Vape Radio 53: Advertising Built for the E-Cig Industry

By April 8, 2015Podcasts
Vape Radio 53: Advertising Built for the E-Cig Industry

Show Summary:

To listen to the entire show, with show notes, transcripts and comments, visit vapementors.com/vape-radio/

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What you’ll hear today:

To watch the video version on YouTube, visit http://tinyurl.com/vaperadio. Please note, YouTube does not play the pre-recorded audio interviews.

Welcome to Vape Radio, your source for everything you wanted to know about the business of vaping, whether you’re a brick and mortar location, developer of e-liquids, online marketer, anything else in the vape space, learn from the first and the largest educational providers in the country. I’m your host and founder of VapeMentors, Norm Bour. If you’d like to know more about what we do or to catch on our archive of over 50 shows, visit vapementors.com. What you’re about to hear is show number 53. We’ve crossed over that half century mark and we’re heading on to the full century. Latest stats, about 400,000 downloads. 60,000 monthly downloads. Again, we thank you all so much for this.

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What are we talking about now? Again, I always try to bring people of significance into the industry and I want to share with you the CEO of E-Cig Media, E-Cig Gallery. You are probably, if you are listening to this, you are probably getting their blogs because they have a very, very significant database. They’re one of the top vape blog sites and the gentlemen you’re about to hear is also a pro with online affiliate marketing. He’s made lots of money in this space and he’s going to share with you how he did it.

There’s a lot of you out there, you’re looking for ways to tap into this $3.5 Billion market, and you might not want to own a brick and mortar, you might not want to own a line of e-liquids, so what’s left? What we’re going to share with you is possibly another option and Matt has been there and done it. He’s generated over $4 Million in the past two years. How did he do it? Listen up and you’re going to find out from the guy who knows how to do it.

Take her away Paul.

We’re on the phone with a gentlemen by the name of Matt Longley. He is the founder of E-Cig Media. You might be familiar with that name because you might be getting their newsletters and information that they send out to you. I was introduced to E-Cig Media along with their partner company, E-Cig Events, several months ago. Come to find out that these guys are brilliant at what they do, which is online marketing, creating affiliate programs and especially ad campaigns. Matt, welcome to Vape Radio Show.

Matt Longley:

Yeah, hi Norm, it’s good to be here.

Norm Bour:

Thank you. All right so, tell us a little bit about you and your background in the online commerce space because that’s really what I want to talk about today. We have a worldwide audience, and everyone’s involved in vaping, either on the B to B or B to C, and a lot of people hear about these things called online marketing and affiliate marketing but they don’t actually know what it means and how to implement it in their business plans. If you’d share a little bit about your background Matt, that would be great.

Matt Longley:

Yeah, sure, well my wife and I started marketing in 2008 in the e-cig world, and it was back there was just like B2C and B2B and at the time I was the director of marketing for the safe cig, so he got me into marketing and my wife and I had always wanted to make money online and we tried some different things. We were making a few hundred dollars a month. We had $300 and we opened the site called E-cig Advanced. That was how it all started for us. Within two months we were making over $10,000 a month. Then about …

Norm Bour:

Matt, if I can jump in … what were you doing to generate that kind of revenue?

Matt Longley:

We were a publisher, so we were just doing reviews on products. We were talking about the industry news and that sort of thing and there really wasn’t that many people doing it. There was probably 10 or 20 of us at the time. E-cigs were growing like crazy and a lot of people were looking for products and which ones were the best and all that. After a year, the site was generating up to $150,000 a month. It was unbelievable.

Norm Bour:

Wow.

Matt Longley:

I’ll explain affiliates in a little more detail in a minute. Basically all the publishers that were doing this were just making a ridiculous amount of money. For us, that’s how we got started in the industry was being a publisher, promoting products. We did a lot of SEO, search engine optimization. We ranked number one for all the key phrases. That was our ticket as far as a traffic source was using the search engines to get all that. Those days have changed a lot and the industry has changed a lot. That’s how we got started and with that website, E-Cig Advanced, it’s generated over $4 Million in affiliate revenue over the past few years.

Since then, we’ve started a bunch of other ventures in the e-cig world but our main project is E-Cig Media. The key there was there are a lot of publishers that they’re trying to manage their ads on their website, and there’s a lot of people that were trying to advertise on these publisher websites. It was just a bear for a company to manage maybe about 20 different websites with ads that are different sizes and they wanted to serve a certain number of impressions to their viewers. We were the first company to establish an advertising or a display network for the e-cig marketplace. That’s how we got into E-Cig Media and E-Cig Advanced.

Norm Bour:

So how does apply to someone in today’s world because everything is social media, everything is online and some of the people who are listening right now might have websites that are generating significant traffic, including our website. Between vape news radio site and the VapeMentors site, we are looking to expand our offering, simply because when we have thousands of eyeballs a month coming into us, one we want to offer them things we don’t currently offer. What kind of process would someone go through to one, justify even go to this point and how do they figure out what to offer and who to offer it through?

Matt Longley:

Sure. You have people who get into the e-cig or vaping marketplace for different reasons. Some people want to make money and that’s why they get into the industry. Some people are passionate about the industry and they notice they’re getting a lot of traffic and they wondered, can I make money off of this? The first question that you need to ask yourself is where your position is currently. Are you someone that’s passionate that’s got a bunch of traffic? Are you someone that’s just starting out and wondering how can I make money in this industry? Then the next step once you kind of understand where you’re at, is to figure out how you’ll monetize your business. If you’re primarily an online business, you can sell products. You can sell services. You can sell advertising space. Then, of course there’s affiliate marketing.

How most people make the most money as a publisher, someone that doesn’t sell physical products, they just want to sell advertising space or be involved with affiliate programs is through affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketing is getting paid a commission for sending retailers customers. Rather than paying someone so much for ad space you tell them I’ll pay you $10 for every customer you send me. Affiliates they try to drive more targeted traffic to people that they will know will convert. That’s how most people that are publishers, including myself with E-Cig Advanced, that’s how we monetize our business.

If you’re a retailer, you’re going to make most of your money off selling physical products or digital products. Like the case of your business, you sell other things. Don’t want to deal with customers and customer service, and they just want something they can maybe do after work for a little bit, and for them the publisher model is better. If you don’t like customer service, then you don’t want to get into doing retail, right? If you find that you don’t like working with customers or this is a part time gig, and you really just really want to do some blog posts here and there, maybe do some social media type stuff, then yeah, I’d focus on a publisher model with affiliate marketing and display advertising space as your way to monetize your business.

Norm Bour:

All right, so this is a little bit of a quandary of which comes first, the chicken or the egg because what kind of traffic do you think that you should have in order to even consider putting together some type of affiliate program? I mean, do you need thousands or tens of thousands of unique views a month to really make sense?

Matt Longley:

You’re talking about from a publishers’ perspective or an advertiser?

Norm Bour:

Actually both. For an advertiser, obviously you don’t want to put your money into something where it’s not getting exposure, but more importantly, a lot of people who are listening right now are entrepreneurs or as we call them, Vapreneurs. They want to get into the vaping industry, but they don’t necessarily have the time or the resources or the money to open a brick and mortar store, nor do they want to. They might not have the desire to develop their own line of e-liquids. Some of them might be interested in doing an online store, and maybe some of them have an online store, but for an average person who wants to tap into this mysterious world of affiliate marketing and creating ad campaigns, is there any suggestions or any guidance that maybe you can offer as far as someone would actually kick something like this off?

Matt Longley:

Yeah, sure. Well, for me, with E-Cig Advanced, I’ve made a lot more money than people that have 10 times the traffic as me. It’s not the state that your traffic is in when they come to your website. For me, I focused on the customers that had a higher commercial intent or their reason for coming to my website was product research and social proof, right? So I know they’re further in the sales process.

What you want to do whether you’re a publisher, and you’re just writing content trying to monetize your site, or you’re a retailer and you’re trying to sell products, when it comes to the traffic sources that you’re looking for, you have to think about how a customer does their research. How they go from someone who is interested in your products to becoming a customer. When you think about a person that they go to work and someone’s vaping, and they say oh what’s that and the person says this is an e-cig. Or they might say this is a mod or whatever. Then the person goes home and they start doing research, what is an e-cig? That person’s level of commercial intent isn’t very high at that point because they’re at the beginning stages of their research.

For a site owner if you focused on phrases, if you’re doing search engine optimization, if you tried to show up in the search engines for content or what is a mod? How does a mod work, how do e-cigs work? Yeah, that traffic has potential to convert into a customer, but they’re at the beginning of the cycle, the sales cycle to become a customer. As the person becomes more educated and their moving through the process, they’ll start to figure out oh, I want this particular product. I’m looking for this particular mod. Then they’ll search for reviews on that. It’s a really good point to come in at that life cycle because those people are looking social proof, they’re looking for someone that knows what they’re talking about. You have potential to not only answer their questions, but also to appear as authority in the industry because you’re educating them, right? As they find out the products they want, now they’re searching for I want this specific product. They might search for where to buy this product. That person, their intent of purchase is very high.

Another thing, and I did this for a while, it doesn’t work so good anymore, but when a person has committed to buy, and they’re deciding I want to purchase this particular product … they find a place to purchase. They might look for reviews on the actual retailer that they’re going to purchase from. Maybe it’s All Smoke or maybe it’s Mad Vapes. They’re looking for Mad Vape reviews, or Mad Vapes, whatever, product review. Then when they get right to the end of the checkout process they might look for a Mad Vapes coupon. That’s one of the highest keywords to rank for with the highest commercial intent. That’s something that a lot of affiliates specifically will target, coupon discount deal type phrases because those people won’t search for that unless they’re very likely to purchase, right?

Norm Bour:

Yes.

Matt Longley:

That’s some of your most competitive key phrases if you’re doing content, marketing, and search engine optimization. That’s something you want to think about when you’re trying to get traffic is what kind of traffic do I have? There’s some people that have tens of thousands of visitors coming to their site but they’re all people in the beginning of the sales cycle and that traffic isn’t worth as much as people that are further along.

Norm Bour:

Matt, I’m going jump in here if I may. Let me ask you a question. This is obviously a multi-tiered process. It’s literally like peeling the layers off of an onion. Is there any suggestion that you have as far as maybe getting some education along these lines and maybe we can offer some training through the radio show or through the VapeMentors program … I don’t necessarily want you to answer that question right now but is there any particular, besides going to E-Cig Media and E-Cig Advanced for following up for what’s going on, are there any particular resources that you think are good for people to learn how to understand all this?

Matt Longley:

Sure, well there’s a lot of places and you have to be careful because there’s a lot of people selling this is the old west and it’s the gold rush … there’s a lot of people selling shovels and maps to mines that don’t exist, you know?

Norm Bour:

Yeah.

Matt Longley:

he people that are really making the money are the people selling education. One guy that I really trust and like is Neil Patel and he has a website called Quick Sprout. He provides a lot of great content. He has a cheap membership for education about internet marketing and the thing I like about Neil is he has a lot of statistics and data to back up all of his training. You might not get the secret gold nuggets that he has but you’ll get 90% of what you need to know for a fairly cheap price. Most internet marketers have a secret technique that they make most their money through. They usually guard those techniques so for most people you have to find an angle on your own. Unless you have close friends that are marketers, they’re not going to share those things with you.

Norm Bour:

Let me go ahead and wrap this up if I may.

Matt Longley:

Sure.

Norm Bour:

Obviously if people want more information or they want to follow up with you, what are the best ways to contact you Matt?

Matt Longley:

My email is matt@ecigmedia.com. You can shoot me an email anytime. You can also call our number. Usually Kyle is our person of contact through the phones so you get Kyle. You can always shoot me an email if you have any questions. Norm, did you want me to touch on more about tracking metrics and that sort of thing with … from the advertisers’ perspective?

Norm Bour:

Yes, as a matter of fact let’s go ahead and finish it up with that. Give us a real quick overview of tracking the metrics from the advertisers’ overview.

Matt Longley:

Yeah, sure. How much time do I have?

Norm Bour:

Take a few minutes, let’s go for it.

Matt Longley:

Okay. Well, from an advertisers’ perspective, from a retailers’ perspective, you have to look at things a little bit differently. What you want to do is first of all you want to run and you want to keep your site as cheap as possible. Don’t start out, like if you go to a marketing company a lot times they want you to spend $20,000 on design and your e-commerce platform. For someone that’s just starting out if you’re spending more than a few hundred dollars initially and then a hundred or two hundred dollars a month, then you’re probably spending too much. You want to run as lean as possible. Do your research. Talk to me if you have some questions about e-commerce and what you should start with. I know Norm has a lot of experience with this.

Once you get your initial website set up and you’re doing retail, the first thing you need to focus on is understanding your key metrics. Things like lifetime value, your order frequency, and things like that. There’s a lot of businesses, most online businesses don’t understand these metrics. Once you understand how much a customer is worth, then you can understand how much you can pay for a customer, right? A lot of people are looking at the average order size and it might be, the e-cig industry it’s probably $50-$100 is what I typically see. They think well out of that maybe I have, out of a $50 sale, they might have $15-$20, $25 profit. They think that their advertising budget has to, in order to have a positive ROI, they can only spend $15-$20, $25 to get a customer. That’s not true because the lifetime value of that customer is going to be worth $200-$400 on average in the e-cig industry.

That’s something that when you understand those key metrics, you understand how much you can pay for a customer. You need to track those channels and see how much you’re spending per customer. That’s something you can do through Google Analytics, it’s not going to be very accurate. You can do through our software if you wanted us to help you, but there’s a lot of companies that can help you to track your ROI and advertising campaigns. Then, once you understand your key metrics, you’re tracking your channels, then what you want to do is you want to segment your customers. You can segment them by new customer, they’re an active customer, they’re at risk customer, and a lost customer.

Then you can follow up with those people by email with what’s called targeting which is a different type of advertising you want to learn about and there’s a really company I like that’s real affordable and their called Retention Hero. They help a lot of folks with segmenting your customer list and following up with them with email based on those segments.

Anyway Norm, I hope that helps but the main thing that most companies miss is they’re not tracking their key metrics initially and they’re running blind. They’re trying different advertising methods and they never understand if they’re working and then they don’t understand how much they can spend for a customer. You know what I mean?

Norm Bour:

Not really studying the past has been the downfall of a lot of businesses so Matt, you’ve given us a lot of information in a short period of time and for those of you who are out there as techies, you’ll probably understand a lot of it. For those of you who maybe are not techies, you certainly can contact us or with Matt. Contact Matt over at E-Cig Media for more information. Matt on behalf of Vape Radio thank you so much and ladies and gentlemen do not go away. We’re going to be back in just one moment.

All right so we’re back in the studio and I made a list of the takeaways from that interview with Matt and a few … I stopped counting at 12. There was actually more than that so do me a favor and especially do yourself a favor and go back and re-listen to this recording. This guy is just a wealth of knowledge and he just kind of throws it off as though it’s second nature to him because it is second nature to him but you know, there’s a lot of really, really good value out of that.

I absolutely want you to go back and re-listen to that because again, there is some great value out of him and also there’s great value out of one of our sponsors, which is Craft Vapery. About a month ago we interviewed Randy Freer with P.O.E.T., one of the masters of vape and craftsmen behind the artist collection I enjoy. This assemblage of five handmade flavors was designed by experts that were hand- picked to appeal to the connoisseurs of vaping. Is that you? Vaping tastes are getting refined and you’re recognizing the good stuff from the bad. Are you ready to try the top of the line? If you appreciate good food, drink, or lifestyle, we invite you to step up to the art collection. They are exclusively carried by Craft Vapery. We’re proud to share them with you on Vape Radio. Craft finds the best e-liquid available and each month offers you the premium flavors of the month designed to your taste. Vape Radio created a special package with them so when you order the artist collection through us you’re going to get a bonus tester bottle. You’re also going to get 10% off online orders and 20% off new subscriptions. That’s craftvapery.com.

Well Vapreneurs, you have been listening to Vape Radio, the number one worldwide voice and the worldwide source for updated information streamed straight to your phone and tablets. Be part of our growing community of vape mentors and head on over to VapeMentors.com to learn more, catch up on our past shows and to learn how to grow or start your vape space business. We’re going to be back with show number 54. Do not go away.

Author: Norm Bour

Norm Bour is the founder of VapeMentors and the host of the award-winning podcast Vape Radio. He’s a vape industry coach, speaker, author and can be seen rubbing shoulders with the top influencers in the vape industry.