If you've been trying to grow your business online with YouTube but haven't quite cracked the code, you've tuned into the right episode. Our guest today is Matt Giovanisci, the founder of Swim University, Brew Cabin, and Money Lab.
In this episode, Matt shares some of his best strategies for growing a YouTube channel and building your email list from your video content. We also dig into his entrepreneurial journey and the lessons he's learned along the way.
- Ramp up your idea when the timing is right. You likely won’t get it perfect, but have the confidence to take action on your idea sooner than later.
- Experiment with your monetization strategies. Use what works for you, but Matt prefers the control, profit margins, and predictability of selling his own products.
- Establish your credibility with video marketing on YouTube. With the proliferation of unreliable AI-generated blog posts and text, viewers look for authenticity in leaders they want to follow.
- Get granular with your traffic source data. Create separate landing pages for each social channel and piece of content so you know what efforts to repeat and which to reduce or eliminate.
- Keep your deeper YouTube content to 30 minutes or less. Think of your video as an episode of a show that can hold attention for the length of a sitcom.
- Preparation is the secret to effective video marketing. Spend more time in preparation for your recording to cut down on time actually recording and editing.
- Engage your viewers with dynamics on screen. Modify jump cut edits with 10-20% zooms, incorporate b-roll footage, and be more animated on screen.
- Use a cheat sheet to build your email list. Invite your viewers to download your cheat sheet from a landing page during the first and last minutes of your video.
- Money Lab on YouTube
- The Perfect Post Cheatsheet (Lead magnet example)
- Swim University on YouTube
- Brew Cabin on YouTube
- Timeline of Matt Giovanisci’s business journey
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Who is Matt Giovanisci:
Bob Sparkins: Matt, thank you so much for joining me for this episode of The Lead Generation.
Matt Giovanisci: Thanks for having me.
Bob: I'm excited to have you on. You've been doing a lot of different cool things online for, it seems like 100 years in Internet years, right? We're going to get into some of the latest stuff, but let's start out first with what the work that you're doing with Money Lab and some of the other properties: what's a way that you transform the lives of the people that you come into contact with online?
Matt: Transform their lives? Well, at Moneylab, I hope that I help them increase their revenue with their online businesses.
And I hope that with my pool care site, SwimUniversity, that I keep their pools crystal clear with minimal effort and minimal frustration, because that can be a very frustrating thing, especially if you move into a house and there's a pool there and you're like, I don't know what I'm doing.
And then I have a home brewing site too, so I'm hoping to help those folks make consistently great beer out of their homes so that's transforming their lives. Sure, I'll go with that. Changing the world, as they say.
Bob: Exactly. Whatever that world happens to be for you.
Matt: Yeah, it could be your little backyard pool world. Yeah, sure.
Bob: Right on. So, like I mentioned in the intro, you've been doing online marketing of some form or fashion for quite a while. I know it might be difficult to go back to the beginning when you're first getting started. I do know that there's a lovely timeline article that you wrote out on Moneylab.co. But what I was really intrigued by was this idea. Like many people who probably are listening, you had an idea for a business with Swim University, bought a domain, you let it sit, some stuff happened.
Tell the folks a little bit about that story of why you had that idea in the first place and what was the trouble that you had getting it up and running over the first couple of years.
Matt: My first summer job was at a pool store in South Jersey. I was 13. And I stayed there for a while, moved up to another pool company and didn't go to college because I had a job, I was making money. So I was like, what do I need college for? Got a marketing job at the same pool store.
So I moved from the retail side to corporate, and then I got poached a bunch from different pool companies, running service departments, running retail stores, and manager, assistant manager, all that kind of stuff. During the same time, I was in a band, in a rock band, and we were trying to get signed and tour and all that stuff. And so we needed a website at the time. This is before social media. And so my dad bought me a computer for my first week of college, and that's exactly how long I lasted. So I took that computer and I decided to learn website design. I decided to learn how to code because in South Jersey, our pool season is really only from like maybe April to September. So we had a lot of winter downtime when no one was coming into the store. That's what I did. I learned HTML, CSS, all that stuff.
And so I learned how to code, and I decided to marry those two worlds. And I was like, oh, I have this idea. Everybody would come into our store and I would test their water and I would tell them what chemicals to buy and I would educate them on pool care. What if I just took all of that and put it on a website? I didn't look, I didn't research, I didn't know anything about what was available at the time. So that's what I did.
So I had the idea. I had the name, bought the name in 2004, SwimUniversity.com. I also bought SwimU.com, and I kept talking for a year saying I was going to build this site. It's a great idea. I have this great idea. I have this great idea. My bass player at the time in the band was like, you keep talking about this idea, but you haven't done anything, so I think you're full of shit, basically. I was like, oh, yeah, good point. And I let it go for so long that I forgot that I had the domains. And I didn't forget, I just let them lapse and I lost them and I had to buy them from another person who bought them up for $100 instead of $10. So I did that.
And then in 2006 is when I really sat down and built the site, which was all done in individual HTML files. So every single article was a different HTML file. In dreamweaver is how I built it. I've since wised up.
Bob: You're using WordPress and Leadpages together, I believe.
Matt: Yes. Even before WordPress. I built my own CMS before I knew, I didn't really know WordPress could do that. I just designed my own version of it and then I was like, oh man, this is so much easier if I just use this other piece of software.
How to Generate Revenue from YouTube in 2023
Bob: Now, once you got that going, I know that you played a little bit with different monetization strategies. We don't need to go through the history of the Internet for how you made money online. But I know some of it was through ads with AdSense, and some of it was other ways. For people who are starting with some kind of a niche site like this, where they're really good at a topic or they want to explore a topic, what are some of the ways you're encouraging people to generate revenue from those types of sites today?
Matt: Today it's making your own products. I used to be very anti-that, which is stupid. Sometimes I just get like back in the day I used to have like a stance. Now I'm just like, I don't know anything. I'm willing to try anything as long as it fits with my worldview in a weird way, it's like, okay, sure, you're making money that way, it's great. I used to just be like, you can get sponsorships, you can make money with sponsorships. And I quickly learned that that's a never-ending sales cycle. It's just constantly sales and constantly having to deal with.
I started SwimUniversity to not have a boss, and then I had a bunch of bosses which were just marketing directors at other companies asking me to change my content to fit their narrative and like, oh, we want these three articles, we want this podcast, and we want this to be this length and this what? I was like, all right, whatever.
I pivoted to selling my own products. I started with an ebook and I honestly didn't think it was going to work. I was just like, I'm going to do this because everyone in the world is telling me to do this, so I'm going to do it in spite. And of course I launched and it doesn't work because I half-assed everything. But eventually I was like, oh, it sold one. And I was like, wow, that was the easiest $30 I'd ever made. So I was like, okay. So I started to ramp that up and I was like, oh, I'm making more money selling my own products than I am with affiliate links and sponsorships and it's way less time. I put all of my time and effort into making the book and then it just sells after that. It's very good high-margin revenue stream. Once I figured it out and tested different pricing and landing pages and improved the product, then I was off to the races by that point.
Don’t Rely on Revenue Streams You Can’t Control
Bob: That's awesome. Now I imagine that we can get into some conversations around sales pages because I've seen the ones you're working with now that are great.
Bob: Before that, though, when you started selling products, were you still incorporating affiliate marketing? Are you still incorporating affiliate marketing today or did you drop out of that game entirely?
Matt: No, I still do it, but I kind of think of it as found money the way that maybe a lot of YouTubers would consider AdSense. It's not a reliable source of income. It's a constant battle of, like, because my one site, my Swim University site, we make 100% of our affiliate revenue through Amazon. And I have gone on record multiple years and I have multiple posts on MoneyLab talking about how Amazon has screwed me over by cutting my commissions even though I was making 8% at one point, because I had been sending them so much traffic and getting so higher conversions because of the nature of my site and the nature of the products that I recommend. Then they just like, one day were like, no cut.
So I was like, I can't trust this business model. I can't trust this revenue stream to provide because I had no control. And I say, I'm not sitting in the boardroom. I have no decision power here. If they want to cut my commissions or if they want to just cancel my account, they can do that.
So I need to diversify my revenue streams into other areas that I have 100% control over.
And even with revenue or sponsorships for me and ads, like display ads, I just found as a user of my website that those things were incredibly distracting and it sort of tainted my content because it's like, well, who's really writing this now? Why did you put out this video? Did you just put this video out to fulfill a contract? Maybe that's just because I'm so in the weeds of it, but I do believe that people see through that sometimes.
So I made it a point not to do sponsorships and instead sell my own products and have full control over the sales experience from beginning to end. And I'd much rather have hundreds of thousands of customers as my boss instead of like a handful of marketing directors as my boss.
Bob: Yeah, absolutely. And really a good way to think about the control of your business. I think a lot of people listening to this show who maybe also already follow you on YouTube, or hopefully they will soon, they are wanting to have that predictability of revenue. And as you mentioned, affiliate marketing is great. We've got some great recent episodes, even about affiliate marketing that I encourage everybody to listen to, but we always here at Leadpages, encourage you to share your expertise and sell some aspect of your skill set in order for you to be able to move forward successfully in your business.
Matt: It's inventory that never diminishes.
Why YouTube Is the Place to Be
Bob: Yeah, really good. Now, as a promoter of your different products and services that you've done over the years, you have tested podcasting and YouTube and email marketing as people are in the middle of 2023 now. What are you finding is maybe your favorite channel to be creating content for and which avenues seem to be maybe more profitable?
Matt: YouTube is the answer. I've been saying it since 2011. It's a hard medium to one understand and create content for, which I think is why it's the most lucrative and it's the most sustainable as far as like, look, AI is coming, it's here, right?
So I feel like in terms of blogging and the written word, that's under attack. I still feel like video and even podcasting, we have some time there and we may have all the time because I think people can see and hear BS, but I don't know if they could read it. That's just my take on that.
But also when I look at my conversion metrics across all of my channels, YouTube is slightly higher than my website and my website is specifically from Google search. So to me I feel like the possibilities there are endless and that back catalog also makes money. So even though it's found money, YouTube is a great source for traffic and revenue even if you sold nothing. Right? It is a hard barrier to entry, which I think why it's worth the squeeze if you do it.
And so I just noticed that if I had to restart my entire business over again, I would start with YouTube and then build out websites and landing pages. I probably wouldn't even host it myself. I would probably do something really quick and easy and not really focus on written content and just focus 100% on video and audio content. And even audio content, I think the discoverability of it is tough and hopefully we have companies like Spotify and Apple stepping up their game but it's been since 2008 so I don't know when they're going to start.
To me it's like YouTube is a combination of like I think what audio does and what podcasting does that's so great is that sort of like bond between you and your audience and it makes them feel like, oh, we're friends, I know this person, right? Because they're in my ear every day on my commute. YouTube does that with a visual component which I think is even more powerful because it's like so I go to bed sometimes dreaming about people I've seen on YouTube and I'm like, yeah, we're buddies. Oh no we're not. I've never met that person. What am I talking about?
I think the sales persuasion over at YouTube is just so much more powerful than through a written word and even just audio.
Bob: And I think you've highlighted here too, this recommendation engine that YouTube has is really powerful and dialed in to keep you wanting to watch YouTube because that's how Google is making their money, right? Or Alphabet.
Matt: Absolutely, yeah. And I think it's one of the harder things for AI to replicate. So it's also a little bit of future-proofing as well. I think a lot about that.
Bob: Yeah. I think this BS radar that you're talking to, I see it now with sales letters. And even on Twitter, I saw an advertisement of one of those fake avatars who's reading the script with AI. And I don't know how good it's going to get if it's ever going to be super deep-fakey and amazing. But for right now, I immediately don't want to ever deal with that particular business. Because you're trying to deliberately fake me out.
Matt: Yeah. And I think over time, too, yes, it's going to get better, but still, we'll be able as humans to be like, eh, or that's just not entertaining. That AI is just not this. It doesn't have the imperfections of a human being on screen. So I think it's just yeah, and I don't know, I don't want to go too, because that's a rabbit hole in and of itself. But again, I think YouTube, honestly, and I should say video content, because it doesn't have to be just on YouTube. It could be Reels, it could be Tiktoks, whatever. I do think that that has been the future since 2011, really.
Tracking Conversions with Channel-Specific Landing Pages
Bob: Right. I want to call attention to something else you mentioned a moment ago about your conversion rates off of YouTube since you're Leadpages customer. I get to see your conversion rates. And I was looking in your dashboard a little bit, and I saw that one of the fascinating things I love about what you're doing is you do have different landing pages for your different social channels. You have a Twitter page, a Facebook page, a YouTube page, a website page, et cetera. And so you've really got this breakdown that shows which conversion rates are better and YouTube is crushing it for you because of that. So I want to not just say, this isn't hypothetical, you're dialing in the metrics of this, and I really love seeing it.
Matt: Yeah, that came from a place where I was like, I want to know if my Facebook ads are converting right. And not just converting in the moment on the page. Once they subscribed, I wanted to know what's my LTV on that Facebook spend? And so it was like, I immediately thought, oh, I could just write because for the longest time, I didn't use Leadpages. I would literally this goes back to what I was saying earlier, handcrafting every single landing page myself and designing it from scratch in WordPress. And it just became like, well, I'm not going to duplicate this page just to track this one thing. And then it would be out of pure laziness because I had to do all of this work. Where if it's Leadpages, I'm like duplicate, change the name and I hook it up with ActiveCampaign. So that I can tag my sources from Leadpages, so I know, okay, this person came in from a Facebook ad because they landed on this specific leadpage. They were tagged with source Facebook. Then I can go into Leadpages six months, a year from now and go, all right, what are all my tags with the same tag? Did they buy, yes or no? And if they did, great. I know my LTV. If they didn't, I go, probably shouldn't have spent money on Facebook ads.
Bob: Yeah, that's great, because a lot of people tell you, you got to be on this, you got to be on that, and you got to be on that. And if you spread yourself too thin without really knowing which is the beneficial one, being the profitable one, then you're wasting a lot of time.
Matt: Yeah, we do that a lot. We set up challenges. So that's what Money Lab basically is. Like, I did a 30-day Reel challenge on Instagram and set up a lead page just for that product or just for that profile and just measured it. It's like, okay, is this worth the amount of work that it takes to put 30 Reels together and publish them on Instagram? Great. But is it converting to sales? Because that's really all that matters for us, because we're running a business, not just, like, trying to be an influencer. And so, yeah, it turned out it wasn't worth it. So it's like, all right, back to YouTube. I mean, we were always on YouTube, but it's like, okay, maybe that channel, maybe we haven't cracked the code yet. Maybe we'll do another 30-day challenge with a different strategy. But at that particular strategy we did back in, I think, June or July, it just didn't turn out to be that lucrative for us. In fact, I don't think it was lucrative at all.
What Should Be on Your YouTube Thumbnails?
Bob: Well, let's dive a little deeper into the YouTube strategy then. One of the things that I love seeing is these random thumbnails. They're not so random, right? I think you have a lot of intentionality around what you're doing with your thumbnails. And we are living in an age where the thumbnails really matter a great deal. So what are some of the thought processes that you'd recommend a new YouTuber who may not have face recognition or brand recognition yet? How can they break into the game a bit with a stronger thumbnail?
Matt: Wow. I have two strategies because I have two different well, I guess there are two. What we do at Swim University is a very different strategy than what I do at Brew Cabin and Money Lab. And so I think for the majority of people out there, the Swim University strategy is very straightforward and very easy.
When it comes to just thumbnails and titling, because I kind of put those together. We make our titles incredibly simple and not enticing or click-baity. We just go, how to manage a saltwater pool, right? How to get rid of algae. Like very "how to" based stuff. And our thumbnail design, which has been the same pretty much since the beginning. And I've gone back and updated old thumbnails so that they all do match. It's a brand color consistency.
So we have five different brand colors, and those are our backgrounds. So I have those just in an asset folder. I went and took pictures of my face in a Hawaiian shirt. I took 100 pictures of me just doing different, oh, look over here. Oh, look over here, like doing a weird face, doing a surprise face. And then I went and I literally just sat in front of a wall and with a remote on my camera and just kept doing it. Took all the best ones, put it in a folder, cut out the backgrounds and all of them and named them, like, the motion that I was doing.
What we do is for each video, we put my face in it, because not that my face is recognizable, but a human face in a thumbnail apparently has a higher click-through rate than without a human being. And so it's more personable. So we're like, all right, even though I'm not really in any of the new videos, because they're entirely animated, we still put a picture of me on the front. Then we put elements that are part of that video, so they're all graphical elements, so they're all, like, illustrative and then two to three words max.
So if we're "how to get rid of algae," it would maybe we'd say, kill green water in the thumbnail. And we have the same font for every thumbnail. We have the same graphics for every thumbnail, the same picture with my same shirt and same hat, and then five different colors. So when you look at it, it all looks like a cohesive brand. And we put our little symbol at the bottom. That's the strategy there. And we keep it straightforward. And we are intentionally going after search so people who are searching for things on YouTube and searching for things even on Google, we want to come up for that.
With BrewCabin and MoneyLab, it's a little different. We are doing the traditional or maybe not traditional, but the way that the Mr. Beasts of the World are doing YouTube, right where we're trying to go for enticing, like, ooh, what's this video about? Hook them real quick in the beginning.
So the thumbnail choices for that and this is actually not something I'm very good at. My fiancee/wife is awesome at it, and it's shockingly awesome because I was sitting there and we were going over this one new thumbnail that we had that was like, How to Brand Your Website. That's the name of the video that I came up with. It's like how to brand your website. And so I'm like using these tools, and I'm using ChatGPT, and I'm like, come up with a better, more interesting, emotional whatever. It's spitting out all this stuff at me.
And I'm like, okay, because she runs our Swim University YouTube channel. So she lives in YouTube all day. I was like, hey, I have this title. It's not that good. What would you do? And she said something, and it's the title that's on the screen now. And I'm like, oh, that's so different and so much better than what I had, right? And it's more of like, this brand rule will completely change your life, or whatever. Here's how those sorts of tactics. And then she even knew the thumbnail. She just said, oh, it should be your face in the center with these two things. It's like oh, wow. Okay. I was really overthinking it.
Then I put those thumbnails up on Twitter to get sort of a gauge on which one would you pick over? Because I would design two or three, and then they would pick and then we would refine that even more, and that becomes the thumbnail, which is a lot of work. In the beginning, we're just getting started with MoneyLab YouTube again. So we're trying to figure out, okay, what's working, what's not working? Is it content or is it thumbnail and title? So we're kind of testing everything, and once we see something that hits and we start to get our stride, then it will become more programmatic, or I should say more like, we could put it in an SOP and go, here's how we design thumbnails and how we think about titles. But right now, we're just in the experimentation phase.
Bob: That's awesome. And I love that you always share those experiments with your MoneyLab.co community. So those of you listening right now, you want to see what the current versions of anything is, head over there and check it out. I was watching a video that you did back in February of 2022 where you're talking about the headline of your Brew Cabin one time offer page, your thank you for New Subscribers. And then I looked at it today, and it's almost the exact same page with some tweaks, but the headline is definitely different. It's probably the 10th iteration by now.
Headline shifts and title changes are always important. Those of you listening, I hope that you do check out the new AI Engine from Leadpages where you can swap your headline out and test that out. I know it's relatively new as we're doing this recording. I don't know if you've had a chance to take a look.
Matt: I've done it.
Bob: Yeah, pretty slick, eh.
How Long Should YouTube Videos Be?
Bob: Next question for you around YouTube is the length of your videos. This is always a conversation that people want to get into a little bit or at least have a direction, especially if they're in their first ten to 20 videos. Brevity, depth, some of both. Where do you stand on what you're finding is working for your various properties?
Matt: We try to now, on all our videos, be less than 15 minutes. More than five, but less than 15. So I don't know if there's a sweet spot for us. So the last two videos that we came out with on Money Lab were six and a half minutes long, which I felt might be a little short. And so now this third video that we're coming out with, we're going to try for closer to 15 minutes and see how that does. The topic is a little bit more technical. So we're trying different topics, we're trying different lengths again, different thumbnails and titles to see what our audience hits with because I don't really know yet besides what I have on Twitter. So definitely using Twitter as my sort of like ideation pool, if you will, right now. And we do the same across all three channels, which is pretty much no more than 15 minutes. Like MoneyLab, I tried to push that to do like long-form video podcasts. I happen to be like a big YouTube user. I will wake up in the morning and sit in bed for 2 hours and watch it like a podcast. I don't think everybody has that same luxury and they'd much rather watch Last of Us or some other thing if they have that minimal amount of time, whereas I just have time. Same thing with podcasts too. We've tested this since I've been podcasting since 2013. So we found that 30 minutes is like that's the sweet spot. That's like the average commute as well and the average workout. So it just feels like 30 minutes is perfect. So, yeah, that's what I try to strive for is like under 15, over five.
Bob: And for those things, like podcast episodes that you port over to YouTube, do you find that you prefer to split them up into parts two and three or do you go ahead and just leave them if they do run over to like 45 minutes or something like that? Do you keep them in their entirety?
Matt: Yeah. So that's interesting. We are changing. So what we did for the first couple was we would do a video podcast, right? So we would record it live. I would have my brother here switching cameras in real time. I had a script that was on a whiteboard that no one could see. And I would deliver this like one-man show for about an hour because I can talk. I like talking. I do this one-man show for an hour. And then we would take that video and we would publish it to my private MoneyLab Pro community so they would get the full version. The audio would get ripped from that and that would go on the podcast, the audio podcast, which is available to everybody. And then we would take that video and we distilled it down to six and a half minutes. Right? So it's like an hour of content. We just scrap it because a lot of times it's just me BSing with my brother or like making a joke or we just thought this section didn't really need to be in this video. But yeah, we take the entire topic because it's like one topic that we're trying to compress down into a short-form video.
What I've found is that that editing is incredibly tedious and complex and almost over edit it, you watch it and it's like, it's got a lot of energy. But to me, I'm like it's a lot of work to just to get that out. The reason I brought up the 30-minute podcasting thing is because that's what we're going to end up doing now.
So the last episode that we did, we had a 30-minute timer on and I designed the content, the script to fit that 30 minutes. So it's really like I kind of believe that most of the YouTube work and podcasting work to grow a show is all done in pre-production, right? It's all about do you have the right idea? Did you write a great hook? And is the content worth producing a video or a podcast about in the first place? Right? And how can I pack as much information into this as humanly possible and deliver it in a concise way? We did a 30-minute video that was three different things that I used to run my business to manage money within my business, which is a very boring topic. But we sat there and did the 30-minute thing. I had a big countdown timer going, like, if you're on stage, you have that big red timer. So we have that now. I deliver the content and I do a 30-minute show. And again, that goes up as a podcast, which is a perfect length for me. It goes up as a video podcast for the audience, for my private audience at MoneyLab Pro, which is perfect for them. 30 minutes is just long enough and then the YouTube audience, the public audience, will get a 15-minute version or less of that same content. And I think it's just taking that thing that we really just had kind of pre-distilled and distill it even more. And it's much easier to edit that way because we're not watching an hour's worth of footage and trying to cut out all the main mess. We did a tight 30, and now we just got to make it a tight 15 or less, right?
Tips to Make Video Editing Easier
Bob: And I think that editing is the next question that I'm sure people are hearing that they need to have an answer for. When I've ever done video, and I'm sure people listening have done. Some of you have done your own video. It is super tedious. It is something, especially if you're listening to yourself over and over again, it might not be your favorite thing to do. What tips do you have about editing videos so that they're nice and tight and they're more likely for people to be engaged and entertained by?
Matt: Okay, there's a lot that's a lot that's a big question. I will say this because my brother and I talk about this all the time.
There is no shortcut. There are processes that you could do to lubricate the time spent, but it is a tedious job in the way that you would probably say editing a book or editing a blog post. Writing it is pretty frictionless, especially if you're just like stream of consciousness. But the editing takes way longer than the writing, and that's the same with video. Right? It takes us 30 minutes to create a video, right? I have to write a script, so I have to write basically this blog post and edit it before we even record. Recording is actually the shortest part. I think, for editing. The ways that there's a couple of things.
One, to speed up the process, to make it less tedious, is to not watch things over and over again. And I used to do that all the time where I'd make a cut, do this, and I would watch it for timing to make sure I got the timing right. It's like you're wasting your time. Just, like, go through and make all your cuts, and then you can clean it up on your second run.
One of the ways that I add energy to anything that we do is to just keep things visually moving. And that doesn't necessarily have to be completely switching a camera or completely adding in a different view. If I'm just doing a talking head, which I'm sure a lot of people out there do, one of the things that I do a lot of jump cuts, but I zoom in about ten to 20% between cuts. So it's not just jump cuts. There's a little bit of camera movement between those cuts, and that I feel like adds a little energy. Or if there's a long three to four-second cut, we might slow zoom in or slow zoom out in post. So this is all done in the editing software.
Obviously, adding lower thirds adds some visual movement. Being me on camera and Italian and using my hands to talk is just something I kind of grew up with. And so that potentially helps with just having animation on screen as I'm doing right now, which if you're listening to this, you cannot see.
And then trying to do B-roll. So what we'll do is we'll cut our A roll, which is essentially just me on camera. And then we'll go, okay, what could we show? How can we make this not just in an entertaining way that's like secondary. We think, what can we deliver the audience that would be visually helpful for them? Because maybe I'm talking about something that's like right now I might be talking about how I'm editing, but you're not seeing my editing screen. I'm not demonstrating that. What we'll do is we'll go through and we'll write down things that we could add, right? And we go and actually film those things.
So whether they're screenshots or they're in my house, maybe it's just like me typing, right? It just could be B-roll just to split me up. Like I'm on screen all the time. So just to give the audience a break, right? It's like, oh my god, you can eat all this chicken teriyaki, but it gets so sweet. You just want to eat some white rice to take a break, right? It's like this cooling. It's like getting out of the cold pool and sitting in a sauna, right? You just need a break. And so visually we'll do that.
In those B-roll moments where we go and film those other things, that's where we'll sneak in jokes and just ways to do it that it's not just taking stock footage off of StoryBlocks, but trying to film something unique and then doing something weird with it. Like, for example, recently we had one of the videos that came out. I wanted to film myself typing on a laptop as just B-roll. And I decided to just type with my I don't know what I did, but I just typed by smacking the keyboard with my hand instead of just actually typing, just to add some sort of visual gag. And everyone pointed to that being like they were like, oh my, that cracked me up because I didn't see it coming. And I'm like, that's going to keep the retention high. Because now you're like, what's the next bit? When's that coming?
So stuff like that to keep the audience sort of entertained, which is going to increase your retention and which is going to increase the more that YouTube is going to serve up your video to other people. Because if you have a high average view duration or high AVD and you have good click-through rate, then you can have success on YouTube.
Bob: I love this idea of an Easter egg for your super fans. And I'm wondering if you've ever done some kind of a contest of first Easter egg discovery in the comments gets some kind of a prize.
Matt: No, I've never done it. There's actually an Easter egg in Money Lab we certainly can do that with, and we plan on doing it. But I have a YouTube channel all about home brewing called Brew Cabin, and there's five videos on that channel and it did just take me so long to make because they're all kind of mini-movies.
I did one video that actually was I think it's my shortest video, but it's done in the style of like an HGTV show, and I'm building a teaser, which is like a beer kegerator kind of thing. And so I edited it and filmed it as if it's like an HGTV show. But the whole bit is I did it as like, the Property Brothers, so I did twins. So I'm just me, I don't have a twin brother, but I just did camera manipulation and editing to make it look like I have a twin. And then it's basically the way I describe the video, because if you want to watch it, it's crazy. It's like Fight Club meets HGTV. And I won't explain it other than that, because there is a twist ending, which is weird for a how to video.
But in that I threw in so many editing Easter eggs and no one in the comments picked up on any of them. I must have either I hid them way too well or there was a lot of Fight Club references and all these other things that were just placed throughout the video that I had planned in advance and no one's found them. But I haven't done a contest. I haven't made it a point to be like, hey, go find these and then I'll give you something in return.
Bob: That's funny.
Matt: It's a good idea, though.
Building Your Email List with YouTube Videos
Bob: So the last question I have for you is, we're always talking about list building for email marketing. We talked about this a little bit earlier about how YouTube is crushing it. So how are you getting people from YouTube onto your email list? What kind of strategies are you making sure to include either in the video itself or in the description to get people over to your landing pages?
Matt: Yeah, this is something we employed in 2021, I think. Before, when we were doing our YouTube videos, we would send people directly to our products, so we would say, thank you for watching this video. Go to this URL and get 10% off our course, or whatever it was, depending on what the video was about.
In 2021, we switched it to go and download our free cheat sheet. We tested four, I think, different cheat sheets or sorry, four different lead magnets on our website to see just which medium people would subscribe to more. Right. And we used Leadpages for each page and then used the conversion metrics within Leadpages to decide which one was the best.
This is all on my website, too. It was under the Gazillion Dollar Sales Funnel Experiment, which is just again, it's one of those names doesn't really entice anybody to click, but it's a good article. And it was about testing those.
We tested just a newsletter offer, a checklist offer, like a video workshop course offer, and a cheat sheet. And a cheat sheet blew all three of them away.
So once we figured out that that had the highest conversion rate and it makes the most sense why it does for pool care. It's the quickest win somebody has from entering their email address to getting something that will literally help them in that moment, as opposed to having to sit there and watch a video or like a checklist, which means they have to do work or whatever.
So we took that and I said, well, instead of sending people directly to our product, let's send people to download a free thing. Instead of having them pay to be on our list, let's get them to download the free thing, and then we can set up a one time offer after that. So that's what we've done.
Plus, we knew that the cheat sheet would be more of a forever thing, whereas the product could change and the price could change and the percentage of the offer could change, whereas a free cheat sheet will never change. That will always be an offer that will be evergreen.
And what we do is, yes, we put it in the description, that's an easy play, but we do an intro to our video. And this is the same in all SwimUniversity videos if you go back and watch, it's the same format. So we do an intro, we do our title card, and then we pitch the cheat sheet, which is like, go to this URL. We make the URL very simple because there's no hyphens in the URL. And we put a little card, I believe, in the video. And we have a special landing page, which you know, we have a special landing page just for that. And that's how we collect email addresses.
Those people enter their email address on a lead page and then they're taken to a one time offer page where they can buy our course at a discount. So it's basically doing both. So we're collecting more email addresses, but we're also making sales through that as well.
Bob: Yeah, that's awesome.
Matt: And we reiterate at the end of the video, too.
Bob: Yeah. In that end of the video, are you reiterating multiple things? Because I think some people get tripped up with that. They're like subscribe and click the notification bell and do the email and do this. So how are you trying to make sure that there's a focus to that final CTA?
Matt: So our real only call to action, which is not true, but our real only call to action is to that cheat sheet is to that lead page. We do it twice so right after the intro and then once right before the end.
But after that we do have after that as our end screen comes up on YouTube, we also say if you like this video, hit the like button. If you have a question, leave a comment. That's it. So that's sort of like just do it. It's an easy spot to do it in. And so whether people stay till the end or not and actually perform those things, I don't know. We've not measured before and after of like. Oh, once we started asking people to like the videos, we got more likes. I honestly don't really care because again, we're going after search there.
On Brew Cabin and Money Lab we do not ask for it because I worry about the future. What if there is no like buttons anymore? Then I just look like an idiot. What if there is no bell anymore? I look like an idiot. So it's like remember we used to have these old annotations back in the day and it's like people just pointing to things that don't exist anymore and especially even on your iPhone. Those things don't pop up on your iPhone.
We don't do it there because I kind of want it to feel evergreen and maybe it's hurting my algorithmic push, but I don't care. I'd much rather make it feel clean and simple rather than in the middle of the video. Make sure you smash that like button. It's like so lame. I don't know. I know you got to do it.
Bob: But what's really funny is to watch the relatively new YouTubers who are already uncomfortable on camera and then they think they have to say exactly that phrase of make sure smash the like button. I do worry about how that's proliferated.
Matt: Yeah, I've never smashed a like button because someone told me to do it. But then again, I definitely rebel against authority. So please don't tell me what to do.
Bob: That's amazing. Well, before I let you go, my final question I like to ask our guests is what kind of a mantra, quote or philosophy do you have that you can pull into if you run into challenges in your business that brings you to the other side? Anything that comes to mind that you can share with our audience before we wrap up.
Matt: The first thing that came to my mind was "nothing is urgent." And that's something that may not be for everybody, but urgency in our business leads to anxiety and stress. And I kind of feel like nothing is that urgent in the business space, whether it's like dead day or whatever. But it may not be a great one because for some people are like, no shit is urgent. I got to do this right now or else we're losing millions of dollars a minute. But I would say that? I don't know.
I have these rules that I follow on Money Lab. They're, like, commandments for myself. And the first one is, "have fun, make money," and have fun comes before making money. Because I kind of feel like if I'm having fun on camera and I'm having fun writing and I'm having fun putting this stuff together and talking to you and all of this stuff, then I don't know, I kind of feel like the money will take care of itself from that point. Because it's like, if I can first and foremost have fun, be entertaining, put on a good show, write a great article, enjoy myself in the process, then it's like, well, yeah, everyone can kind of feel that. And I think whatever I'm selling or whatever I'm offering people, they'll probably buy it.
Bob: Great advice.
Bob: All right, Matt, thanks so much for joining me for this episode.
Matt: No, I appreciate it. Cool, thank you for having me.
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