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The EASIEST Clients You Will Ever Close

“At the end of the day, what these businesses care about is getting a result.” In this episode of Brown on Brand, I talk with Matthew Brown about “sheltering the customer” from the details of our work and focusing on the result - even if the details are awesome! They don’t want to hear about A/B testing or lookalike audiences - they just want to see their bottom line increase. This is an insight that saved my life when it came to making sales.

I talk about how I built my 7-figure agency by starting with the “low-hanging fruit” - previous customers from my long walk in the freelance wilderness. Not bad for a guy whose only “real job” was running the cotton candy stand at the local race track!

We also talk about:

  • How the two-hour YouTube outage probably subtracted hundreds of millions of dollars from the economy.
  • The future of in-stream video ads, including how annoying YouTube and Reels ads are.
  • How Facebook’s sidestepping of politics is good business, but bad ethics.

About the Show: Matt Brown is the host of BROWN on BRAND.


Full Transcript

Matthew Brown: You’re listening to “Brown On Brand,” the Tampa-based marketing podcast where we sit down and have a conversation with the best minds in digital market. As always, I’m your host, Matthew Brown. And tuning in from Orlando I’m joined by a self-starter in the industry, who not only heads a successful digital marketing agency, but has started an educational program to help others do the same. Ogline Digital founder Dylan Ogline. Dylan, thanks for joining us.

Dylan Ogline: Absolutely, Matt. Thanks so much for having me, man. And thanks for pronouncing the name right.

Matthew Brown: Absolutely. The post-production will show that I’ve pronounced it right the first time.

Dylan Ogline: Got it. Got it. Yeah.

Matthew Brown: Man, to kick it off, like on a scale of one to one million, do people think your company’s called Online Digital?

Dylan Ogline: I’ve gotten that. Clients? I’ve never had a client say anything to me about it, but I’ve gotten a lot on podcasts, or doing interviews, or something and they say, “You know, Dylan Ogline, founder of Online Digital.” I’ve even have somebody who was like, “How did you get that domain name? How did you get that? That’s incredible.” And I’m like, “You’re pronouncing it wrong, so.” Never any clients.

Matthew Brown: And how it’s spelled, right, it just looks so similar. And the reason I bring it up is thatsus.com. So thatsus.com comes off as thatsucks.com, and I’ve stumbled over that a number of times. And it looks great, thatsus.com, but mine gets screwed up as well. So I had to ask that.

Buzzing around in your social media and with Gavin taking part in kind of some pre-production on the podcast, it looks like you started as a freelancer, and worked your way to where you are today. How did you attract your first clients and kind of what did your beginning journey look like?

Dylan Ogline: First clients as a freelancer was pretty simple. I was using, I believe it was called Elance, now it’s Upwork. Everybody uses Upwork. And it used to be called Elance and oDesk. Back then that’s what I used, that’s how I got my first clients, and just like a lot of referrals or whatnot. For my agency, once I decided that I was going to be focusing on the digital ad management, the most common question I get is, “Well, how did you get your first one? How did you convince somebody to use your service?” And I just went for the low-hanging fruit, I went to previous clients that I already built a website for, or did a logo for, or something like that. And just, “Hey, I’m offering this new service.” It was easy, there were already existing clients.

Matthew Brown: Gotcha. And did you have a corporate job at the same time when you tried to freelance out or was that something you jumped right in from the beginning? I guess where did you get your experience?

Dylan Ogline: The only job I’ve ever had working for somebody else was I did the cotton candy concession stand. My girlfriend’s dad-- ex-girlfriend, not the current girlfriend-- but her dad owned the local racetrack, and I managed the cotton candy stand. That was the only job I ever had. I consider myself an unemployable entrepreneur.

Matthew Brown: Most are. Yeah, most entrepreneurs are unemployable.

Dylan Ogline: I like things way. And if it’s something’s being done inefficiently, it just blows my mind, and I can’t handle it.

Matthew Brown: Yeah. Yeah. So you’ll never be an operations director anywhere. Working around retailers, ThumbStopper, 95% of the business it does is retail direct and with small retailers. And a lot of these retailers have kind of had a history f traditional media, if you will. And still today are using a traditional type media at the retail local level. Obviously, huge shift into digital marketing, retail sometimes is slow to follow that. How do you find yourself like pitching or how would you pitch a retailer on moving away from traditional media into what the digital products and digital medias are?

Dylan Ogline: Sure. So, first, let me comment. I absolute love the name ThumbStopper.

Matthew Brown: Thanks.

Dylan Ogline: When finally it clicked to me what you guys do, absolutely love that name.

Matthew Brown: Thank you.

Dylan Ogline: So what I do when it comes to pitching, I’ll come at this from a different angle. With my agency, one of the verticals we work in is with plumbing and heating companies. Very blue collar, very traditional, you’re talking about old school Boomers who typically they know what Facebook is, but like Facebook ads, or Google Ads, like it’s just not their world. And they’re used to doing maybe postcards, or ads in a newspaper, billboards, things like that.

What I have learned is that you never want to talk about the tech. You never want to talk about like Facebook, Facebook ad sets, or Google keyword targeting, or lookalike audiences in Facebook. Because they don’t really care about that kind of stuff. At the end of the day, these businesses, they care about getting a result. The result is going to vary from business to business, but at the plumbing and heating companies, they want to grow and get more install projects. That’s what they want at the end of the day. I’m focusing more on, listen, I know that you want to grow and get more install projects and get more requests for installs. That’s what we’re going to help you do. So that’s the angle I come at. They don’t care about you.

Matthew Brown: You shelter them from it.

Dylan Ogline: Yeah, and I think a lot of techy people, a lot of Millennials and whatnot, we come from the angle of like Facebook ad sets, or lookalike audiences are really cool, but they don’t care about that. If you’re doing a website for somebody, they don’t care if it’s WordPress, or Squarespace, or Wix, or custom-built. They don’t care about that. They care about getting a result.

Matthew Brown: It’s funny. I came out of a sales presentation this morning and I was talking about the same thing with eBay. And sheltering the customer from the details is the best you can do. It’s the reason I say, “As a software company, the last thing I want any sales people doing is selling software.” Right? Shelter the customer from that.

Dylan Ogline: Well put.

Matthew Brown: Right? You need to really numb it down. And it’s interesting that that’s your answer an to approaching the retailer of sheltering them from the details. And what they know are traditional marketing tactics, and it sounds to me like sheltering from that allows them to understand that they can transfer over into digital. It might be putting their inventory somewhere, it might be retargeting, it might be digital advertising. What’s your favorite: Facebook or Google right now, advertising?

Dylan Ogline: Depends on the niche. That’s probably not the answer you want to hear, but personally, I think Facebook is the most powerful thing that humanity has built since the atom bomb. It’s all AI.

Matthew Brown: Oh, I’m going there with a segment here, and it’s going to be a nice drift into that. But it’s funny you bring that up, right? Facebook has like changed humanity, and it’s changed politics, and it’s changed perception, and it’s certainly changed marketing. The business management’s crazy. How you can target now specific demographics, and income ranges, and it’s amazing if used correctly.

Dylan Ogline: For me, it’s not the targeting that you can choose. This is where a lot of people get Facebook ads wrong. You are probably going to pick your target audience wrong. It’s going to be really difficult for you to do that. But Facebook allows you to put out a hundred different ads, several hundred different ads, and Facebook is able to figure out which was the most efficient.

Matthew Brown: Let the algorithms do the work. Yeah.

Dylan Ogline: Let the algorithms do the work. People don’t even come close to grasping just how powerful that is.

Matthew Brown: And it’s getting better.

Dylan Ogline: It’s getting better everyday.

Matthew Brown: Like daily, yeah, like daily. I was going to say the same thing. So moving to the second half right of the show, we’re talking about social media, and this is a nice transition. This year’s been a little bit of a dumpster fire, especially with the cataclysmic election, right? That election night turning into an election week, and now an election few weeks, and it looks like it’s going to go on for a little bit more. But behind all that there’s been a few different quick social media headlines that may have left you scratching your head.

First is YouTube went down, right? And I just happened to be looking at a classic car video to change from a carburetor status to fuel injection on an engine, and the video went down. And the first thing I thought is, “Oh, that’s weird, my internet’s out.” So I immediately swiped my phone. Took it off of Wi-Fi, right, like you do. And but then with my looking at something else for one second, then my mind was onto something else. I clicked over to Facebook and I didn’t realize it was YouTube. YouTube’s recovered from a seemingly worldwide outage, but at the same time, doesn’t it make you wonder how often this may be a thing in the future? And also the amount of money that was lost during that outage for individuals and the company itself.

Dylan Ogline: Certainly there is a lot of money lost. What was the total outage? I think they were down for two solid hours, right?

Matthew Brown: Yeah, couple hours. Yup.

Dylan Ogline: That’s 8% of a day, right? 8%? Yeah, it’s about 8% of a day. A lot of people like panic, and they’re like on social media, and they’re like, “Oh, the world’s ending, YouTube’s down.” Well, it’s a lot of most lost, probably hundreds of millions of dollars at YouTube. But for me, I sit there and I’m like the amount of panic that people showed. I saw on Reddit like all these people were posting, “YouTube’s down,” everybody’s flipping out. It’s 8% of a day. One day. The world’s not ending because of that. And yeah, so with things like that, I really don’t overthink it. But a lot of money, hundreds of millions of dollars was lost.

Matthew Brown: And I guess that’s the reason making major headlines and immediately going from, I was watching YouTube. It was weird, right, the classic car video, hopped over to social media. And to your point, the addictiveness to it is half the people on my timeline wanted to be the news reporter like they do with everything else, right? After the 50th time on your timeline that you read that YouTube’s down, it’s like, “Thanks, captain obvious.”

Dylan Ogline: Yeah, we get it, we get it.

Matthew Brown: Yeah, we get it. Onto more social media stuff, right? Instagram’s redesigning the layout of its home screen to emphasize shopping and reels. The company introduced the new design that gives shopping and reels permanent placement in the app’s navigation bar. In a blog post, Instagram head Adam Mosseri said the effects reflect a growing shift towards short-form video content and an increase in shipping during the pandemic. Incidentally, both shopping and TikTok competitor, reels are also strategically important to Facebook’s future. With Instagram apparently pushing to break into short-form video content space, do you think in-stream video ads should have a grander future on Instagram?

Dylan Ogline: They certainly will. It’s obvious this is talking about TikTok here, but TikTok what was so powerful about it was the algorithm. And reels is probably going to get that good and it’s going to be as addicting. I try not to predict Snapchat ads, or TikTok ads, or kind of where the industry’s going. I kind of try to stick like what was the big thing two to three years ago because if it’s still a big thing now, it’s probably good.

So what I imagine with the reels is the ads are too disruptive. And when you’re just like scrolling, scrolling, scrolling through Instagram and an ad pops up-- I'm not talking about reels, I’m just talking about the pictures-- I feel that it’s not as disruptive, whereas with reels it is very disruptive because you’re constantly watching something.

It’s like with YouTube, the ads that are in the middle. Nobody likes those. Nobody’s really bothered by the ads in the beginning because it’s like I have to pay my entry ticket, right? But when an ad randomly pops up in the middle of a video, it’s really disruptive. So I don’t foresee a big shift going towards reels advertising. I also think the shopping thing’s probably going to go because it’s just weird to me. Could totally be wrong. Talk to me about it in three to four years. If it’s still a big then, hey, it probably stuck with the marketplace. But, yeah, I feel like the shopping thing is just a little too weird, a little too intrusive, and like why is it there? And reels I don’t foresee, it’s like Snapchat ads, like I don’t foresee it being a type of advertising that can stick if that makes any sense.

Matthew Brown: Yeah. No, I think I concur with that. We’ve seen video disrupt retail business for the power supports, rain RV, passenger car and truck space, video has taken over as a choice now onto Carvana, and Vroom, and sites that really have to put a product in front of you. Especially pre-owned products, right? And all the way into the use of augmented reality being able to change things about a space. So it’ll be interesting to see how the short-form video content and the reels continue on around that shopping experience.

So bouncing back to Facebook. Obviously, they extended the political ad ban for at least another month. Until I read this headline when Gavin put it in here, I had forgotten that I wasn’t seeing political ads on Facebook. And, let me tell you something, once I thought about it for a second, I was like, “Holy shit, this is so healing.” Because you can’t turn on the TV, you can’t turn on the news, especially during the election cycle. Do you think that with all the misinformation and post-election controversy, I think we can all agree this is a good idea, right?

Dylan Ogline: It’s a tough one.

Matthew Brown: There’s got to be a little bit of controversy in this show. I mean, if they let me unbridled, this is all the kind of stuff I talk about right here. I throw this crap away and we’d be talking about the juicy stuff that everybody wants to hear about. Gavin’s shaking his head yes. He’s like, “Okay, cool, let’s bring the bridle up.”

Dylan Ogline: Do I think it’s a good thing? Yes. But what I don’t like is just is Facebook just banning to kind of relieve themselves of the pressure of not monitoring fake news? And just the amount of just fake crap.

Matthew Brown: Hell yes!

Dylan Ogline: I feel like Facebook should…

Matthew Brown: From a risk-avoidance standpoint it’s brilliant.

Dylan Ogline: But what happens is, is then they can be like, “Well, we canceled political ads, so now we don’t have to monitor everybody’s posts and everything.” It’s their platform, I’m not suggesting that there should be walls and stuff, and that’s why they’re monitoring everybody’s posts.

Matthew Brown: How else would you do it though with governments interfering.

Dylan Ogline: I don’t think the government should interfere. I feel Facebook is a platform, it is free market. If people want to post anything that they want to post on Facebook, the government shouldn’t get involved with that. But I would like to see Facebook monitor more of the fake stuff, and fact checking, and banning terrorist organizations, and people who are threatening others.

Matthew Brown: How will they, though? How would they combat international governments, adversarial governments, individuals looking to produce fake information? You see so much of it now. And I guess I’m asking the question because it’s a true question that I need to think about how involved I get. But I’ll tell you, with the political ads, it’s like how do we end up not being a society that’s ingesting false information that’s going to potentially change the outcome of how our society is in general? I think it was a great shift. I got to tell you, I think Zuck’s brilliant for dodging it.

Dylan Ogline: From a business perspective, yes. As an outsider, if I can sit here and say, “I think Facebook is the most powerful thing that we have developed since the atom bomb,” they probably have a similar perspective as well. They realize what they have created and what it can do. So I believe that they have almost a moral obligation. This is beyond actually monitoring political ads, like monitoring the fake news. And I don’t have the answer on how they should do it. I wish I did. They probably have a better perspective. I know they have a better perspective than I would. I feel that that is the most dangerous thing that we as a civilization, I feel fake news is probably more dangerous than climate change.

Matthew Brown: Yeah, I agree with you. And I saw this meme the other day where it showed an orange disc, and it was a giraffe looking down, and it was an old woman with a hat on from the front. And this giraffe described it as an orange disc, right? So how will we navigate that is the big question. And it is scary, and I agree with you, I think it’s a huge issue, and I don’t really pick a political side. I think those people are dangerous if you’re actually picking one of the two political parties that we have today. I think they’re the same team, as a matter of fact, and they don’t even know it. But it is scary, it is, social media and how it’s going to guide that. But I think it was brilliant on Zuck and Facebook’s part to just sidestep it and say, “There aren’t going to be any political ads,” and I’m looking forward to that.

Dylan Ogline: I would like to see them ban political ads in general. As an advertiser, I have a certain quality. And when I’m doing ads for a plumbing and heating company, or any kind of company, or my education company, whatever, there are standards that I have to pass.

Matthew Brown: Only way to end a podcast in 2020 is to be talking about politics, right? Continuing on from the Agency 2.0, right? Can you share some of the advice that you dive into during the agency 2.0 course?

Dylan Ogline: Absolutely. I’ll try to keep it generalized for those who aren’t starting their own digital marketing agency. But the three main things that I would say the first is that it’s keep things ruthlessly simple. You want to just be absolutely relentless with that. I probably tell people in the first week of the program a hundred times: keep things simple. Don’t overthink this. You want to build your website in one hour on Squarespace. You don’t need a fancy logo. Keep things ruthlessly simple.

That plays hand in hand to the second thing I would say, which is to fail fast. You want to get things out into the marketplace. And again, this advice is great for somebody even if you’re not in the digital marketing space starting an agency. You want to get things out into the marketplace as fast as possible to prove your product market fit. And the tech space, they have the MVP, the MVS, the minimal viable product, your minimal viable service.

You want to fail as fast as you possibly can. You want to prove that there’s actually people who are willing to give you money for your product or service. And that plays into kind of the their piece of advice, which is the best way to prove your product market fit is to get somebody to actually give you money. So you don’t want to just ask somebody, “Would you use my product or service?” Or, “Hey, does this service seem like it would help your business?” Because people will lie to you. People will be dishonest with you.

Because they want to be nice, they don’t want to be rude and be like, “Oh, no, that’s not going to help.” They’ll be like, “Oh, yeah, yeah, sure. That service would be great.” You want to prove your product market fit by getting them to actually give you money. So what I advise people-- and this doesn’t particularly work with the agency space—typically a digital product is where this works best. Sell it before you build it.

So, say you have a training program. Like Agency 2.0, you have a digital training program on whatever, and you’re going to be selling that to business owners or anybody. You want to actually go to people and get them to give you money for that program before you ever build. Because if you can’t get anybody to give you money, then you probably don’t have product market fit. And because you kept things ruthlessly simple, shifting to a different niche, or to a different angle in the market isn’t a big deal.

But if you spend six months, a year building out a website, getting public relations, getting a nice logo, building out all of this documentation, building out the training program if we’re going down that example. If you spend all this time doing all these things and then you go to sell it and you can’t sell it because you don’t have product market fit, it’s going to be a lot more painful for you to switch and go in a different direction.

Matthew Brown: Got it. Yeah, I think there’s some great nuggets in there. And what I heard from that is, and I think this is good for all young entrepreneurs to hear, is move fast and don’t overthink the basic stuff that people get tangled up in whether the logo’s perfect, and the marketing materials are perfect. And it is, it’s again, got to have a Gary V reference: don’t overthink it, move fast. It’s so true.

Dylan Ogline: Yeah. Absolutely. And that’s speaking from personal experience, 12 years, a long time, just absolutely suffering and getting absolutely nowhere because I’m naturally a perfectionist and I wanted everything to be absolutely perfect. And it had to have a nice logo, had to build out this complex website.

Matthew Brown: Oh yeah.

Dylan Ogline: Had to write the operations for everything, even though I didn’t have any customers.

Matthew Brown: Yeah, don’t use perfectionism as an excuse, and don’t let perfection get in the way of being successful in delivering.

Dylan Ogline: Absolutely.

Matthew Brown: I agree. I agree with you. Well, Dylan, thank you again for diving into digital market with us today. Listeners, if you’re out there in the world and tuning into “Brown On Brand,” consider taking a look at ThumbStopper’s YouTube channel for video versions of “Brown On Brand,” as well as a multitude of video series dedicated to digital marketing and the world of brand-building in general. From thatsus.com in Tampa, Florida, my name is Matthew Brown, and thanks for listening.