How To Create Irresistible Offers With One Of The World’s Top Social Media Advertising Experts

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This is a podcast episode titled, How To Create Irresistible Offers With One Of The World’s Top Social Media Advertising Experts. The summary for this episode is: On this episode of the Swipe File, DG sits down with Billy Gene Shaw, founder and CEO of the agency Billy Gene Is Marketing. Billy Gene has helped some of the world’s top brands and influencers like Gary Vaynerchuk, Lewis Howes, Daymond John, and more supercharge their social media advertising. In one of the most tactical episodes of the Swipe File yet, DG and Billy Gene dive into: why everything starts with the offer (and how to create an irresistible offer), how Billy uses Google Trends to see the future, why iPhone videos work so well (including when they are shaky), how he measures advertising success and the importance of speed to recover ad spend vs. the total amount, why people are afraid of ads, how he turned a $31 offer into $1,000,000 in sales in a week, why he doesn’t believe in split testing ads, and so much more.

DG: Hey, it's DG and I want to send you a ton of free marketing stuff right to your door or your inbox wherever you want. I'm serious because, look, we know how it is. One of my favorite things about doing marketing at Drift is that we are all marketers just like you, so we're marketers doing marketing to marketers. It's crazy. One thing we know that in the B2B world, there's so much content out there. It can be hard to figure out what to read and who to trust if you're looking to grow your business. We put together something that I call the Ultimate Conversational Marketing Starter Kit. We asked our top customers, literally turned to them and said, " What resources would you give to somebody new to Drift in conversational marketing?" We're packaging all of that up to send right to your door for the first time for free. That means I will send you a copy of the book I wrote with my boss, our CEO, David Cancel on Conversation Marketing. This book was an instant number one new release on Amazon in three categories and it's already sold 10,000+ copies today. I'll literally send you the actual 262 page hardcover book right to your door. Also, we'll send you This Won't Scale, a digital copy of our very popular book, This Won't Scale, which is a book we wrote as a marketing team about how we do marketing at Drift. It's 110 pages. It's only been available as a hardcopy, but we're making it available digitally for the first time as part of this offer. We'll also send you The Modern Marketer's Playbook. You'll get a digital copy of our Modern Marketer's Playbook which is a guide we wrote with strategic insights from 35 of today's most influential marketing leaders from companies like Slack, LinkedIn, Okta, Vimeo and more. We'll also give you The Conversational Marketing Blueprint which is the best next step after you read The Conversational Marketing book. It gives you a step- by- step guide for implementing and optimizing conversational marketing for your business and it's not over, The Conversational Sales Handbook. This is a guide you're going to need to give to your sales team to build your conversational sales strategy aka what you do after you take everything you've learned in the book and the blueprint. All you have to do is visit drift. com/ starter and grab all this stuff right now. That's starter, S- T- A- R- T- E- R. I try to have no Boston accent on that, drift. com/ starter. We'll send everything right to your door or we'll literally just send an email if you'd prefer that, okay? drift. com/ starter and I will see you hopefully there.

Billy Gene: What's up, everybody? It's Billy Gene and you're listening to the Swipe File. Keep listening to the Swipe File for actual tactical shit to do to grow your business. Keep swiping, baby.

DG: Hey, what's up, everybody? It's DG and this might be the most excited I've been for new episode of the Swipe File because I realized someone was missing. I'm only talking to big name, CMOs or giving you a rant of myself. I want to bring in just people that I want to learn from selfishly in marketing. Today, I have an amazing guest. His name is Billy Gene Shaw aka billygeneismarketing. com. He is one of the best paid advertising people experts in the world. Basically, this episode is about 30 minutes of him just schooling me on how to come up with offers, how they run some crazy campaigns including how he sold an offer on his 31st birthday for$ 31 and made over a million dollars in a week. It's crazy. I have like pages and pages of notes of this. You can ask the Drift team, I went nuts after this interview. Super excited to get it out there. Here's my conversation with Billy Gene.

Billy Gene: For you and your audience like cursing, no cursing, I can go either way.

DG: Curse all, please. I don't know how to speak without cursing.

Billy Gene: Perfect.

DG: All right, cool, man. I'm here with Billy Gene. Do people call you Billy Gene Shaw or just Billy Gene?

Billy Gene: They usually just call me Billy Gene, but that's how I know if I've like known someone for a long time because they use my real last name instead of my middle name.

DG: Billy Gene Shaw. Why did you go with Billy Gene then? Why did you use your middle name? Because of all the plays on Michael and there's just so many crosstalk?

Billy Gene: It's crazy, I'm the third, so I'm Billy Gene Shaw III, which means my grandpa was there, which means it was before the song and the song was about us.

DG: I'm not sure that's true because I'm just replaying the words, the song in my head.

Billy Gene: Maybe it wasn't, but yeah, man. I went with Billy Gene though specifically because it was just more marketable and every time I said, " Billy Gene," I would be out at like networking events or whatever. People remembered it because of the Michael Jackson song and so they're like, " Okay, it just stuck." For me, from a marketing standpoint, I was like, "I nobody was going to remember Shaw. Everybody would remember Gene. Let's roll with it," and I decided to go with it.

DG: Here's the deal. If you're listening to my show right now, you know that we call the show the Swipe File and I've realized I've been having a lot of the best CMOS from B2B companies, doing billion in revenue, but I want to like expand that and I want to get a little bit more in the weeds on stuff. Billy was the first person I reached out to. We got connected through Ryan and Marcus, our friends from DigitalMarketer. Ryan's been on the show a bunch and just a good friend. I was doing a bunch of research. I told you I didn't want to prep, but I did read some things like people have called you, " You're the best in the world when it comes to paid advertising." Can you say a little bit more about that?

Billy Gene: I'll take it. I mean-

DG: How do you become the best in the world at paid ad... You're not saying... Your company is Billy Gene Is Marketing, but your thing is in social media advertising.

Billy Gene: Correct. I would say, one, everything is subjective, right? This will be fun because my background and my strength is not typically to the B2B space. We're more of the, " Hey, if you're a local business underneath a million dollar a year or if you have that one year or 1 million to 5 million in annual revenue, that seemed to be the sweet spot for people who apply our shit and the communication we've been having and the audience that we've built. However, as I'm doing more consulting and meeting more people in the B2B space, I look at it and I'm like, " Yo, there's so much shit that you guys should be doing here." I don't know, it's like this intersection. It's really interesting, man, because it's the same shit, but different, but the same.

DG: I smiled when you said that because that's why I get so fired up watching people like you and just going nuts on YouTube, right? It's why we hang out with the DigitalMarketer guys also. I just think, at the end of the day, if you just follow the playbook in B2B marketing, you're just going to end up doing what everybody else does which is send out a webinar. It's like, " Billy, tomorrow at 2: 00 PM, we're hosting a webinar with our friends at blah," inaudible, but I see some of the ways at your... To me, marketing is all about just starting conversations with the people who want to ultimately buy from you one day and every great marketer, whether you're in B2B, B2C, whatever, they all have that one thing in common which is they understand people. I think you understand how to make people move and I think we could plug, you could take my job right now and plug in and be wildly successful at Drift just because you understand all of those principles, right? Go back to the Cialdini and the principles of influence in every social psychology book ever, right? You understand those things and it's just you've used paid as a channel to-

Billy Gene: That's funny because, even for me, when people have mentioned, " Yeah, but I'm B2B," " Yeah, but I'm B2C," " Yeah, but I sell physical products," when I hear that, no matter what at the end of the day, I always go human to human. I'm like, " Okay, you're B2B. Cool, but who are you selling to?" They're like, " Oh, this person." " Oh, you are selling to a person. It's not a thing." " Yeah, well, there's this person." " Oh, it's a fucking human, so we should talk like we're talking to humans." For some reason, I feel like that gets lost in the sauce where it's B2B and these things are at scale, but then it comes back around. I think the biggest shift and the biggest priority I put on marketing today, specifically in 2019 and beyond, is one word that no one's paying enough attention to and it's entertainment. I have a saying, I say, " Boring will put you out of business in 2019 and beyond." When you have people and when people think of scaling their business at one point or another, they always come to the intersection of social. You have a lot of B2B people that I've personally interacted with and they say, " Well, social doesn't really work for us." It's not that social doesn't work, but the way you've been doing business and you're trying to transfer into social, that doesn't work because of what you just said in the beginning, " Sign up for my webinar." That shit actually doesn't fly anymore. On social, you got to be more creative, you got to be more entertaining, you got to be more polarizing. I think, for me, why I call myself or other people have called me the best in the world is because I think I've mastered and figured out how to entertain while still educating and also to maintaining brand integrity, if that makes sense.

DG: It makes total sense. It makes total sense. I want to talk about an example. Speaking of entertaining, about less than a week ago, I'm scrolling through Instagram and I see a video of you. You're on stage and I see you, you pull something out of your pocket and you're like, " And I'll package it all up and I'll put it on a USB drive and I'll send it right to your door," and then you're like, " Fuck it. If you don't want that, I'll just email it to you because it's 2019," and I was like, " Oh, my god." That's an example. We stole that offer, packaged up like a ton of our content and literally last week shot a video with me. It's all digital products that we're selling, but what I did is I printed them all out. I took your advice. You said, " Go to Staples." We have a nice color printer here, so I didn't. There's a video, I have to send it to you. It's me. I'm holding up this e- book and I'm going, " Literally Yes, this is an eBook, but I printed it out to show you on this video." That is just a little gimmick, but that's going to get people to start conversations. I don't know if people are going to want the USB drive or not, but I know I know that people are going to take a screenshot of me holding that up and be like, " This guy is doing B2B software marketing and he's talking about a USB drive?" By the way, you should see the frenzy that me using a USB drive at a corporate company like this, put our IT team in earlier today.

Billy Gene: Well, let me talk more about the experiment if you don't mind, how to get-

DG: I want to know. I want to know. I want the facts. I want the real stuff, so what do you-

Billy Gene: For sure. crosstalk Swipe File, right? Four years ago, I'm running ads to not only get agency clients for my agency, but also to sell our trainings and our courses, etcetera, and forever, my whole headline was like, " Hey, get the top 10 best performing ads that I've ever created and I'll email them to you." That was the whole thing. To me, I'm like, " Dude, this is the greatest lead magnet ever. Who wouldn't want our best ads?" We did it and it worked, but the cost per lead, I felt like for how good the hook I thought was, it didn't do as good. Then I remember being at an event and I gave things away physically and I remember people just jumping up and down for this physical thing. I told my team, I said, " You know what? Let's put a physical component to this," and we ordered the flash drives and we took those best performing ad campaigns and put them on a little flash drive. I'll walk you through the entire ad. The first thing was entertainment and curiosity, getting people to watch. One thing that has already been proven to work are unboxings. You can go through YouTube, and when people unbox stuff, people pay attention. As the user, when someone's opening a box, you can't click away because you have to know what's in the box at this point. I said, " Okay, let's follow that." I get my team out and we get a camera. I think we filmed it on a fricking cellphone, mind you, and I said, "All right, start recording." I said, " Hey, what's up everybody, it's Billy Gene. Inside this box, I have a gift for you that's going to change your business." Then I literally opened the box, I cut it open, and I go, " Boom, right here is a USB drive with my 10 best performing ads ever. I've been running an agency. I've worked with these franchises, da, da, da, da, da, da, and I want you to have it. All you got to do is pay the shipping. By the way," and then this is getting into the objection, " By the way, if you're one of those people who's like,'Oh, my god, no, I have to pay shipping,' then they shut the hell up. You don't deserve it. Get out of here, you cheap. You're exactly the type of customer we don't want to attract." I physically say that and then I say, " Click here. I'll send it to you. Tell me where to ship it." Here's where you really get the urgency. I said, " By the way, this is a box. I only have these many." I start passing out to the team, so I said, " As soon as these are gone, they're gone." I said, " You know what? Maybe I'll order more, but I'm not going to promise that, so here you go. Once these are gone, we'll figure it out. From there. There you go. Boom," and that was the offer. Now here's the craziest thing about this experiment. Number one, it converted like crazy. People, " Boom, boom, boom," but this was the best part is as the upsell for$ 29.95 or $19. 95, I don't remember exactly, on the upsell, it was a little bump, it was just a blue check mark button that you click and it said, " Hey, if you inaudible like me and you want these right away and you also like us to send you the digital, then go ahead and click here and you can purchase the instant access right now." Now we're selling the thing that didn't want for free and we're getting like one out of three people to take the bump.

DG: Playing on the instant gratification, I don't want to wait four days to get this in the mail. Man, that's amazing. When you come up with a crazy... I want to know your process because the most fun part of marketing to me is you're in the shower, you're at the gym, you're in the car, you're like, " Oh, I got this crazy idea." Go behind the scenes and tell me what happens from you have this idea for an offer and I want to know all the way to how do you then go get traffic on the offer. Because it's not like you just added a new page to your site and got four people in your funnel. I want to know the whole process.

Billy Gene: At first, I think I just started to do videos and have fun with it, whatever I just felt like doing, but then as I learned more and got better, I really started to realize there's math to this. The first thing that I like to do to give your audience tactics, I'm a tactic guy, is live in Google Trends, right? For those of you that aren't familiar, a lot of you listening probably are, but just go to Google type in the words, " Google Trends," and then in there, they're going to tell you for free, it just says what everybody's talking about in the world. For example, when the Avengers came out, everybody was hyped on the Avengers, right? It was the number one selling movie of all time out of anything ever, but trending on Google was the Avengers. To me, that's where my brain starts. Notice most tiny talk to marketers, it's like, " What's my audience want, the product, da, da, da, da, da?" No, no, no, no because I know if I want my shit to actually be seen and I want my inaudible you down, I need to go to entertainment first. I start with the trending, so Avengers. Then I may say, " All right, well, the Avengers is trending. How can I be creative enough to make my offer and still talk about the Avengers?" That's where it begins. Then I do this simple exercise, I take out a blank piece of paper and I draw a giant capitalized letter T like this, if this was on a paper, you see this way here? Then on the left side or the right side, this side over there, I write problem, and on the other side, I write solution. Then I write the top 10 problems that that audience member is facing, whoever it is that customer that I want, " What are their top 10 problems that they're facing?" and I view them and I say, " Okay, well, which one of these can I solve with my solution and what's going to be the sexiest, right?" That's how I really focused the whole thing, is the offers. You start with the entertainment of, " How am I going to put this?" and then what I do stylistically on videos to like figure out how we should do it internally, because I got six people inhouse in our media team and this is what we do, but one thing I started doing is we'll meet in a boardroom and then we go to YouTube. Let's say we're like, " Okay, Avengers is popping right now." We'll go to YouTube and then we'll start typing in the Avenger clips. We'll look at the style of which they shoot, the outfits, the dialogue, anything that we can take from it. We do a lot of modeling in regards to how we should film something, etcetera. Yeah, man, that's pretty much it, but I tell people all the time is like, " If people have seen my ads before and they're more highly produced, those ads can be effective. The most profitable ads, right here. Cellphone."

DG: I remember now. I remember how you got me. You used to have this ad that was like you but in the computer.

Billy Gene: I jumped in the computer.

DG: You jumped in the computer. It must have been right after I heard your name because then I'm going to your website. I'm getting retargeted by this. I'm like, "This is Billy Gene," and you go like, " Hoooo," and you're in the computer. How do you balance the time? Because I feel like there's a tradeoff, which is like you could make a killer offer for the Avengers that you just filmed with your iPhone and you're like, " Hey, what's up in honor of Avengers release this weekend, I'm hosting my Avengers training session, blah, blah, blah." You could do that. How do you balance like, "Oh, shit. This would be next level if we got the costumes and we did that whole thing?" Do you have special offers that you would save that for?

Billy Gene: Great question. It's not the offer. It's more just, almost if I had to put in a formula, it's like I try and at least have one branded video a quarter. For example, the big one that we did was The Wolf of Paid Advertising which was a spinoff of The Wolf of Wall Street. That ad was seen probably over 10-20 million times, something like that and people loved that one, but again, trend, Wolf of Wall Street was a huge trend. It was for entrepreneurs. We all recognize The Wolf of Wall Street, whatever. It was easy to do it and made sense, but also too because I know I'm using paid ads as the medium to get it out there, that video is going to be an asset that I use forever. When people just get obsessed with organic and just posting, that has a life shelf and the life shelf is three hours, maybe 24- hour max, but to me, I look at content the same way that most people look at houses. When people want to buy a house, why do they do it? Because it's an investment, to protect their future, da, da, da, da, all of these reasons. To me, a good branded video and a video that sells your product or your service, it can live on and be used in so many different ways. What does it do? It brings you cashflow. It brings you sales and it takes a fraction of the time to actually create. Everyone listening here, I want you to get obsessed with your content like you would with your investment in real estate, except it doesn't have like escrow and down payments required. All you need is this and to make the offer. I think I got sidetracked there, but I wanted to bring that point home. What was the question one more time?

DG: No, you answered it, which is I asked you how do you know when to invest like those? You said you basically do one. That's a nice guardrail, right? " Hey, team, we're going to try to do one of these branded things a quarter, otherwise. Because I think, oftentimes, when you have a great idea for a hook and an offer, I want that out like tomorrow, right? I'm not willing to be patient to be like, " Oh, let's wait."

Billy Gene: But you're right. I almost tell people, I'm like sometimes I don't like the fact that we have so many branded fun videos out there because I don't want to ever put out a message that that's what it takes. Again, those brand ones are great for people recognizing me like I'll be in a cab and people are like, " Oh, I've seen this, da, da, da," and that's good for storytelling and the positioning, but the ones that make us money, almost all of them were like cellphones, not that those that don't make us money but make us a lot of money are cell phone. That's it. Maybe single camera. Watch this, the shakier the fucking better than conversions, I swear.

DG: As long as you can handle the two or three trolls, it's like, " Someone get inaudible." We'll talk about you Billy Gene and trolls at the end of this, but as long as you can handle the trolls, it's the realer. To me, the thing is all of the best marketing I've seen out there today is real because everybody, nobody wants to be marketed to, nobody wants to be sold to. All of our bullshit meters are through the roof and so all of the best ads don't feel like ads today. They feel like... This first time I've talked to you, but I feel like I know you because most of your ads are through iPhone- styled videos that is just you shot walking down the street and I bought your stuff today not because you're coming on my podcast, but because I feel like you've earned my trust and credibility that I'm now willing to spend and now only going to spend more now that I know that you're real.

Billy Gene: I appreciate that. I think how I've summed it up is people don't buy for one reason and that's because they don't believe you. Just think about like any industry under the sun your product or services, my products or services, if they believe they are going to have the type of return and impact that we know that people get and they believed it to their core with 1, 000% certainty, they would buy every time. I keep that top of mind. When someone's not buying my stuff, then I go, " Okay, well, what are they not seeing about me that has some on the fence about really trusting me?" I think this is actually great. For B2B, I think it gets really hard because usually the marketing team includes the brand identity cycle to it and I saw it. I work with a lot of franchises, so I noticed that when I would have meetings with the particular location, the franchisee versus corporate, they cared about a whole different things, right? The franchisee was like, " Dude, I just want customers. I'm done to do this creative stuff," then we get these handcuffs on us from corporate and corporate is like, " We can't do that. We need to keep brand in uniform and da, da, da," and I'm like, " Dude, that's okay. It's just not going to fucking work. It just won't work on social." I think that's like the biggest challenge because in billboard, radio or television, you didn't have these factors because if you paid enough money, they would show your stuff no matter what, but now Facebook, Instagram and YouTube, if you have something that people aren't engaging with, they will literally just not show your ad.

DG: The other thing I see, LinkedIn is my number one channel, right? We've been able to build a big audience because we started doing text posts and posting videos like walking, talking videos because on LinkedIn, and this is the way I try to explain to you, I'd say, " Pull up your LinkedIn feed right now on your phone," and they go to it and it's like 99% of the posts are people that are at the company just doing this stock posting like, " We're hiring. My company won some award." It's like this big... It looks like an ad. Even though it's not ad, it looks like an ad because it's some shitty unfurl image that you get with the link. When LinkedIn video came out, we were able to build a big audience fast because all of a sudden, in a sea full of what looked like ads, all of a sudden is this-

Billy Gene: A human being.

DG: A human.

Billy Gene: "Wait, is thata human?"

DG: "What?"

Billy Gene: "It looks like a human."

DG: "Is the shine on his forehead real?" " Yes, it's real. Hey, I'm me." By the way, I sound the same and act the same if you saw me in your LinkedIn feed, if you caught me out to dinner on a Saturday night after a couple glasses of wine with my wife, if you ran into me on a Tuesday morning, if you got my emails, if you saw me on a webinar because those all things... One of my favorite lessons on brand came from the Patagonia founder. There's a great book called Let My People Go Surfing and he talks about the Patagonia brand. He says, " Look." He says, " Our brand is easy. It's tell people who we are," because it's so much easier to write nonfiction than it is to write fiction and I've thought about that every day since then for doing that. It's harder to lie than it is to tell the truth. You have to think about what your brand is every day, okay. Well, I'm at work now, so I got to be Work Dave, right?" No, you just got to be the same person.

Billy Gene: From that trust factor, let's even continue with that. Just think about it logically here. Us, as human beings, when we see someone and they're perfectly polished and they're together and they're like, " Everything is good," we're trained to be like, " Sums up, what's the inaudible?" That's what our brains think, " What's up? What's this person hiding? What are they not showing me?" It's bad. That's why that little bit of a shaky cam literally increases your conversions. " Why is this person trying so hard to please me?" These are the thoughts consumers have about all of our stuff, right? Again, it doesn't mean you can't have the brand and I think there's a time and place for it because there is an element of trust that we get from seeing that, but what I found from when people buy, when they swipe, it's what you were just saying.

DG: It's all people for sure. I got another question that I've been wanting to get back to you. Now you make this offer, you got a great offer, what advice would you give me right? Because you can't just... I think the biggest misconception is you get this, you go " Great offer and then what?" Do you write a blogpost about it? How do you get people into that funnel?

Billy Gene: To get them to actually purchase?

DG: Yeah, because you need to get traffic into that funnel, right? You can't just make an offer and then it's a blogpost and a couple people share it. I want to know how you get thousands of people into that funnel.

Billy Gene: Yeah, for sure. I'll just go with the context of the example we're just giving, right? Here it is, " Hey, guys. I have a USB drive with my 10 best advertising campaigns. All you got to do to get it is just click this button below me or here or here, wherever it is and tell me where to send it." There's my call to action, right? That's a big thing too is I want to encourage everybody to not be afraid to have aggressive call to actions. I'm going to keep that word in there, aggressive intentionally. What I mean by that is what I believe is most of the time when people aren't making an offer is because they have this psychology. " Hey, you know what? I just don't want to keep offering them something because then they're going to get really turned off and offended." I want everyone to shift their mind to it's not about how many offers, it's about how you make your offer. Case in point, QVC. The entire channel is dedicated to making offers, but they do it in a fun entertaining way, engaging way, etcetera, certain comedians. When people make you laugh, they can sell you something every time. Have you ever bought something from a salesman just because you like them? I will keep that in your mind. When you're creating content, the first step is to make sure that you do have an offer, but how we throw gasoline on it, and for us, it's the quickest way that I've ever had an impact to my business, the business I've consulted with, students, whatever it is, client base and it's spending money on ads. I'm talking get really fricking aggressive. Our main channels that are doing the best are the big ones, the Facebook, Instagram and YouTube, but the reason why most people are afraid of advertisements is because, even now, whether it's B2B, B2C, whatever, we still keep viewing advertising as either, one, an expense or, two, tomorrow bucks. What I mean by tomorrow bucks is, " Yeah, we're okay with investing in advertising, but inaudible customer for another 30, 60 days, da, da, da." Here's the thing, tomorrow bucks are scary for me too because tomorrow bucks don't always come. Shit happens that night, da, da, da and then it goes in the number one, advertising becomes an expense. What we're obsessed about with the company is making our money back the same day. That's our whole game. For example, to build up our membership site, we've probably sold over 30,000 people, they didn't all stick, but over 30,000 people on our$ 109 membership site, all using just a video ad and a buy now button. The way that we do that, so in January, we spent a half a million dollars in ads, just on my personal brand alone to get these members. Now, people are like, " Well, I don't have that," or like, " I'm not going to approve that in the budget. How do you spend so much?" Well, simple. Take one day. We might spend$ 10, 000 or$ 20,000 in one day, but that same day, guess how much we make back? However much we spent. That's our obsession as a company, is figuring out how to get our money back right away because guess what? I'll tell you guys right now, if I told you to spend$ 100 today in advertising and you made back that$ 100 later that day, would you spend$ 100 bucks the next day also?

DG: I'd be like free money. Everything that happens after this point has already been paid for.

Billy Gene: That's the obsession, dude. We don't obsess on the ad as much as we do as the speed to recover our butts and that is why an inhouse marketing team is so important. That is why having six people just for media is important because when something doesn't work, to create from concept, to putting an ad out, it will take us one to two days, max. Then when we put the ad out, if it doesn't work, we will spend no more than$ 100 to$ 500 until we stop it and try something different if it's not because what we have found is shit will win or shit will lose. If you ever play the gray area, " We're kind of winning. Well, we can just optimize this," you're wasting your time because you could be doing something new that gives you a fucking massive gain, right out the gate and go. That's what we look for. We look for the home run. We'll take the striker from the bases and we go and that's why the speed is so crucial. We get... Everyone listening, if you can just get obsessed with that, just make the money back as fast as possible, then everybody would spend much more in advertising. We just happen to fall into that category.

DG: This is so good, Billy, because what you said, I was going to ask you, I want to know the tactics. I was going to say, " Well, how much money do you spend?" You're telling me by spending less than$ 500, which for most of the companies listening to this podcast is nothing, they're venture backed, that's$ 500, right? They buy two people's lunch that costs that money, not a drift. You make the video. You spend $500. You said you came and spent$ 100. How do you know? What is the math say on the winner? Is it a gut feeling? Is it, " Man, this cost per click looks good, cost per lead looks good," or is it actual like-

Billy Gene: The reason why we-

DG: It's not going to be statistically significant, right? That's what the math people would say to you.

Billy Gene: Well, here's what you find, right? I've spent a lot of money on ads and this is all I've done for the last eight years is run stuff is I can tell you this and I'm going to use like absolute terms, but there's exceptions to everything, so don't be that person who doesn't like, " Well, that doesn't..." almost all of the time. I have almost never seen an advertising campaign that suck ass in the beginning that all of a sudden started working, ever. Any company, our own company included consulting my fricking tens of thousands of students never heard about it. I've never seen an ad campaign that suck ass and then just got better, period. Because of that, that's why we fucking do something else. What I mean by that is like... I've done a lot of local lead gen, right? I've worked with like your Massage Envy, your Orange Theory Fitness, like franchises, right? What we have is two metrics that I pay attention to and that's just our cost per lead and cost per sell. For example, if a gym, because we've done a lot of lead gen for gyms, and they tell me that their cost per member needs to be$ 100, I know they're probably not going to close more than one out of 10 people. If their cost per lead is above$ 10, after spending$ 50, I could probably turn it off because it doesn't get that much better, but I'll pay$ 100 to play it safe. That's the biggest thing shift. It's not TV, it's not billboards, it's not traditional medium. Online, you can get the answer almost immediately. If someone's telling you different, they're full of shit. I'm telling you. Now again, it doesn't mean you can't optimize things, but I'm just telling you, from conception to implementation, if you're even taking a week to test something, it's going to be hard for you to win in this game because I'll explain it to you like this, most of our ads that we create actually don't work well, right? We're really good at what we do. We strike out all the time though. Imagine this, imagine if I had three ads in a row that didn't work and it took me a week each time to get it up to test, that means three weeks have gone by, almost a month has gone by before I've gotten a winner. Here's the thing with that. What happens every single month? The expenses hit again. What if it takes you six times to win? Now you're almost two months in. Now you've had expenses hit twice and I'm talking about payroll, right? That big one that comes out. Now you really feel it. You're like, " Holy shit, this marketing thing doesn't work, da, da, da." You start making decisions out of desperation because your burn rate and everything else and you're like, " Holy shit. Now, I switched it to my company, right?" Again, I'm just using me as an example not because we're so great or anything like that, but imagine us to do those six tests, it didn't take us two months. It took us six days because every single day, we tested something new. We've failed just as many times as you did, but guess what? We haven't even had one billing cycle go through yet, and on day seven, we're testing.

DG: I love it. I think, last year, I got to meet with the CMO of Facebook at the time. I asked him. I said-

Billy Gene: He probably knows a thing or two.

DG: Yeah, he probably knows a thing or two and also that's a tough gig, it's real tough gig, but I said, " Hey." I said, "What are the great marketers have in common?" He said, " All the great marketers have this one thing in common which is they're able to learn faster than the competition." That's exactly what your example is, which is, " If you're going to create this big ass campaign, then wait two weeks and try it again, meanwhile, Billy Gene or whoever is already created 10. They're going to figure out." It's almost the same way we know, you got to write. If you're trying to write one killer headline, I always try to write 20 or 30 because I got to get the bad ones out of my system. I know that there's going to be two or three in there, whereas most people would just write one or two and see what happens, right?

Billy Gene: Then in addition to that, then there's the after thing side, right? Because even when you get the winner, unfortunately, all campaigns die. Good campaigns die.

DG: I think your example earlier which is such a good lesson for me, because I'm not good at this, but just you either know right away. I would just be patient, but I love that. I'll take away that from this episode, which is like it either happened or didn't. That means you know right away you don't. However, what you did said is true which is you might have the pop, but ultimately it's going to flatten out, right? The law of shitty click throughs I think is a guy, Andrew Chen, called it which is overtime, that people see your ad seven, eight, 10 times, it's not going to be as effective.

Billy Gene: Then also too, for us, we're like, " All right, while something's winning, in the backend, we're getting ready for that next one." We don't have that lull, where shit's going good and then it's like, " Oh, no, what happened?" While something's winning, that same testing speed, we still have it and we're two inaudible ahead. Then people are like, " Yeah, I see these people everywhere and da, da, da." That's been major force. Damn, you said something that triggered something that I really wanted to say. What's the last thing you said?

DG: The law of shitty click throughs. We're talking about when somebody sees your ad seven, eight, 10 times, it stops working as well.

Billy Gene: The other thing too is though, again thinking about ads and funnels and the whole thing as assets, it will stop working, but what happens is, when you take it off the table and you want to bring it back, you can later, right? We ran a birthday promotion that is probably out of gas right now, but guess what? Next year, I'll do it again. Sometimes, once something dies, it can be resurrected in time. You got to build up. Don't forget about that too. I think a lot of us leave money on the table because we had that thing that worked. It stopped working for a while, but yo, some of our best advertising campaigns have been ones that killed it, they flatlined and they were like, " Why do we stop doing that?" "Well because it died." " Well, let's try it again." Then we turn it on and it's got another two weeks in there of cashflow. Sometimes you guys are sitting on dead shit that's actually super profitable and I advise you to give it a shot again, just forget it. You look at big companies, right? Take a giant company like McDonald's, right? If you look at them from a marketing and a promotional cycle, they're brilliant because they'll come up with a campaign, give it to you for a couple months and then they'll bring it back again in a year. The McFlurry or what's the Irish thing? The Irish like the-

DG: The Shamrock Shake.

Billy Gene: The Shamrock Shake, there you go, right? They know that's an asset that they can deploy at another time. Their McRib or whatever the fuck, they're going to make everything, but they have all this different stuff that they know works and they put it on the table or the best one they did for many years was the Monopoly Game, is they have the Monopoly pieces when you bought something. They did that for years and years and years. It always created this huge surge for them and it started to flatten. They took it off. Then they brought it back again right? Just everybody remembering like, " These are assets. These are just assets." Once you own the fact that this is an asset, you treat it differently.

DG: I love that because I think you have to, also as a marketer, you can map out the different times of the year, okay? Your birthday is what? Your birthday is in May, right?

Billy Gene: Yup.

DG: You know in May you're going to run the birthday offer, but you don't have anything in June. June is maybe when you'd go on Google Trends and find out what's hot right now. I think it's always about these levers, " Oh, July is slow." Well, there's a holiday. You got Fourth of July. You can come up with something. Scarcity, often around vacation. I think it gives you all the levers to pull if you can map out the offers.

Billy Gene: That's the advantage that corporations and companies that have been around for longer, they've had more time to deploy these assets that they can do it. That's when you see their marketing plan, it's like three years out, it's because they have the history to do it. Some of us, especially if you're listening here on the small business side, it's going to take you some time to build those up, right? Just keep all of that in mind.

DG: I want to wrap up and talk about your birthday offer. The results were crosstalk, but I did have one more question on the testing piece of this. When you talk about testing, are you testing different offers? Are you testing variations of that say, " Hey, the thumb drive offer"?

Billy Gene: I love that question and I'm glad you said it. This is my humble opinion, but when we go into split testing and I'm talking like changing the headline, changing the color, changing the design which all give you an incremental increase, but most of the time when a campaign is failing on a paid ad side, it's usually missing by a large margin. The only thing that I have seen time and time again give you a major shift and I'm not talking about like, " Well, look, that's a 10% increase," because the truth is, a lot of times that 10%, 15%, even the 20% isn't enough, right? " Oh, you're not spending enough consistently inaudible," but to have the fucking major shifts, I'm telling you this, it's the offer. When we test, we almost do zero split testing, we do offer swapping. It's the biggest thing, especially thinking of the world of franchise where I come from and doing lead gen for them. We can optimize things to give them more longevity. You come up with a campaign. The offer is working. It's going well and you want to keep it going. Then you test by bidding, by for traffic, bidding for impressions. " Are we targeting this? It looked like." If you do all of these technical things, that gives it length, but when you want a spike, change the offer. I'll give you a great example, a company I work with. They told me one of the best promotions they ever ran was when they decided to give out a pair of boxing gloves and then they did that for a long time that worked well. When it started to go down, they changed the color of the boxing gloves to fricking pink. The offer was pink boxing gloves. On the franchise side, it was a two- week trial versus a one week trial versus a 10- day paid trial versus a 30- day trial, the offer and this is actually where a lot of larger corporations struggle because when you change the offer, it changes a lot of the deliverables, the process and it gets harder to do. I'm not saying it's easy, but I'm telling you, if you're at a standstill and you're banging your head like, " What's my marketing team doing? Why am I not getting the result? What's happening?" I swear to you, you buckle down and you find a way to make it happen and change the offer, it's everything. It's everything.

DG: I love that because I think that's a mistake that I've made personally is, " Okay, I got this great idea," but no, I got to come up with five variations to test. Your point is, basically, you test to optimize. The USB drive offer is working like gangbusters, maybe it starts to slow down a little bit, that's when you split tests.

Billy Gene: Yup. Exactly, exactly. Then it's a secondary thing, right? It's already showed promise that it's going to work and that's been so backwards for us. The reason why I started testing like this is because, remember, when I came into this game, I started in my parents' house. I didn't have anything, but when I started to get clients from my agency which was really just fucking me and my house, trying to get people to let me do Facebook for them because I had no trust, confidence, courage, background, case studies, the only thing I've sold on was money back guarantees. I said, " Hey, if I don't get you an ROI," and we know how that is in marketing, that's really hard to do. I said, " If I don't get you an ROI, guess what? I'll give you your money back." Then sometimes, I even promise to pay double. Scale of one to 10, how motivated was I to actually drive results more than anybody? What I learned in that short lesson is how to show ROI and I had to do it fast. That stuck with me forever. A lot of the testing theories I've had is because I've always had the gun, " I've had to make it profitable." I just had to. I didn't have another choice and then I just stuck with that. Then also too is a lot of companies have experienced a promotion that worked extremely well. For me, when something works well, I'm like, " If you can do it once, then you can do it again." The little things, right? When I've had campaigns that literally will just print money same day like three to one, internally, we set a new standard for ourselves. That's what we do, is we go for that, but I think a lot of people, you have something good and you think, " Oh, well that was just lucky." " No, it wasn't. It wasn't. It can't be replicated." set that standard for yourself of like, " Hey, you have killer campaigns. If it's not killer, then you try again." It doesn't mean you can't have the little shit on in the meanwhile like the other stuff that's consistent, but keep shooting for the big thing.

DG: All right, speaking of offers that were just printing money, your birthday, so you just turned 31, you did a 31, what did you do? Quickly walk me through the offer, and then maybe, I've been seeing those screenshots around there creeping up towards nine figures now-

Billy Gene: Now, as of today, yeah, that campaign did a million bucks, that campaign alone. I'll explain it to you because it was the nuttiest thing ever and I personally learned a ton of stuff from it. Number one, CEO and also I have a CMO, but I'm very into the marketing side too, I'm a marketing guy, right? I can, at times, be confident and I can, at times, be arrogant to a fault. What I mean by that is this mentality, " I've seen it all, done it all." Anyways, it was my birthday. I said to my team, " We have to run something on my birthday because there will be no other time throughout the year where we get this much engagement." For example, when people see it's someone's birthday, they like it, they comment, they share it. Therefore, as a result of that, I'm not going to have another opportunity to get these shares. I have to make an offer. I own that, so I tell my team that. I say" What should we offer? It's got to be fucking special." We just sit there and brainstorm. It probably looks like your guys and everybody else's too where you just sit in a fucking room and just say weird shit. Yeah, we did that. Then one of my team members, he goes, " Why don't we try and offer our courses for low ticket. We've never done it before." I was like, " No, I don't want to do that, da, da, da." I said all the no shit. Then because I was so tired and I was just lazy, I said, " Fuck it. We'll try you guys' little low ticket thing, whatever. We'll do it." They go, " Okay, which course should we put on for 31?" I said, " Oh, no, no, no. If we're going to do it, we're going to do it. Give them all." I said, " Give them all," again. That's just what the offer of irresistible. This is a good note for everybody. An irresistible offer isn't the offer that makes you a little bit uncomfortable, right? This is how it usually goes, " Yeah, let's offer 20% off," and we're like, " No way, we can't do 20%. Are the margins still good enough?" It's like, " Yeah, yeah, yeah." That's not an irresistible offer. An irresistible offer is one that makes you want to run for the hills. It makes you want to go there. Also too, remember this, the value is created after the experience. A lot of times, somebody would be like, " Let's discount our product," but if nobody's ever tried it, it means nothing to them. Discount doesn't change very much because they it doesn't mean anything to them. Anyways, going back, I said, " All right, if we're going to do it, we're going to do some crazy." I said, " Fuck it. $ 31 bucks for all of our courses that we've done in the past." We knew we had an ongoing recurring revenue model, so we're like, " Whatever." Then the team told me, " No." Then they're like, " No, that's crazy, da, da, da." I was like, " Guys, I don't care. Try it. We're going to see what happens," so we do. Then the next thing as far as the process goes, and this is a good note, is" What's the story?" This is classic, every marketers, everyone knows like, " What's the story? What's the reason why we're doing the promo?" It was my birthday and I was thinking about like, " What are some thoughts that we have internally on our birthdays?" because it's a really weird day, right? It's exciting, but as we get older, I feel like it's also very reflective. I have crazy thoughts on my birthday. I'm like, " Well, fuck, it's been a hell of a ride. What if I fucking die today and it was all over?" I was like, " That's it. That's the position." Once I identified the story for my birthday and we had this crazy offer that made sense, I said, " Well, let's give it a test." I honestly expected it to do$ 30, 000," just low ticket. I was like, " I don't know. It's going to ruin everything." I wrote this ad. It started off by saying, " First, today is my birthday. Why?" Everybody stops. They have to engage and I get that engagements. It's going to be shared. That was the very first line." Then I said, next line, " All I can think about is dying." That's the polarization, getting attention, knowing they're going to pay attention to. Then I went in to dive details and I put like, " How am I going to die? When's it going to happen? Da, da, da, da, da," and then, the last thing was, " Will I be remembered or will I be forgotten?" I was like, "I don't want that to happen. I want it to be a legacy thing, so for today, we're going to do a$ 31 promo for all my shit. We'll call it The Legacy Bundle. Click here and buy now." Then we add the timer and everything to do it. Wake up in the morning and we're like, bright and early in the morning, we're like 20k on this offer. I'm like, " Holy shit." Then we keep going. It trickles up like$ 30,000, $40, 000 and I look at the team. I'm like, " Have you guys seen this? This thing is working. Then I started to go to Instagram to post it like, " Hey, guys, we're running this promotion." Then another$ 10, 000 trickles in, another$10, 000, another$10, 000. Now it's going crazy. I'm like, " Holy shit. We're onto something." We push again, we push again. We look up, $300, 000. Boom, boom, we push again. Then I'm posting on social to add gasoline, " Hey, guys, we're running this promotion." Now I'm putting the screenshots, " Here's what's happening. Look at this thing." Now I'm using social proof. Now everybody else is getting out there like, " I'm missing out." Then I'm showing the customers, " Hey, $ 5, 000, $ 6, 000, $7,000, boom, boom, boom." We're putting this and I'm like, " Okay, now let's email people. Now let's texts. Let's use all of our distribution and we're posting. Bam, bam, bam. Then we're like, " Well, day one. Let's keep it going, keep going," and then we open it up five days. Bam, bam, bam, bam, bam. Then once it was done, we ended up pushing out like four days and we brought in like $600,000 or $700, 000 just from that. Then we did another promotion. How we did it? Another$ 25 to that same audience. Boom, boom, boom and we ran that promotion. Then we reopened it. Just this weekend, but we raised the price. We said, " You guys missed it last time. Stop playing games." Then over this weekend, it did another quarter of a million bucks. Bam.

DG: I love it.

Billy Gene: That's the example of, " It's never over until it's over," right? Now that that funnel, $ 1 million.

DG: It's insane.

Billy Gene: $1million.

DG: It's insane. It's my favorite campaign I've seen in a long time crosstalk. Of course, yeah, I didn't make a$1 million bucks off it and I like it that much.

Billy Gene: Here's the crazy thing. In total, we probably spent about$100,000 in ads.

DG: I was going to ask you, do you remember the initial Instagram ad spend that kicked it off?

Billy Gene: The kickoff, when I was waking up to that dude, it was all like almost all email and text. We had a couple of thousand bucks. I put ads in because, again, I wasn't excited about it. I didn't think it was going to be that tight. I thought like, " Whatever, we make$ 30,000 and we're in." I didn't. Once it started working, then we started turning the ads. The ads came in later. It was almost all organic. That goes to show like, " Here's a tool that really surprised me," because I know you like to talk about the marketing shit too. Dude, I underestimated Instagram and the power over organic. I recommend every brand and people, you build up a serious following on Instagram because when I was posting on Instagram, fucking people were buying, buying. When I put my expensive stuff, that doesn't work as well, but that cheap, so that was huge.

DG: I think you hit on something, right? You hit... I think the whole genius part of the offer is number one is you hit on the emotional, not the emotion, but the built- in trigger. You've just built in trigger of awareness which is it's your birthday, right? I don't go on Facebook anymore. I just use Instagram, but I still have people that every year just write on my wall, " Happy birthday." Already built in an offer with hundreds of comments, just people saying, " Happy birthday," right?

Billy Gene: Exactly. That's what we saw. On the ad, when it was running, even people who didn't buy, they were still saying, " Happy birthday." My cost per click was going down, and again, talking about the promotional calendar, just everybody, you got to have a birthday, you got to offer some shit on your birthday.

DG: I think it's good. I got about seven... I've just been scribbling notes. I don't know why, I can write them down later, but it's just been fun. All right, Billy, I want to wrap up real quick since this is the Swipe File. I wanted to see if I can get a couple of things out of you. Number one is what's in your Swipe File? Give me one book that you've given out the most or recommended the most to other marketers.

Billy Gene: The one recently that I've been giving the most out is 4 Ds of Execution, 4 Ds of Execution and Scaling out by Verne Harnish. Those have been the two and I know they're not so much on the marketing side, but I think as far as just building systems and processes for the company. It's even made me bring a systems and process outlook to marketing which can be pretty abstract and creative in this thing. That's been really, really, really helpful for me, I would say, and also to my biggest problem areas, I would say those are-

DG: Don't get too much process. You seem to have a good thing going. Then next will be, who's a person that you... I started off this podcast saying I've been swiping and looking at your stuff. Who's somebody that you keep an eye on and see?

Billy Gene: Russell Brunson, cool dude, and also too, he's a master of fast experimenter too. Russell Brunson is a big one. Frank Kern is a big one. I've gotten to coach and work with them like get coached by and worked with them. Russell's come to the studio and shit. I'd pick these guys fucking brain. They're on it. They experiment more. Tai Lopez another one. Just having all these... Because they just experiment. The people who spend the most and are experimenting the most, they always have the most data because they have shit, " Oh, this worked for me. Oh, this worked for me. Oh, this worked for me," so that's been a thing. My boy Vince Read another... Just guys in the trenches who are spending the most. Those have been really, really crucial for me because they've seen a lot.

DG: I love it. All right, Billy. This has been amazing. My favorite part about doing this podcast is I get to interview people that I can learn from and I just did that, so thank you, man.

Billy Gene: Thank you for having me. Everyone keep listening, dammit.

DG: Just plug your stuff real quick. Where can people find you?

Billy Gene: Billy Gene Is Marketing and Gene is G- E- N- E. That's why Gene Is, Gene Is is how we spell it, but billgeneismarketing. com. Go there and we will retarget you forever and also follow me on Instagram.

DG: It's true. You're trapped in the funnel. Next thing you know, you're pulling out your credit card. Hey, thanks for listening to another episode of the Swipe File. I'm having a lot of fun doing this podcast, and so because it's fun for me, I hope it's fun for you and it would mean the world if you could leave a review. Reviews really help and so go leave a review. Go to Apple Podcasts, leave a review. Let me know what you liked about the show, didn't like, want to hear more. Also if you're not already subscribed, make sure you go subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify. The show is everywhere that you get your podcast probably where you're listening right now, but if you want more content like this, if you want to go a layer deeper, join me on Drift Insider. It's drift. com/ insider. We're teaching courses, we're sharing videos and we have exclusive content for people just like you in marketing that we do not share publicly, so go and check it out, drift. com/ insider.


On this episode of the Swipe File, DG sits down with Billy Gene Shaw, founder and CEO of the agency Billy Gene Is Marketing. Billy Gene has helped some of the world’s top brands and influencers like Gary Vaynerchuk, Lewis Howes, Daymond John, and more supercharge their social media advertising. In one of the most tactical episodes of the Swipe File yet, DG and Billy Gene dive into: why everything starts with the offer (and how to create an irresistible offer), how Billy uses Google Trends to see the future, why iPhone videos work so well (including when they are shaky), how he measures advertising success and the importance of speed to recover ad spend vs. the total amount, why people are afraid of ads, how he turned a $31 offer into $1,000,000 in sales in a week, why he doesn’t believe in split testing ads, and so much more.