In our latest episode of Caller Meetup Live, I sat down with Brent Dunn of PPC Mode to discuss brand building and asset acquisition in the media buying and lead generation space. Brent is probably the best low-key media buying expert out there.
He has been in the internet marketing space since 2004, when he started doing SEO on his own sites and blogs. He later moved into small business consultancy, SEO management, affiliate marketing, and mobile marketing.
Currently, his impressive portfolio boasts over 40 unique properties focused in different verticals. In this post, I’ll provide you with a quick summary of the key points from our interview.
Watch the complete interview below for more insights:
How was SEO in 2011?
The first thing I was curious to know from Brent was how the SEO landscape was about a decade ago when Google’s search algorithms weren’t as sophisticated as they are today.
He told me that a lot of stuff during those days ranked based on the exact match domain. This means that a lot of domain names were super-targeted, and ranking was pretty easy. There were tons of sites with the exact target keyword match in their domain names, which attracted a lot of traffic within a relatively short period.
All you needed to do was throw up a few informative articles educating the consumer about a specific offer before pushing a lead form their way, and everything would work fine. Well, it seems like a lot of stuff has changed since then, and Google has become much more smart and intelligent.
Transitioning from SEO to PayPerCall and Media-Buying
I also wanted to know when Brent made the big decision of moving from SEO to focusing on building his business around mobile calls. He tells me that this decision came just after 2011 when there was an immense growth in mobile apps.
At that time, mobile apps were enjoying crazy funding, and everything was pretty simple because a lot of people did not know how to measure performance. However, it was a little bit difficult to find genuine white hat offers that could run on Google without issues.
This was during the pre-network era, and a lot of effort had to go towards setting up local campaigns. With time, the industry would grow, and he started to shift his attention towards setting up and managing national campaigns.
Critical Points from the Interview
So, what important lessons has Brent learned from the many years he has been in the lead generation and media buying space?
1. Focus on building a brand
Brent warns that many businesses tend to fail because they don't direct any effort towards creating a brand name in their vertical. A significant number of internet marketers and media buying experts are usually enthralled with the short-term gains from their campaigns and end up with poor long-term survival strategy.
To avoid such things, he advises media buyers to focus more on building a brand. This doesn’t mean offering free services to companies so you can prove your skills. It means shifting your focus and establishing a clear roadmap that concentrates on getting you something bigger in the future.
2. Use different types of media in lead generation
So, apart from paid search, what other kinds of media can one use in lead generation? Brent tells me that even though paid search is profitable, it may not be dependable in the long run, especially if it is the only source of traffic.
Focus more on attracting organic search by publishing high-quality blog content that addresses common problems that your target users face.
He also encourages internet marketers to leverage the power of YouTube videos to attract more traffic. You can also create simple DIY videos with powerful call-to-actions that encourage viewers to sign up for premium service.
3. Know how to manage your traffic
So, what happens to your traffic once you have it? Find ways of getting the most out of it. Brent tells me that he adds all his traffic to a Facebook Group and re-targeting list on every platform.
Regardless of whether you run paid traffic on that list or not, it is always good to start sending the right signals as soon as possible so that if you ever plan to run paid traffic on the list, you will have a solid foundation.
4. Focus on helping users, not pushing offers their way
As a media buyer, your primary focus should be to help your target users with the problem they are facing, not pushing offers their way. Avoid targeting sales-focused keywords at the very top of the funnel. Although this might work a few times, it is not a sustainable strategy for long-term profitability.
Instead, focus on providing value and guiding users down the funnel slowly before you start thinking of converting them. Providing value and engaging every lead as much as possible is also a great way of building your brand.
5. Site acquisition is important
Typically, it takes between six months and one year after creating a website to start seeing any meaningful traffic. However, site acquisition can help you establish your online assets as fast as possible as long as you know what to look out for in a site before you buy it.
This strategy can help you to start getting traffic pretty quickly. But, how can you ensure that you are doing it right?
Brent believes the best way to get value for your money is by focusing on content. Even if there is good traffic, but the content on the site is garbage, don’t consider acquiring it.
You should also pay great attention to traffic trends of the site. Always go for websites that show steady traffic. If there was a sudden spike in traffic before the site was put up for sale, avoid it because some black hat techniques could have been performed, which might hurt you in the long run.
How Can You Find Ideal Sites for Acquisition?
I also asked Brent to share with me some of the techniques he uses to identify ideal sites for acquisition. He gave me the following tips:
Feel free to use Flippa, but be careful with how you do it. Over 80% of the sites posted on Flippa might not be worth it when it comes to media buying. Therefore, conduct thorough research on every potential site to establish its suitability.
If you happen to bump into one that looks good, be quick to offer the buyer a buyout offer to avoid going into a bidding war with other people who might be interested in the property.
He also says that if you ever find a good site on Flippa, be sure to ask the seller if they have any other related websites. This way, it becomes pretty easy to acquire a portfolio of high-quality sites from one genuine individual.
Brent also believes that another ideal way of acquiring quality sites is by checking out online forums such as Quora. If you are venturing into a new vertical, joining such sites can help you get a feel of the actual market and what people are asking. If you happen to stumble upon a website that is up for sale from the discussions, then that will be great!
The media-buying guru also had one bonus tip for me that I found rather interesting. He told me that you could use Amazon to acquire sites. But how do you do it?
Well, all you have to do is go to Amazon and look up whatever you are trying to attract traffic for. From the search results, find the old eBooks/kindles with no views/reviews at all. Make sure the eBook is at least one year old.
In most cases, these eBooks will have a site associated with it. Reach out to the author and offer to buy the book rights and the website, if any. If they don't have a site for the eBook, offer to purchase the rights to the book and convert the content into high-quality blog posts that will help you attract traffic. Amazing, right?
That was it from my interview with one of the leading media buying gurus I have known for many years. If you are into lead generation and media buying, please check out the PPC forum that brings together great masterminds focused on building sustainable online assets.
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