Do you ever dare to experiment with your business? In this week’s episode, Chris talks about the importance of maintaining an experimental approach to building your business with Matt Giovanisci. Matt is a self proclaimed bare hands brand builder with a broad knowledge of online business and the creator of MoneyLab.co, SwimUniversity.com, and BrewCabin.com.
ASG 073 – Bare Hands Brand Building feat. Matt Giovanisci
Chris Davis: [00:00:00] You’re listening to the All Systems Go podcast, the show that teaches you everything you need to know to put your business on autopilot, learn how to deploy automated marketing and cell systems in your business the right way with your host, the professor of automation himself and founder of Automation Bridge, Chris Davis.
Speaker2: [00:00:32] Welcome to the All Systems Go podcast. I’m your host, Chris L. Davis, the founder and chief automation officer of Automation Bridge, an online publication for small business automation, where we train digital marketing professionals to become automation service providers. And in this episode, I want to talk about the the importance of maintaining an experimental approach to building your business with Matt Giovanisci. He’s a self-proclaimed bare hands brand builder and the creator of Money Lab.ko Swim University.com and Brukman.com met nine. We sat and we talked about the various experiments that he runs in his business. It’s what he does it and Money Lab Dicko and he just publishes all of them. So you can watch, watch as many as you want at your leisure. But we talk about these experiments, his findings and how this experimental approach has been has benefited him in building businesses while other companies struggle with stagnation. It’s something that I think you all would really enjoy before we get into it, if you’re new to the podcast. First off, let me say welcome and do me a favor. Listen to this episode in its entirety. And when you’re done and you see value in what we’re doing here, make sure you subscribe and leave a five star rating and review the All Systems Go podcast can be found in Apple podcast, Google podcasts.
Speaker2: [00:02:04] We’re on YouTube. Any where you get your podcasts, you can download and subscribe to the All Systems Go podcast. If you’re a listener and you haven’t subscribed yet, please do so. So you do not miss an episode every Thursday weekly. Every Thursday is a new episode. And while you’re at it, if you have not, please leave your five star rating and review. It would be greatly appreciated if for any reason, if for any reason you’re trying to figure out. I can’t quite leave a review in this app. Right. I’ve been I’ve been told that I don’t know where to leave a review in the podcasting app. We’ve got you covered. You can go to Automation Bridge Dotcom for Slash’s review, and we will handle and take care of the collection and posting of your review for you. All right. So with that being said, let’s jump into today’s episode. Matt, welcome to the All Systems Go podcast. Man, how are you doing?
Matt Giovanisci: [00:03:00] Good. Thanks for having me. This is awesome.
Chris Davis: [00:03:02] Yes. This is we’re going to I’m excited to dive into it. Building building brands with your bare hands.
Chris Davis: [00:03:10] Yeah.
Chris Davis: [00:03:11] I just wish I would have came up with that, you know. So when you when you wrote it in, I said, oh, man, that is that is going to make for an amazing episode. So give our listeners some insight about you and your journey to your business now and what you do.
Matt Giovanisci: [00:03:29] I think it started when I was a kid. I was in the pool industry. I worked in it since I was 13. And so I mean it much later as I was as I worked in the industry and go to college. I just worked and worked and worked. And then and there’s a certain point where I was in a band and we needed a website and I decided to learn HTML because we couldn’t afford to hire a website designer. And this is like pre social media and stuff. So there was like, no, I mean, it’s pretty MySpace. And so I ended up learning how to design websites. And like the long story short of it is like I learn how to build a website. I was at my disposal company that I worked at. My boss caught me like working on my band’s website at at that work and then hired me to do the website for the company. And then I ended up getting into website design and like I ended up moving to another company. And then I got Potch back to that company to be the marketing director. And so all through this time, I had this idea to take the knowledge that I had from some university or sorry, the knowledge that I had from taking care of swimming pools and hot tubs and stuff and my knowledge of website design and marry them together. And that’s how I created some university back in 2004, 2006 era.
Matt Giovanisci: [00:04:54] And then, yeah, just from there, sort of baroud my way through of like I’m not a good writer, or at least I wasn’t at the time. Like I was mostly just musician and kind of a video editor, but mainly for music and stuff. So writing was like, absolutely. I mean that’s literally why I dropped out of college because of writing. I was so bad at it. So I. Yeah, I ended up that’s what I do for a living now I write, I write so but yeah, it took about was from 2006 to 2012, maybe to until I was able to go full time with it. And the only reason I was able to go full time was because I was laid off from my job. And so I took a year to just double down on writing and filming and making as much content as possible and building my own products. And then, yeah, then that first year I made forty get K for the year and I was like, I did it, I’m full time. So and ever since then I just kind of like built a bunch of other brands and, you know, focused always on some university is like my main flagship area. But yeah, I just kind of a. Just worked up a bunch of skills and became a jack of all trades, and here I am.
Chris Davis: [00:06:09] Yeah, so that was a pretty bold move because I’m thinking back in 2004, 2005 is when you’re just launching Swim University. I don’t even think Linda was like the main site for learning online that day. So, like, how did you where did you get the guts to say, hey, look, I’m a create this university when there wasn’t a whole lot of models out there that said, hey, look at this. Yeah. You know,
Matt Giovanisci: [00:06:38] That was actually a problem. I didn’t have any I mean, I tried to follow people, but all the information I got was didn’t never applied to some university specifically. So that’s why I say I barreled my way through, because I it was all trial and error and trying to figure it out for me, I think. Books, I might add, a book on CEO and a book on ad sense and a book on like HTML and CSI. So I was reading books and just writing it in notepad and trying to, like, figure it out. And so, yeah, you’re right. Linda did. Linda was kind of there, but I didn’t have fifty dollars a month or whatever. Right. So yeah, I ended up like I would just do the trial and then, you know, do a lesson real quick and then jump out. But yeah. And I got Yeah. Pirated all my software Photoshop and
Chris Davis: [00:07:31] I remember the days when you know, it’s, it’s interesting because when you say that. I’m I think of I don’t want to say when times were simpler, right? Yeah, but Ken, there was the Internet was simpler, right? It was something to be said when the resources were a bit more limited. There was some discipline built into the scarcity. Right. So whatever discipline you lacked would like being focused, not focused. You couldn’t because there wasn’t a lot. So if you got a good book, you read that book you did with that book set, and
Matt Giovanisci: [00:08:09] It was the only book, you know, it was Podcasting for Dummies that was like
Chris Davis: [00:08:14] That was it. And and one of the hardest parts, I’ll say, like as a mentor at times, is getting people to just focus on the curriculum in the program that they’re in. You know, it’s like there are so many other things that you could be doing and everybody is selling. Everybody is signing something. At some point, you just got to turn it off and just focus in on this one thing till it produces the results that you need.
Matt Giovanisci: [00:08:40] You know, you know what? And you say that. And the thing that I think about, which is completely not in the Internet space, is that is my number one tip when I teach people how to take care of their pools. And I did that when I was working in retail because somebody would come in, because where I grew up, I grew up like Philadelphia, New Jersey area. And so we I don’t know why it was, but pools and hot tubs are a big thing up in the Northeast. And we had a lot of pool stores just on our one street, our one corridor where we were located. And so somebody would come in and talk to me and I have my process on getting rid of algae and clearing up your pool. And I have my way and my way works. I’ve tested it on thousands of people who’ve come in and, you know, and even my own pool. Yeah, but I would. But then you’d have those customers. I would come in, they would say, oh, I was across the street and I was talking to them and they told me to use this. And what do you think? And I’m like, you either stick with them or stick with me. You can’t once you start mixing it, then you’re going to it’s going to it’s going to be bad. It’s going to be bad, you know.
Chris Davis: [00:09:43] So. Wow, wow. I love it. I love that analogy to man because I could see that. Well, yeah, I said if I get this product he’s like, look man,
Matt Giovanisci: [00:09:53] Everyone’s got a process and I’ve got a process and everyone’s got their way to the end. And it’s not to say that each one is wrong or right. Maybe one is faster, maybe one is emotional, you know, however it is maybe one’s cheaper. But if you stick to one curriculum, you stick to one process and then you optimize it for yourself for what you’re trying to do. I think that that is the you know, because you want to buy all the courses, you know, you want to learn all the things, you want to try all the productivity software. But at the end of the day, like for me personally, on that note, I use one piece of software to kind of do everything because I know that I can get I know I will use a tool as a crutch to not do something. Sure.
Chris Davis: [00:10:42] Yeah, sure. Yeah, yeah, yeah. You know, you you’re putting the safeguards in from the software, right. Yourself from the software. That’s great, man. So one of the things you see it, it’s, it’s how you start. It is how you’ve grown. Right. Is just like this testing out this ability, this willingness to go in and just hey, let’s figure it out. I’m OK with being wrong. Hopefully I’m right. Either way, we’re going to learn something. You know, we’ll take those learnings and go on from it. Before I transitioned, I felt I felt a little jealousy. I will say when you said your boss saw that you were developing a website for and then was like, hey, can you do that for us?
Matt Giovanisci: [00:11:26] And yelled at me first. Yeah, right. I got in trouble. Right then. A job. Yes. With no pay raise.
Chris Davis: [00:11:35] Oh my goodness. Since you’re already doing it and it just it speaks to sometimes, you know, that Moonlite or that person who’s working the nine to five. And the only way I remember as an engineer, the only way that I knew to turn my job into a customer was to like leave and come back as a consultant. That was like the only way. And in government contracting, there’s a whole way for that. And it was just like, that’s overwhelming to me. So I just stayed until they they kicked me out. But yeah, to see this see your process, I got a little chuckle, a little bit of jealousy. I was like, I wonder if if somebody would have seen my alternate skills, you know.
Matt Giovanisci: [00:12:15] Yeah. And yeah. And I was pretty either good or bad at showing people that, you know, without hiding it like, oh, you play guitar. I’m like,
Matt Giovanisci: [00:12:24] Yeah,
Matt Giovanisci: [00:12:25] What do you want. Right. Right. What do you want from me. Yeah. But yeah. And that’s actually you know, it’s funny because that is the reason I started my lab. Because I was so behind the scenes on some university, like no one knows what I do, you know, and they always had questions like, are you the one editing? Are you the one designing the webs? Who designed your website? What theme did you use? I’m like, I, I did it, you know, it’s the whole bare hands thing. Like every single day I literally hand coated every line. I edit it every line of the video. Like I just wanted to tell people that that’s what I was doing. And so I started a public site like like money lab where I got to showcase those abilities and yeah, maybe do the same, maybe maybe do the exact same thing I did at that pool store, which was like, you know, hey, it’s what I do. Yeah. I want to hire me. Yeah.
Chris Davis: [00:13:20] It’s a winning formula man. And one of the things that I love about Money Lab is the is the wide array of experiments that you run out. Of course, I was introduced to you by by a mutual friend, Greg, and I went and checked you out and I was like, oh my goodness, look at all. I mean, in their good experience experiments, you know, they’re not just like, hey, what if I change this button? It’s like well thought out, you know, well documented. So it’s been a huge part of your business. Are, you know, running experiments. How would you say for for people getting started? Because here’s what I find, that when people are starting, it doesn’t matter how long they’ve been in business. It’s something about going online. If they they get this feeling like they’ve got to get it right, they’ve got to get the right website, the right logo, the right this the right that in in really all of this is exploration. Yeah. Exploring and identifying what works. And when we find it we double down on it. But there’s a level of exploration that’s always present in a business, more so in the beginning than any time out of out of necessity in the beginning. But what I like about you is you’ve kept it at the forefront beyond just the beginning. So talk to our audience a bit about the how you approach a business when you when you build a brand, how you approach that in your experiment, your experimental approach to building brands.
Matt Giovanisci: [00:14:55] Well, one, I think I’m guilty of, you know, trying to be perfect and getting doing the right thing. And and every and I can tell you, just from like some universities history, the amount of times I’ve changed url structures which I know people are, like, super scared to do because of SEO. And I’m like, I’ve done it 17000 times. Like, you know, I’m not worried about changing anything. I’m not worried about changing the design or moving things around or whatever. But for me, you just have your I have my principles and those things came. You just developed them over time. And like for me, one of them is page speed is everything to me because it is the one area in SEO that I have over even the biggest companies, the biggest companies can’t turn around and make a really fast website. They won’t. They can’t. Their ships too big to steer. And so for me, I can go, oh, tomorrow my site is load’s under a second, you know, and that’s sort of the agility. But it’s but from like a an experimental perspective, one I one of my principles as I look, I didn’t I consider myself an idiot. I consider myself, you know, I don’t know anything. And I also believe that no one else does either. And so we’re all sort of in this whatever this is this tiny blue marble that we call pretend or think. So like this this no one has any sort of like.
Matt Giovanisci: [00:16:31] Right or wrong way, there’s always there’s always a new path that can be forged, and so my motto is everything as an experiment, it doesn’t matter what it is. And I have my beliefs on on why I choose specific experiments like I am choosing and experiment now to develop a sales funnel, even though I actively rallied against building a traditional sales funnel for so many years because I was just like as a and this is something I’m working on as a self-aware individual. I am working on this idea that, like, I am no longer a rock star, I never was one. And I’m always I have this fear of selling out. Right. I was fear of being corny, of being like looked at as a yeah. Like a guy that sold out. And I and I think like I you look at it, you can see it on money lab. Like I actively have no lead magnet. I you know, I just I purposefully put it out there that like, no, I’m the cool one on the Internet world. I’m not, you know, and to my detriment because no one signs up for that. But it does it does weed a certain amount. It does like weed out, you know, certain people and bring in the ones that I really want. But, yeah, it’s you know, in everything that I’ve done, I you know, you talk about Brace’s do you say bravery or Ueberlingen bravery or like
Matt Giovanisci: [00:17:58] Maybe you didn’t know. Maybe we have we haven’t talked about bravery. We were just. Yeah, not yet. Not yet.
Matt Giovanisci: [00:18:03] But, you know, this idea that, like, I’m, you know, like. You’re you can you’re willing to try something and do something and like how do you not
Chris Davis: [00:18:13] Talk about bravery? Yeah, like
Matt Giovanisci: [00:18:15] How do you not feel like failure. Yeah. Yeah. So for me, I’m just like, what do I have to look like. Well, OK, so one of my motivations in doing any of this stuff is of like not having a traditional job is I never want to work for any other human being again. I don’t want anyone telling me what what to do. I’ve always kind of rallied against authority while at the same time being very loyal. So, you know, when I was in my when I worked, I worked for the same company for a very long time for the same guy. But the whole time I’m like, well, I can do what he’s you know, he’s No. One, you know, he also doesn’t have a college education. And he’s like just like me. So I can do this, too. And so, you know, that motivation, which is kind of a negative motivation, I never want to. Yeah, right. And so I was like, well, what I have to lose if I get to work for myself, but I make ten dollars a day or ten dollars a year. I mean, thankfully I have a support system where it’s like I can go move in with my parents and I’ll just, you know, and I told my mom, like, she’s like, when are you going to get a job? And I was like, I have one. I rather live in a box and then having to answer to anybody else. And I just and that was the motivation. And so I’m willing to try different things in order to get there because there is no safety net. It doesn’t matter. You know, it’s like, well, why not? You know, I could lose it, but I never really had it to begin with. That makes sense to me.
Chris Davis: [00:19:52] This I feel like now as an engineer, I, I, I tend to push the limits to understand the breaking point, because then I it’s like I’m better when I break something because I know it’s limitations and I know what I can operate within. Right. Yeah. For you when you’re running these various experiments on business, are is it to. Not necessarily like I know it’s to see what’s working right, like house, but is there this why that’s that’s running behind you like OK, but but why would if you did it, you know, like, is that the driver for you and is it the main take away that you say, OK, that’s why now I know you know, and it allows you to be a bit more targeted in your approach. It what is the the experiment process? How is that how does it age you I should say.
Matt Giovanisci: [00:20:49] Yeah. So I. Yeah. Well, it is a hobby. First and foremost, I love it, yeah, you know, why do I spend all night and all day coding a website from scratch or designing an experiment that ultimately will fail? You know, and in fact, it’d be OK if it failed, because then I learned something. That’s it. And I just I just like doing it. You know, I do it with homebrewing as well as I brew beer. It’s like I will push a beer to to to its limits and go, well, that didn’t work, I’ll drink it. But I’m not giving that to anybody else. So yeah, it’s just because I like doing it. So I think the, the, the why isn’t, you know, money. It’s never been money unfortunately. I guess. I mean for some people it is again, I just don’t want to work for anybody else. So the money is just kind of a byproduct and it allows me to push experiments a little bit further and have a little bit more to lose. I guess the stakes are a little higher.
Chris Davis: [00:21:54] Sure, sure. Right.
Matt Giovanisci: [00:21:56] Yeah. And so it makes it more exciting. It’s like gambling, I guess, but. Yeah, I’m also not competitive either, so I think if I’m not competitive, then why what drives me to do anything? And it’s like, well, my I compete against myself, you know, it’s like golf, I guess
Chris Davis: [00:22:17] The best competition.
Matt Giovanisci: [00:22:18] Right. So it’s I’m not trying to go up against anybody else in this space because. Why? And also, you know, people have taught me little bits and pieces here and there throughout my, you know, my business building. But ultimately, at the end of the day, I kept learning to just. Do it yourself, try these things, no one has the right answer for you, you will pick and you will get you know, you will follow a process and you will put it in place. And when it’s all said and done, it’s going to look totally different from where you started. And you have to be OK with, you know, not trying to make, you know, not trying to fit it into a box because, you know. Yeah. And and then again, like, it’s also this whole. I mean, with it, yeah, I don’t know, I just like it, I guess it’s it’s really kind of and I think, you know, I know like when you say you’re an engineer, like like a like a software developer.
Chris Davis: [00:23:16] I was an electrical engineer.
Matt Giovanisci: [00:23:17] Electrical engineer. Yeah. So, I mean, like it’s puzzle’s.
Chris Davis: [00:23:22] That’s exactly it, man,
Matt Giovanisci: [00:23:23] I love puzzles in the Internet space when there’s actual outcomes, I don’t like puzzles that are on my, like, coffee table because at the end of it, I’m like, yeah, I knew it was going to be a boat. I knew that solving
Chris Davis: [00:23:34] The mystery
Matt Giovanisci: [00:23:36] Is no mystery. I started and now I got to take it all apart and do it again. No, thanks.
Chris Davis: [00:23:42] No, that’s good. It’s a game. And I can’t I can’t stress enough the importance of it. And I feel like I’m probably you’re definitely more structured in it as and you’ve built a business around your hobby, right? Yeah.
Matt Giovanisci: [00:23:59] But I mean, my goals as in my hobby. But the act of building a business is a hobby.
Chris Davis: [00:24:04] Yes. Yes. So for me, when I’m you know, we do a lot of technology assessment, you know, I train automation service providers. And the thing is, you have to be good at technology to recommend the best technology for building out their systems, right? Mm hmm. I, I love playing, you know, I love playing around with technology. So I am it’s not even an option for me. I’m never the type that you can give me a tool. And I’m just like, OK, that’s the one I’m going with. I have to look at at least. Yeah. Just at least one other one. Just for a comparison, I’m not wired like that now. Again, it benefits me because I’ve created a space like you have with money lab to air. That type of approach is valuable, right?
Matt Giovanisci: [00:24:53] That is the crux of it. You know, that is the reason money lab exists and the reason it’s built on this idea that, like, I can do whatever I want because it’s the way that I do it and that’s how I’m wired. I am not you know, when I say I build brands with my bare hands, I am very bad at building one brand with my you know, like I can I have to do I have to start and build something else. Yeah. And so what, what money lab was is, was an excuse to have these micro projects of starting new things like contained in a way that wouldn’t send me off the deep end in like, you know, there was a time in my life where I was building some university and also building a social network for dogs. So I don’t even I don’t even like dogs all that much. But like I that’s what I thought would be fun to do. And and so, like, it was it was just like and so, yeah, money lab is like that is a container for that and it’s value.
Chris Davis: [00:26:00] Yeah. Right. Absolutely right. Absolutely. So so I want to talk about a couple of your experiments. Man one that caught my ear in this podcast and then another one that I looked on the website and I wanted to ask beforehand page speed. Yeah. So I’m assuming when you talk about the experiment you ran on page B, which by the way, I am one hundred percent on board, like it does not low, especially if it’s a lead generating. And if you’re running advertising to that page. Oh my goodness. Yeah. Might as well flushed money down the toilet if it’s not going to low fast. So was that experiment, what did you find? Is this where you were hand coding a page versus like a page built or something like that?
Matt Giovanisci: [00:26:43] Well, WordPress. So I was using WordPress and I thought, you know, for me, when I look at just user experience in general to me is like what Google is going to is going to protect you from from not falling in the service. Right. Seo Wise, if you can deliver what Google considers a great user experience. And to me that is first and foremost how fast it loads. Yeah. And then limit the distractions and the interruptions that come. You know, it’s like when you read a news site and you’re scrolling and it’s like constantly jumping because new ads are coming in and it’s annoying. It’s great. And you know, they don’t have to do with SEO. But I for my business, I do. And like I said earlier, you know, these bigger companies that they can they have way more money and and employees than I do to write. I mean, somebody could take any one of my sites and build it from scratch in a week, you know, if they had the time and the money for it, you know, huge company. The one thing that they’re not going to have, though, is that I know how every single, like line of code works on my site. And so if I want to make something fast or I want to make something better, I can just go in.
Matt Giovanisci: [00:28:07] It’s a superpower power, right? Yeah. I don’t have to wait for a designer to come in, you know, have to rely on them being, you know, an expert in page speed or whatever. You know, it’s like, oh, we have WordPress, but then we use our mentor because it’s like it’s another framework on top of a framework and that’s just what we do. And it’s like, well, I just I said no, how do we get it down to the bare bones? Because that’s what’s going to ultimately make it faster, like I know what code code bloat is. And so it’s like we’ll just remove all the code. You just have words on a on an HTML page that’s going to load the fastest and then build up from there, but then constantly remove and and tweak until you have it. And so when I did that, you know, it’s hard to measure the success of that, like in a micro sort of metric area. It’s like, oh, did I change the speed by you know, I improved the speed by half a second and I, you know, gained two percentage points in the whatever. It’s not like that. It’s more holistic. And so I was like, I’m going to speed up my website and go from I think it was loading at I think like three or four seconds to under under a second and without you know, I’m not really big on like it’s not true scientific experiments for the most part, because I’m not like isolating variables and testing one thing at a time.
Matt Giovanisci: [00:29:28] But, you know, I noticed a huge bump in just traffic and in in my rankings and I’ve seen other people. Brian Dean, for example, from Back Linko, do a paid speed experiment on YouTube and determine at the end of it that, oh, you know what, we’re going to go back. We did all this page B, we made our page faster, but it didn’t actually improve anything. I was like, well, it did. You just didn’t measure it correctly. It improved your it improve your user experience like it just does, you know. So, yeah, if you ask somebody, what would they want as far as like how do you want your paddle is slow or faster. They’re always going to say faster. So it’s, it’s kind of like there’s no reason to even test it. You just do it and you know what I mean? It’s because it’s just a it’s just the right thing to do for your customer or for your visitors.
Chris Davis: [00:30:26] Yeah. And we’re seeing it in it. I feel like landing pages in the marketing space in I started with pages. That was my entry into the to the space. Yep. And it was it was about the ease of building because all you could do is, is build HTML pages back then and it was overwhelming. So yeah, the first version of lead pages was really rendering HTML. It was like software that rendered HTML. Yeah. And the pages load is super fast. In fact you could download, you could download a Li pages template and it would be in all HTML and you can put that on your Web site and change a few things. And it’s the whole thing. Yeah. And somewhere met somewhere. I don’t know where this will be an interesting thing for me to look into somewhere. I think it was right around click funnels and thrive themes where it became more page builder and builder esq. Yeah. And it was a battle because Li Page was like, we don’t want drag and drop in. The industry was like we want drag and drop. Click Fondles is doing it, drive is doing it right. But when you switch the drag and drop you because that you know in that that e-mail Rinnan NSB and now there’s tools now fastest loading speed times ever landing pages. So it’s like full circle, you know, again. Right. But absolutely man I, I think that it’s it’s something that’s a lost expectation when you get a beautiful design. A lot of times people are distracted by how beautiful the site looks and how I mean and he’s like, well,
Matt Giovanisci: [00:32:01] Man, I’m guilty of that too. You know, like as a designer, I, I’ve done parallax scrolling and all kinds of like, you know, goofy sort of designing things. And then at the end of the day, I mean. You’re looking at your you’re looking at every website, a little black mirror and none of that that matters anymore. It’s like design. It really doesn’t matter anymore as far as you know. And so all of you know, going back to what you said before of like you want to get your your business and your website perfect from the ground up. And so I get that because that’s how I started with some university and everything. If you look at my first version of from university compared to today’s version, you would think like I took a step backwards because I took that there’s no image like the images are gone, that the background images, like it’s not overly designed anymore. It’s stripped down to basically how does it look on my phone? Because 75 percent of my visitors are looking at it on a mobile device, you know, out probably at their pool, like, what do I got to add, you know, and the same thing, more content to like, they don’t have sidebars on the mobile phone, so why would I have one anywhere? So, yeah, I just it it evolved over time, but I kept removing, you know, because to me I want it again.
Matt Giovanisci: [00:33:25] It’s always been about, you know, you have your different. I shouldn’t say that because you have your different like time periods of like what you were trying to do. Right. You had your ad sense period when you’re trying to make money on ads and it’s like, well, I have to have a sidebar and I’m going to sacrifice a little bit of page speeds to make some money. Yeah. And it’s like, that’s that’s fine. And I get that. I get asked that all the time, like mad if you just put, you know, ad drive or Uzelac on your site, like, do you know how much money you make. And I’m like, do you know how much that would piss me off as a visitor. I can’t do that to people. If I don’t want it done to me, why would I do it to them?
Chris Davis: [00:34:02] I know, man it now we get in that delicate balance of marketing in everybody who takes it and just really bastardizes it. Right? They just it. Yeah, Blare marketing on their website Popups Everywhere 50 lead magents. This, this and that. And it really it just makes it off-putting for those of us who do it right. But then at the same time we can’t ignore what works and is like okay, not all I know.
Matt Giovanisci: [00:34:27] If you go to if you go to moneylab.co’s Email. I did a parody on this many years ago where you’re just it’s basically a post with a bunch of pop ups that are delicately timed and it’s just begging and asking for your email address. But it’s funny. So it’s yeah. If you’re interested, it’s it was my take on it and it’s ironically it was like one of the first pieces I did on Money Lab because I was angry at the industry with all the pop ups and I was like and the welcome mats and you know, goodness, I was just like, I can’t visit any of these websites because they’re just so annoying. And I got mad and I went on a computer and I started like curse writing, like just like after this and after that. And I’m just like mad, angry writing. And then I took that piece. It was like maybe 500 words or whatever. And for like a month, I kept going back to it and refining it and cleaning up the language and like fixing it and then adding in like the pop ups that are timed as you’re reading it and like and it and the the ironic part is that I put that out. It went viral and I was able to gain sixteen hundred email subscribers in 24 hours because it when it was like it got on Hacker News, it was it just because it was like everyone felt the same thing I felt. But I just put it into words, you know,
Chris Davis: [00:35:53] I love it. But, you know, I think therein lies the the true approach. Right. Is not a lazy, haphazard template approach, but use these strategies, use these tools in a way that’s authentic to you. So, like, do pop ups were like part of your personality coming out? Like, Yeah, I hate this. Look at what I just did see. Now you got to close this box. Right? So it was a layer of authenticity that went through it that kind of let people’s guard go down like, OK, this is still marketing, but it’s authentic. So it’s OK.
Matt Giovanisci: [00:36:26] Like, right, right. Yeah. And that’s hard to do. But I was just mad and that’s my real true feelings came out.
Chris Davis: [00:36:32] Oh, man, I love it. So experiment number two, you had one where you were I think it was convert kit in active campaign.
Matt Giovanisci: [00:36:42] Yeah, I did. Two of them. Yeah.
Chris Davis: [00:36:44] Ok, ok. Well what we’re I guess to keep it, keep it brief. What, what were your, what were you experimenting and what were your findings in that one.
Matt Giovanisci: [00:36:54] My goal was to move the first experiment was to move over, to convertkit from I think it was mailchimp I was on at the time and really set up a funnel, like really get it set up and really kind of double down in my marketing that failed miserably. If you read that experiment, it is me trying all these things and at the end of it, just kind of giving up and going like I, I suck at this this this damn I didn’t get it right, you know. So then so email marketing has always been this thing, this bug in my system. Right. I just for some reason cannot get wrap my head around it. I can’t figure it out. It’s just but but I always want to because it’s like this nagging thing of a marketer. Right. And it’s like you should be good at this. And so then and so then I was like, you know what? Here’s what I want, and I had to sit down with myself, just, you know, staff to just kind of like thinking about swim university, my website and going, OK, somebody subscribes to some university and they’re a pool owner. What do they get? How do they get that? Right. And and what they should get is every week, maybe two times a week, they’re getting emailed tips about taking care of their pool exactly when they need it. There’s no reason to send them a tip on opening up their pool in November because they’re not going to do it in November.
Matt Giovanisci: [00:38:22] They’re going to do it in April or May. Right. And so I needed a way to time that. And I can do it manually because I can just sit there and go up. It’s April 1st, say, you know, and write the email, so and so. That was ultimately what I wanted, and I the phrase that I used was email as a service. So when you subscribe to some university, you’re technically getting like a reminder service to do certain things. But it’s packed with information. I love it. Yeah, that’s what I wanted. Yeah. Unfortunately, with, like, convert kit, I wasn’t able to automate it. I you know, there’s no real way to do it based on date. And I wanted it to be something that repeated every year because what nothing changes the next year. You still want a pull, you still need those same reminders. Yeah. So I started researching different ISPs, email service providers to find, you know, who could how could I create a Lupul seasonal automation. Yep. Yep. And, you know, I looked at all of them and active campaign actually. They reached out or I reached out to them and I had a call and the guy showed me, like I told him what I wanted. It was like, you could do it this way. And he showed me and I’m like, sold instantly.
Matt Giovanisci: [00:39:44] Yeah. I have never seen that before, Done. And so I was like, OK. And that was the experiment was I’m I’m going to move over to active campaign because I’m trying to set up this type of system. And now now that I’m over there, it’s like the amount of power that I have over some of the other ISPs of being able to say, oh, well, yeah, now it’s you know, now it’s may you get four emails, you know, every week at a certain period of time. I can change those emails. I can. I can. If you take certain actions and emails, I can move. You are like temporarily put you here and put you there. And I’m like, all right, I’m really going to sit down and figure this all out. And so that, you know, and so I was able to put that all together and do that as an experiment. And the next experiment I’m working on is really like fleshing all of that out. And, you know, now that I know the the power of active campaign and I know what I can and can’t do, it’s like, OK, ultimately at the end of the day, I need to provide helpful information to my audience when they need it the most. And if that’s the bottom baseline, then it really shouldn’t be that hard. Right? It’s just a matter of like setting it up and automating it.
Chris Davis: [00:41:00] I love it. You know, if you if you were in the marketing industry, you’d have a name for it and then you’d have a product that walks people through how to do it.
Matt Giovanisci: [00:41:09] I should feel so bad I can’t sell out like that.
Chris Davis: [00:41:13] Right. But I love the fact that you you know, when you talk about email as a service, it’s like, hey, I’ve got this notification service for you. You don’t even have to worry about anything. I’ll just remind you, every time you need something, I’ll just remind you that it’s such a a real life example that can easily be translated. And I think that’s that’s that’s the trouble with a lot of a lot of times is people can’t make that connection because email marketing is supposed to be email marketing and this is something else. But when we can kind of break free and say, like you said, you like, OK, what is it that I’m trying to do? Right. And just use the raw process and say this is what I want. I love it, man. I think I think that’s spot on. That’s a that’s an amazingly effective use of of email, man. All right. I got to ask one more. I know we’re close to our time here. One more. You were sharing a story with me about YouTube. And the reason why this is so timely at the time that we’re recording this now is because I’m having multiple conversations with no, I’m having the same conversation with different people, OK? Right. Different industries. And I’m telling them, listen, if you do less but higher quality, it will have a bigger impact, because most often when somebody starts a business, the first thing they do is set up five social media accounts and Facebook and LinkedIn. I got to be the editor. And it’s just like, what if you only did one? And then that one would if you only posted, like, really good content and then you and I are talking. And you did that. Did that. Yeah.
Matt Giovanisci: [00:42:56] That way. You know, I haven’t written about it anywhere. Yeah. Because. I don’t know how to you know, it was an experiment, it was kind of like a personal experiment, but I guess it really belongs on Money Lab. And now that I have, like, actual, you know, sort of data and, you know, let me just for the sake of this conversation, let me just pull up the actual stats. So I’m not just talking fake numbers or whatever, because it’s like it’s impressive, but also not right. Because it’s we’re talking small numbers at the end of the day. But and the and the niche is really small as well. But OK, so so what happened. So I, I have a site that I created called Broo Cabin and I teach people how to homebrew and because that’s I’ve been homebrewing longer than I’ve been Internet marketing and so. I you know, it was never it’s always been a hobby, like a personal hobby, I don’t really talk about it all that much. And a few years ago, I kind of decided that, you know, this is a hobby that I really enjoy. And I’m I’m a I’m a really huge nerd. Like, I read all the books. I you know, I’m sort of behind the scenes that I don’t really know any other home brewers. I only homebrew for like me and my friends. And so I thought, let me just create the site and let me start to put my expertise out there and see what happened. So that just kind of casually, you know, putting it out there.
Matt Giovanisci: [00:44:22] And then in this year. So we are in 2020, we we moved we bought a house. And it has been my dream for like 15, 20 years to build a home brewery like a brewery in my house. And actually part of the criteria of looking for a house was having a space that where I could do that. And so we found one and it was we moved in September. And so October I started the process. I was it was the first thing I was allowed to do when we moved in here. And and so my friend said to me, he’s like, you know what? You should for at the very least, you should document the process of building it and for yourself at the very at the very most. And I was like, OK, yeah, maybe you’re right. And so what I did was, you know, any time a contractor had to come over, I had to do anything in the brewery. I would bring my camera out, iPhone or whatever I had on me, and I would just talk it through and film and just get footage. And I was and then I thought to myself, well, I do this at Money Lab. I do these like kind of real time, you know, documentation and experiment things. And so I’m like, well, that’s what this is. And so it started, as I’m writing it, in Brookhaven the same way I would write in money lab, but I had all this footage.
Matt Giovanisci: [00:45:39] And so I’m like, I’m going to put together a video. And as a I’m also a since I’m a homebrew nerd, I’m also like a media nerd. And so those worlds, like I know every homebrewing channel on the Internet, I’ve been I have every DVD that exists of documentary, whatever. I own it all. I am a sucker for it. And so there there hasn’t really been any sort of like home. I love a lot of it and I watch it because I’m into the hobby. But as far as like production value, there’s only been like a handful. And so I thought, well, you know, I have all this footage and I know how to do this work. I love editing. I I’m I’m like, I can do it. So what if I took all this footage and made it into, like a mini documentary on building a brewery? Yeah. So I was like, OK, so that’s when I decided I’m going to do it. And it was going to and I basically said to myself, all right, well, this is the start of my YouTube channel is going to be the first video I upload for my YouTube channel. So I’m going to set the bar, you know, of quality. And I you know, I spent 40 days, almost two months on editing and filming. I wrote a song, an original song that’s like kind of like baked in the middle of it. That’s part of the storyline I worked on, the thumbnail I worked on, like, there’s it’s just very highly edited.
Matt Giovanisci: [00:47:05] And all the music was originally I wrote all the music in it and I just put every single piece of like talent and and and skill that I had into this one video. And that was the point. Yeah. Yeah. And I just put it out and I that was it. And so. I watched YouTube just serve my video forever. I didn’t promote it, I didn’t, you know, really I don’t really have that big of an audience to promote it to. Yeah, but YouTube, just whatever for whatever reason, I think the quality over everything else, like, you can just watch that video and go. There was so much effort put into this video. And as a home brewer, you appreciate it and you comment and you like and you do these things and YouTube just knows it. And the algorithm took my video and took it off. So the second so like that happened. But then I was like, I now I need my sophomore effort, I need my follow up. And and I picked a subject that I thought was so underserved in the homebrewing space. I picked water chemistry as a topic, as my second topic. At the end of the day, I you know, it’s I’ve started the channel in October, two videos published. The channel has three thousand six hundred and sixty subscribers. And now and I was and I was accepted into the partnership program with two videos because I had that much watch time and I had that many subscribers all organically.
Chris Davis: [00:48:41] Yeah, you had a lot of you had a lot of elements in their niche market, you know, a creative, a well done video that mixed a few creative mode. So you weren’t just in one mode of of consumption. And I will say this, you know, when I look at it, it was an effort up front. But, you know, as you continue to let’s just say you did these type of videos ongoing, you would get better and better, faster and faster. Yep. And I can’t imagine the impact if you took that time. And this is the the the deception on a lot of people have is if I take that same amount of time and spread it across two months, I’ll just create content for all of the platform. Yeah. And then what happened on YouTube happened on all of them in go in. It’s like no, it just it’s almost you know what, it’s almost like people respond to a split focus. Like you said, it’s like YouTube new. You put a lot in there. And when you watch it, you could tell, like, OK, he focused on this. And when we don’t when we just kind of put our stuff everywhere, people don’t give it that much attention. It’s like, oh, well,
Matt Giovanisci: [00:49:47] Because it probably
Chris Davis: [00:49:48] Attracts their attention, you know,
Matt Giovanisci: [00:49:49] But doesn’t like does it not mean that it probably sucks, like if you because you didn’t put like. I when I mentioned that story about the email marketing or the email pop up Web page that I did like, I wrote that in five minutes, you know, because I was just angry. But I spent a month making that a piece and I treated it that way. Yeah. And. You know, there’s a couple of articles on money lab like that I could hand-pick and go like that is a that’s something I worked on for weeks.
Chris Davis: [00:50:24] Yeah, yeah. And I think if anything, you know, that I’m piecing together is experimental enough to, you know, where to put your time, you know, like, yeah. Go through that. Figure out where you should be putting your time in the beginning, you know, of of any process, any business. There’s going to be that just initial feeling out. But be intentional when you find it. Mm hmm. To double down, put your focus on it. And it’s like like you can always tell when there’s a really good cook, when someone has taken their time with you, you know, they’ve set the ingredients out the day before. So it was room temperature. And you compare that to, say, you buy at the grocery store and it’s just is night and day.
Matt Giovanisci: [00:51:08] You’re one hundred. Yeah, you’re right. Yeah, you’re absolutely right. And I a great analogy because I you know, I love cooking and stuff, so I. Yes, you’re right. What do you spend the time making dinner.
Chris Davis: [00:51:16] It’s great. Yeah. But like in the consumers love it.
Matt Giovanisci: [00:51:20] The consumers love it. And the thing is at the end of the day too, and this is something I struggled with early on because I never really had a reason, you know, like with Sydney University, I wanted to build traffic. Why all I wanted subscriber’s. Why? Well, I thought I could sell advertising and then I tried that and I hated it. And I was like, this sucks. I don’t want it. And then I, like, started designing my own products and I realized, oh, I’m actually pretty good at this whole course thing or this ebook thing. And so I was like, oh. Wait, I have a product now. OK, so what’s my goal now? My goal is to get sales. My goal is to get traffic and to build trust and to get people to buy my thing, because it’s it’s even better than my free stuff. And what is it? So when having that final point, the final action that you want anyone to take, all of a sudden you can really use that to weed out things that you really don’t need to do. I don’t need to do LinkedIn for some university because that is not where my audience is. The one thing I get, I, I still struggle with. Is Instagram, because I’m like, OK, I am good, I can take a picture and I have a brewery, so it looks cool and so like I’m gaining followers, but they can’t click anything. They can’t go anywhere. Like, why am I focusing all this time on on Instagram when I could do, you know, one video on YouTube and bring in a ton of traffic to my website and bring a ton of attention to my products. You know, like I’m saying, Instagram might not be that bad, but it’s also with Instagram. It’s not evergreen, nothing’s ever green. And so if I’m going to put time and effort into creating content, I want people to be able to find that content ten years from now, too.
Chris Davis: [00:53:08] Yeah, yeah, yeah. I love it, man. I met a man. We can go on. We could be doing man we I said this before we, we started. But I want my listeners to know if anything that just pay attention to the the approach of experimenting and it’s ok. Like there is no right and wrong as long as you’re learning, you know, like I’ll take a failed effort ten times if I’ve learned from every single one, because that’s just going to make me better going forward specifically to my business, so that if people want to find out more about you, your experience, whatever you think is the best, where’s the best? What’s the best way for them to contact you?
Matt Giovanisci: [00:53:53] Money lab.
Matt Giovanisci: [00:53:54] .co, money is where I live. All right, great. Well, that link will be in the show notes again. Thank you for coming on to the podcast. Man is greatly appreciated.
Matt Giovanisci: [00:54:03] Now, I appreciate you having me on.
Chris Davis: [00:54:05] All right. Thanks, man. Thanks. I hope you enjoyed this episode with with I as we discussed those various experiments and you started to see how, if anything, I hope you can understand that it’s OK. It’s OK not to know how something is going to work. It’s OK not to know what you’re really going to do. That’s it. Let experiment figure it out, try some stuff, but measure it and make sure that as you’re measuring it, you’re keeping track of what is working and what’s not so that you can be effective in your experimentation. Now is the time for my invitation for you. First time listeners to subscribe to the podcast. If you like this episode, we’ve got lots more where this came from. Binge worthy, by the way, but make sure you’re subscribed so you can do so in all of the main podcasting outlets to the All Systems Go podcast and make sure now as well when you’re subscribing that you leave your five star rating on review. Here at Automation Bridge, we are dedicated to training digital marketing professionals to become automation service providers. I have to say, if you have not listened to digital marketing versus marketing automation, what’s the difference? That episode, please go do so and it will mean more to you when I say trained digital marketing professionals to become automation service providers because small businesses, they are in dire need of marketers who understand technology and know how to marry it appropriately to profitable marketing strategies for the deployment of automated systems in those businesses for rapid growth. That’s what automation service provider is and that’s what they do.
Chris Davis: [00:56:05] OK, so if when you’re listening to this and and the technical side really kind of piques your interest and you’re like, wow, I didn’t know, can I do that for a living? The answer is yes. Marketing automation is one of the fastest growing industries in digital marketing. I’m telling you, I’m seeing the need with my own eyes and serving it with my hands as well as the collective community. But we we need help, not just me. We need help. These small businesses, they really do. They need somebody who understands how to approach automation the right way for their business specific to their strategy. So if that’s you and you listen to this podcast or when you listen to the podcast, it just excites you. On another level. You’re in the field implementing marketing for clients. Even if you are your client, you have that desire. But people tend to come to you all the time for tech questions and suggestions. If that’s you, that’s a strong indicator. You need to get with a strong community and a mentor like myself to help you navigate and guide the industry, shorten your learning curve and get you on the fastest path to success. So if that’s you, what I want you to do is go to automationbridge.com/asp for automation service provider in short, ASPE, and you can take the next steps to talk to myself or someone on my team to see if you will be a good fit for any of our program offerings that we have running and upcoming.
Chris Davis: [00:57:58] OK, that the time is now and the need has never been greater. It’s only going to increase. Get in early, put your flag down, ok, get in early and really help help make a difference with with the responsible deploying of automated systems for small businesses. OK, the All Systems Go podcast. Everybody is accepting guests. So if you know people like Matt or the likes that have a a interesting and valuable message from results that they have produced in their business, please send them to automation. Bridge Dotcom/guest or you can go to automationbridge.com/guest And submit their information on their behalf. We will reach out. And if it makes sense, if we see that they’re a good fit for our audience, then we will schedule some time and they’ll be on the podcast. We love SAS owners, so right now we’re in the process of reaching out to CEOs of a lot of the tools that I reckon. End and use to have them come on, if you’re a SaaS owner, we invite you, come on, talk about your tools, let’s break it down. Let’s let my my audience know what’s available, OK? Consultants at all levels. If you’re experiencing success, come on, let’s talk about it, OK? All of the show notes in the podcast are accessible automation bridge dot com for slash podcasts. You can subscribe there and listen to all other episodes at your leisure. So until next time I see you online, automate response. Speed reference.
- Why you shouldn’t be afraid to experiment – as long as you don’t leave out this one crucial step
- Various experiments Matt runs in his business and what he has learned from them
- How Matt’s experimental approach has benefited him in building while other companies struggle with stagnation
- The results of spreading yourself across all social platforms vs. narrowing your focus and time to specific platforms
- The importance of making the most of your efforts with evergreen content that will attract your ideal audience’s attention
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About the Show
On the show, Chris reveals all of his automated marketing strategies he has learned from working in fast growing marketing technology startups so you can put your business on autopilot quickly and without error.
Discover how to deploy automated marketing, sales, and delivery systems to scale your business without working long hours to do so.
Chris L. Davis
Chris is an Electrical Engineer turned entrepreneur who is the Founder of Automation Bridge, an international speaker and facilitator, and startup consultant