#20 episode of “Helping B2B High Ticket Service Providers Grow – One Lesson at a Time”, with Joe Balestrino.
Joe Balestrino is the CEO of 4PointDigital, a digital marketing agency. Unlike other agencies, they go beyond driving traffic. Joe’s goal is to drive quality leads that directly result in business growth.
He is a marketing expert and author with more than 18 years in the digital space and is a two-time agency owner.
“Don’t use all of your keywords that associate with your business in one ad.”, says Joe.
Check out Joe’s website here!
His email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
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[00:00:06.520] – Dancho – Hello everybody, and welcome to another episode of Helping High Ticket Service Providers grow – One Lesson At A Time. For today, I have a special guest on the podcast, Joe Balestrino. Is it how you pronounce it, Joe?
[00:00:21.860] – Joe – Yeah. Yes, sir.
[00:00:24.160] – Dancho – I’m happy to introduce you to Joe. He’s coming from New York, and he has so many things to tell you about Google ads. Joe, welcome to the show.
[00:00:33.250] – Joe – Thanks for having me. Appreciate it.
[00:00:35.370] – Dancho – I was actually checking you out on Amazon. I saw that you have several books on the subject, so I thought, okay, this is going to be an interesting talk. But perhaps, Joe, you should give us a short, really short introduction on who you are and what you do, so for the people that are listening you for the first time, get an idea on who you are.
[00:00:54.610] – Joe – Yeah. So I’m a digital marketer. I primarily focus on SEO and paid search. I’ve been doing it since 2004. And as you said, I’m on Amazon. I’ve written a couple of books, I do consulting, and it’s, you know something that I love doing.
[00:01:12.300] – Dancho – Nice. And you started directly with paid data SEO because in 2004, that’s like 15 years ago. Was Facebook alive at that time even?
[00:01:25.240] – Joe – No, no back then it was My Space. But yeah I mean, I started learning about SEO, and as I started learning about SEO, I realized that SEO and PPC are kind of together because they both focus on keywords, and so I started learning both, because they would both help my clients because at the time I was running an agency. So yeah I mean, SEO and paid search are kind of brothers and sisters.
[00:01:50.480] – Dancho – Of course. And Joe, I’m actually curious, how much has the SEO and PPC changed over these 15 years? From My Space, to all the new social media platforms that arrived, and also, Google changed their algorithm how many times? Too many to count already.
[00:02:09.700] – Joe – Yeah, it’s funny because SEO back then, like Google would only update every three months, so if you rank number one, you were good for like three months, but sometimes even longer. But now it fluctuates all the time. A lot of things have changed in SEO and PPC, but a lot of things are still the same. And even as long as I’ve been in the industry, there’s things that I thought at this point people would stop doing, but there’s just you know there is either misinformation or they just don’t understand enough. And every day I see the same mistakes being made over and over again when it comes to both SEO and PPC.
[00:02:51.840] – Dancho – I see. And talking about the mistake, we had a slight conversation before the show. We were discussing about Google ads and consultants. How consultants are not really happy with the Google ads, and how they’re either not happy, or actually they don’t know how to do it. But perhaps, Joe, you can give us some insights in regards to, what are the most common mistakes that we’re doing when we try to use Google ads?
[00:03:20.540] – Joe – There’s a lot of them, but I think the most common issue that I see a lot is people just taking, every keyword they could possibly think of that their company does, or service, or whatever consulting they do, and just dump all the keywords into one ad group, and then just put an ad to it and then just advertise it. And if you’re a consultant and you’re just putting in one keyword or two keywords and they’re broad match, you’re just opening up a can of worms because, you’re casting the widest net possible, and you’re getting everybody who’s researching, who’s thinking about doing it as a business, trying to figure out how to do it themselves. And then a lot of money gets wasted on a lot of keywords and terms, that really don’t result in somebody looking for a consultant. And then a lot of people will say, well, Google ads doesn’t work for me because I spent X amount of dollars and, I didn’t get anything out of it. But a lot of times, you know Google has evolved so much, and Google has given us a lot of features to actually help us, kind of get more specific. Like in Google ads, if I have good data, I can narrow down people to a zip code, or you know, to a city, and I can see which cities are giving me conversions and which cities are costing me more, and exclude those people, or reduce bids, or even genders and income. I can make those advanced adjustments, or even time of day… Maybe Mondays consultant spends a lot of money but doesn’t get any leads, but on Wednesdays, he gets a lot of leads at a cheaper cost. I can spend more money on Wednesday’s and less on Mondays, but you have to know how to run the interface.
[00:05:16.290] – Dancho – I see, so the one thing is, that people try to put as many keywords as possible into one bucket, and they shouldn’t do that, based on what I’ve listened from you, it’s like it’s a bad idea because you’re opening infinite possibilities, right?
[00:05:31.350] – Joe – Yes.
[00:05:32.680] – Dancho – Okay. And the second one is that you need data, in order to be more specific on how to play. How do actually people obtain that data? They need to run ads for some period, or how are you actually looking at it, Joe?
[00:05:49.880] – Joe – So, I look at the keywords and see what they have. So I’m going to use myself as an example. I’m a consultant. So if I advertise in Google, I’m not going to type in, I’m not going to make Google ads a term because even though I manage Google ads, people may be looking to log into Google ads or to learn about Google ads or something else about Google ads, not really specific. So I’ll be really specific as Google ads expert. Now it’s very specific. And now people who are looking for an expert are going to look for me. And then once I have that data, you know good data that I can see I’m driving the right traffic and I’m tracking conversions because, if you’re not tracking conversions and you’re just putting keywords into a campaign, the way we get data is we advertise on a certain amount of keywords, and those keywords generate additional searches. So even if I just advertise on Google ads expert, I’m still going to show up for other keywords. And then I want to make sure I’m tracking conversions so I can see somebody googled how to become a Google ads expert. Well, I don’t want that. So how to become, becomes a negative key phrase so that I don’t show up for that, but as I collect data, now I know which keywords are converting and which keywords aren’t. And then I spend more money on the keywords that do convert, and I stop advertising on the ones that aren’t. And then that helps me increase conversions, without increasing more money because, now I have data that says these keywords work, but these keywords do not.
[00:07:27.120] – Dancho – Nice. So actually, based on the feedback of the people that clicked, you’re actually to figure out, okay, this type of phrase, I’m not interested, take them away. I no longer want to pay for those kinds of presents. While on the ones that are actually converting, you want to get more of those. And Joe, roughly, how long do you need to run ads to get some really good data that you can base your, analysis and recommendation and optimization?
[00:07:54.850] – Joe – Okay, that’s a loaded question. So if you have a lot of keywords, let’s say you have 100 keywords and your budget is $50 a day and the average click is $10, five clicks a day and you’re out. So maybe today five keywords get clicked, tomorrow different five keywords get clicked and another day gets clicked. And so then it takes a long time to get the data. If you have a large enough budget or you have small keywords in a sufficient budget, 30 days is a good amount of time, to see what’s performing and what’s not, and then you can easily start cleaning up at that point. And advanced adjustments are time of day, day of week, that probably happens three months, six months down the line where you have a lot of good data. But it comes down to being able to track the conversions, but also making sure that you have enough budget. Because if your budget is too small and you have a lot of keywords, then at the end of 30 days, you’re going to say, “Oh my budget”, you know I spent all this money and I didn’t get any conversions. But it’s because you had so many keywords and that small budget was trying to stretch out, and start running at midnight by four o’clock in the morning, you’re out of budget, and then they don’t run until the next day. So you are also missing out the opportunity to hit your audience during all times of the day.
[00:09:13.890] – Dancho – I see. So actually, one of the mistakes that we’re doing, is that we get into panic mode, you don’t have a big budget, so you don’t know what to do, so you put as many keywords as possible. But at the end of the day, what you’re saying is that don’t go to hundred words, as you said. Because then even the data that you’re going to collect won’t be relevant if you get five clicks a day. While on the other hand, if it’s more focused on less keywords but more specific, it’s not even, whether it’s 30 days or 60. But if you put more money, you can get more clicks per keyword in order to get some significant data on what’s working, what’s not working, what’s converting. Right, Joe?
[00:09:57.730] – Joe – Right. Yeah. When you get specific, when your keywords are broad, your cost per click is going to be cheaper, but you’re going to generate more irrelevant traffic. Where if you’re very specific, if you’re a specific type of consultant, you know like for me, Google ads consultant, let’s say, that’s very specific. So I’m going to go up against my competitors, which means it’s going to cost more, but I’m going to hit exactly the audience I want to target, somebody looking for a Google ads consultant. And so I’m willing to pay more to get in front of those people because, the lifetime value of a customer might be… you know the average customer stays with me two, three years, I can stand to make a lot of money. And so I’m willing to compete on that exact match where, if you try to do too many keywords and too many broad keywords, yeah, you’ll hit some of your target demographic, but you’re also going to go a lot outside of it. And so I always recommend starting with phrase match and exact match, and then work your way to broad match. To me, broad match is the last resort. I have exhausted everything I could possibly do. I can’t get any more exact and phrase match, I want to come up with some new keywords to target so I can grow my campaign. Then I would go broad match, but I would never start a campaign on broad.
[00:11:15.930] – Dancho – I see, I see. Well, so, this is really interesting, Joe. So it’s not always about the metrics, like how many people it reached, how many it clicked, because if you do much broader match, you’re going to be good at those numbers, but you will be lacking a lot in the conversion, because a lot of non-relevant people will click the ad and then you still won’t get the results that you want. But if you’re looking for specific face, like the example that you said, well, if you’re searching for Google ads, you will get a lot of people that are not even looking for an expert. Well, if you’re actually looking at the Google keyword experts, Google ads expert, you know that people that are typing that, are actually looking for an expert.
[00:12:00.570] – Joe – Yeah, exactly. And so it’s important to understand, and it’s always better to be exact, because then you know you’re hitting the right people, the right audience who are looking exactly for what you stand to offer. And then there’s different strategies to do different things, but in the beginning, I always tell clients, don’t focus on how many impressions, how many clicks.
[00:12:30.190] – Dancho – The front end metrics.
[00:12:32.110] – Joe – Yeah, those are like vanity metrics. Like, oh, I got 10,000 impressions. Yeah, but you got five clicks. So that means that you’re hitting the wrong audience. If you have a lot of impressions and low clicks, it means your keywords are too broad. And when you get very specific, then you focus on how much it costs you to get a conversion, not how much you pay per click. Because like I said earlier, if you get more specific, your cost per click is going to be more, because you’re hitting the right audience. But if you go too broad, you could spend $1,000 to get a conversion because, 85 % of that is outside of the reach of who you’re trying to target. But if you spend more per click, maybe you convert at a quarter of the cost. And now it’s like, oh, I was paying more per click. But in the end, I’m paying less per conversion, and the conversions are better because I’m targeting more specific numbers.
[00:13:25.700] – Dancho – Well, then today conversion is what matters. How many people will either buy or do the actual action? Joe, I was also curious about something else. When we were talking with several consultants, opinions seem divided. On the one end is that where should that traffic be moved to? Like, from Google ads, whether you should put them on your website, whether you should put them to a landing page, whether you should put them towards to buy your consulting, or first you need to move them towards something, I don’t know, digital asset free book or something. And I really don’t know what is the right approach here.
[00:14:08.030] – Joe – It’s really tricky. So the way I do it is, I get very specific on the keywords I send to, and then I cookie them so that I could retarget to them. But I really, I try to, like if I’m spending money to a specific landing page, I want them to contact me for consultation. I don’t want them to do anything else. SEO, stuff like that, that’s a different strategy. But for paid search, I try to get them to make sure that they contact me for consultation. Now, a lot of times consultants, what they’ll do is they’ll do a lot of things that are distracting. They’ll have a pop up that says, download this free book, or this little chat icon in the corner, and then there’s social media, follow me here. And to me, if I’m paying for traffic, I only want them to do that one action, and then after they take that action, maybe when they go to the thank you page, then I can say…
[00:15:06.930] – Dancho – You can do the rest.
[00:15:07.570] – Joe – Yeah, you can do the rest. Join my newsletter or follow me on social media. On organic, it’s different. You can play with the different things. But if I’m spending cold hard cash to send somebody, I want them to do. And then if they don’t and they leave, then it’s good because then I have retargeting, I target them on Facebook or on Google, and, so that I can get more opportunity to show them stuff that way. So for me, like paid traffic to me, I want you to focus on either contacting me or not, and then if you don’t, then that’s okay, I’ll retarget you. But if I give you too many things, you either take the wrong action that’s not as important, or you’re overwhelmed and you just don’t take any action.
[00:15:53.560] – Dancho – I see. And then with the retargeting, are you again moving them toward to the contact for the consultation or with the retargeting, you can then now try with different stuff?
[00:16:04.190] – Joe – Yeah, with the retargeting, then you can try different messaging. You can say, download a… like I have books, so I’ll have digital books. So sometimes it’ll be, download a free copy of my book, or if I’m doing a course, access this free course, whatever it is that you want to do, to get them to come back so that you can get the information so, that you can put them in your funnel or whatever other marketing channels that you’re doing, and then you can do it that way. Sure.
[00:16:29.820] – Dancho – Nice. I was curious because you know there are so many theories and I don’t know what is the best way. And of course, some people are like, well, just bring them an eBook. And then you’re like, well, I’m actually paying money for traffic to bring them. So then the discovery call should be actually… And as you said, Joe, it depends also on your business because some, have some training. So instead of going to a discovery call, they’re just moving the traffic toward either some online training or some coaching session. But I understand that for the consultants, usually the free consultation or a strategic consulting hour, which are usually given for free, is the main goal. Because the more strategy session you do, the higher the chances of actually closing the client.
[00:17:17.940] – Joe – Right, exactly.
[00:17:20.600] – Dancho – Got it. Well, actually, that was quite interesting. And Joe, I’m actually curious. You, as a Google ads expert. If you want to have that one single thing that you want to be remembered for, in the Google ads sphere, the one key lesson actually that you want to share with the listeners here, what do you think is the one most important thing when it comes to Google ads? And don’t get me wrong, I’m sure that there are hundreds of things that variables that you need to consider when doing a campaign. But if you have to narrow it to the one crucial thing, which aspect is actually most important?
[00:17:58.470] – Joe – I think you need to really take a little bit of time to learn how to use Google ads, just basic set up, and don’t be afraid to spend money and test, right. So if an average client, a consulting client for you is $5,000, let’s just say that’s the average, and you invested $5,000 in ads and you got at least one client, you would break even, but you would hope you would get more, set that as a benchmark and start out small. Test, one, two keywords, don’t do 50, don’t do 100, just do the ones that you know are most important that when you do Google search, your competitors show up. Go after those keywords and test and try, and then learn as you go along, or you can hire an expert or somebody who can do it for you. But I think everybody should understand fundamentally how Google ads work so that whether they hire someone or not, you understand how it works and how to get it to work.
[00:19:04.100] – Dancho – Yeah. I think that also the user interface is quite convenient. Google is helping you to get your money so that you don’t really do an extra effort in helping you setting up the campaign. But yeah, I was curious, but what you’re saying is that people should slow down, not rush, I need to make money fast and I need lots of ads in a short time burst. But actually start small, test a bit, try optimizing it, get some initial data from Google, try to understand that data in order to help you even better optimize. And once you actually get a winning combination, then you can start scaling it up.
[00:19:42.780] – Joe – Yeah, I mean I understand the whole process. I’m the same way. I think all consultants, entrepreneurs, we all want to do everything, have it done yesterday. And sometimes you do too much, and I’m guilty of this all the time trying to do too many things at one time to try to get something to happen. But sometimes it’s better to start small and test and see how it does versus trying to think of everything that you can throw at it and then just feel defeated. And then feel defeated when it doesn’t work because you’ve tried. But Google, while it’s easy, can still be confusing because there’s a lot of features, but there’s enough out there to take baby steps. And it’s just like with everything. Any consultant who’s trying to do Facebook ads or any other social media ads, we all do the same thing. We all test small and see what works and then ramp up.
[00:20:34.950] – Dancho – I see. Well, Joe, I think that this was really useful. And I think that you’ve opened some questions for me that I need to consider. But for the people out there, how people can reach out to you, Joe? Where they can find you?
[00:20:50.520] – Joe – You can find me on my website, joebalestrino.com or if anybody wants to connect with me on LinkedIn, I’m on LinkedIn as well. You can just Google, search my name on LinkedIn and I’ll be happy to connect with anybody who wants to connect.
[00:21:05.120] – Dancho – Nice. Well, what I’m actually going to do is that I’m going to put the link actually under the video. So whoever actually is interested, they can just click the links below and actually reach out to you. At the end of the day is that the type of clients that we work, as you said, when it comes to high ticket service providers, yeah, it’s €5,000, it’s €10,000, it’s €50,000. And when you have that kind of product, is there any percentage that you should expect from… You put it really good, Joe. You have a $5,000 service, how much you should expect that it’s normal? And of course, it depends on industry and everything, but in the consulting world, if… Okay, 10K is much simpler word for me. But if I have a service of $10,000, how much should I expect that I should put into ads in order to get the client?
[00:21:55.670] – Joe – So typically, what we try to do is, I follow a model where we try to generate three X for whatever we spend. So if we say we spend $5,000 in ads, we want to make at least $15,000 in revenue. So three is a minimum. We try to shoot for five, sometimes I have some clients we get nine. It all varies on how well the campaign is managed and how competitive it is. But I would say whatever you invest at some point in the beginning, look, you got to figure out what’s going to work. And once you do, you want to try to at least shoot for three times what you’re spending in revenue. And that also goes to the close rate. If you get 10 leads a month and you can close seven of them, you’re going to be better off than if you only close three. That’s what I would do.
[00:22:49.900] – Dancho – It also depends on the closure rate how good you are at closing. But that’s why that a rough idea. So it’s like at least three multiplier because based on the effort, because then you need to do the fulfillment of the service as well. So at the end of the day, for 10K, you need to expect at least value of 30K. And of course, there are so many variables here. If you’re unable to close one, even if you spent $100,000 on ads, if you cannot close anyone, that’s not something you can help in that case, Joe. Right?
[00:23:20.920] – Joe – Right. And I think most consultants… I think consultants are naturally salespeople because you have to be able to talk about what you do. And so you’re naturally selling yourself. So I’ve never come across a client who had a really poor close rate that was a consultant. So I think consultants are really high up on the scale of being able to close deals. And even if it’s half, it’s still good, 50 % close rate is still a good close rate.
[00:23:51.160] – Dancho – Yeah. Well, Joe, I really wanted to thank you for coming to the show. I think that I found it really useful because, yeah when it comes to ads, I really have some gaps in my knowledge. And I truly hope that all the listeners out there actually could benefit from this episode because at the end of the day, nobody wants to throw money into air or put on ads that they don’t convert or that they don’t work. So at the end of the day, you need to understand what you’re doing in order to start getting return of investment. So I really appreciate you for coming on the show. And for everybody else, guys, have a great day.