What marketing comes down to is the final offer. Your offer is everything. One thing the guys have experienced is that the offer you used a year ago, may not work in today’s world. An offer that failed last year, may take off this year! They guys break down the how & why this happens and help you potentially repurpose an offer you had, or fix the one you currently have!
This is a direct transcript. Please forgive any grammar or spelling errors.
Jason: You know, when you had the success that we had, it’s really scary when you see something stop working.
Kevin: If you continue to do the same thing over and over and over again, you begin to train your list and they, they ignore it.
Jason: You have to look at what’s the, on the news and you have to look at what’s going on in the world and that will all affect your store
Jen: you’re listening to e-commerce uncensored with Kevin Monell and Jason Caruso.
Kevin: Hey everyone. And thank you for joining us. On another episode of e-commerce Uncensored. My name is Kevin Monell and I’m here with
Jason: Jason Caruso
Kevin: and Jason.
Jason: So Kevin, we’re going to talk today about a topic that you’re having a hard time wrapping your brain around. I can’t say that I’m so surprised. This is tip. This is typical. Kevin Monell he asks you for, yeah. He asks you for something. You give it to him and then. If he didn’t think about it, he’s not sure how we can proceed. Like, you know how I am. I told you before we got on, I like to wrap my head around a concept before I just sit down and start recording a podcast about it. So that’s when I knew you were going to say this and I knew it.
Kevin: I knew eventually this was going to come up because I’m always like asking you for topics. You come up with one and I’m like, Hm. Cause sometimes in my head, like I think of these things and you don’t know, and I kind of have. An idea of what I want to talk about.
Jason: And then you kind of throw me off, you’re a control freak, you’re a control freak. And what you like to do, this is your, your emo is that you like to ask for things that you already know you have just to be annoying. So anyway, the
Kevin: point is you have a good strategy too, is like you’ll, you’ll. You’ll have a topic and then I’ll have a topic and we’ll end up talking about what I wanted to talk about, but then you’ll just kind of divert the conversation into what do you want because when I was
Jason: running a hundred miles much, much better. Anyway, so today we’re gonna talk about something Kevin, that I think, um, I think maybe a lot of people have experienced. And if you guys have been following us, you know, that we have this other brand called the journal of wildlife photography. We don’t really shout the name out much, but it is one of our. I would say most successful brands. Uh, it did, it went from zero to a couple of million dollars, uh, literally in 12 months. Right. But w you know, in this business, if you’ve done it long enough, you know, that nothing tense or seems to last forever, right. Especially when you’re using paid advertising. And in our case, the, what we did to grow this business so quickly. We gave away we did these giveaways, right. And we gave away something of high value, um, to our subscribers. And basically we just promoted the fact that we were doing that now outside of the legal stuff that we got ourselves into, because we had to hire lawyers and we had to do all these things, um, especially because gambling in the United States for the most part, unless you. No, the gaming commissioner or whoever. Um, is it,
Kevin: yeah. And it’s something that was interesting to me. And I learned this too. Like when we were going through the giveaway stuff, this is just kind of a side note. It’s like, you can’t just run a raffle to people like w without having like a license for it. And I even like the school PTA was having the same issues with my wife and it’s kinda crazy. Like, I didn’t even think about that when we first started.
Jason: And, um, w we’ll raffle is, is. Pay for a chance to win, right? You buy a raffle for a chance to win. It’s illegal to do, unless you’re like a church or a nonprofit or something like that, because in that case, you’re allowed to do it. But if you all cause like, you know, churches will run raffles just for, to get donations and you know, that kind of stuff. But if you’re like a business or an entity it’s considered gambling,
Kevin: So it’s. And before you go any further, I’m just, I wanted to say, like, I know that this podcast was like, we always, when we first started the podcast, even through the middle midway, through this whole podcast that we’ve been doing, we’ve always had this idea that like, something was missing from our perspective. And it was because we were working on like the agency and we were always working with these clients and we were kind of like just working for them and kind of doing what they requested. And I think having this own brand of ours has, has totally opened my eyes up into a totally different perspective of like, just like customer behaviors and how becoming closer to the actual sales process and seeing how people respond certain ways to different offers. So, yeah. Like the concept behind these offers has just changed my mindset. You know what I mean? Like, does that make sense?
Jason: Just like having the ability to do whatever you want without anybody saying yes or no. And us being sort of, you know, with clients, we do have a little bit of. Uh, say in what we do for the most part, you know, they come to us and say, look, this is the offer we want to run. And we’ll say, do this, do that, change this, add this, subtract this and that kind of thing. This business has given us a different perspective because we’re actually, like Kevin said the other on the other end where we actually have to come up with it and we actually have to see. The progression of it, how people respond, how, uh, you know, that side of things. So yeah, it it’s a completely different side of things. And, you know, when you had the success that we had, it’s really scary when you see something, stop working, you know, Kevin, the past we’ve talked about on offer that stops. Because of certain things that are going on we’ve and this is even before the pandemic, we talked about like, Hey, um, you know, you have to look at what’s on the news and you have to look at what’s going on in the world and that’ll all affect your store. And, you know, we, like I said, this is kind of something that we’ve, we’ve just gone through. So let’s back up Kevin start and let’s talk about what happened. We grew this business to over two, about $2 million in one year using, uh, giveaways. Right. We were giving away like $20,000 packages and $13,000 camera lenses, gigantic things that people on their own may struggle to pay for. But could win. You know,
Kevin: as a subscriber. And it was one of those things where we talk about the irresistible offer all the time and we understand like, that’s the key to this whole thing, but we understand that it’s, it’s not the easiest thing to come up with. Like, you try a hundred different things before you actually figure out what that is. And it was like, at that point we had, we figured we hit on our irresistible offer and it couldn’t fail at that point. And then, then certain things happened. Yeah. I mean, the pandemic.
Jason: And the business actually started doing a little bit better. Like initially it started doing some gigantic numbers. And then as the pandemic dragged the offers that were Bulletproof became full holes, right? Like they stopped working, you know, and the interesting thing, Kevin, about this entire process that I don’t know that if you’ve been tracking, but I have mentally been tracking it. You know, this year, our gross sales are not going to be the same or as high, but our. Is going to be, cause we didn’t spend a million dollars on Facebook ads like we did. So when you look at our, our numbers, the majority of it beside, you know, paying our staff and paying everybody, our team and, and that kind of stuff, you know, that quote unquote artificial profit number is about the same. Right? We did 2 million, we made a million this year. We really didn’t spend much money on paid advertising.
Kevin: We replaced that spend with employees and employees. Right? Exactly.
Jason: We, we invested the money back into the business. So, um, yeah. So the point is, is I didn’t think about that. Yeah. Which is kind of crazy to think about. Um, because we did, we did more of a ninja type thing. We did a lot of emails. We did a lot of. What did we do else? Do we do mostly
Kevin: now? Yeah, well, we, we, we, we gave ourselves, we spent a lot of money last year building up our email list and we’ve kind of been using that asset in this, in the meantime where like, we were kind of like evolved, like changing our offer and testing different things and seeing what different things would work, because it just kind of like, it was the strangest thing, man. It was like, we could. We couldn’t stop people from buying the journal when we had this offer going. And then all of a sudden it was like, Hmm, I’m not that interested anymore. And it just kind of died off even like the same, like we did change giveaways, we did different giveaways, right. So we knew certain giveaways work better than others, but then we would bring back, uh, uh, one giveaway that worked and it would still, it would, it would do nothing. We’re like what happened? What changed? We did nothing. Yeah. So
Jason: in other words, we had a cycle of giveaways. Just worked. And we, we timed them with the time of year for an instance, we did a giveaway and this is interesting. This is really interesting because this is something that I think that we haven’t really accounted for. We did a giveaway for Yellowstone national park, a workshop to Yellowstone this time a year to win a trip, to go in January to a workshop. That made sense to do it now and then give it away in January. Right? Right. We’re in November right now we did, we would run it like September, October, November, December, and then give away, give it away in January. We tried that last year. It didn’t work. We said, okay, let’s try now. The lens, the $13,000 lens that has to be. And then that didn’t work. So then we were like, all right, screw it. Let’s give these things a break. Now, fast forward to 2021. All these things have happened on, you know, with the pandemic and, and whatever. And I didn’t think about not, not that I didn’t think about this, but, you know, Jared and some of these other wildlife photographers that we. Personally sad. Like, no, no, no. The workshop business is really picking up. Meaning people are really starting to go back on workshops because they weren’t going during the pandemic. Yeah.
Kevin: Countries are opening back up flights or, you know, people are traveling more, those kinds of things
Jason: and you know, we always told Jared or we, we told our, our business partners and these other people like, look maybe for the diehard wildlife photographer, they are traveling on, on, on workshops. But the majority of people. We’ve always felt like they weren’t traveling, but they were seeing something different in the field. Right? Long story short. Um, we started running this lens giveaway now in November of 2021 during the time that we’re supposed to be running. The Yellowstone giveaway
Kevin: really worked. It was actually was that our first, first giveaway we did that was Yellowstone that’s full. That was the first one. And it was when we first started the business in like
Jason: September, September, 2019. So we just thought like, this would be a good time to do it, but we gave for almost a year, we gave these giveaways a break and instead of doing the Yellowstone giveaway, we did a lens. And now the lens giveaway that did not work last year, like the restart right of last year. It’s now working again.
Kevin: Yeah. And it’s funny because I think part of it, you know, there’s a lot of factors, but I think one of the biggest factors is that you, like, you begin to train. Your list and your audience and they get like, they get like,
Jason: sorry, that’s a good point. Our list wasn’t even buying stuff. And they always did.
Kevin: Oh yeah. We would send the, we, I mean, we came on this podcast. We’re like, well, we can send an email right now and make a few thousand dollars. Yeah. W wasn’t even a question. We were always looking for different things to send, just so we could get this giveaway or this offer in front of people and it was gangbusters. Right. And then I really can see. And like once again, like I said, like having this business has opened my eyes and given me a different perspective into, you know, an e-commerce or, you know, a brand like this or a store that if you continue to do the same thing over and over and over again, you begin to train your list and then. They almost like they ignore it. I mean, they just see it and they’re like, oh, it’s another to giveaway. Like I didn’t win the last one or, and they start to just ignore it and not see it. It’s like almost like a psychological thing again, you know, that that’s just the company who does these giveaways. And then so taking that pause and giving it a break was really what I think helped us out. And when you re revived this offer, it really took off again. And
Jason: I think like the bigger. Kevin’s story of this episode is that timing and what’s going on in the world and what people are willing to spend their money on, um, are all factors in what makes. On offer work and what makes an offer fail? And, you know, I was thinking about this this morning, right? I was, I was outside first day after being sick, having a cigar. Haven’t had a cigar in a while, down here in South Carolina, the weather’s still nice. And the seventies, um, low 70, 70 to 70 to
Kevin: 45 degrees here. Yeah.
Jason: So I’m outside, you know, smoking a cigarette and I’m, I’m thinking about. The, the role that social media, any platform plays in your marketing. And I just was thinking about how people are so fixated on the platform. And at the end of the day, it’s really the offer. It’s always the offer. It is always the offer always right. Again, timing and stuff like that all matters. But at the end of the day, it’s not really Facebook. It’s not really YouTube. It’s not really Google it’s, it’s what you have to give people is really, it gives you, this is just like a side thought I had this morning. I was like, man, we always think of. The platform being responsible for the success, but it’s really not. You’re really just getting attention in the platform and bringing people into your ecosystem,
Kevin: so to speak. And you’ve always said, and I was kind of like skeptical about why you would always say like, especially when COVID first started, you’re like, oh, you know, people are losing their jobs. People are worried about their retirements people. Aren’t going to spend money. And I was, I was like, oh, it’s a really people really thinking about that. Is that really an issue going on? And then it was like, Uh, we’re going to give a workshop away and people are going to have to travel, but people aren’t traveling right now. And like all these different factors play such a huge part in. And so I think that the point is, is like, if you’ve had an offer, that’s worked in the past and it slows down and it stops working. I don’t think you necessarily need to give up on it. Maybe there’s just so many other factors that are involved and you need to maybe take a break from that offer and just let it breathe. And. Um, almost make your, your, your list and your, your audience think that you’re not doing it anymore. And then when it, when you open it back up, it’s like, you almost bring it back to life and people start paying attention again.
Jason: And that’s what happened with us is like now the stuff for the pen, but DEMEC calm down. We started doing these offers and we are these giveaways and we weren’t doing them for awhile and now people are jumping on them. Um, I think, you know, we’ve learned. You know, it’s easy to come on this podcast and talk about things that everybody talks about. Like try a lot of different offers don’t ever give up, keep trying blah, blah, all this other cliche stuff, right. Until you’re really, you know, like when things are going well, everybody’s a genius. Everybody’s excited. Everybody’s like, oh, this is great. And then when things are bad, it’s like, oh, this business sucks. I don’t know why we’re doing it. We got to do something else. Yada, yada, yada, um, I mean, that’s just like, that’s just Nate, like the nature of the way you think. Um, but it teaches you to stick it through. It teaches you to keep trying and testing and doing other things and that sort of thing. Um, because a lot of, a lot of, uh, a lot of life is about timing. You know, it’s all about timing. Everything we do in our life is about timing, you know? You know, uh, five years ago, I couldn’t, you couldn’t buy your house, right? It’s a timing thing. Right? Five years later now you bought your house.
Kevin: Yeah. It’s hard to imagine. Five years ago. It’s crazy. And then you can look at it, you get it. We don’t do you know who
Jason: came on board about five or so years?
Kevin: Uh, who was it?
Kevin: Uh, I forgot. I it’s just like when you have history, it’s just so funny when you have history in a business and we were starting to have history, you know, two years, you can see how just the curve of the sales, almost like a lineup identically every year, because it’s all about timing. It’s all about
Jason: timing, man. And. You know, it’s definitely a lesson, you know, I think I see a lot of beginner entrepreneurs fall into this trap. Like you, you know, you look in the groups on Facebook and everybody, everybody just wants everybody to tell them what to do and how to do it. You know, at the end of the day, we’ve always talked about how, like, look, we’re just trying to guide you guys. The listeners, like through, we go. Yeah, you don’t have to do what we’re telling you work for us, but it helps understanding the concept. So some of the strategies that we’ve used, that you can try and go and implement. Um, I mean, we have exposure to a lot of brands when we have exposure to, you know, eight figure brands, seven figure brands, you know, our own seven figure brand. Um, our agency we’ve. Under seven figures, you know? So like we’ve asked like purposely, so there, there is a lot of, of experiences that we are exposed to and we see it on all different levels. And, you know, it’s funny because the things we’re doing for ourselves are the same things we do with eight figure brands. It’s just
Kevin: amplified. I think that’s, what’s so great about this podcast. Not to like talk up our own podcast, but like, we literally like, yeah, we want to be five episodes ahead. Like we want to record five episodes. So we’re not always like rushing to get one done. So we have a backlog of episodes, but there’s something behind the fact that we just talk about what we’re going through in that moment. Like our experiences and these conversations are basically almost like conversations we would have without. So, you know what I mean? Like talking about what what’s going down with our clients and with our businesses. So I think that that’s what kind of makes us a little different from all these other ones that are just kinda like outlining here’s five tips to do this. Yeah, we do that. But when we, when we do those tips, it’s just about things that are going on at that moment.
Jason: Yeah. So I think, I think, um, you know, the moral of this story. Testing for sure. Um, timing for sure. And, you know, getting creative, trying new things. Um, you know, and I think at the end of the day, like if you, you know, and I, I’m sorry, I don’t mean to like, not finish my, my, my thought there, but I was, I didn’t tell you this, Kevin, but my neighbor four houses down who my son, um, is like best friends with his son. He’s a kid like he’s been going to his house every day. Cool. He is like, he didn’t know what I did or what we did or whatever. And he came over and he saw the podcast thing and the monitors and he’s like, you have a podcast. I’m like, yeah. He goes, oh man, I listen to Pat Flynn’s podcast. I’m like, oh, I was on pat. Flynn’s on. Cause he’s like, get out of here was like, I probably listened to it and he’s in, he’s in, he does it. He develops apps and he’s in our world. And. Yeah. And he’s actually like a design, like a designer. He does like, he designs like a citizens bank, citizens, bank apps. And, um, he said to me, he’s like, Aw, man. He’s like, dude, he’s like, you know, for so long I was going down your path. I was a freelancer. I was doing it. I was trying to like, and he said, and then just one day I was just like, ah, this is too tough. I gotta, I gotta get a job. My family, I have kids. And I said, you know, it’s funny because the difference between me and you. Is that I just didn’t give up. That was it like, I’m not like any smarter than you, like, it was just like, I’ve been through those ups and I’ve been through those downs and, and I just, I just personally didn’t I just kept it going. And oftentimes it’s just the difference, you know? Um, Russell Brunson talks about you’re like, you’re one funnel away from being rich. It’s it’s really the truth. I mean, when I first heard it, it’s like, God, it’s crazy.
Kevin: It’s the truth. For me, there’s, there’s no other way. It’s like, if you know, it’s a journal and under whatever, or the agency went under the just be, we just have to, you and I would just figured out yet, and it was just hustle and just get it done. Yeah. I
Jason: mean, I think, uh, Kevin, this was like a good lesson for us and this is what business is about. It’s just, just, just lessons and learning and capitalizing on things that you’ve learned in the past.
Kevin: Cool. All right. Thank you guys so much. As always you can check us out at e-commerce on sensor.com and we’ll talk to you guys real soon
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