Matt Giovanisci is an online brand builder and currently runs three brand websites. The one he speaks about in this case study is moneylab.co, which is his personal brand. Another site of his is swimuniversity.com, which he has maintained for ten years teaching people online how to take care of swimming pools. The third is RoastyCoffee.com, which is similar in structure to swimuniversity.com with teaching people how to brew coffee at home. He also recently produced and sold a rap album in 30 days with12 songs all about entrepreneurship (listen to the episode to hear the details).
A Quick Preview of the Podcast:
- How to create a blog post that your ideal audience will share
- How to structure a sharable blog post
- How writing in an ironic manner can potentially increase subscribers
Tim: It’s sort of the dream of every marketer to have their landing page go viral. You know reach thousands and thousands without any paid media. Generate tons of subscribers and become a pillar of marketing success. Unfortunately, that’s easier said than done and that’s really not what Matt Giovanisci set out to do when he created the page we’ll be discussing today which you can find at moneylab.co/email.
He really just created it out of frustration and somehow a page created out of frustration generated 56,000 page views. 25,000 of them were in just one day. And people spend an average of 3 minutes and 10 seconds on a landing page.
It’s pretty nuts and I really can’t wait for you to hear about it so stick around. I’m Tim Paige, the senior conversion educator here at LeadPages and this is ConversionCast.
Alright, so the reason you know this, the reason why I wanted to have you on was I think was because ridiculous and also awesome. So can you tell us the results this page got for you?
Matt: Yeah so it went “viral” on Friday April 29th of 2016 and with a little over 25,000 page views. And since then it has gotten 56,886 page views with 51,537 unique visitors who spent an average of 3 minutes and 10 seconds on the site to be very specific. I’m literally reading this off of Google Analytics.
It resulted in a little over 1600 email addresses within like pretty much that time frame like Friday, April 29th.
Tim: I love it, and let’s be clear. We’re talking about spending almost 3 minutes or over 3 minutes on a landing page in general.
Matt: Yes, yes.
Tim: I mean it’s a weird landing page but it’s a landing page.
Matt: That’s it.
Tim: Cool. Alright. Well I want to talk about it and were going to. First tell everybody who you are if you can figure out a way to fit it in to the time we have what you do.
Matt: Sure. My name is Matt Giovanisci or Giovanisci, it’s very Italian. Although I’m only half Italian. Anyway, I don’t identify as an Italian male. I’m just letting you know that. So I run a couple of brands, I run a brand called money lab.co. which is where this email page exists. I run a brand called swimuniversity.com, I’ve been running that for 10 years. I basically teach people how to take care of their swimming pools and hot tubs via the internet.
And I also have a site called roastycoffee.com which is how to brew coffee at home. Same similar style to swimuniversity.co. So I’m an online brand builder I guess you could say.
Tim: And you’re also a world famous hip-hop artist.
Matt: Oh yeah and now I’m a hip-hop artist. Apparently, yeah.
Tim: Just to give context, can your kind of tell people about that experiment.?
Matt: Yeah, so last month which is the month of July 2016, I decided to record. So basically produce and sell a rap album in 30 days. So 12 songs, they’re all about entrepreneurialship or entrepreneurship. The album is titled “Entreprenuer” but it’s spelled wrong in purpose. A lot of people didn’t pick up on that. There’s a giant red squiggly line underneath the word and the reason it’s spelled wrong is because I never spell it correctly every single time. Even doing the design of that album and now knowing the correct way to spell entrepreneur, I still get it wrong. I still mix up the U and the E at the end.
And it’s sort of a metaphor to why entrepreneurs are… we’re not perfect and everyone like reads the perfect stuff and you know, we just… There are a lot of miss steps and mishaps that happen in entrepreneurship and most of them don’t talk about it and so that’s what the album is sort of based around so yeah.
Tim: I dig it and you know the thing I like is that, amongst other things is that you experiment and you like to do stuff that’s different.
Tim: And that is a huge, I would bet a huge part of why some of your businesses have been as successful as they have been.
Matt: Yeah maybe, I just don’t want to be. I like being original in general so.
Tim: Yeah. And okay. So here’s my process to what were about to talk about with these landing pages that is that. I talk a lot about doing what works and what’s been tested and proven. And you talk a lot about doing what you think is going to work and what you want to do.
And I love that. It’s a different perspective. It’s really fresh and this page is proof positive of that. So can you kind of I guess describe the page as best you can?
Matt: Describe it or describe how I made it?
Tim: A little bit of both.
Matt: Okay, so the page basically is a blog post right? And it’s supposed to mimic, you know, every blog post that everyone sees on the internet which has a welcome mat, that’ll ask for your email address. It has a pop-up box that ask for the email address. It has this bottom, left-corner slide-in, or bottom right-corner slide and then ask for your email.
It has an email address opted in the middle of the content. It has it at the end of the content. And when you leave the page, it re targets you on Facebook and ask for your email address there too. So the page just… So that’s what it is as far as like how it’s laid out HTML wise.
The content is like with what you’re reading the article. I don’t like calling it content because it’s not. It’s an article and what the article is basically saying is, it’s just saying give me your email address in so many ways. It’s saying you know your email address isn’t that important. It’s the same email address that the Nigerian prince has and asked you, you know to give him money and it’s the same email address you used to sign up with that last porn site last month. It’s the same email address you used for like dumb things on the internet. So just give it to me because who cares at this point, right? And If you don’t give it to me, don’t worry, I have other place I’m going to ask for it. I’m going to ask for it in the slide inbox. I’m going to come at you at the middle of this content.
And then the kind of the article wraps up the saying like, alright, well man, I tried everything. I’ve tried this because I was told that this was going to work and I’d link to all these articles that you know say, the welcome mat will increase your subscriber rate by 50% and the slide in will increase your subscriber rate by 25% and I linked to all these articles. I’m like I tried all this.
Well you know what I got 1 last one coming at you, I’m going to retarget you on Facebook and I’m going to hit you at the bottom. So it’s sort of like a very meta article about the idea of, you know, this opt-in sort of blog posts world that we live in right now. And it’s sort of making fun of the overuse of these pop-ups and welcome mats and slide-in boxes and kind of ink posts you know kind of all of those things.
Tim: Yeah. And you know you had… the idea behind doing this was to kind of make a point while at the same time experimenting?
Matt: So the point of it was I was very angry. That’s why it happened.
Matt: So what you see on the internet is not what I originally created. It’s actually 2 weeks in the making. So I was sitting in my office and I was like you know? I turned in to my girlfriend who works in the same office as me in our house.
And I turn to her and I said you know what I’m just going to make a page at this point that just says give me your Effin email address. And I used the F word. And I was just like. You know what I just turned around and started coding it.
Like I didn’t even, I didn’t think about it, I was just like so angry because I think I went on like a website and I saw these all things and I’m like you know what? I’m just tired of this. And you know these are tactics that I used too in my other brands and I’m not a saint. I’m not saying that I don’t use these types of tactics but it just…
I think I saw a page that like overused it and I just got angry and I’m just like you know what I want to make a page that just straight up ask people and uses all these tactics and makes fun of it. And I sat down and I swear to you every sentence I wrote and I wrote this whole article and every sentence was it ended with give me your Effing email address.
Like fully spelled out you know? And I’m just censoring myself for the show.
Tim: Thank you.
Matt: I’m writing this and I was just so happy. Like I was sitting down and was saying the F word as much as in writing and being angry and like it gets a lot. You know when you write an email address and somebody emails you and they’re kind of you know being a jerk.
Matt: But you write this long email back. You’re like yeah and then you don’t send it?
Matt: Well that was this. I did that. So I wrote this long post and didn’t actually publish it. So I kind of sat on it and I sent it to a few people and they were like this is funny but God you use a lot of curse words. And I’m like yeah. And it’s also, it had no value to. It was just like it was basically me being angry. And so I sat down with myself when I was like well, how do I make this sort of tell a story and also like not be as so brash right?
Because it was almost like too… It was too much right? And so I removed all the F words and I sort of cleaned it up and I spent a lot of time on the copy itself. Like on the words which I never do. Usually I’m not a writer by trade. I usually write something, don’t edit it, publish and go whatever, I don’t care. You’re gonna find a million typos, which is really dumb and ever since this project, I’ve learned. Editing is great and super important and holy crap, I can make something that’s really, really good if I just spend some time editing so. I kept editing and I kept making the jokes funnier. I was trying to make parts of it funnier and I just kept going back to it like every day and just cleaning up little bits and pieces and then finally I had this idea.
Well what if this was actually you know somewhat helpful in a way? So at the end, I linked out to all these you know articles that talk about why this is even the phenomenon. And I kind of bring it all together in this one you know piece?
And I have a beginning and an end. So the beginning is like hey just give me your email address, you know? If the welcome mat didn’t get you this thing will get you. If this doesn’t get you, this will get you, and who cares it’s just an email address and at the very end it’s like, I’m kind of like slowly giving up. It’s like you know last ditch effort. I’m like I don’t know, I tried this and this didn’t work and this didn’t work. Here’s all the links of the things that I read that I thought would work. And then you know what? Oh I got one more for you. And then that’s sort of the punch line at the end.
So it was a long time you know to make. Because I crafted this like perfect story and it worked. And what happened was as far as like getting it out there, I just published it on Facebook. That was as far as I went to promote it. And I sent it out to my list which was at the time 100 people.
Matt: And they kind of took it and ran with it and people that I knew took it and shared it. And then I got picked up by a company called digitalmarketer.com which I have never heard off. So and apparently Ryan Deiss, the owner of the company was the one who put it on the Facebook. It was his words.
And everyone is like, dude, Ryan shared it. I’m like who? Who’s this person? And then I got picked up on somebody posted it on Hacker News and somebody posted it on Reddit and I got like super… I mean you know it’s funny because the first day that I launched, I actually launched it on a Wednesday which was April 27th and I had 709 page views and I’m like whoa. This is amazing, I can’t believe like this took off, like holy crap.
And the the next day which was the Thursday, I think I had like the Google Analytics like real time stats open because I like doing that. And I saw like I was getting a lot more people. And it was mostly from the digital marketer group. And I was like whoa, okay this is cool.
And then the next day. Like there was like I think at one point, I looked at the real time analytics and there was like 250 people on the site at once on that on page. And I’m like oh my God what have I done? And so Friday was just like it just exploded. It was crazy and that’s when all the email addresses came flooding in.
Tim: I like it. I think… I don’t think the lesson to take away from this is like just go do something ridiculous. Because first off you put a lot of time and effort in to it before you published it.
Matt: Yes, yes.
Tim: There was a purpose behind it. You weren’t just putting up a landing page and saying like join the email. Just do it. Like just to see if that worked. Like you put some thought in to it. It’s actually really entertaining. It’s, you know again, it is so much more than just like just putting some stuff on the page and being like let’s see if these gets people to opt in. And you know you had a lot of people will go to the page and you grew your list pretty significantly.
But I think if I’m listening to this, what I take away is to one, of course, do the stuff that’s been proven to work right? I mean if it works, try it.
Matt: Oh, absolutely.
Tim: You know if it resonates with your brand and it works for what you’re doing. But at the same time you know you as a marketer right, you have a distinct personality. You take the brand out of it but you’re a unique person. You are who you are. Do something a little bit different and that speaks to who your brand is and see if that works and be willing to kind of be a little bit different. Not only can it work to grow your list and get you a sale but also make you stand out in a really crowded marketplace which is what this did.
Matt: Yeah and I want to point out too that I mentioned earlier, this is not how I approached all of my brands. I have two other brands where I do very traditional stuff. I say sign up, you know give me your email address and go get all these free PDFs, you know and you get all this free videos. You know?
Matt: And I do those things and they work for those brands. Money Lab when I created it when I created that brand, it is me. That is my personal brand and so the people that I want to attract are the people who are like me you know? We do these tactics but you don’t like them. No one likes like “oh I love putting pop ups on my website I think it’s so great” They only like it because it actually gives you results. So on Money Lab like at the bottom of every page, I straight up tell people they’re not getting anything and that was like just sign up. You’re not going to get anything.
Because when I’m speaking to other me’s in the world. Whereas if I did that on Swim University, they would be like well that’s…you’re being a jerk. They’re like why are you doing this to me? Like I’m not going to sign up. Like I don’t get anything from you. So it works for that brand and I can be creative on other brands too but that’s just sort of the take that I got with Money Lab. And again like Roasty and Swim University have different takes, creatively but different. Yeah.
Tim: Yeah. No, I like it. I just wanted to share something that I think was a little bit contrarian for contrarian’s sake but not just not to be contrary. Like it is different and fun but it’s like I’ve been talking about the Disney movie “Enchanted” and I’m a big Disney fan and how it makes fun of itself all the time. The whole movie is basically making fun of what Disney does and it’s a Disney movie and I love that. But it does it in a way that’s fun and entertaining and unique and I think that’s what’s cool about this so.
Matt: Yeah and “Dead Pool” is another example.
Tim: Exactly, those are the 2 examples that I’ve been using for this so. I love it man. Well thank you! Thanks for talking a little bit about this, I appreciate you coming on.
Matt: Yeah for sure.