Tom Antion has never had a job. He’s an Internet Multi-millionaire “guy next door” and founder of the only licensed, dedicated Internet marketing school in the country. He’s the subject of a Hollywood Documentary “The American Entrepreneur” premiering summer 2021.
Today, he and I talk about paid ads versus natural SEO and much more. Check out Tom’s podcast at www.screwthecommute.com.
Welcome to Episode 20 of the easy SEO and more podcast. Last episode I talked about the Stingray and other longtail keywords. Find out why longtail keywords are important by going to portbell.com/19. Today, I have a guest, Tom Antion, from the podcast “Screw the Commute.” You gotta love that name. I had the honor of being his guest on episode 432 of his podcast. That’s a lot of podcasts! You have to go check it out. Tom’s never had a job. He’s an internet multimillionaire guy next door and founder of the only licensed dedicated internet marketing school in the country. And he’s the subject of a Hollywood documentary, “The American Entrepreneur,” premiering in summer 2021. Tom, Welcome to Easy SEO and more.
Tom Antion 01:04
Thrilled to be here and to beat it around with SEO and paid traffic and making it work.
Ty Belknap 01:10
I’m very excited to have you here. Your “American Entrepreneur” documentary, that’s going to be on Netflix, right?
Tom Antion 01:17
Well, not necessarily. the reason is that it’s held up actually, it’s now summer of 21. The Hollywood people, you know, negotiate and all kinds of deals. I’ve been hearing this for six months, so I’m not sure when it’s gonna come out. It’s already done, in the can. The trailer is up on Facebook. And yeah, it’s very exciting. Thing is I thought you had to be dead. Apparently not. Unless I’m a hologram sitting here. Yeah, it’s it’s quite a big honor.
Ty Belknap 01:51
Oh, that’s fantastic. I’m looking forward to watching it. When I was on your podcast, we talked a little bit about padi SEO versus natural. I’m a big natural SEO guy, although I do paid as well. You like paid better. So, you actually came up with the idea of us getting together. And in hashing is out in a friendly way. Of course. So tell me, what do you like about paid SEO?
Tom Antion 02:13
Well, can I back up a little bit first? I was taught by the best of the best. I’ve been selling on the commercial internet since there was a commercial internet in 1994. And I was taught by the best of the best that, at the time was Michael Campbell. He was a guy that could get all 10 for himself in the front page of AltaVista. The AltaVista people would call him up and say, Come on, Mike, take it easy, you know. And you’re not doing anything blackhat, he taught me and I could get four to six places for my own websites dominated. And then when Google came around, I was in the top three on major keywords for 12 years straight.
And you got to stay on it. You got to do all this stuff, you got to do the link strategies, and the blogging and everything else under the sun to keep Google happy. So I said, You know what, I’m sick of this. I had used SEO over many years to build as many as 150,000 subscribers to my email. The whole thing about this online thing is to get him (prospective customers) the heck off of (social media didn’t exist when I started) but get him off of that necessary evil (the search engines) onto an email list that you control.
So with paid traffic you can over, I mean literally overnight, test a sales letter, multiple, you know, we always do split testing. So split testing in the old days with like direct mail would take you months and months. Literally, I can make 10 different ads, put them on YouTube, watching like a hawk and shut off the ones that aren’t working and keep the ones that are in a matter of a day.
So well, I was so far ingrained where I could just hit a button and loads of sales would come in, but I said to myself you know, this is just too much work. And so that’s why I started learning paid traffic. And also, one of the things about paid traffic is that we have so many products and services and we come out with new ones all the time. If I had to do SEO on a new product, You know, I’d be tripping over my beard, it’d be obsolete by the time we get any traction.
Ty Belknap 04:45
Something you said was a really good point because you’re talking about putting out a new product. Getting to number one with natural SEO is fantastic, but you can’t wait for six, eight months before you get onto page one, especially for competitive keywords. And you’re right, taking all that time when you have a brand new product is almost like shooting yourself in the foot.
Tom Antion 05:09
Yeah. And in my field a product could be obsolete by that time. I mean, in my school, as you mentioned, we have the only licensed dedicated internet marketing school in the country. We change the curriculum, sometimes daily. Oh, yeah. Three weeks into the class, something has changed. And we’ve changed the curriculum. No, no school on earth does that, but it’s necessary. So if it took me that long to get a product out (to the top of the search engines), then it might be obsolete by that time.
The only major published book I had with the john Wiley book. 15 years ago. It was 18 months before it came out from the time I gave him the manuscript, which took me six months to create. So it was a two year old internet book presented as new.
Yeah, you know. So that’s the kind of delays (you can have). So, that’s an important thing. However, and I wanted to impress on your listeners, they should do both. I always make sure the basics are done, because I don’t want to shoot myself in the foot. I want them to see me and see my home page or about page and my title tags. So I do all that stuff. But I just concentrate on the best bargains out there, which I want to give the folks, if they want to dive into this. I want to give them some caveats so they don’t lose their shirt like you and I have both done.
Ty Belknap 06:49
Yeah, we were just talking about this before the show. I’ve lost $1,000 in a couple of days just by not paying attention to the ads that I did.
Tom Antion 06:57
Yeah, that’s my first tip. If you dive in and put your toes into pay per click or paid ads, you obsess on it. I’m talking with a capital O, a capital B, capital S, everything. Because I put an ad in on a Friday (this is long time ago, before there was as many safeguards as there are now). And I got busy. By Monday morning, I owed Google $8000. No way out.
And then here’s another thing. So I think okay, now I’m smart. I’m Mr. smart alec on paid ads. So I paused an ad. Okay, that’s one thing you want to do if you get confused, if you don’t know if it’s working. But I paused it and came back the next week, big bill from Google.
I call Google up, start bitching at him and said, What’s up? I paused this ad and the guy says, give me a couple minutes. He looks at it and said, you didn’t pause the campaign, you paused onead set. There are places you can pause, something; an ad, an ad set, and a campaign.
Ty Belknap 08:08
You’ve got to be very careful with Google. In fact, they actually had a class action lawsuit against this once I went in, this was about 10 years ago now. And I was setting up a campaign for a client. And yet we weren’t ready to go. So I just I was testing to see how much it will cost per keyword. And all that went away four days later, I get a bill from Google for $3,000. But that was at the time where wherever you set up a campaign, it automatically ran. And I had to pay this three grand I mean, they were threatening to send me to court and all this. Luckily, there was a class action lawsuit. I got my money back. But yeah, I just I wasn’t even planning on doing this. You got to be very careful about making sure that stuff is shut off, pause whenever you need to do until you’re really ready to go.
Tom Antion 08:54
Okay, so here’s a couple safeguards you can employ, and then I’ll give them a lot of the the best bargains that I see now. The safeguards are the budget per day. All right, so you can set a budget so that the thing cannot run away with you other than a few cents over your budget.
Now, here’s another thing. This is a sidebar. If you find an ad that’s doing well, and you had a budget of $5 a day. And you say, you know what, I think jack it up to 25 bucks a day, it’s working so good. You might as well go down to the local cheerleader shop and get one of those big megaphones and scream. I’m an idiot! I don’t know what I’m doing! I’m a newbie. It makes it easier for them to just take all your money.
No professional is going to do such a thing. Because it just screams that you don’t know what you’re doing. Maybe that initial success was because they put you in the best placement areas that got better conversion. And then as soon as they saw that you’re an idiot, they just put you everywhere because a lot of people hit the automatic. “Oh, let Facebook show my ads, they know better than me.” Yeah, they know how to take your money better than you. So, don’t raise it more than 20% every couple days.
And by the way, a winning ad, well, what’s the winning ad? Well, you probably if you make an ad, you make 10 ads, and then you watch them closely to see which one is working best. They reward you for more clicks. So maybe one ad is getting two cent clicks, and another one’s getting 15 cent clicks. So the average person with a megaphone from the cheerleader shop might say “Oh, I’m going to cut off the ad, that’s 15 cents a click.” Well, that might be the one that’s bringing you customers, and the other ones just bring in tire kickers. So you can’t go by what that is, you got to go on conversion and track them all the way through the see which ones are bringing the customer. So that’s a daily budget.
Ty Belknap 10:57
Let me let me back back up just a bit, though, because I’ve done ads quite a long time myself. And I do it on Facebook and Google and Bing and generally what I’ll do is three, maybe four, depending upon the how much I want to do the split testing on that. You said 10. You do 10 ads at a time?
Tom Antion 11:15
Sometimes 15. The guys that taught me this years ago taught me that’s how you get rich is you do really hard work split testing. Most people will do one ad, one sales letter, landing page, and pat themselves on the back. And then when it doesn’t work, they say, “Oh, this doesn’t work.” No, you just didn’t know what you were doing. The ad could be the same with a different target audience. And an ad could be different with the same target audience. And you could change the age range, the gender, you can shoot for all iOS devices. You have all these variables that you can test. But if you lump them all into one, you never know which ones were making money and which ones were losing money. Anyway, the caveat was a daily budget that you don’t go crazy on.
Second thing is a campaign budget. So you can set $100. And then that’s it, and maybe it will go to $101 for they turn it off. But that way, you can go on vacation to Bali, and it’s not going to go more than $100. So those are two major safeguards for you to not let it run away.
The next thing is the best bargains that I see nowadays. And the number one is YouTube in-stream ads. These are the ads where you click the skip button. What most people don’t know is if they click the skip button within 30 seconds, you don’t pay anything. However, watch the end of the video, let’s say you had a 20 seconds video, if they get it to the end, you pay.
So, there’s no reason to have less than a 30 second video. They get to the end, you pay. If you had a 10 second video thinking “I’m gonna do a tech talk on these people.” Great, you’re gonna pay. So, have a 30 second or more video. If they click skip before the end, then you don’t pay. So one of the overriding caveats on paid traffic is you try to disqualify the person, you do everything in your power to get them not to click.
Ty Belknap 13:39
Sorry, I love that. Let’s pay to get an ad to get people to not click on it. That’s, gold right there!
Tom Antion 13:50
So the thing is, I don’t want people clicking if they’re not really interested. So I’ll do it like this department of defense ad. We have military scholarships for military spouses. And so a lot of them do this multilevel marketing Lulu something. I don’t know, selling clothes and cosmetics and stuff. I might open the video with “Hey, if you’re a military spouse, and you really love making your friends mad when you meet them at Starbucks and try to shove this multi level marketing down their throat, just click that skip button so you get back to the video you really wanted to watch. However, if you’re a military spouse that wants a portable skill that you can take around the world wherever you’re deployed, you might want to listen.
So, if they’re super happy with their multi level marketing that I’m insulting, skip. I don’t want to pay for you to look at my ad. Here’s another simple example: Let’s say you had a beginning gardener course for beginning gardeners. You wouldn’t want an advanced gardener to buy it because you paid to get them to buy a course that they’re going to be unhappy with. Then they will ask for a refund and give you a bad review. You paid for that to happen because you were too dumb to say, beginners only! Have the best garden on your block. Right there takes care of all that bad negative blood in your paid ads. So try to disqualify.
Back to in-stream ads, you have to shoot them a certain way. And that means that you can’t say like everybody says on their YouTube video, click the link in the description. Doesn’t make sense. Your video is playing on the other guy’s video. It’s his description that’s down there. So, you’re paying to say, “Hey, go click on the other guy, let’s forget about me.”
Ty Belknap 15:46
Well, and here’s another one that I love is I watch YouTube on my TV all the time. You can’t click. Yeah. You have to account for that, too. You can pick the devices that it shows up on so you don’t have to let it show on a TV.
Tom Antion 16:15
The other cool thing about it is, even if they click skip, you get a banner ad up on top of the browser, it stays up, even after they skip your video. So you have another chance to convince them if they wanted to watch that video and they say, “Oh, I wonder what that guy’s all about.” There’s a banner up there that you get that stays on after they skip.
Now, you know what’s cool about this is I get two to six cent video views on keywords that would cost me a buck and a half to five bucks on regular Google search in two to six cents. You haven’t gotten that in years! Now, if you don’t know what you’re doing, like I said, if you mess with your bids improperly and everything, they’re going to just take your money, they’re all going to take your money if they see you’re an idiot.
So, because there’s always 100 billion idiots behind you coming in that they don’t care if you make it or not. But you can mess up really bad and not spend a lot of money. So that’s YouTube in-stream ads. One of the best bargains there. The next bargain is Amazon sponsored ads. This is if you have a book now a lot of I don’t really promote people doing physical products because there’s so much hassle on it.
Ty Belknap 17:50
I was gonna ask you about Amazon advertising! Perfect.
Tom Antion 17:54
Yeah. So, it’s dirt cheap. I got a bill the other day for 26 cents for eight or 10 clicks on something. It’s just pennies to have your book right up at the top with everybody else’s. Now, if you don’t have a book, get a book, I do an ebook mastermind starting next week. But with digital products, you know, it’s 97% profit, so you can mess up really bad. But I have one ebook, I don’t know if I told you about it. This brought in, as of this morning. $3.63 million. And anywhere from $5000 to $15,000 a month. And it took me four hours to create it.
You might say that that sounds like bs. Well, how it works is it’s called a residual affiliate program. A basic affiliate program is I recommend your stuff, Ty, and somebody buys it. I get a one-shot commission. Right? But let’s say you had a membership site or supplements or something that people use more than once. So, I recommend it.
So the ebook taught people how to do something that they couldn’t do unless they had this tool. And so I make $600 a year when they get the tool and people keep the tool for 10-15 years. So, that’s turned into $3.63 million and anywhere from $5000 to $15,000 a month with residual affiliate programs.
Interesting. I do affiliate programs myself. I didn’t know there was such a big commission with affiliate programs that do residuals.
Yeah, I think there’s a site called residualaffiliateprogram.com Those are all the ones that pay continuously, see. I look at it like an insurance policy because, I think I may have told you I got in a hunting accident, which would have been a great story had I got shot. but I fell on a log, perforated my intestines. I was in Intensive Care for a week because I was going to bleed out. I couldn’t lift anything for six months, but money was coming in the whole time from these things I have set up. So, so critical.
Anyway, if you want your book at the top of Amazon, then paid ads is really cheap. Plus, they have this other thing called KDP Select. KDP is Kindle Direct Publishing the Select program means that they’ll give your book away for five days out of every 90, your ebook, as long as you’re not selling it anywhere else electronically.
And people say, Well, what good is that if they give it away? It’s really good if each person that buys the thing in the book pays me $600 a year. So Amazon gave away 2500 copies in five days. I’m good. But I can’t give away 2500 copies. I’d spend a fortune in ads, you know. So yeah. So that’s Amazon ads.
And the other one is a little bit obscure, with which you have to know about this other one is that all the social media that sell ads, wants you to stay on their platform, you may have Facebook ad and you do an ad that keeps them on Facebook, you get cheaper prices. So the best bargain by far right now is video story ads on Instagram, pointing towards your profile, not sending them off the site.
You can get dirt cheap ads there. Now another little sidebar to that, is you only get one link in your profile on Instagram. And so other companies have come along to fix that. So I have a a service I use called linktree, Linktr.E and love that one, one link goes to I can list a whole bunch of links. And then if I’m promoting a giveaway, like I’m gonna give them something here, if you want, they can go to the profile. And I can just go to that link tree page and slide that deal up to the top so they don’t have to search for it. So, those are the three biggest bargains, but there’s tons of places to advertise online. Each one has its quirks and you really you know, you just don’t want to lose your shirt on.
Ty Belknap 22:22
That’s a good point. Yeah, I learned about linktree myself, and I’ve used it and I like it.
Tom Antion 22:38
I’ve been in business 44 years, long before the internet. So I learned to a lot of automation techniques that really reduce my workload and let me respond lightning fast to people, which means I’m stealing customers from people that say, “I’ll get back to him tomorrow.” Well, I get back to him right away, and they give me the money.
So I’ve handled up to 150,000 subscribers and 40,000 customers with the techniques in this book. We actually figured it out that this one tip in the book has saved seven and a half million keystrokes. saving Carpal-Tunnel syndrome. So, it’s got cell phone automation; it’s got all kinds of things to automate your responses to people when you get the same questions all the time and more. Pick it up at screwthecommute.comm/automatefree. We sell the book for 27 bucks, but it’s yours free for listening to the show. Yeah, and if you want to listen to Ty’s episode you go to screwthecommute.com/432 and it’ll take you right there.
Ty Belknap 24:11
That’s fantastic. Those are some great tips. I’m I really appreciate it. You’ve got so much great information and I’m just really glad you’re here today. One last thing, what’s the best way for someone to get ahold of you?
Tom Antion 24:35
Just email me at Tom@screwthecommute.com.
Remember to join the Success Tips Club to keep updated on when new podcasts come out.
-Dr. Ty Belknap
DIY SEO - Join the Free Master Class for Entrepreneurs!