whatever email in whatever way you want. So I have more regulations than others, but typically it’s I want to send this email, and this is exactly how I want it sent, and I’m going to pay you for it, and you never see any data on it. It’s all on my side. I just send you cash and we agree on a date and we’re done after that. .
Dee Braun: And you pay up front for those. And if you do them right, they can be incredibly profitable but there are times that you lose money doing it.
Robby Amaro: Yes. That’s very common.
Dee Braun: Okay. So let’s talk about lead generation. What is lead generation?
Robby Amaro: Lead generation is just getting a lead to try to sell it once it’s actually on your email list versus I guess direct response or, I mean it’s still a form of direct response cause you’re trying to get somebody to do something which is get on your list, but it’s not actually customer acquisition. Customer acquisition is trying to get somebody who day one is going to buy from you, where lead acquisition (or lead generation – lead gen) is trying to get somebody to take an action. It may not be a buying action but it’s still an action. For the purpose of just getting on your email list.
Dee Braun: It is one of the number one ways to build an email list and you are trying to fill it with people who will be potential customers and there’s a couple common types of Landers for that sort of thing. One is a quiz Lander where they ask you to take a quiz and at the end you put in your email address and they send you your quiz results, or they follow up with marketing materials. But that email address sticks you in there.
Another one is a free, if you sign up here, I’m going to send you this great ebook or it offers you something for free in exchange for you providing your email. And in the same way, it sticks you in their list, you get your free gift and then they have the chance to continually remarket to you. Remarketing is another good term. Do you want to take that one?
Robby Amaro: Yeah. Remarketing is marketing once you’ve acquired the customer to sell them more.
Dee Braun: And what is retargeting?
Robby Amaro: Retargeting is when you have a person’s, I think it’s best to talk about it the way people understand it and probably see it. A lot of times people are like, Google is following me or Facebook’s following me – probably because you have Googled something and now once you Google something, you go to a webpage and you basically get a tracking device put on you and Google learns more and more about you as you search more and more.
And retargeting is, Oh, this person is interested in this thing. I’m going to send them something that is probably of interest to them because they Googled it. And the same with Facebook. Facebook I think is more advanced, but people argue with me about that. Facebook, you go and click on an ad and you may look at something, a product you’re interested in, but you don’t buy it day one. You go to sleep, wake up the next day. Holy crap. That same thing is at the top of your newsfeed. That company’s retargeting you because you already went to their page. Now they have a pixel or a tracking device on you and so they’re presenting you with their offer.
Dee Braun: Awesome. Okay. Got a few more – buyers versus prospects? Buyers have purchased from you. Prospects have not.
Robby Amaro: Yes. Prospects have not purchased from me. Buyers have, and I think buyers have purchased from other people too because an affiliate, if you get dedicated emails or something like that, some people got to have a mix of leads or prospects and buyers. Some people just have buyers. I guess I would consider that warm [traffic]. Cold would be to me where you have no prior knowledge of that product or service and you make that person a customer. I think that’s cold traffic.
Dee Braun: Awesome. All right. Second tier. You want me to take this one – second tier?
Robby Amaro: Yes. I don’t know this one.
Dee Braun: Okay. Second tier. So, how we talked about commission a few minutes ago where a partner or an affiliate, which that’s an interchangeable term by the way, is paid a certain amount of money for a lead or a sale or whatever the end result desired is. Second tier means I call up Robby or I email Robby and say, Robby, I want to introduce you to Kait because I really think Kait can send you a ton of traffic. So Kait sends him a ton of traffic. He makes a buttload of money. Robby pays me 5% of what Kait sent because I made the introduction. So it is kind of a bonus or an override for introductions you make and getting them signed up to promote offers.
Robby Amaro: It’s important to call out that not everybody likes that strategy.
Dee Braun: I know, but they still need to know what it is. There are people who do it. There are people who do not. There are people who will not make introductions unless they get a second tier. There are people who will not take the second tier if you offer it. So it just runs the whole gamut of it. And neither none of those are right or wrong. they’re just different. So demographic, that’s a big one in our space. What is a demographic?
Robby Amaro: Good question. I think a demographic is an estimated audience. Yeah. An estimated audience because a lot of times people will ask you what’s your target demographic? And I’m like, okay, well they’re 65 year old, 65 plus female this, or 25 to 35 year old male this or that. It’s almost an avatar, but an avatar is like a blend of a big chunk of an audience that will resonate with something you’re offering.
Dee Braun: So if you asked me what our demographic is, I would say it is 80% women, 40 years and older, interested in health, lifestyle, weight loss, fitness, beauty products, 20% are men interested in health, lifestyle, weight loss, pain products. That type of thing. The more you know about your list….when you’re building your list, it is important that you know who you’re talking to.
So the more information you can gather – which is why one reason why quiz Landers are so popular, because we can get name, age…. Oh they’re suffering from diabetes, or Oh, they’re in menopause, or Oh they have problems with ED. Quizzes can tell you a lot. But the more you know, the more you can segment and target – laser target – offers to people who really are interested in those offers. You know, if you have a pet offer, but you also know that 30% of that list are women who got a pet because they wanted to lose weight. Well guess what? You’ve got a segment to send weight loss offers to. So the more you can find out about your list, the better off you’re going to be.
So, what about a launch? What is a launch?
Robby Amaro: That’s a good question. I might have a different…I think it’s bringing a product to market for me that’s bringing a product that didn’t exist previously to the marketplace.
Dee Braun: Yup. And so that’s one. And that’s the definition I held. I didn’t realize there was any other kind until I started in direct response. The second kind of launch is a docu-series, a movie, a series of webinars where they say we are going to have seven days and we are going to talk about natural ways to prevent and help cancer. And so you opt in, it’s all free. You get to watch these videos and that’s the entire launch. The cart closes 72 hours after that launch. And if you want to buy the online videos or the DVDs, that’s where the money comes in.
There’s normally a replay weekend a week or two later where they go through it all again. And then there’s always a prelaunch period where they try to build up excitement. So that is the other definition of a launch, which brings us to the next term which is what is evergreen.
Robby Amaro: Yes. Evergreen is something that isn’t a launch, you can promote that product forever and it’ll have the same messaging forever – and that is appealing to the target demographic.
Dee Braun: So when you go into an eCommerce store online for you, new people and you want to buy vitamin C tablets, that’s actually an evergreen offer. Right? This docu-series setup that I just discussed, that can become an evergreen offer because those videos that are downloadable or DVD can be sold over and over and over. That’s evergreen, right? So evergreen means there’s not a time restriction. It is available all the time. So, Robby, what did I miss? Cause I had to miss something. Oh I know one. What’s a call to action.
Robby Amaro: Oh, okay.
Dee Braun: That’s a biggie.
Robby Amaro: Yeah. Call to action. When you’re asking somebody to buy, that’s a call to action or asking them to do something. Click here to learn more.
Robby Amaro: Yeah, that one phrase, that one phrase, it’s like, now it is time to make a choice. Yes. That is a hard one. So maybe saying a couple more things about that. I worked at a direct response company and they said the word call to action for about six months and I thought it was just asking somebody to do something, and I guess it kind of is, but it’s asking them to do something with an intention. So I just thought it was like go here, go to your fridge, open it and drink some water. Technically that’s a call to action, but the intention wasn’t to sell. In a direct response company, the call to action is always intentional to further that person closer to buying whatever you’re selling.
Dee Braun: To get them to that order page basically. Get it added to the cart, get them to the order page. That is the point, you know, get them to the email opt in screen. That is the point of nearly every call to action in our space.
Robby Amaro: Correct. That’s absolutely true.
Dee Braun: So I’m sure there’s things we’ve forgotten. I’m hoping this is a really good overview. Kaitlyn, since you are such a new affiliate manager and if this was the first exposure you had to everything we do, what additional questions are there or what did you struggle the most in the first month or two? What has helped you the most? I mean try to give some ideas cause you’re right where a lot of these people listening are going to be.
Kaitlyn Buskirk: Well I know that some of the things that have helped me the most is asking questions when I don’t know something. You can go on Google and type in a question but it doesn’t go in depth like it would me asking you or another affiliate manager that’s able to explain it deeper in thought. So I asked a lot of questions. Even just listening to the beginning of this call, there were things that I hadn’t even heard of that you guys had talked about.
You know, the second tier, that evergreen and the call to action, I hadn’t heard any of those terms until now, but now I see everything that all those point to and I’m going, okay, I have seen that. I just didn’t know what it was called. Also there are so many abbreviations in this space that your brain just kind of explodes. I actually went and printed off a little cheat sheet of abbreviations. So when somebody would mention CVR, EPC or AOV, I could look back and see what they were called and understand that those numbers are important and it’s just an easier way to say them.
Dee Braun: Let me interject one thing. Number one, we have an interview on StrategyOverdrive on that exact topic. All of the different abbreviations and acronyms we use. And two, we are building, and by the time this is released, it should be built, there will be a glossary. So hopefully most of those terms, if you hover over them a definition will pop up and we’ll have a glossary listing all of them. Okay Kait, go ahead.
Kaitlyn Buskirk: That would be really, really helpful. I think for even me, there’s still different things that I hear that I’ve never heard before. I also had no idea that when people were talking about creatives, that you could have five or six different creatives for one product. And that took me a little bit to understand and then I realized, well it was for different target audiences.
You know, right now with the whole coronavirus stuff, everybody’s kind of re-targeting their audience with a different creative with the same product that they were doing just a couple of days ago. But they’re changing that creative to get more attention during this crisis. So I thought that was, you know, a neat strategy as well.
And also the different jobs that are in this space. You can’t have one without the other. I mean there are so many people in this that do 20 different things and you need to know everybody. You need to make connections, you need to learn about everybody. You need to talk to people and just stay in touch cause you never know when you’re going to need that connection later on.
Dee Braun: Very good point.
Robby Amaro: That’s true. We have a whole interview about that Dee. Like, you never know when you’re going to work with somebody again.
Dee Braun: Yup. Very good. So anything else? Kait, I loved your input.
Robby Amaro: Yeah, that’s great.
Dee Braun: I mean really, I’m so glad that you’re on this because I loved your input. It’s been, you know, seven years since Robby was new and it’s been 24 since I was new. So we’ve forgotten a lot on what it was like. So any final words, Robby?
Robby Amaro: No final words at all. I think the big lesson is it takes time. Be nice to yourself. Like I, I still think, I don’t understand half the things people say when I’m on calls. So it’s, it’s okay. You’re not alone,
Dee Braun: Kaitlyn?
Kaitlyn Buskirk: I don’t think so. I think this, this was an extremely good idea to put this together and be able to help other new people in this space that just need a little bit of help understanding. This covered a lot.
Dee Braun: Awesome. Well, thank you both very, very much for being part of this and hopefully we will have this up and live really soon.