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The internet is awash in self-proclaimed “digital media experts.” Men and women who, without a moment’s hesitation, will profess to being “the unquestioned authority” when it comes to all things digital, including ad buying.
But the stark reality is that only a select few of these “digital media experts” are actually knowledgeable when it comes to the science of ad buying.
And that’s what makes today’s guest on Making Bank so special—he’s a legitimate ad buying genius. A man who started building his digital media knowledge under the direct tutelage of Russell Brunson in 2007, before graduating to his own career and his own business.
Justin Brooke, the man who used paid ad-traffic to take himself from ramen to Maine lobster.
With just $60 in his pocket—literally half of his monthly electric bill—Justin started a $2 a day AdWords campaign in 2008, and used the campaign to double his money. Justin continued to double the money he put into AdWords for 11 months in a row, and by 2009 he had created a six-figure income.
Today, Justin runs company called DMBIOnline, a highly sought after 7-figure a digital ad agency, and runs the Digital Media Buying Institute where he offers 12-courses designed to help aspiring media buyers learn the ins and outs of the trade.
Listen as Justin joins host Josh Felber to discuss all things digital media, including…
- The Traffic Crisis versus The Traffic Hail Mary
- Why you can’t buy the lottery with ad traffic
- The immense and oft overlooked value of testing
- Why $100 is all you need to set up a successful ad campaign
- How to identify ad winners versus ad losers
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Test, Learn, and Earn – Ad Buy Mastery with Guest Justin Brooke: MakingBank S2E33
Josh Felber: Welcome to Making Bank. I am Josh Felber, where we uncover the success strategies and the secrets of the top 1% so you can amplify and transform your life and your business today. I’m really excited today for my guest on the show. He has struggled from where he’s been at to becoming one of the most well-known internet marketers out there in the industry today. His name is Justin Brooke, and he started eight years ago with just $60 and put it in a Google AdWords account. He turned it into over six figured.
In 2011, he launched a digital agency and has run ads for some of the top people in the industry: Russell Brunson, Dan Kennedy, Rich Schefren, Stansberry Research, and many, many more. In May of this year, he fired all his clients to create an online school for media buyers, and now has over 2500 students. Justin, welcome to Making Bank.
Justin Brooke: Thanks for having me, man. Actually, we’re over 3500 now.
Josh Felber: Boom! That’s awesome. So, give us a little bit of your background. I know just meeting you and hearing your story and everything, I think it’s a huge win for our entrepreneurial audience out there of just the struggles that it takes, the hard work, and everything that it took for you to get through to where you are today.
Justin Brooke: All right, so let’s cover all 11 years. We’ll do the fast version.
Josh Felber: Cool.
Justin Brooke: So 2007, I landed an internship with an internet millionaire, Russell Brunson. My job as an intern was to go through his quarter million dollar marketing library of all the best courses, DVDs, seminar footage, books, cassette tapes. My job was to-
Josh Felber: And he has a big collection.
Justin Brooke: Yeah, yeah, yeah. My job was to go through that stuff and review articles, that way he could make affiliate commissions back on those different courses that he bought. So I got the education of a lifetime. It was an unpaid internship, but during that internship, and the work that I did for him, I ended up helping him save over $100,000 a year. Then we became good friends, and we can talk about that later if you want to in the podcast. After I helped him out with that, he took me under his wing and then I took that information, went back home, like I said it was unpaid internship so I was still not making money, tell my girlfriend, or wife at the time, that I wanted to start AdWords ads.
Long story short, we didn’t have any money so I had to take half my electric bill, which was 60 bucks. That’s all I had. I paid half my electric bill, I took the other half, I put it on a pathetic $2 a day AdWords campaign, and I made $150 that month, so then I quickly paid my electric bill, reput the money back in. I ended up doubling my money 11 months in a row. I had a six figure business, literally as I say from Stage, it’s paid traffic that took me from Ramen noodles to Red Lobster, so that’s why paid traffic is my thing. It’s the thing that changed my life. It’s the thing that I think can change everybody else’s as well.
Josh Felber: So for you, you didn’t know anything about paid traffic and internet ads, or anything, when you started this. How’d you really start to figure it out and dive into understanding it?
Justin Brooke: Back then, everybody was doing article marketing. We used to write articles and then we’d post them on Ezine Articles and Go Articles, and like 90 bajillion other article sites. Then there was like bots that we could upload our articles to, and they’d send them to 180 websites, and we would hope that each one would get us like two clicks a day. So we would work until like three o’clock in the morning writing articles all day long, hoping that every article would make us like four clicks a day, and so if you got 100 of them out a month, you had 400 clicks a month. That got really freaking tiring. It worked, it worked. I’m not saying it was bad, but man, it was just so much work for the clicks, so to be able to just throw some money in there and start getting clicks, I’ll take that every day.
Josh Felber: How did you go from taking that to really figuring out and understanding AdWords, because investing the 60, then to 150, and then it was within a year you hit the six figures, right, in revenue generated for yourself?
Justin Brooke: Yes, yes. I had a little course. It’s hard to even call it a course. There was a pile of videos that you got access to after you went through the PayPal link, but through my internship, I learned how to put together what we now would call a funnel. Back then, it was like a couple of pages, like I had a Learn More page. It was kind of cool, actually. We went to a … The ads drove them to a page that had a video, and now I know that that was a VSL. This is back in 2007. It’s still out there. I’m not going to tell you how to find it because it’s absolutely horrible, but it is out there if you look hard enough.
So I had a little video that explained what the course was. Underneath, there was a Buy Now button or a Learn More button, and the Learn More button took them to the written sales page, which I learned how to do in all my studies with Russell Brunson. It sold for $35. There was no upsells. I didn’t how to do upsells or anything like that. Luckily, $2 a day was enough to get like a sale every once in a while, and I did well. That’s how we did it. It was a little video course about Joomla! Joomla! is a software like WordPress.
Josh Felber: Okay.
Justin Brooke: Yeah. Back then, imagine trying to learn how to use WordPress by only reading the documentation that the programmers who developed it. It was claw your eyeballs out, but it was the only way to learn how to do this stuff back then. Now there’s blog posts and YouTube videos and all this stuff, but I was like one of the first people who came out with a video system for learning how to use these platforms, and so people just, they jumped all over it.
Josh Felber: I know one of the things I remember when I was listening to you speak was after you came back, I think it was from Russell’s internship, you told your wife that, “Hey, this is what I want to go do.” Then she made you write out a business plan or some kind of written marketing plan.
Justin Brooke: She did. She did. My wife is a teacher-
Josh Felber: For 60 bucks.
Justin Brooke: Yeah. She literally made me write up a three page ROI report of how I was going to use the $60 and how it was going to make me money. I wrote a three page freaking report. I think there’s a lesson in that because I think there’s a lot of guys today who are just running out spending money on a ton of things. That’s been my forte is I am always in my business. Anything I spend money on has to be earned from the business. The business has to make the money to be able to spend on it. I don’t just reach into my pockets and throw dollars at it.
Josh Felber: That’s definitely a great lesson because it allowed you to map it out mentally, her forcing you to do that, so you know like, “Hey. Here’s kind of my guidelines. Here’s my rules. Here’s how I’m going to play or dive into this and make it work.”
Justin Brooke: And she made me stick to it, I’ll tell you.
Josh Felber: So as you’re going along here and you’re building this and you’re scaling the six figures, what are some of those struggles or those challenges I guess that you ran into along the way?
Justin Brooke: It’s hard to remember the struggles right now because I remember like those were the days when it was like, “Oh my God, a freaking sale just happened.”
Josh Felber: Right.
Justin Brooke: It was still back in the days when you got an audible notification from an email, so I remember like me and my girlfriend, who is now my wife, we were literally dancing around my laptop at one point like Tom Hanks in Cast Away.
Josh Felber: Yeah.
Justin Brooke: A sale would come in and we’d be like, “Yeah!” It was a boom time for us. Struggles. We started out with 900 keywords in our AdWords campaign, and we ended up whittling it down to only nine that actually were making any sales, which is something I tell people about SEO nowadays. The keywords you think you should be ranking number one for might not be and you might be spending all that time and money ranking for it and find out it’s just a dud keyword.
Josh Felber: Right. Yeah, I noticed that some of the … when I was implementing a lot of different keyword stuff is you’re like, “Oh yeah. This is going to be a great one,” and then all of the sudden, it’s not working. This weird keyword out of nowhere is just crushing it for sales. I know moving forward you started to work with some of the best online marketers. How’d you go from where you were then to landing that first spot?
Justin Brooke: Yeah, so a lesson to everybody, nothing really ever lasts forever, unless you’re John Caples and you wrote a sales letter from Procter & Gamble back in the 20s or something. Most offers don’t last forever, and so there came a point in around 2010 where I kind of went bust. I all the sudden realized there was only $1000 left in the bank and I had nothing, no website set up or anything to bring more money in, so I had to take a job again. I started working for Rich Schefren, and when I became Rich Schefren’s ad guy, all of a sudden everybody wanted to pay me to be their ad guy.
Working with Rich Schefren gave me the time to take the pressure off financially, and then I had, because it was far better, I had the budget and the offers to really learn how to master my craft. He allowed me to work on his campaigns. I had the knowledge, I had a base knowledge, but being able to work for somebody else who was far larger than myself allowed me to take that financial pressure off and give me that time to master my craft. After I mastered my craft, I started taking on clients and that’s how it grew into the agency.
Josh Felber: Really cool. Can you stick around for a minute?
Justin Brooke: Sure, yeah.
Josh Felber: Awesome. I am Josh Felber. You’re watching Making Bank, and we’ll be right back. Welcome back to Making Bank. I’ve had the pleasure and the opportunity to be able to speak with internet marketing guru Justin Brooke. He’s been dominating the Google AdWords market since 2007 when he dove in and first really started to learn all about this. We’ve been learning a little bit about how he transitioned from investing $60 in his Google AdWords budget and only paying half his electric bill to creating a six figure company, and now has the opportunity to work with Rich Schefren to master his craft and to help Rich take his business to the next level. So, welcome back Justin to Making Bank.
Justin Brooke: Thanks, man.
Josh Felber: So okay. Let’s see, so you’re talking with Rich, or working with Rich, helping him build and scale his business. How does that now position you, how long did you work with him and then how’d you make that transition to where you guys are today with the schools and the online school, all your students and everything?
Justin Brooke: So I worked with him for two years, and we did a lot of great things, and we didn’t split up with any kind of animosity or anything. What had ended up happening is just, people were like throwing money at me. Because I was Rich Schefren’s ad guy and we were getting good results, and because he teaches people marketing, we were walking about making videos about the success we were having with our ad campaigns, which naturally made all of his buddies and everything wanted to hire me, and so I didn’t try to start an agency until about, it was around 2011, mid-2011.
I had like five guys that were paying me, and I said, “Oh. Well, I guess I have a marketing agency now. I should try and actually build it up as an agency.” That’s what I ended up doing, and it just got to a point where I had my own employees, but it got weird explaining to my employees why I had to go to a company meeting every Monday morning. So I was just like, “Let’s split up here,” and then I had my own thing, and that became a seven figure agency. Like you said, we had Dan Kennedy, we had Stansberry Research. We had some of the biggest clients. Man, it was great.
Josh Felber: So now you’re kind of transitioning out. You have your own seven figure agency, and that’s just crushing it for you, working with some of the top people with that agency. What were those challenges running it, because I know now you kind of move more, you got rid of all your clients [inaudible 00:14:20], so what were some of those challenges running an agency of that size?
Justin Brooke: Typical challenges at any agency has. It gets stressful, always having to manage the ROI expectations. You’ve got clients … Literally, I’d have clients who would tell me, “We want you to be able to acquire customers for 10 bucks a pop.” I’m like, “Bro, the math doesn’t even work on that.” I had one client explaining to me what he wanted. I was like, “Do you realize that you just asked me for 800% ROI from paid ads?” That’s hard, but every agency deals with that. Really, what was the hardest part and why I ended up leaving that business behind … Or I referred it all out, so I still get a commission on those clients, but it was really hard to hire good media buyers.
I found from all of our clients, they had the same thing, which was why they were hiring us. They were hiring agencies. Look, guys aren’t coming out of college with Google AdWords degrees. They’re not coming out of college with Facebook Ad degrees or landing page degrees. There are now finally internet marketing programs, guys like myself. I have a course, or I’m part of a course in full sale, and I’ve been part of a course at another one. I don’t remember the name of the college, which they’re going to kill me if they read this, but we’re just now starting to see this stuff being part of college education and it’s at a very basic level.
It’s at an internet marketing level. It’s not an immediate buying level, so I said, “Screw it. I’ll be the guy to start training everything,” because when I looked around, there are a couple of good places that are teaching marketing, but most of the marketing education that’s out there is made from affiliate marketers or how to make money online or network marketers. Not knocking them at all. Everybody’s doing their own thing, but what about the guy who wants to build a real career as a Google AdWords guy for Uber or Airbnb, or he wants to be the Facebook Ads guy for freaking Google or Yahoo or whatever? There wasn’t that career building level of education around this, and so that’s why we ended up starting up the Digital Media Buying Institute is to train these people for other companies.
Josh Felber: That’s really cool. So you guys actually have a specific schooling process that you teach people to be media buyers, and just Google AdWords or kind of all across the board?
Justin Brooke: We’ve got 12 courses right now. We’ve got on two more coming. Our goal is to start having one new course launching every week. We want to have one basic, advanced, and mastery level course for every single ad network, and then we have plans to expand out to all marketing and business topics, but right now we’re staying focused around media buying and it’s been going good. We’ve got 3500 students now, and growing by 100 every day.
Josh Felber: No, that’s really cool. So I guess, I know our audience is like, “All right man. This is awesome. Justin’s built a really cool company and schooling and everything else.” What are maybe some ninja tactics we can utilize? We’re going out, we’re trying to buy our own media. We’ve got a small or mid-sized e-commerce business we’re trying to scale up six, seven figures. What would you say, “Hey, here’s the first place you need to start, and then here’s the best way to do X, Y, and Z”?
Justin Brooke: All right. So two things I want to talk about. Make sure I remember these two. One is what I call the traffic crisis, and then the other one I call the traffic Hail Mary. These are my own silly little names. So the traffic Hail Mary is the way most people are buying traffic. They have maybe $500 in their pocket or 100, or 1000, whatever their level of finances are, but they have a certain amount of money. They’ve got a bank roll and they’re like, “Oh, I heard Facebook Ads is good. Let me throw my 500 bucks in there, I’ll create a couple ads and I’ve got a sales page, and I’ll throw 500 bucks in there and see how it works.” That’s the traffic Hail Mary.
You’re launching the ball and you’re hoping that somebody catches it on the other side, and catching it on the other side for them is, “Am I going to get ROI,” but that’s not how a pro media buyer buys traffic. That’s basically the lottery. What I just described, go to the store, buy a lottery ticket, there’s actually better odds on that. So the way that they should do it, let’s say you have 500 bucks. That’s an easy number. Everybody can scale this to their own budget. If you’ve got 500 bucks, you should set up your ads. Set up a couple of landing pages, not just one page. If I see somebody driving paid traffic to their homepage one more time, I’m going to flip a table.
You’ve got to have a real actual landing page that you’ve made for this ad campaign. So what you’re going to do is you’re going to have a couple of different things to test. You’re not just going to throw some money in there and roll the dice. You’ve got a couple of different ads, you’ve got a couple of different landing pages, and then you’re going to spend 20% of your budget first, so if you have 500 bucks you’re going to spend 100 bucks. You’ve going to see which of those ads worked, which of those landing pages worked. You’re going to kill the losers, and then you’re going to spend another 100 bucks on the winners to verify that it wasn’t a fluke.
If it worked, then you’re going to spend … then you’re going to start putting the other money in there, and you create a scientific process. So many times I’ve been able to come into a client’s account and beat the last guy who was trying to run ads for them just because I have a better structure to my accounts in the way that I put my ads and keywords and landing pages together. That’s the number one tip. That will save everybody. I look at it like horse betting. At first, you’re going to bet on all the horses, and then you’re going to look and see which horses brought back your money.
In this case, the horses is ads. The horses is your landing pages. Which ones actually won you money? Stop betting on the losers, obviously. Now, take your whole bank roll and put it on the winners. Now you’re making money. That’s what … See, so many people come so close. They put their 500 bucks in and they’re like, “Oh. I only got two sales.” I’m like, “That means it worked! You made some sales.”
Josh Felber: Yeah, right.
Justin Brooke: “What part of it made you do sales and go dump your whole bank roll on that part?” That’s how you actually do it.
Josh Felber: And so, I guess, how long do you kill or do you decide to actually kill the ad or keep it? It’s running, it’s running, it’s running three, five days a week. What do you usually look at for your-
Justin Brooke: Yeah. That’s a great question that we get a lot of times. I like to try and go … The longer you can go, the better the data is going to be. That’s really what you’re doing is you’re buying data. You’re not … Obviously, ROIs, the goal, sales is the goal. I love money too, but when you’re spending your first money, the number one priority is getting good data that you can then use that data to make money from. I like a minimum 200 clicks or 30 conversions, so 30 conversion might be 30 leads. Obviously, if you’re selling a $500 product, maybe you probably need to be putting $100, more than $100 in.
Yeah, about 200 clicks, and like I said, the more you can go, if you’re going to put in 500 clicks, if you put in 500 clicks and you don’t get a single sale, it’s definitely dead. I’ll tell you that right now. It ain’t going to make a comeback, but if you put in 200 clicks and you get one sale on the 199th click, man that almost kind of worked. So it’s about having the right level of data.
Josh Felber: I think that’s good is a lot of people don’t actually look at the data, or the data. They’re putting the money in, they’re kind of, “Okay, cool. Am I getting a sale or not?” After three or four, five days a week, it’s like, “Man, nothing’s happening here,” and they think, “Oh, it might’ve been a bad ad,” but even though a few more days and a few more clicks, it might’ve come through, would’ve created a significant difference.
Justin Brooke: Oh, another big rule, don’t look at your ad campaigns for 72 hours after you press “publish”. So many people, I get it all day man, they’ll be like, “Justin, I didn’t get any conversions.” I’m like, “How long was it?” They’re like, “Three hours. We got three clicks.” I’m like, “Dude, come on!” We laugh right now, but I hear it every day, all day, and from people who’ve laughed about it. So you’ve got to … My rule, my hard rule, 72 hours. I wait 72 hours, let the machine collect the data, then I go in and I look at it and I try to see what story is this data trying to tell me? Kill the losers, put my money back on the winners. That’s the way you make money. That’s the traffic Hail Mary. That’s the cure for the traffic Hail Mary.
The other thing is the traffic crisis. I’ve been telling people about this for years. It’s happened everywhere. It’s never going to stop happening. It’s not me making up something, it’s very real. What it is is it’s a supply and demand thing, and so if you look at the beginning of Google, Google AdWords, people were able to buy clicks all day long for five cents. Now in some markets, you’re lucky if you get clicks for five bucks. So every ad network has this problem. It starts out with a really high supply of clicks and not a lot of demands so the clicks are very cheap. Then after everybody starts coming onto the network, the clicks start climbing up.
What do you think is happening to Facebook right now? Everybody is on Facebook, click prices are rising. We used to talk about penny clicks and ten-cent clicks and twenty-cent clicks. Now we’re like, “Man, can I still get my clicks under a dollar in Facebook?” We’re starting to see there’s something coming up called Max Ad Load with Facebook. It’s going to hit … It’s rumored to hit about Q1 of 2017. You can go listen to the earnings calls, the investor calls for Facebook, specifically Google, the Q2 earnings call for Facebook. You’ll hear the investors talking about Max Ad Load over and over again. What are you going to do about Max Ad Load?
What it is, Facebook can only show so many ads in their newsfeeds before it become all ads, right? For a long time, the way they’ve been showing investors increase profits is they’re just jacking up how many ads are being shown. Simple, but Max Ad Load is coming, and that is basically, we can’t turn that up anymore. If you look at your feed now, there is almost an ad every two posts. You see a lot more ads in your feeds nowadays, and they’re on the right-hand sidebar, and they’re now in Facebook groups, and now they’re in your mobile. So that’s coming and when Max Ad Load hits, the cost-per-click is going to skyrocket, especially for that US males, 25 to 45 on desktop, in the newsfeed.
That money target that everybody’s using and everybody’s putting their ads, guess what? That’s going up, so you need to figure out what to do next. My prediction is Google Display. It’s very similar to Facebook Ads. There is a lot of the same targeting. They still have custom audiences, they still have look-alike audiences, so that’s where I’m pushing my money and my subscribers.
Josh Felber: Very cool. Yeah. No, that’s some awesome, awesome insight because you don’t probably want to just rely on one single ad network as well.
Justin Brooke: No, I’ve got accounts with 14 different ad networks.
Josh Felber: Yeah. Tell me, moving in then, obviously 2017, you’re kind of moving some stuff, or keeping people on the Google Display. Where do you see the whole thing with video and YouTube and Facebook Live, and all that, to really maximize creating conversions and revenue and everything?
Justin Brooke: Yeah. What we’re seeing in advertising as a whole, I’m talking about offline, online, TV, print, what we’re seeing is, right now there’s native ads, and native ads is kind of a separate thing. There’s content marketing and there are native ads. That’s all merging, and you see it merging closer and closer every day. Me having a high-level view of 3500 students and all my different clients, I’m able to see these two things coming together closer and closer and closer every day. So what we’re going to see in the very near future, it’s not going to be called native advertising. It’s just what you do.
You create content and then the way you distribute your content is through various paid means, whether that be you can pay-per-click or pay-per-view on Netflix, or you can pay-per-view on Hulu or Amazon Prime pretty soon, like a Facebook video, YouTube ads, that’s what we’re seeing is you will just create content, whether it be live or recorded, whether it be written or video, and then you will pay to get that content out there.
Josh Felber: Yeah. I think that’s a big piece is we can’t just be stuck, “Okay. Hey, I’m doing SEO or pay-per-click,” or whatever and we’ve got to start to really diversify, even though we may have one really good one that’s working, and find those other areas of media that we can pull from that things are moving towards, right?
Justin Brooke: Right, right. Yep.
Josh Felber: Cool. Tell me one device that you can’t live without?
Justin Brooke: One device I can’t live without? My phone. My phone, I pretty much work from my phone. Yeah, so my phone and my Xbox. Am I allowed to pick two?
Josh Felber: Sure, there you go. my love. Awesome, and then tell us where we can find you, what you have going on and how people can connect up if they want to be media buyers and everything.
Justin Brooke: Yeah, the simplest way is to just Google Justin Brooke. I’m the only Justin Brooke that shows up. All the others in the world hate me. Then you can look me up on YouTube, on Facebook, on twitter. You search Justin Brooke on any of those things, you’ll find my channels and they all lead back to my websites because that’s kind of what I do.
Josh Felber: Sure. Okay. No, that’s awesome. Then if people want to learn about how to expand and grow what they’re doing in their business, to be better Google AdWord people, just even if they just have a small or mid-size, large e-commerce company, and/or they, “Hey, I really like what Justin’s saying. I would love to be a media buyer and really learn this in and out,” where can they go?
Justin Brooke: If you go to D-M-B-I Online, it stands for Digital Media Buyer Institute online.com, there’s a free course that you can take. There’s a couple of them actually. There’s a button right there at the top that says, “Take a free course,” click that. It will take you over to which one you want to pick, and then once you take a free course, if you like it, you’ll get some email follow-ups from us about our paid courses.
Josh Felber: Awesome. Well, cool. It was an honor to have you on Making Bank today, learning some of the insights, hearing your story and just being able to connect with you and share that with our audience and everything. So again, Justin, it was an honor and thank you for coming on Making Bank.
Justin Brooke: Thank you for having me on, man.
Josh Felber: I am Josh Felber. You’re watching Making Bank where we uncover the success strategies and the secrets of the top 1%. Get out and be extraordinary.