Affiliate marketing, building an audience, earning trust, and making money online
Miles Beckler is an internet marketer. In 2009, he and his wife Melanie started a website about mindfulness and meditation, and that site now receives over 8M visitors per year.
In 2016, he decided to begin teaching what he’d learned for free on YouTube. And now, more than 600 videos later, Miles’s YouTube channel has nearly 150K subscribers.
In this episode we talk about his path to online marketing, his 90 day content challenge, his ATM method for earning money online, and why giving away his knowledge for free actually earns him more than if he put it behind a paywall.
Transcript and show notes can be found here
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Miles Beckler 0:00
It's all about audience growth at first, and I think everyone needs to be partnering with some sort of a search based platform. I do not think that social media marketing is enough of an audience for most people.
Jay Clouse 0:12
Welcome to Creative Elements, a show where we talk to your favorite creators and learn what it takes to make a living from your art and creativity. I'm your host, Jay Clouse. Let's start the show.
Jay Clouse 0:38
Hello, my friend. Welcome back to another episode of Creative Elements. After hosting the show for the last four months, I can't overstate how big of an impact these conversations have had on me, both my writing and my podcasting. The more people I talked to who I've really figured out how to earn a good living from the things that they make, the more I learned about how to do the same. In these conversations have introduced me to new creators to learn from as well. And that was the case with Episode Five with Matt Giovanisci. If you haven't listened to that episode with Matt yet, I highly, highly recommend it. It's one of my favorites so far. He's an affiliate marketer who earns hundreds of thousands of dollars per year as an affiliate through his businesses Swim University and Money Lab. He's also the host of the Money Lab podcast, which is one of my favorite shows. He recently moved that show over to YouTube, and he's been investing more time into video. And a couple of months ago, Matt published an episode of Money Lab talking with Miles Beckler.
Matt Giovanisci 1:37
I've been doing research in fact, one of the things that I did the first time I was like, you were mentioned to me was, I went on you I went on Twitter and I was just like, who out there in online business. You know, doing what we do. Is is doing really well and has like a good YouTube game. Like who's out there doing YouTube really well. And I swear to God, you were the answer to every response that I got every one of them and the and then the only other person was Pat Flynn. Ah, so as a young Pat Flynn and I was like, okay.
Miles Beckler 2:12
There's probably a little bit more difficult to get in touch with and I am but you never know.
Jay Clouse 2:17
I really love that episode because when two people who are very technically good at something, affiliate marketing in this case, when they get together and talk shop, it gets nerdy and it gets really actionable. And I loved it so much that I reached out to Miles to get him on the show. Miles is an internet marketer. And in 2009, he and his wife Melanie started a website about mindfulness and meditation. That site now receives over 8 million visitors per year. He's been behind the scenes running and optimizing that website since that time, and in 2016, he decided to begin teaching what he learned. His stuff is wildly in depth and specific. Don't be surprised to find videos on his channel that are more than two hours long teaching you exactly how to do things like keyword research. And now more than 600 videos later, Miles' YouTube channel has nearly 150,000 subscribers. Miles' says he focuses on preeminence making his content better than anything else on that topic, and he shares it all for free on YouTube. In this episode, we talk about his path to online marketing. His 90 day content challenges his ATM method for earning money online, and why giving away his knowledge for free actually earns him more than if he put it behind a paywall. I'd love to hear your thoughts on this episode. As you listen. You can find me on Twitter or on Instagram @JayClouse or join our private Facebook group by searching for Creative Elements listeners on Facebook. And now let's chat with Miles and hear how he got his start.
Miles Beckler 3:53
So it came from a dark place to be honest, it came from despair and an utter state of being discouraged. I'm a recovering opportunity seeker. So I've, I've gone down the path of get rich quick. I've bought network marketing schemes that got shut down by the government because they were flat out schemes. And I was always just trying, like, how can I get money I grew up working class poor in a wealthy neighborhood and I just from the age of 12, or so I just knew I had to figure out this money game. And coming out of college, I was flipping houses one of those schemes I was into, and the whole global financial crisis landed on my shoulders, and I lost $60,000 on a house deal. With $50,000 in student loan debt, the house was supposed to pay off the debt, none of that happened. And I was newly married and I had big promises to my wife of entrepreneurial success and we've got this baby, don't you worry. And it was out of that deep dark space. One of the only things in my life that felt good was meditating literally like I the noise in my head. The internal conversation was toxic. I was mood altering. I was drinking alcohol a bunch I was smoking weed to just kind of try to like numb that sense but during the day, taking time to meditate going out in nature and sitting next to a trail on a rock and just sitting there in the sunshine felt good. And the same thing for my wife and her kind of story. So we met with this commonality of loving that feeling of just letting go of the 3d world for a little while. And we kind of thought like, man, maybe other people would get value from this, maybe other people would like to have this skill set, if you will, or to have some tools or some tools in their tool belt to be able to kind of relieve stress. And so we just started sharing what we were doing what we were learning what we were thinking about what we were reading and researching through a blog through a WordPress blog, and neither of us had any sort of like computer science backgrounds or degrees. I had dabbled in internet marketing in that stream of failed challenges and endeavors before and things just started to click. It felt right. We were kind of in this flow of learning, experimenting, doing in our world and then teaching what we learned and sure enough traffic started to show up. We kept publishing I really learned keyword research and the basics of how to publish content in alignment with the exact phrases and words people are looking for. And sure enough, you show up more on Google when that works. And we built an audience. And then from there, we learned how to build an email list. And then we learned how to kind of create our own recorded audios and our recorded meditation sessions. And that's been the business that was in 2009. And that business is still the core of what we do to this day. So it's, you know, 11 years in on that business. It's very successful. Now I play in the world of Facebook ads and funnels and all that geeky stuff. And in 2016, I started teaching everything we learned 100% for free on my YouTube channel, and I had been getting asked a lot of questions from other people. How do you guys do it? We were full time nomads for four years. And I kept answering the same questions like man, maybe I should create a library of answers and YouTube is the place to do it. So I started putting out these these YouTube videos. And now that has actually kind of exploded hundred 35,000 subscribers in a year, in three and a half years, excuse me. So that's pretty much what we do now. And we're we consider ourselves a digital publishing company. We publish as much helpful content as we possibly can we grow email lists. And our number one focus pretty much every day is, you know, how can I be of service to my audience? What can I create today that my audience is going to value and we let that really just fuel our activities?
Jay Clouse 7:17
Do you remember a point in that journey when you guys went from saying, we're just sharing what we're learning to? Okay, now, let's make this a full time thing.
Miles Beckler 7:27
Yeah. And so there was a scarier, not as exciting moment that happened before that precluded that moment. And it was we were in Lake Tahoe. We were in a drafty cabin. We both had full time jobs. And we were kind of living the snowboard bum lifestyle a little bit. And we were doubting that it would ever actually make enough money for us to live on. We literally were like, I don't know if this is going to work. And we had a heart to heart in that moment. And it was literally like, you know what, whether or not this can support us, I was doing client services work at a time as a kind of a freelancer doing search engine optimization, even if we have to keep doing all of this. We're on this planet to share this stuff like meditation needs to get out. And today in 2020, meditation is trendy, this is like 2012. When it wasn't as trendy we're like, we have to share this, like it has improved our lives so much whether or not this is going to fund our lifestyle, we have to keep going. And interestingly, from that shift, things started to line up, we kind of almost stopped caring as much about the money and we were just like the mission became bigger than the income. And some like there's something in this world that when that shift happens, the world around us started to shift in our funnel started to work a little better. And our offer started to sound better. And we stopped writing sales copy as sales, copywriters and people who were just sharing that thing that they felt they had to share, and that generated more sales. And so from that point on, it shifted from there but so when the income got to a point where I was able to pay my student loans because I hadn't been paying those at all, and we were able to pay for life. We actually were in Costa Rica, we, I had moved into a trailer at one point, we were living in a fifth wheel RV traveling around the country. Because if you can live off of $1,200 a month, being a successful entrepreneur is a lot easier than if you're living off of $12,000 per month. And I had credit card points and we flew down to Costa Rica, we're living on a beach for 50 bucks a day. And we were able to clear the hurdle and pay all our bills from there. And that was the moment of in that heat with with the sounds and the smells, and just the vigor and the strength of that environment really inspired us to like, we're never going back and we doubled down and we started publishing more content. And we did a 90 day challenge where we published a new blog post every single day and it was a grind but but from that point, we kind of leveled up and never turned back from there.
Jay Clouse 9:45
Something I'm starting to craft as sort of a theory, talking to all these people who have made it online. They talked about, you know, when they finally broke through, it seems like really the first two years of publishing is the hardest for a lot of people and I'm curious to hear if that you're experience as well.
Miles Beckler 10:02
And I would even shorten it down. I call it the chasm of death. You know, nice, gentle words, but about month three. So I just did an experiment on my channel where I started a new affiliate marketing website from zero, can I can I grow this thing to $3,000 a month within one year, but I'm too busy. So I took one of my teammates, he was already on the team to kind of project manage this. And at month three, he came to me and he said, Miles, I would quit, like this is the point where I would quit. We were dealing with challenge after challenge on the content on the editing, the layout, the themes, the plugins, everything was conflicting with each other. And we were seeing zero results. And we were going as fast as we could, right. This was a very intense challenge from someone who's built multiple successful brands. When I do experiments, I challenged myself aggressively. So it was a very aggressive challenge. And he literally was like I would give up at this point. So there's this point in time, when you've been publishing, publishing, publishing you're pouring your heart and your soul into it. You're in uncharted territory here. If you're on YouTube, you're dealing with this whole, like, how do I be on camera? If you're in the world of podcasting? It's like RSS feeds and Wait, how does that connect over there? And how do people actually find my podcast in the world of all, or if you're on the blog, it's it's search engine, often, it's all these little nuances that are hidden behind the process of publishing. So we're dealing with all of these learning curves, the challenges are compounding. We just want to share our talent, our soul, our creativity, whatever that is, we want to share that thing with the world. And nobody's finding it. And it feels hopeless for a period of time. But what's happening, there's two things that are going on. Number one is we're building trust with the algorithms. And it's important to think that every time we publish content, there's actually two audiences for our content. There's the algorithm on the platform that we're publishing through. And then there's the human being, and we do actually have to cater to both of them. And if we go too aggressive on either one, you're leading yourself to future problems. So some of the the scammy side of things they'll they'll try to find all the Google hacks and those little cheaty things they can do on Google and then a future Google update just destroys their website. Or there's people who they are absolute masters of the written craft. They are wordsmith they are crafting amazing written or audio or video content. But they're not taking time to understand how YouTube works or how Google works, and no one's finding their content. And that's also extremely disheartening. And so there's learning curves on both sides. And when we kind of realized that, it takes a long time to learn one learning curve, let alone two or three learning curves that we're taking on at the same time. One of the smartest things my wife and I did, we went all in on blogging, only. We didn't do blogging and social and video and and, and, and, and, and today, there's a lot of people a lot of gurus who get a lot of airtime that say you have to be everywhere, because everyone is everywhere and tiktoks out you gotta be on tik tok. And when Snapchat was out, you had to be on Snapchat and Instagram stories and dah dah dah. And I think that most actual creative, most people who bridge the gap to build a lifestyle business around their creativity. tensely go all in on one platform for long enough to get all those little learning curves down to get all of those kind of supporting muscles dialed in, then we can start to think about syndicating our content. For me, it took a year of doing nothing but videos over 300 videos in one year, just to figure it all out. And my first videos were terrible. My 30th video was not much better, but incrementally, little by little by little 1% better every day. 1% better every iteration, we get to a point where we are making impact. And for some people that does take years there I've seen people who have gotten there in six months. But my wife and I, so we had full time jobs. When we grew ours. I would set my alarm. I got up at 430. Every morning, I work from 430 to 730. I was not willing to give my give the man my day job, the absolute best hours of my day. So I focused on that in the morning. And then when we got home I worked in the evenings and then we both worked all day, Saturday and Sunday. I didn't do barbecues. I didn't do birthday parties. I didn't do happy hours. I do I disappeared completely, and we didn't have kids. And so with that level of force, we were able to kind of bridge the gap a little quicker than some people who might only be able to put in two hours per day. I like to think in terms of iterations, right? I think most people are 1000 iterations away from their success. So it's not hours it's not months, not years iterations. So how many videos can you put out? How many emails how many opt in pages? How many of these little each one's in iteration? How quick can you get to 1000? is really the question.
Jay Clouse 14:27
When we come back, we dive into the nitty gritty of Miles three part content strategy, right after this.
Jay Clouse 14:35
Welcome back to creative elements. Miles had just shared with us his belief that success follows iteration. He says you need 1000 iterations to get really, really good at something. And he recommends taking on a 90 day challenge of creating 90 pieces of content in 90 days. So I wanted to dig deeper because it seems counterintuitive that the best way to earn money online would come from investing all of your time into creating things that you're giving away for free.
Miles Beckler 15:02
So money is the byproduct of adding value to other people's lives. And so there's two kind of variables in that sentence, there is the depth or amount of value, we add, right solving a $10,000 problem for someone versus solving a $10 problem for someone. And then there's the number of people who we add value to write. And on the internet, we have scale. So 2 billion daily active monthly active users on Facebook, 1.5 billion monthly active users on YouTube. So there's how many people we reach with our message and how deeply we impact those individuals or how much transformation we help them get. Money is the byproduct of that. It comes back to the old Zig Ziglar quote, right like you can have anything you want in this world if you help enough people get what they want in this world and, and I think that gets almost like cheesed out and overused, but it's the Absolute Truth. So my ethos in content creation is 100% in alignment with that. Now here's the really cool part, because I have data on this because I've been running these experiments in how we've been publishing our business. my financial situation today is so much greater than what I ever thought was possible for myself. We set these big, hairy, audacious goals that everyone sets and our 10 grand Amanda and like, just magnitudes larger than that today, because I didn't focus on the money, I focus on the impact and where we focus, that's where we are energy goes, and what I really mean by this, so on the Miles Beckler brand, I'm teaching digital marketing, I'm teaching internet marketing, and I could have created a course put it on the learning management system, written a sales letter, done some Facebook ads, I technically have all of the skills to do that appropriately. And I chose not to, I chose to just teach everything for free. Because on this path, there's a few things that need to get. And as an affiliate, I can say, hey, by the way, if you want to learn keyword research, I'll show you exactly how to do it. Here's six videos like deep dive training that you would pay for theoretically, and it's 100% free on YouTube, they find it they go through it, they're looking they're clearly the tool I'm using, which is honestly the tool that I use is the one and they click through and they purchase and I have made So much more money. By doing it this way by shifting the value first by being pre eminent by giving them what they're looking for before I care about what's in it for me. And sure enough, the money has showed up at much greater likes, I don't think I would be making as much today with the Miles Beckler brand had I gated everything behind paywalls because copywriting is really hard conversions really hard. And what also is really hard is standing out in that crowd, I would just be one of them. I'd be another one of those people doing the same thing from the same playbook. Instead, I pivoted, surprisingly, not many people are willing to give everything away for free in my world. So I stand out and I get shared. That's the other kind of component is my content, if every piece of content that you put out is clearly designed to get them onto the webinar, or to get them to take an action and there's a call to action in everything. If every piece of content someone ever puts out, no one's gonna share it, because there's like, Oh, that was actually good, but I don't know if I could share this Jay because I feel like you're just pitching your stuff. pretty aggressively at the end, therefore, I'm not going to put it on Reddit, I'm not going to retweet it, I'm not going to put it on social. I don't do social media marketing, my audience does that for me. And a lot of it is because I'm just it's pure value, it's a two hour deep dive obscenely long video, it had to be that long, like there is that much information. It's like a collegiate level course. And people watch it, and then they rewatch it. And then they comment twice. And they even say, I've never commented before, but this is so bad. And then they share it with everyone that they know. And they put it in that Facebook group that they've been active in. And they helped me grow my brand and my reach faster. And all of this kind of stems from that core of if I just give enough value all be taken care of. And there's there's just a huge gap of trust in there. Right. And I believe it you can call it the law of attraction or the law of reciprocation, or whatever it is. But there is something in this world that when people give us value and help us we feel compelled to give back to them in some way. And sometimes it's a gift sometimes it's a retweet or a mention, but other times it's literally like okay, and I get these kinds of comments. Look, I'm about to buy a new funnel system. I'm about to sign up for an email list. Let me go see what Miles recommends. And I'm gonna click on his affiliate link, and I know he's gonna get paid for it. Because he's put out so much helpful content, I get comments literally, miles, are you an affiliate for this? Can you send me your link? I'm about to sign up for this. And I'd love to use your link. It's absurd, almost. But that's because of the value I've added to their lives and they feel compelled to reciprocate. So it's, it's just flipping the whole model on its head. And I think I'm living proof that it works really well.
Jay Clouse 19:28
Okay, I'm starting to understand how putting so much effort into creating the preeminent content, the absolute best information on a topic and giving it away for free could actually turn into a financial return. But there's more to Miles strategy than that.
Miles Beckler 19:44
I've kind of simmered it down to three levels. ATM is kind of the process and audience is what the A stands for T is for trust. M is for monetize. And those are in a very specific order on purpose. And it's all about audience growth at first and I think Everyone needs to be partnering with some sort of a search based platform. I do not think that social media marketing is enough of an audience for most people. Sure, there's examples of Kylie Jenner who made 600 million when she sold her one point half over $1.2 billion company. We ain't there. I you know, most people can't get it. And the reason search is so important is it lives on forever. So I have videos that I recorded in 2016. We're recording this in May of 2020. Those videos still bring me thousands and thousands of new people into my world day in and day out. So there's a compounding effect. My wife has blog posts from 2012 2013 2011 that still bring new people into her world into her ecosystem.
Jay Clouse 20:44
Can we get specific on some of these search based platforms? Google is an obvious one search engines like Google, Bing, those are obvious. What else are we talking about?
Miles Beckler 20:53
YouTube is number two how YouTube is the number two search engine in the world and there is a large segment of people who are are starting to default to YouTube for their how to searches. I was at my sister's house and her dryer was broken. And I realized the drum wasn't tumbling and was like, oh, there's a belt in here. How do I replace the belt on May tech x two, five, I went to YouTube, I searched it. And the dude literally had the exact dryer hidden affiliate link for the belt, I bought it from this link, and I was able to fix her dryer right then and there. So and especially in that logo example that we've talked about, right, if you're trying to figure out the game of logos and color palettes, this is not something you do in auditory form. And you might not even want to read through it, you might want to watch a video of a designer who does presentations in a way that lets you see a lot of visual information. And it's kind of an audio visual type learning situation. So those are the big two. The third one is podcasting. podcasting is not as great of a search function for us publishers, because the discoverability is a little bit more challenging. It's not like people are searching on the podcast feed, how to build a creative business, and we're a little bit more limited, but it's starting The big three and it's it's either video content on YouTube written content on a WordPress blog is my personal preference, or a podcast. And really, if you're doing YouTube, the thing about a podcast is a podcast should be able to overlap and dovetail with a YouTube game plan very effectively. And that's the core content. That's the first level. Now my wife started blogging, she loves writing. There's a personality type in this world that that crafting something and sleeping on it and kind of copy editing it and sleeping on it and reworking on it. She often has like four or five blog posts she's working on at the same time. That drives me insane. And I in the beginning, I attempted to force myself to blog. I thought that my wife had such success. Her blog has reached 40 million people. I obviously need to model what works model success, right? Except I hate writing. It's not that I hate writing. I actually kind of enjoyed writing. It's content editing, it's proofreading. It's all of those things that are just not for me. And then I just said, You know what, I'm an operator. I'm pretty good. communicator, let me just try this YouTube thing, let me just bust out my camera, I'm doing it, I'm gonna do 90 videos in 90 days, just I'm just gonna do it because I have to get these ideas out of my head. I felt it bubbling up inside, and I got hooked. And I found my medium. And that's the key for people is what is your medium, and then go all in on that. And once you really get comfortable, you can begin to syndicate. So now my videos, my core content on that one search platform. They get picked up by a teammate who then transcribes them, turns them into outlines, turns them into great blog posts, and then publishes them as SEO optimized posts on my blog. And I have another virtual assistant who rips off the mp3 and puts them on my podcast feed. So now I'm taking that same piece of information that I create in the way that kind of taps my personal genius, my personality style, and I'm syndicating it to all of the search levels and it took me a year to get all three of those going. And this is a guy who I was full time online for six years when I started. It took me a year of doing nothing but videos to just get good Enough and competent enough at one, before syndicating out to three. And then I started as social media on after that.
Jay Clouse 24:07
And I want to underscore that because if I'm listening to this, and I'm saying like, okay, three different platforms, three different mediums I can choose do on a right, don't do video on a podcast, I do all three. Suddenly, I'm getting a little overwhelmed. But I want to go back to what you were saying earlier with this 90 Day Challenge. Focus on one medium, creating 90 great pieces of content, get really good at one thing and then add on to it. Don't get distracted by everything else that's out there.
Miles Beckler 24:36
That's what everyone else does is get distracted by everything else. And you just fall into that pit of and it's overwhelmed. I think overwhelm and burnout are absolutely the number one thing which is where the 90 Day Challenge is not perfect for everyone. And for people who are like there's no way I got kids I got this my kids are now homeschool because we're in lockdown, etc, etc. I get you and I for those individuals that say do a 90 day challenge, and can you do three a week, you should be able to do three Let's be ready He'll do three a week for 90 weeks, which is just about two years, three times 90. We're not, we're not even near that thousand iterations we talked about. But one thing is absolutely going to happen, you're going to become a master of that platform, if you do keep showing up three times a week, every week for 90 weeks consecutively. And when you get to that level of mastery, you start to operate from a different level, we're not thinking it's the the unconscious competence realm. You're not thinking about optimizing your video, you're not thinking about the little things in the lighting. It's all that's all done. You're just really working on Am I able to create content that impacts people? How do I get impact? How do I actually get my people to take action? I'm not here to entertain the world. I'm here to educate and get people into action. And that's really what I focus on it. It just takes a long time to figure out how do we do that with the ideas that we have? And then once we start to get that going, it's kind of like okay, and the other thing that happens when you make a video in the beginning or a podcast episode, for example, and how long did it take you to go from idea to finished product uploaded in the beginning with one of your podcasts.
Jay Clouse 26:04
Oh, yeah, I mean, I was doing another show that I was doing for almost two years before I started this show. And from ideation of the show to publishing the first episode, after two years of doing the podcast took about nine months, because I was really trying to hit a lot of things focused on distribution and syndication, more so than just the content because I had the muscle memory to know I could make a good show. Now how do I actually get that in front of people? And I learned so much from those first two years of creating other show.
Miles Beckler 26:33
And now the time it takes you to go from you know, an introduction or outreach say, Hey, would you mind being on the show to recording to editing to publishing that timeframe gets compressed and you're really efficient now? So when somebody makes a video when I was doing my 90 Day Challenge, my videos took like four or five hours it took all of my energy all of my day thinking about writing those today. I'm like, 20 minutes in and out. I do not edit I do everything in one take. I've done 605 videos on my YouTube channel at this point, and I'm so efficient, what I've actually done is I've freed up three extra hours that I used to have to dedicate. And that's what you do in that first year or in the 90 days or in the 90 week challenge is it goes from being like all of the extra time you have available goes to that one piece of content. And then eventually you're like, dude, I got it done. It's only six o'clock, I got two and a half hours left. What else am I creating today? Uh huh. Now you're in that point when you can start to think about syndicating. And if you're making a video, the easiest next thing to do is to rip out the mp3 figure out the podcast game and get it there. And I found I have a lot of people on my audience who love listening. I'm not cannibalizing my audience, they are washing their car, they're doing the dishes. They're commuting to work and back and they want to get my ideas, but they don't have time to sit at a video. So I'm just facilitating another way for a segment of my audience to obtain my content. And then eventually there's the readers because people learn in three ways you listen you view view and experience or you read and it took again a year about a year in two months. To get all three of those systems firing, build systems build teammates, we can kind of outsource ourselves from a lot of those levels as the cash flow goes up. And we can focus in on our genius on that thing that only we can do. So there's the 8020 rule, right? We can do the 8020 rule to everything. So when we apply the 8020 rule to the 8020 rule, meaning 20% of 20%, and 80% of 80%, we get four and 64. So 4% of what we all do, freelancers, you myself, 4% is moving the needle 64% of the way, and that's almost passive, or six points away from a passing grade. And if you pass that class, you get the same diploma as if somebody who got an A plus right and so we just focus in what is our 4% and I know for a fact content creation, no one can be Miles back there right now in this moment with you on this podcast other than Miles Beckler.
Jay Clouse 28:53
After the break, we break down the trust and monetization aspects of Miles ATM strategy. Welcome back. Miles was telling us about his three part ATM strategy for earning money online. Audience trust and monetization. He explained how creating incredible content and leveraging search engines can help you build your audience. Now let's talk about trust and monetization.
Miles Beckler 29:20
I have no doubts or qualms in my mind that YouTube could turn me off any day YouTube once, right? That is a fact of the platform. Google, if you own your own WordPress blog, you kind of Own your content a little better. It's way better than medium, right? If you're on medium, you're sharecropping on their on their plantation, essentially. But Google can also slap a website and completely remove you from the search engines. And sometimes it happens out of the blue right? It's not like you did anything wrong. You're just it's they happen to make some sort of algorithm change over here and collateral damage, you're gone. And I've seen it time and time again. So what is that thing we own? What does that relationship with our audience that we actually own that we can take anywhere that we can always have open? Facebook is notorious for you. Get lost. Reach with organic content, no more reach groups are getting a ton of reach, no more group reach pay us and you get reach is now how Facebook works. So this is a very common process. So we build our content, we publish our content in alignment to grow the audience through search. And then we have to build an email list. And that is the epicenter for the trust level is growing your email list. And super simply done, you know, you have a landing page that gives them the the top 11 things you need to consider. Maybe it's a pre logo worksheet and you're going to help me learn everything I need to learn to get an amazing logo done from any designer, whether you choose me or not go through this worksheet and you're going to get a logo you love. That's exactly what your audience member wants. And at that moment when they opt in for that PDF, or that video course or whatever it is, they have now subscribed to your list, you have the legal right to market to them. And you also have the right in the ability to export a CSV of all your names of databases. Moving over to another mailer. If your mailing company shuts down, you upload it and boom, you're up and running again. So It's it's the means of communication with your audience that you own. It's actually the real asset in any business in my business, we can attribute and we've done multiple millions of dollars in profits online, I can attribute 80 plus percent of my income directly from calls to action in emails. The game from there, so so it's not just about building the email list, because if you build an email list, and you don't reach out to them, and you don't build a relationship, that's a problem. So it is about giving more value. It's about telling stories. It's about sharing aspects of your life. I like to look at email marketing today, very similar to stories, Instagram stories, to Facebook stories, Snapchat stories, etc. Where we're just we're finding something that's going on in our life. It's a project you're working on. It's an advertisement you saw on the side of a bus stop, and you make a story around that that's going to offer value into their life. And then you PS By the way, if now is the time to get moving forward on your logo, give me a call. I've got time for two new clients in the month of May, or whatever it is right, the calls to action can be so incredibly simple. And the reason why you need to email is important. This just happened. I was listening to a podcast, the guy on it sounded brilliant. He had this membership thing that I was like, Man, that's really exciting. That's interesting. I went to his list and I opted in three weeks ago. Just the other day, I got an email, and the email showed up. It was like webinar Friday. I was like, Who is this? I'm on a spam list. How did I this mother? What how dare you and I was, uh, I was literally offended. I was like, Where is my report is spam and then I took them in. So where did this come from? And I realized that I subscribed useless three weeks ago, I was ready to jump in. I was ready to buy I was like, This dude is smart. And he didn't send a Hey, how are you doing? He didn't send an email that says hey, reply. Let me know your biggest question. So I can make sure I'll make a video on it because I make videos all the time. He didn't send the story. Nothing. There was zero contact until that moment, he pitched me on something and flat out pissed me off. So we can't do.
Jay Clouse 32:51
Because there's no trust.
Miles Beckler 32:52
Zero trust. Bingo, thank you. Gosh, you're doing my bit better than I do. My man. I appreciate that. But that's what it was. There was no trust. There is no relationship. So we do business with people we know we like we trust, right? When people are saying, Miles Do you have an affiliate link for this because I'm about to buy it. That's not just trust. There's likability in there. They actually like me to that point. And how do we get to like people is through communication, right for your best friend, you would never go weeks without texting or emailing or be in touch with your best friend. And when we really treat the email list as as friends and we share stories, and we share about our lives and the ups and the downs and the challenges and the good times and everything, we become authentic, vulnerability can come through and boy, you just stand out as the preeminent The only provider in that world. And most people are interested in something so let's say honestly, that I'm going to get a logo done. To me, this is a very big decision. This is something that like I know that personally like from from my past experience, where I'm expecting this to be a three month plus process, and it might feel a little bit like pulling teeth. So I'm actually gonna start thinking about that world. seeding my subconscious with ideas, researching bits, looking at things now. With an expectation that about probably two months in three months, and then I'd be ready to purchase. Well, if I get on somebody list who follows up with me who tells me stories, who shares insights about the projects they're working on, who gives me just deeper understanding of the process? Who makes it seem like it's not pulling teeth? Like it could be fun? Like, Oh, my gosh, thank you, yes, who wears this person, then when the timing is right for me, then you are the de facto choice, but I can't really do my logo because I got this new Facebook funnel that I'm working on. I can't get that done until I get my teammate that I'm trying to hire hiring. But I still want to get the ball in motion. And that's where most people are. And that's where the email list you can build that trust massively.
Jay Clouse 34:38
When you talk about the importance of having an email list, which I subscribe to that idea as well, how do you marry that with the idea that pick your medium of writing video podcasting? If I chose video or podcasting, now you're telling me I've got to also be good at writing?
Miles Beckler 34:54
Well, you don't have to be good at it to start is the key there. So for me in my path, I did not Even build an opt in form for six months. And my wife pretty much got to the point where she was like, What would you tell your students to do? I was six months in, I'd done about 250 videos. And she was like, you have like, Why do you not have less people want more from you? And I literally just forced myself to do it. And yes, I it was it was difficult. It was it was awkward. It was not necessarily easy in the early days. But now I'm much more of a competent writer. The cool thing about email is it's just sending notes back and forth to friends. You're not writing AP certified, like I don't know, they're like the grammars out the window. I put an ellipse at the end of every frickin sentence. It's pretty much one sentence per paragraph like this is we are not writing to impress. Sometimes we're writing to discover an idea within ourselves. I'm actually like brainstorming and thinking things out and kind of typing it out as I think things out sharing a quick story. You know, I was driving Yesterday I saw this ad is this and I was wondering what do they mean by that? And is this a good thing or bad thing sharing Real quick picture. If we break this down to the kind of communication that you would send to a good friend, that's all you have to get to with it because then the reader is going to feel like a friend just emailed them. And when your emails are perceived as and they really are you just chatting with a friend a couple times few times a week, the reader reads it and they're getting value. They're getting to know you, they're getting to like you. They don't care what your grammar is. I misspell things actually use a dictation because I'm trying not to type as much so I dictate and sometimes it just even flat out gets the wrong word and it misspell things and I miss it and that's it's okay. It doesn't need to be some polished published thing. In fact, the more it starts to look like a polished corporatized newsletter, here is your newsletter, the less personal it feels and the less you feel like a friend. And that to me is kind of the most freeing thing is thinking about a friend so I have I got a friend. He's threatened at least three times to build a business online. He'll never do it. His name's Matt He's a good buddy. And I've known him since I was in my teens. So everything I do my videos, I imagine that lens is Matt. And my emails, I literally imagine I'm just sending an email to Matt, what's that next thing that Matt needs to know, to make a little bit of progress? So I allow myself to swear, I allow myself to call him out on this bs because Dude, you said you wanted it and you ain't doing nothing. Like I gotta, I gotta make sure you know that if you want the result, you got to do the work, right? You can't outsource your push ups how me and I can bring that kind of tone, that kind of pacing, that kind of honesty to the table through email, and everyone who reads it. 12,000 plus people who open this email, they're like, Oh, my God, I totally dig this model. You're right Miles, I needed that little kick in the pants, thank you. And they click reply. And they say thank you. And they say I needed to hear this today. Or they say they forwarded on to their friends because they know their friends need to hear it all because it's just a buddy sending something to a buddy and it's that that philosophy and that kind of approach, and it gets easier just like the podcasts get easier, just like the videos get easier. It was it was challenging in the beginning. Today writing emails, it's kind of fun. And there's I just look for I'm, I'm planting a garden, I just got some fruit trees. And it's gonna take three years for these fruit trees to bear fruit. Am I going to not plant my fruit trees? Because it takes three years? Like, is there an analogy for growing a business there, my goodness, the analogies for they're everywhere, once you start to look at the world in that way.
Jay Clouse 38:20
I want to learn this by hitting this monetization point. And I'd love for you to tie in one of the concepts so that I've learned from you of the freight train approach or the freight train mindset of how this leads to monetization eventually.
Miles Beckler 38:34
Yeah, so freight trains are immensely powerful vehicles. And sometimes they even link you know, three or four locomotives together with thousands and thousands of horsepower and they can tow you know, 100 cars full of coal, whatever it is, and when they get going, the amount of energy it takes to get them going is insane. And they don't go very fast. You can walk faster than a freight train in the beginning and it's applying 10s of thousands of horsepower directly to the tracks. And it just takes a lot of energy to get going. Another one is the if anyone's ever had a Broke car at a POS Datsun for years, you're gonna push start your own car, it takes so much energy to get that car moving forward to get that car rolling, it takes so much energy to get that train going. But once it gets up to speed, it takes very little energy to maintain that. And that's what we're all doing right, we're all pushing the ball uphill. And eventually it tips over to the other side, and the ball will roll down the other hill on its own accord. And really what we're looking for, in many senses in the monetization world is what does that thing our audience values so much that it's an absolute no brainer for them? It's the dream solution for them, and often takes testing many different things to find the thing that they actually want. And that's okay. And sometimes it takes testing not only different offers, do they want a video training on how to figure out what logo they want, do they actually want to just get a logo do they want to buy a semi pre made logo from an interface that has maybe a dozen semi custom logos and they Want the cheaper semis, like, we don't know what they actually want until we do some testing? And then we don't know what mechanism is going to best close them. Right? Is it going to be a video sales letter? Is it better to get them on a webinar? Should I just get them on a phone call and close them on a phone call or even for a local business do I need them to walk in the door is that the actual mechanism is they walk in ready to purchase and so we need to test different combinations of things. And this is the energy to get the train car rolling. And sometimes we're testing a video sales letter for a digital download product. And then it's a written sales letter for a service based product. And eventually you find the offer that connects with your audience and it converts well enough, boom, at that point, you kind of hit the magic land, and you can start to look at what's the next thing that they want to buy. Because human nature is the moment we scratch the itch. The moment we accomplish the thing we want. There's another thing so in my world, let's say I sold a course on funnels, or let's say solar consultation on funnels, I'm going to do a funnel consultation to help you optimize your funnel. And they purchase that. Well, the next thing they're going to need after funnels traffic, I know that logically, that's the next issue, they'll have to scratch. So I could upsell them a Facebook ads course or a Facebook ads training or a Facebook ads community after that sale, and then so once I find my core offer that converts, I start to add on all of the little bits and pieces. And that is just getting more and more value in the hands of my audience and ultimately more and more income in my pocket. just helping people get more of what they want.
Jay Clouse 41:33
I love this idea of preeminence because it makes intuitive sense if you think about it, but you really need to buy into it to be able to make the leap past kind of a scarce mindset. I think a lot of creators ask themselves, how am I going to get paid doing this? How will that ever come back to me? And you're saying you've run this experiment enough times that Yeah, and the longtail comes back.
Miles Beckler 41:55
There's always a way to add more value. So every transaction we all make is is an attempt to gain more happiness in our lives, whether you're buying a new kitchen knife and you just think that you're done smashing tomatoes in that new kitchen knife that's going to slice through them like butter, it's happiness is what we're buying a new tool that's going to make our business more effective, it might give us more free time, it's happiness that we're buying, we're gonna be happier with that then without and so when we really focus on helping others obtain that which they think is going to make them happier. There's always another thing Okay, so in the keyword research world where I teach and I give everything away for free, there's the next thing and now they trust me for that next thing which is generally search engine optimization and I there's a couple of courses I recommend there's there's some new affiliate relationships that meet them at that step. And life is a perpetual series of steps trying to improve said life. That's what it is whether we're helping our clients and our businesses go from where they are to where they want to be, the moment they get to where they want to be. There's a new where they want to be right like that. The entrepreneur who gets to 10 grand a month is not satisfied. They realize after taxes this that the other it's just a good income if you're in the Bay Area you're scraping by, and they're like, Okay, well, I need to get 30 grand a month, okay. And there's a new series of challenges that present themselves because growing a business to 10 grand growing business to 30 grand growing business 200 grand a month is very different. It's fundamentally different. You need different automations to run a $1.2 million per year business, then you do $120,000 per your business, you need to focus on different things, which means there's there's new videos, and there's new open areas, and it's never ending and I think what you nail it with a word scarcity, right, and a lot of people think scarcely of this is the one thing I create logos, the logo asset is the one thing that I do, and this is where I'm at, and they're not necessarily seeing all of the ways that they could potentially add value to their clients that their clients would value immensely. And maybe their client isn't even looking for the How to logo yet. They're just trying to figure out what's my color palette, or is it a line art logo or what is a modern logo is line art. There's I'm not much of a logo designer But in that world, their client is aware of many different things that lead up to that moment of wanting to hire someone to make that logo for their startup for their funded startup, or whatever it is, and realizing that we can meet them way earlier in the process through content. And we can help them answer all of the little questions that will make them a better client when they find us because they already have overcome the objections. And they've already learned what they need to learn, they've got their color palette, they know about what they want, because we sent them to go find examples of what they want. So when they show up as a client, they love us because we've helped them and they're a better client for us. But then there's a further once they have that logo, there is always a further and we can also kind of custom tailor new things, new services, new products, or connect them with partnerships that could lead them down that path to those next things. And it's that abundance idea that there's always a further because happiness is an ever moving goalposts and that's really what everyone is always chasing because the CEO of that company who's buying that logo, they really think that they're going to be happy. happier in their life in their business, there'd be more proud of themselves, it's gonna be a better status for them to have that logo once it's done. And then once that's done, there's a new thing that's going to bring them happiness because we humans are fickle, like that. And happiness is fleeting, and it's here for a minute. It's like, Okay, I need that next new thing. It is a perspective shift. And it is an abundance based perspective shift and abundance mindset that can really open doors where where we just don't even see that there's an opportunity there.
Jay Clouse 45:32
I have learned so much from Miles both during and since this interview, I subscribe to the audio versions of his videos, and I listen to them when I go out and do things like go for a run. Each of these videos are super action packed, and I always leave with a new idea for how to do something new, or how to do something differently or do something better. And I'll credit Miles with finally helping me to understand how to play the search engine optimization game. Seriously. I finally feel comfortable with search engine optimization I'll share some of my favorite videos from Miles YouTube channel in our private Facebook group. So just search for creative elements listeners on Facebook to join the discussion. Thank you to Miles for being on the show. Thank you to Emily Klaus for making the artwork for this episode. Thanks to Bryan Skeel for mixing this show and creating our music. And if you liked this episode, please tweet at me at Jay Clouse and let me know I'd love to hear from you. If you really loved it, please leave a review on Apple podcasts. Thanks for listening, and I'll talk to you next week.