Eric Siu is the CEO of ClickFlow, a content intelligence software that helps businesses grow their SEO traffic. He’s also an Investor, Podcaster, and Author of ‘Leveling Up: How to Master the Game of Life’.
On this episode of the rich dad, poor dad podcast, we have the one and only Eric SU the CEO of click flow and single grain. And these guys are responsible for spending well over 18 million a year in the B2B realm, we dive into weaponizing the data you have having an omni-channel approach. We also even chat on some mergers and acquisitions side of things. If you're interested in investing, thinking for yourself and knowing where your money's going, make sure to check this one out. Eric is an open box and this one is super awesome.
Honestly, we probably should've killed it at, um, we probably should've killed it at 25-30 K, but we ended up spending like a hundred. Um, so the campaign net net, I think we probably ended up losing maybe 20 to 30 K. So it wasn't even, we did, to be honest, if we decided to focus on it more, we probably could figure it out, but we just said, Hey, you know, we, we don't feel, uh, we, we feel there's better opportunities with other offers. So, you know, let's move on.
Speaker 3 (01:04):
Listening to the rich and poor ed podcast, where we break down the financial principles that rich advertisers are deploying today to turn advertising into profit and get tons of traffic to their websites without killing their cash. These advertisers agencies, affiliates brands are responsible for managing over a billion dollars a year in ad spend. You'll hear about what's working for them today. They're rich ads and we'll roast their Epic failures and crappy ads on the internet with core ads. Let's get into it.
Everybody. We are back in business with another episode of the rich dad, poor dad podcast. We've got your host, Dylan Carpenter and the house hope everybody's doing well. Now, today we have an exciting guest and I'm personally amped fricking chat with this individual, but we got the CEO of cook flow and single grain. These guys probably manage roughly 15 to 18 million a year, mainly in the B2B SAS or tech company kind of side of things, but he's also the host of the marketing school and leveling up podcasts. So we're on that podcast trains. Y'all make sure to check that out, but when the hype is real, we got Mr. Eric Sue, how's it going, man?
I'm good, Dylan. Thanks for, thanks for having me here.
Not a problem. So give everybody a little idea and some context to kind of who you are kind of what you're getting into. So everybody has an idea.
Yeah. So, um, like you mentioned, I have a podcast called marketing school. I do it with another marketer named Neil Patel. And, um, I also have a podcast called leveling up. That's really where I just nerd out and talk to other business owners, uh, authors, or just other kind of high performers to learn from them. And then, um, there's a couple of businesses that I have, like you mentioned. Um, I do have operators that run those, those businesses. Um, nowadays I'm trying to focus more on either I'm looking for other deals or just creating content, just kind of high leverage things that only I can do on my side or at least what I perceive only I can do. Um, and yeah, from there, you know, just, um, playing the game of business, I have a book coming out called leveling up, um, in, in February and, uh, yeah, just enjoying life as it goes.
Heck yeah, man. And congrats on the book. I mean, that's got to take some time to really, you know, sit down and, you know, come up with all the material more or less or may come second nature,
Uh, five years, man. It's, it's uh, the, the book, you know, what they say about the book is, uh, you're going to go through like five to seven drafts. You could have a ton of editors that go through it and, uh, it takes a lot longer than you think it does. Oh, I can only imagine,
Especially when it's done. Right. Cause I mean, shoot, that's gotta be a task, but I mean, it's probably gonna blow up on them.
I hope so. We'll see. That's the plan.
Yeah, man. So you mentioned kind of looking for deals, what kind of deals are you looking forward to, to acquire companies, you know, clients,
How that kind of tone out there? Yeah. So, um, you know, right now I think, you know, I think a lot of people listening to this, it's, it's always, um, you know, what's the newest marketing tactic or what's the newest market. What are the newest marketing strategies? I think one of the kind of, um, unseen gems is, you know, it seems like a big word, you know, mergers and acquisitions. Um, but you know, at the end of the day, it's what you're doing is if you go buy other assets while there's other SAS companies or other websites, um, you're often going to be able to take advantage of it immediately. And then, you know, oftentimes it's one plus one equals three, so you plug it in with your audience and then, you know, they enjoy it. And then all of a sudden, you know, you get to reap the rewards. I think it, it just, it sounds a lot more complicated than it actually is. Um, and you know, you, you, I think most people think they need to be really smart or like an investor with a lot of money. It's just not true, man.
That is super interesting. So with these, you know, mergers or acquisitions, where do you, where does your role come in? Does it come into, you know, kind of partner up, use their audiences? Um, how to exactly. Do you integrate
With them if you don't want me to ask him? Yeah, sure. So, um, one good example of this would be the ad agency that I had that I own single grain. So, um, I took the company over about seven years ago and, um, you know, I bought the company for $2 out of pocket and it was a failing ad agency at the time, you know, the, or an SEO agency actually. And the services that we were doing were no longer working. So I basically negotiated a deal where I was able to, was able to take over the website, um, you know, all the assets. And then I put a contingency that if the company were to fail, um, I would end up owing nothing. And so, um, you know, that ended up working out and that's a deal where I had to put in a lot of sweat equity, you know, this is seven years ago again, but, um, you know, it worked out and we're able to turn the company around. And, um, I went from, at the time owning 10% of the company to, um, you know, now I own a hundred percent of the company and then I just basically take the cash flows from that business and reinvest it in areas that I see fit. Oh man, I
Love it. Heck yeah, man, this is going to be exciting.
So as you know, you
Know, we'd spoke about it a little earlier. We love dive into, you know, as you mentioned, what's working some of the newer strategies, but it's pretty loosely open there. So I mean, when we dive into more of the rich had what's working good for y'all what's, what's, y'all's rich at.
Speaker 4 (06:11):
Yeah. So, you know,
I think a lot of people are probably sharing tactics around, um, you know, actually running ads. I think one of the biggest things that works well for us is when we think about, um, you know, going on the channel, right? And so what do I mean by that? So, you know, right now let's take a, take a look at the, a single green website. So we have our blog, right? And our blog, uh, from an SEO standpoint, you know, we get decent traffic about 300,000 visits a month. So, you know, we produce content. Um, and then, you know, what we do there is we have a lot of people hitting our website and what we do after that is, um, we layer on what we call or not what we call it's, what they call a customer data platform. So a customer data platform is basically something that allows us to, you know, combine all the disparate data sources that we have.
You know, we might have data sources from like HubSpot and then the sales enablement tools that we're using like outreach. Um, and then, you know, different, uh, ad tools like Facebook, for example. And then we're able to basically say, okay, we have this visitor named Dylan that visited our website. He opted in for this, uh, lead magnet over here. And then he also, uh, took this action to Intercom over here. And now we have an entire timeline of what Dylan performed on our website. Um, and we can serve that user accordingly. Right. So if they're really interested in, you know, content around SEO, we can serve that up to them in an, in an ad, it can automatically create an ad, right. Or, um, you know, we can automatically have our salesperson, uh, go out and send them autumn, uh, automatic email based on the behaviors on their web, on our website.
So without getting too much in the weeds, um, we are now able to weaponize the data that we have, um, because before you would have all these disparate data sources that, um, wouldn't really tell you kind of what the whole story is with a user like Dylan. Now we can actually do that. And now we can automatically put them into sales campaigns, um, ad campaigns and all that, because we have, you know, we have data hitting our website, right? So, um, you know, customer data platforms are something that's worked well for us. We actually managed to get a, um, about a seven figure podcast deal for marketing school because someone visited our website and, um, indicated that they're really interested in the podcast. And then that's how we got one of the deals on. So that's just one example of a seven figure deal we got done.
Oh man, you mentioned something weaponizing the data you have, I think to trademark Batman, that was beautiful.
Speaker 4 (08:40):
When it comes to how you kind of follow around on the kind of data side of things, how far does it go? Is it 30 days, 60 days, would you be able to see things I was looking at maybe say three, four months ago, or is it pretty real time oriented? Um, it's
I mean, you can go pretty far. I, I think, um, I actually don't even know if there's a limit. Um, so yeah, it can go as far as you need to. They have, um, you know, if you use something like a whole.io, which is what we use, it's H U L l.io, uh, you can use a tool called segment. They just got bought for a couple of billion dollars, um, by Twilio. Um, and so like, you know, I think the sky's the limit it's, it's, it's actually, you know, in our day and age people talk about data being really important data is the new oil and all that. I think, um, the possibilities are endless. I think, especially if those of you listening right now are really into, uh e-commerce. I think, you know, it, it makes a lot of sense to be using customer data platforms.
I think in the e-commerce world, most people use a Linux that's L Y T I C S um, so, you know, take a look at it if you haven't, if you aren't taking advantage already. Oh, Yan. I mean, there's never a better way to understand your customer, you know, journey more or less. I mean, I think these are killer points. Cause I mean, tracking attribution, the data side of things, I mean the amount of value you can get, uh, knowing, just knowing these numbers is unreal to just really probably level up the business as a whole. Yeah. It's like cheating, so, Oh yeah. The weaponizing man, I can't get over that. I'm gonna be talking about that all day.
Speaker 5 (10:07):
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Then check out, add [email protected] Heck yeah. So she that's quite a rich ad segment there. So, I mean, while that's working really good for y'all, what's something on the more proud side of things that, that would maybe kill it, but maybe it didn't work out that way. Yeah. I mean, there's, there's few and far between that, that don't work for us. Uh, so I'm trying to remember like, like I'm trying to give you a spectacular example. Um, I would say, you know what, hasn't worked for us. I done recently, we actually have a, um, so we have a program, um, out there that teaches people how to, um, it's basically a quote unquote, I hate using the word coaching program, but that's, that's what it is. Right. It coaches people on how to scale their agency out. And so, you know, what we did with that one, um, was we had the ads working and we were driving.
Um, we weren't spending like a ton of maybe we're spending like, um, I don't know, a couple thousand bucks a day, two, $3,000 a day. And we just would not give up on this campaign. So we were trying to drive leads to a phone call and enclosed close people on a $10,000 deal there. Right. And then there's a couple of companies out there that are doing 15, $20 million a year. And we're like, okay, we can do the same thing too. And what we realized was that, you know, we, we, we would have a daily stand-up, we'd have like a, you know, like a weekly 90 minute meeting, you know, we're doing all the things we had the marketing working, but what we couldn't figure out for the life of us was, um, the sales side of things. Right. And what we learned was that, um, instead of trying to figure everything out on our own, we probably should have just hired, you know, people that out there that I've actually done this multiple times with success.
And we probably would have been successful there, but because we dragged it out and tried to figure it out on our own, um, we ended up losing a lot of money there and we ended up losing a lot of time. So I think this also just not only applies for, um, things on the advertising side or like the sales side of things. Um, but just in general, when it comes to hiring people, figuring out, okay, you know, who out there is maybe, you know, two to three times, four times bigger than you, and you know, who are their top three executives that you can go out there and hire and just poach instead of, instead of trying to figure everything out on your own, because that's a recipe for disaster, you know, all the time you spend trying to remake the mistakes, um, all the money you're spending to, you're just better off hiring people that have been there, done that. And you're going to move a lot faster.
Speaker 4 (13:36):
So, Oh, I couldn't agree more. Now you mentioned the marketing was on point, but the sales side was kind of struggling when it comes with 10 K deal. Is it a one call close, typically two calls how'd, y'all kind of have that set up out of curiosity,
Wanted to do a one-call close and we did get a couple of one call closes. Um, that being said, um, we, again, we, we ended up, honestly, the mistake that we made, we ended up using an outsource sales company that didn't really understand our offer. And, um, when we listened to them on the calls, we, we gave them too much leeway to, we use a software called gong. That's G O N g.io for sales coaching. And we knew from the very first day that it was just way off. Right. It's just, we were too nice and we gave them too much leeway.
Speaker 4 (14:20):
Oh man. That is wild. So from a more marketing standpoint, when it comes to trying to convert someone on a 10 K deal, what kind of metrics do you look at on the kind of front end side for possibly a cost per book call, if you even have those numbers or have it, you know, an idea of those? Yeah.
So we primarily were looking for, um, the main thing we looked at every day, um, from my memory, just joining some of these stand-ups is that we were mainly looking at the click through rate first, right. Because obviously if you don't have good creative, um, and people aren't clicking through it, then that, that affects all your down funnel metrics. Um, we would look at, you know, how much, um, cost per qualified application was. Right. So for that, for that, we're basically looking at a couple of hundred bucks for a cost for qualified a qualified application. And then just, you know, as long as our click through rate is above 1%, ideally, uh, 1.5%, um, we're in a pretty happy spot, right? So we're constantly refreshing new creatives. And then, you know, we're kind of rotating in and out. Um, but we had the marketing dialed in. We just never had the, the, the sales completely locked in. And then by that time it was a little too late. So we ended up moving to another campaign
When it comes to that, that kind of, you know, campaign strategy. You mentioned, you had to kind of run it a little bit, kind of spinning the wheels, you know, is that something you will spend 10 K on to gauge if it works 5k 20 K a hundred K where's y'all's kind of kill spot or kill switch spot there. Yeah.
Honestly, we probably should have killed it at, um, I probably should have killed it at 25 30 K, but we ended up spending like a hundred. Um, so the campaign net net, I think we probably ended up losing maybe 20 to 30 K. So it wasn't even, we did, to be honest, if we decided to focus on it more, we probably could figure it out, but we just said, Hey, you know, we, we don't feel, uh, we, we feel there's better opportunities with other offers, so let's move on. Well, that makes complete sense. So
What's been your highest ticket offer out of curiosity, being 10 K for that one deal. Have you had others that are a lot higher? I'm kind of curious on that side of things.
Yeah. I mean, it's, um, so like, you know, with agency type stuff, I mean, these are, these are, you know, um, seven figure plus deals. Um, the podcast deal I told you about, and this is public knowledge, but, um, for the marketing school podcasts, we have a deal with a hosting company and they pay us about $800,000 a year. And again, that's just like, you know, the offer quote unquote. Um, but w if you're asking about, you know, something that, uh, like an offer that we're constantly, um, you know, selling on repeat, I think the one that we're focused on right now is click flow, which is a software, um, and that offer is, you know, give or take about five to $10,000 a year, if not more. Oh, man. That's it
Pretty solid LTV there can't complain at all. Heck yeah. Yeah. We've had so many individuals talk about, you know, just large deals. So it's really, you know, 10 K 50 K a hundred K. So it's always interesting to hear the kind of thought processes behind those so much appreciative, man.
We got the final piece of the pie I'm pumped on this one. So we always try and find a crossroads between the marketing and financial side of things. And I think this will be really valuable for our listeners here. So, I mean, based on your expertise and experience, what kind of, you know, financial principles or tips could you share with the audience here?
Yeah. I mean, I love this, I think, um, I'm glad that, you know, on this show, you guys are talking about, um, you know, financial tips beyond just kind of the marketing stuff, right? Because at the end of the day, everything kind of ties in together. You are, you're trying to build a business, you have to have good financial sense. You have to know of where you're putting in your money, right? So you are, you know, rich ad for ad. We are very much investors on this podcast or those of us listening. Um, so the one thing I'll say is going back to the very beginning, right? Um, it seems counter-intuitive, but oftentimes it could be better to buy versus build, right? And there's actually a book called buy than build. Um, so go out there, find other businesses or websites, right. Instead of saying, Hey, maybe I need to spend $3 million on ads.
Can you go buy a website that's generating, you know, a couple hundred thousand visitors a month and then use that, you know, use all the traffic you're getting there. Use the email list are used, the leverage you get there. Um, and then one plus one equals three, right? So there's a lot of different ways to skin a cat there to do deals like that. Um, that's one thing, the other thing I'll say is, um, right now, given all the craziness, and by the way, guys, this is not financial advice. This is for entertainment purposes. If you look at what a lot of people are doing, there's a guy out there, he put about $425 million of his, his entire company's balance sheet. It's a publicly traded company. You put it in Bitcoin. Right. Um, and then you have square who put about $50 million of their balance sheet into Bitcoin.
Um, so right now it's just, you know, the everything's pretty volatile out there, right? So, you know, cash, you know, people are saying cash is trash, you know, can you really rely on cash right now? Right. It's, it's it, we don't know. Right. We end up if people are talking about bonds and all that too, like you can't rely on bonds either. So, you know, it's it behooves us that if you want it to be, you know, um, to be cautious, to have some schmuck insurance, you know, putting maybe 1% or 5% of your assets, um, or I'm speaking for myself right now, you know, into Bitcoin, if not more, um, if you think Bitcoin is, is, you know, going to be the horse for the future, then you do that because you know that, you know, you can't really trust what's going on out there with, you know, all the cash that's being printed.
Um, all you can do is, you know, trust that the future might be digital. And, um, you know, you put a chunk of your, again, speak about me. I put a chunk of my money into Bitcoin and then, you know, just let it sit there. And then that way, hope I'm protected and you hope it doesn't go up because if it, if it goes up like a time, it goes at rapidly, that means the world is crumbling. Right. So I think it's, and what I'm really saying here is that, um, learning to think for yourself. So you might not agree with me that Bitcoin is the way to go. You might say Bitcoin's a fraud, but I'm just saying that, learning to think for yourself and learning to think ahead, uh, before, you know, poopoo hits the fan or peanut butter hits the fan, um, that's really gonna help you, um, in terms of not only how you think about investing, but how you run your business.
Speaker 4 (20:28):
Oh man. So this one just came out of my train of thought, you know, this is super interesting, but I mean, if you could give yourself some sort of advice in the investing realm 10 years ago, what would you kind of tell yourself?
Yeah. You know, I, I'm going to say this is an investing and also in the, in the marketing world too, I think one of the most things you can do is, and it sounds cliche is to build a brand, right. You know, Warren buffet and Charlie Munger always talk about buying businesses with a moat. And the reason they love see's candy so much is because it's got a brand, it's got a moat and they can continually, uh, increase their prices over time because the brand is so strong. And so, you know, what can you do to create a brand to create even stronger than that it's created, create a community. Right. Um, I just had a guy earlier on my podcast, uh, today. Um, his name is Lloyd and he created a conference called traction and it's got communities over 60,000 people. He throws some of the most amazing conferences on the most amazing dinners.
Doesn't charge people for. It gives all the money, uh, gives all the profit away to, um, you know, nonprofits out there. And so what he's done is he's created a brand and a lot of people end up asking about what he does for his business. Um, and then his business has grown, you know, really fast. He didn't, it hasn't raised a single dollar of funding, um, just because his brand is so strong, right. So it's like, you know, can you go out there? And, you know, if you're good at audio, okay, you can go out there and do podcasts. Are you good at video? Okay. You can be like, uh, you know, guys out there like Graham Stephan, right. You know, he's got like 2 million plus followers on YouTube and he makes millions a year off of that. Right. So how can you create that one man media company, which a lot of people are doing right now, you can go create a newsletter like sub stack, but you create the brand and then you can start to kind of diversify into, into other channels.
And then you can tie your business in with that brand. Um, and then you're going to be a lot more defensible than a lot of other companies that have just focused on, you know, building products. Right. I think it's hard to commoditize a brand. I think with a lot of products, you can actually commoditize them. So I'd say, you know, 10 years ago, um, I would just focus on, um, you know, initially creating the content, you know, getting the suckage out of my body and then, um, you know, getting better and better over time. And, you know, I don't see one person as regretted putting in that time and money into content and building that brand. And then plus, you know, when you laid it out on with, with ads later, it gets cheaper too, because people know who you are. So that's what I would say. Oh yeah.
Creative is so much easier. You're going to have some selfie style ads. You don't got to go full production style. Yeah, man, this has been a really interesting one. I really appreciate all the insights, give everybody an idea, you know, how can they get in touch?
How could we support you? You know, how can everybody kind of finds you online? Yeah. I mean, if you guys want, um, the first chapter of the book for leveling up, it's actually, if you go to leveling up.com, you can, you can pick it up. Um, you know, and you can actually, pre-order the book to, um, just, you know, go to Amazon or just check out, leveling up wherever you get your books. Um, and then, you know, you can find me on Twitter or Instagram at Eric O S I U
Yeah, man, this Twitter trans getting pretty crazy, isn't it for this and yeah.
Yeah. I mean, so that's the other thing, right? Like here's the other hack, like, you know, the smartest people are hanging out on Twitter. So go hang out on Twitter because, um, you know, you never know who you might interact with. That's been the one
Platform this year. That's kind of shocked me. You know, everybody's having normal conversations, you know, high level CEOs, beginners to where I think Twitter is getting super underrated. It's where I'm starting to notice. This is turning to be a bad-ass platform. Yep. Well, Eric man, this has been an absolute pleasure, man. Thanks for jumping on.
Speaker 5 (24:04):
Loved it. Thanks for having me. Thanks so much for listening to another episode of the rich ed or ed podcast. If you're like me and listen to podcasts on the go, go ahead and subscribe on Apple podcasts, Spotify, YouTube, and rich ed [inaudible] dot com slash podcast. And if you absolutely love the show, go ahead and leave a review and a comment share with a friend. If you do take a copy screenshot of it, email me [email protected] Show me you left a review. I'll give you a free copy of the rich add or add book to learn more about the book. Go to rich ed for a.com to leave a review that a rich ed or at.com/review. Thanks again.
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Jason Hornung is the founder and Creative Director at JH Media LLC, the world’s #1 direct response advertising agency focusing exclusively on the Facebook ads platform. Jason’s proprietary methods for ad creation, audience selection and scaling are responsible for producing $20 million + of profitable sales for his clients EVERY YEAR