Hi! I'm Ben

Clicks don't matter anymore

Published about 1 year ago • 4 min read

Currently flying to Mountain View to attend my first Google Marketing Live event. This will actually be my first time visiting the OG Google headquarters. Funny to me how I had to leave the company to get the invite 🤔

Do YoU tHiNk ThEy aRe GoiNg to TaLk aBoUt AI?

I recently got to join one of favorite podcasts, Down to Chat, with Cody Plofsker and we really dug into performance marketing on YouTube. I love how Cody uses a variety of measurement tactics, his gut, and some common sense to triangulate into a probably fairly accurate read on performance from a given channel. You can watch on YouTube or listen here:

Results from digital marketing are moving further and further away from clicks. Besides the fact that ad platforms are no longer able to track all of the clicks made on an ad, people are in front of screens all day long. In fact, nearly half of YouTube viewership is happening on a TV.

Of course your click-based ROAS is going to look like shit.

Views and impressions matter. They capture people's attention BEFORE they are thinking of buying your product. So when they are ready to buy, they come directly to you (or at least are way more likely to click and convert on your ad).

This is discussed further in How to Turn YouTube into a Performance Channel

And these views and impressions you're capturing are also driving sales - they are just showing up as (direct) or 'unattributable' in Google Analytics or whatever attribution tool you're using.

If you listen to Cody's pod or read his newsletter, you know that he's using a mix of in-platform reporting, Northbeam, post-purchase surveys, and geo-testing to find a reasonably explainable performance metric from his investment.

If you know me, you know I just believe that each channel is doing it's job. Because I don't really care about attribution, I recently started moving my Magic Pop Mic marketing budget up-the-funnel and am just boosting my organic content on YouTube, TikTok, and Reels.

Whenever I put some dollars into activating the videos, my sales go up. It works.

Here's a look at the past week where I've been ramping this strategy up:

I'm going to continue harping on this side-hustle topic because I truly believe it can improve your life.

I went from consulting as a side-hustle to actually building and owning a high-revenue, profitably growing business and nothing is more fulfilling (well, besides my kids, wife, family, all of you, etc etc...).

This bad boy is putting ~$200 dollars in my pocket everyday. It's not life-changing money but I feel less bad about taking that Uber, upgrading a flight, or buying another unnecessary toy for my kids.

A few responses shared back with me about what's holding you back from starting a side hustle had to do with the logistics and legalities of getting started. I agree, the process can seem overwhelming, and it's mind-blowing to me that we weren't taught this in school.

So I'm going to try and demystify this process a bit and breakdown what I did. Disclaimer: this is by no means legal or financial advice, I'm an idiot and am nowhere near qualified to give this advice.

  • Replied to a tweet from the founder of a DTC brand who was looking for help with their email program and offered to help
  • Had a discovery call where I felt confident I could do the work and we'd both work well together
  • Was upfront about having a full-time job and set clear time expectations (being a Googler probably helped tbh)
  • It was my first time doing this so I didn't know what to charge, he proposed an hourly rate of $100 and I agreed
  • Signed NDAs, W9s, and an SOW

At this point I did not have anything legally setup. I used my SSN on their W9 form and all funds were direct-deposited to my personal checking account.

After about a year of doing this, a few other opportunities came my way and I felt the need to make things a little more formal.

In doing research, I found that the main benefit of starting an LLC was to protect myself from any legal issues. If I made a mistake or did something wrong, I didn't want to jeopardize losing any of my personal assets (probably like a whole $20 at the time, but still). So by doing business under a legal entity, only assets of the business would be exposed to any liability.

You don't need a lawyer or any services to do this stuff:

  • Started an LLC directly through the state of New Jersey's website
  • Received an EIN number (Tax ID) at the end of that registration and used that to open a business checking account
  • Used that same EIN number to apply for credit cards with Amex and Chase (splurged on getting the Amex Platinum and Chase Ink because these are all expenses now)
  • Subscribed to Quickbooks and connected those business accounts so I could easily track income & expenses
  • Made a website with ConvertKit but had previously used Squarespace and Carrd
  • Used Bonsai's contract templates for any paperwork I needed (which was rare)

This setup then gave me the protection and confidence to continue the pursuit and also probably helped me appear more professional and trustworthy. Not just some dude from Twitter.

So, with the goal of keeping things simple and inspiring you to go do this, I'll stop there. The hardest part about doing this is just getting started.

I think most people have an idea of at least one thing they could do to generate some income on the side.

And if you don't... just learn GA4 and PMAX teach it to people or pretend to be an AI expert.

Hi! I'm Ben

I’m a CMO (and former Googler) helping DTC brands and online retailers make sense of the things that matter. Subscribe to my newsletter for my unique perspectives, relevant data, and ways to grow your business.

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