Chris Evans is passionate about his family, coffee and marketing. He has been a secret weapon behind several successful gurus’ businesses with a focus on traffic, conversions and retargeting. He is considered a thought leader when it comes to starting and running profitable retargeting campaigns.
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Worst Entrepreneur moment
- Head down creating a product for months spells one word: DISASTER. This was no exception!
Entrepreneur AH-HA Moment
- Build a platform of value and promote OTHERS. All you need is a USP, a desire to serve and you’re off to the races, Fire Nation!
What has you FIRED up?
Small Business Resource
- Snip.ly: Share Content. Drive Traffic. Attach a call-to-action to every link you share.
Best Business Book
- The Boron Letters by Gary C. Halbert
- Chris’s site and GIFT for Fire Nation!
Chris: I am ready to ignite my friend.
John: Yes. Chris, as you could tell, is passionate about his family, coffee, and marketing. He’s been a secret weapon behind several successful gurus’ businesses, with a focus on traffic conversions and retargeting. He’s considered a thought leader when it comes to starting and running profitable retargeting campaigns. And Fire Nation, just having gotten back from traffic and conversion here in San Diego, I can tell you first hand that 2015 is all about the retargeting. So Chris, say what's up to Fire Nation, and what's going on in your world right now brother?
Chris: Oh my goodness there's so much going on. I'm so excited to be here. And thank you for giving me the time to connect with you and the folks of Fire Nation, it's amazing. Yeah man, it is the year of retargeting. And so I'm extremely pumped because I've been on this retargeting thing for several years now. And so now to finally see it, you know, being talked about on huge platforms like traffic and conversion, and huge companies talking about it is really exciting. So yeah, I don't know love to jump into that today and hopefully give your audience some great value.
John: Well, that’s the goal, that’s what we're going to be focusing on for sure. But I can tell you what Chris, you know, having done this for awhile, I know Fire Nation. And my listeners get a ton of value from being able to crawl inside that little mind of yours. So first and foremost we're gonna do what I call the one minute mindset: five insights into your mind Chris. Take about a minute-ish to answer these questions. The first one being, ideally what are the first 80 minutes of your day look like?
Chris: Well, I've got four kids, so many times it's me waking up really early to my 3 or 5-year-old running and jumping on the bed, which I absolutely love. They're just – I've got three boys and one girl, and they're just all crazy fun. So that’s kind of the beginning of the day. I wake up with my wife. We exercise and kind of go back and forth on the plans of the day, what's going on, you know, who is taking the kids where? You know, what our days look like for each other. We talk to the kids and hang out a little bit.
And then I'm generally looking at my messages and making sure – you know, there's – while I've been sleeping that nothing horrible has happened, you know, with the websites and making sure everything is still running and operating, and kind of checking in with my team. So that’s about what the – of course I brush my teeth and take a shower.
John: I was gonna ask, hello? I mean, this may be an audio only interview, but I do have a nose.
Chris: Yeah. So that’s about what my first 80 minutes looks like. Cool. Well, Chris within all of that awesomeness, you have some weaknesses my friend. We all do. We're called human beings for a reason. What's your biggest weakness as an entrepreneur?
Chris: I’d say one of the hardest things I struggle with is always looking at new things, when they're not really important, and they're not the highest priority. And many times I let those new things distract me because I love technology. I love being able to implement new things, but sometimes it's important just to stay focused on the job at hand and the task at hand to get my goals accomplished. So I’d probably say that’s one of my biggest weaknesses is being distracted by new things that I love to kind of get my hands dirty with.
John: The weapons of mass distraction Chris, they're everywhere.
Chris: Oh my gosh, yes.
John: They're everywhere.
John: And Fire Nation, I want you to stay away from the bright shiny objects syndrome. Go one inch wide and one mile deep. And Chris, I mean, let’s be honest, that’s what you did it with the retargeting.
John: If you were just gonna be: okay, I'm gonna learn a little bit about retargeting, a little bit about this and that, you wouldn’t have become the go to for retargeting. You wouldn’t have been able to bring several gurus’ businesses to an insane level, but no, you're the guy in retargeting.
Chris: One of those things, when you see something and you just, you realize how important it can be, and then obviously you jump into that, you know, head first all the way in. And that’s kind of what I did with retargeting is because we spend so much of our effort, our energy, and money to get people to our website, right?
Chris: And, you know, we want people to make a decision, whether it's to opt into our email list or to make a purchase. You know, one thing being in business for several years now, and not even having that option to be able to retarget people, it was frustrating. It was frustrating not getting people to opt in, you know, take my offer, or to purchase my products. And so when I came across retargeting, I was just blown away by the concept. And so I jumped in and I learned about it, starting implementing it, implementing it for clients.
And the ability and the leverage that you can get from retargeting is powerful because essentially John, it's a second chance, right?
John: And third, and fourth, and fifth.
Chris: Exactly. If somebody comes to your website, they're not ready to make that decision, now with retargeting, you can go back to them and over and over and over again give them value, and build report, and prove that you are worth them to opt in or to purchase your product.
John: I couldn’t agree more. I mean, if I had launched one podcast Chris, and just said: okay, there's my value. They would have listened to it and said, “Wow, that’s a really bad podcast.” Because it was, like it was really bad. But because I did it every single day and got a little bit better, and improved my offer, and improved my – you know, and my words, and my delivery, etc., etc., you know evolved. Just like you Fire Nation can use retargeting to evolve your offer, your pitch, your everything to grow that audience. And Chris, you just talked about a big strength for sure, that’s a huge strength, but what is your biggest, your number one strength as an entrepreneur?
Chris: I’d say my biggest strength is probably that I'm tenacious. I just don’t really give up very easily. So when somebody tells me no, I just – you know, it pushes me further to just go for it. And I'm really resourceful. So I'm able to kind of pull things from wherever I need to to make it happen. So I’d probably say that that’s my biggest strength is just not giving up, just going forward, digging my heals in and just pushing forward no matter what the circumstance is, no matter what I'm up against, you know, I'm just going all in.
John: You kind of remind me Chris, of this adorable bull dog that just gets his teeth into that bone. And we're gonna call the bone secrets of retargeting. And you just won't let go, no matter how much I try to drag it out of your mouth, you're not gonna let that bone go until you’ve – let’s just say consumed the marrow inside.
Chris: Yeah, absolutely. We live in such a great time John with technology and the things that are at our disposal. And just to encourage everybody out there who might be struggling and challenged with, you know, maybe you just set up a new offer, or you just set up a new product and you feel like it's failing, there is good news. And I would like to say that that good news is retargeting. Because just like what you said John, with your first podcast, you know, if I didn’t keep going, and keep putting it out there, and keep pushing, you know, then I would never be where I'm at.
And it's the same with retargeting, people who are just putting something out there, listen this is an opportunity for you to go back again, and again, and again, until you get that message right, and until you make that connection with the people that you're trying to connect with to become customers, or whatever it is that you're trying to do. I'm excited, man.
John: Way to emphasize. I love that. And you have a lot of good habits. You have a lot of bad habits. What's a habit that you wish you had?
Chris: To be honest with you I wish I read more. I just – especially with having four kids, just all over the place, and with [inaudible] [00:08:01].
John: Read more than just Oh the Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss.
Chris: Yes, yes. And Skippy John Jones is a favorite right now. You know, because there are so many things that have just – so many books that have changed my life. And I don’t think smart is something that you are. You know, I think it's something that you become. And the way to be smart is to read more and to educate yourself. It doesn’t matter what your background is. You know, if you’ve been in an Ivy League school, or you're a dropout of high school, you have the ability to educate yourself and take yourself wherever you want to go. So that’s one thing that I wish that I did more consistently.
John: We know what you're fired up about for sure, retargeting, but I kind of want to give you the stage here for a second, tell us why you're fired up about retargeting, and then kind of expand upon it in this last one minute mindset question: what's the one thing that has you most fired up right now?
Chris: You know, I'm all about my family. And the reason I do what I do is for my family. So obviously I want to grow my business and increase revenue, and to me I feel like retargeting is that best opportunity. You know, because I spend money on Facebook ads. I spend money on Google ads. You know all this effort and energy that goes out into getting my message out there. And without the ability to go back to somebody and say: listen, you know, here’s the testimony of Bill and Susie, and what they were able to accomplish with my product and service.
You know, you can try that as well, and I know that you’ll have the same great results. If I didn’t have that ability, if I didn’t have that vehicle, you know if you will, such as retargeting, then I just wouldn’t be where I'm a tin business. And many many many people wouldn’t be where they're at in business. I mean, you look at most of the major players out there, most of the major Fortune 500 Companies out there all use the vehicle of retargeting to build and grow their business. If you look at Ryan Dyason, Perry Belcher, and all these guys, who are at the top of their game, what are they talking about?
They're talking about utilizing the power of retargeting to grow and expand their business. So all the entrepreneurs that are out there, if you're not utilizing retargeting, you're leaving opportunity on the table, and you're leaving money on the table. So I'm just excited that as technology does develop and retargeting becomes more accurate and more developed, the future just looks bright for entrepreneurs to really grow and expand their businesses, and just really build their empires. So that’s what has me fired up right now.
John: Chris, staying on this for one second, what's an action step that Fire Nation, our listeners, can take to dip their toes into this retargeting thing? You know, without going out and hiring somebody amazing like you right off the bat, but they want to just dip their toes in, what's an action step for our listeners?
Chris: What I would – I would pick a platform. Right now Facebook is so hot, there's such a huge audience.
John: So hot.
Chris: So hot. So what I would do is if I'm any kind of business person with a website, I would go and grab an audience pick, so everybody has access to an ads account, if you have a Facebook account. Go on there, it's super easy. You can look up online how to grab an audience account, and grab the script from your Facebook ad account, and put it on your homepage, just that simple. And start building an audience in Facebook. And so when somebody is on Facebook, you can run ads to those people on Facebook, just from people who are visiting your website. So that’s one thing that’s very very simple that you don’t have to over think and you don’t have to study up on.
You go in there, look up on Facebook how to grab the pixel. You know, you can hire somebody on Fiverr for five bucks to drop the script on your website if you don’t know how to do it. It’s super easy. Something that can take action on today, start building their audience. And real quick, you know, we always hear about how important it is to build an email list, right? This is the same thing. I think going into future, how important it's going to be to build retargeting lists. And so this is what you're doing.
Is you are building a list essentially of people who have visited your website, and they’ve shown interest because they’ve gone to your website, so they're essentially a prospect list. And then it's a pool of people that you can go to at anytime in the future and market your services and your products.
John: Wow. So you can go to Fiverr and for five dollars have somebody actually do that task?
John: Okay. I mean, I would say this, would you agree, I mean, if you do that, I mean, should we be changing our passwords pretty quickly after that task is done?
Chris: Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely.
John: So Fire Nation, take those steps to make these things happen, but then of course, lock that vault behind your guest leaving.
John: Chris, I want to dive right into your entrepreneurial journey my friend. Let’s get focused on a story. This story is what you, Chris Evans, consider your worst entrepreneurial moment in time, so take us there my friend.
Chris: I’d probably have to say several years ago when I really started to get into marketing courses. Probably – I think it was the first course I ever developed. And hadn’t done it before, was extremely excited about it. It was a course in the real estate market. I was running in that market at that time. And the thing that we did is I had a few partners that were involved, all of us were kind of newbies at it, but we had some great content. We went and spent thousands and thousands of dollars, and literally months and months developing this course that we were going to launch to the real estate market.
And by the time we actually got to the market it completely bombed. It was like the most depressing thing I had ever experienced in business, because we put so much effort and thought and planning into developing this course that we thought was going to be great, when by the time we actually got to the market, we were a day late and a dollar short. And for that topic the market had changed, and we just didn’t do things right. We did things totally out of order, and it just – it was a complete bomb. Especially with – well, we had like a professional film crew that recorded the content, it was just ridiculous man.
It was a huge learning opportunity for sure, to where I just – you know, it was really hard. You know, especially with just the time and the money that we spent to develop that course. And by the time we were actually ready to put it to market, you know, things had changed and the market wasn’t where it – you know, when we started developing that course. So it was just a total bomb and a total let down. I was like, “Man, I can't do this over again. This is horrible.”
John: The market is changing so fast Fire Nation. There are always new things coming out every single day. And when you do what Chris did and you put your head down in the sand, so to speak, and you're just working on one thing, it's like you're pressing the pause button. It's like you're just going and saying: I'm pausing time right now, just for me, not for the world around me because that’s still moving forward a million miles an hour, and I'm gonna do what's working right now in this second, even though this second is no longer this very second.
John: Build your products with your clients, with your customers. Get that MVP out there, that minimum viable product, and then just say, “Hey, join me on this journey. I'm gonna build this with you. You're gonna be part of it.” And your clients will love being part of that. Chris, what's your biggest takeaway that you want to make sure that Fire Nation understands from that flop?
Chris: I would say just like you said: build as you go. You know, we did months and months and months out, and there was no need of – to where you can take something to market, test it and develop it as you go, and perfect it as you go, while you're already earning money, you know, instead of investing thousands of dollars into something that could potentially be a flop. You don’t have to do that to be successful. You can develop as you go and be tremendously successful. And here’s the thing, what we did, which I think was a huge mistake, is we tried to be completely perfect. And obviously it flopped for us.
You don’t have to be. Not that you're not excellent, not that you're not professional, but taking something that’s great value to the market, you know, it doesn’t have to be spit shined and polished.
John: Yeah. And let me just break in here, Chris. I mean, Fire Nation appreciates the errors in my ways and in your ways, and in everybody’s ways. I've shifted my email recently to just be brutally honest, to talk so openly about my flops and my failures and my mistakes, and just the thoughts that are going on inside of my head. So if you're listening Fire Nation, you know this because you’ve been reading it. Or, if you haven’t been on, you got to check I tout because we change things around, and we're getting personal, and we're getting transparent.
John: And Chris, I love that message. And I want you to shift though and tell us about an “Ah ha” moment, about an epiphany that you had at some point in your journey, but really take us to that moment and tell us that story.
Chris: Several years ago I was working with some friends in their company, and it was a national construction company in the foreclosure market. So their clientele was bank executives essentially. So I came in to help them grow this business. They were basically at the ground level, had no experience with what they were doing. And so I was – it was pretty funny because I was like the ugly guy trying to ask the pretty girl to the prom. I'm calling these executives and saying, “Hey, will you do business with us?” And it was just – it was an uphill battle, and it was a struggle.
And I was continually hitting my head against the wall. And I soon realized, you know, there's like a million other people, companies out there doing the same thing that I'm doing. So I had to come up with an idea that would set me completely apart. And you know I just thought about it and – this was years before, you know, web shows really got popular and people started jumping on that and that’s what we did. We created a web TV show. And essentially what we did is we built a platform. I said you know what, I'm not gonna compete with all these other guys out there who have a lot more money, you know, and a lot bigger staff to do what we're trying to do.
So what I thought, I was like: you know what, what if we just built a platform for these people that we want to do with business with that we gave them a voice to be able to talk to their clients. And so what happened was I went from being the ugly guy trying to ask the pretty girl out to the prom, to be the guy that all the girls wanted. It was unbelievable, man. I mean, I got invited to speak at all the conferences. I got invited to all the $500 a plate dinners. Just because we had built a platform of value to the people that we were trying to do business with, and promote them, and because of that they reciprocated, you know, what we were giving to them, and they just gave back.
And that company made it on Inc.500 List, I think it was last year actually, or two years ago. And so that was probably for me the biggest “ah ha” moment was not trying to compete with what everybody else was doing, but look and see what they're not doing, and how can I set myself apart from that. And two is – well, what we obviously did is we built a platform. And when you build a platform, you have the ability to speak the message that you want to speak to the people that you want to speak it to, and they will listen. And so that’s what we did and we became authorities in that market, and obviously the company grew and did really well.
John: My favorite phrase that you use by far is: we built a platform of value and promoted them. Fire nation, them. They didn’t promote themselves, they promoted them, the clients outward, and that is so huge. So let me ask you this Fire Nation, what is your USP to go along with what Chris is saying? What is your unique selling proposition of a platform and a value that you are going to provide to others? And really going through that and following these ingredients that Chris is spelling out right now.
I love that it's just a massive, massive, recipe for success. And Chris, I'm not letting you go anywhere my friend. We have a lot to get to. But we are about to enter the Lightning Round.
Chris: Let’s do it.
John: Well, before we do, let’s take a minute to thank our sponsors. Chris, welcome to the Lightning Round, where you get to share incredible resources in mind blowing answers. Does that sound like a plan?
Chris: I'm ready, let’s do it.
John: Yay. What was holding you back from becoming an entrepreneur?
Chris: I’d say lack of self confidence, belief in myself that I could do it. And that I could reach great things and accomplish great things, so that was a struggle. And just the mindset that I could do it.
John: What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
Chris: I would say the best advice I've ever received is stop over thinking and just take action. And the other part of that is failure is a part of the journey. And the reason why so many people don’t take action is because they're afraid to fail. But failure is a part of the journey. It's the road to success. And it's all about failing fast, and learning what doesn’t work, so that you can implement what does work.
John: Chris, we talked about a habit you wish you had. What’s a habit you do have that you believe contributes to your success?
Chris: I'm always grinding. I'm always on the hustle. I'm always working. So that habit I think has really lent well to me pushing forward in mu success. And just not – you know, not taking days off, just always going forward, and always kind of being in the moment, you know, and present in business.
John: Let’s be honest, LMFAO said it best, “Every day I'm hustling.”
John: Chris, do you have an internet resource like Evernote that you can share with our listeners?
Chris: Yeah, I would say my favorite resource right now probably is Snip.ly. It's S-N-I-P dot LY. It's a fantastic tool that you can leverage other people’s contents and websites to promote your own business.
John: Love it.
Chris: So Snip.ly, yeah, it's awesome.
John: If you could recommend just one book Chris for our listeners, what would it be and why?
Chris: I would say The Boron Letters. It's B-O-R-O-N, The Boron Letters by Gary Halpert. And it's a serious of letters he wrote to his son. He’s one of the most well known copy writers in the world, in the history of the world. It's a series of letters he wrote to a son while he was in prison. It's a fascinating read, and he talks all about marketing direct response, and they're lessons that he is writing to his son. So an extremely valuable book that I have and I would highly recommend to everybody out there.
John: Never heard of it. Absolutely, it's on my to read list now.
Chris: That’s awesome.
John: And Fire Nation, I know you love audio. So I teamed up with Audible. And if you haven’t already, you can get an amazing audio book like this one for free, at eofirebook.com. Chris this next question is the last of the Lightning Round, but it's a doozy. Imagine you woke up tomorrow in a brand new world identical to earth, but you knew no one. You still have all the experience and knowledge you currently have. Your food and shelter is taken care of, but all you have is a laptop and $500. What would you do in the next seven days?
Chris: Honestly, I would run a webinar. I would set up a landing page. I would setup a Google hangout. And setup some Facebook ads. And probably run a webinar to sell – like, they have four to six week mastermind on how to build a platform, or how to retarget. And before I even had the content developed, you know, I would sell it, and basically release that content as a mastermind it went through. So it would be a quick way to generate some revenue. And obviously that would be the start of me building my list, because that’s the most valuable asset, so those people all would have one – you know, and start building my list.
And as that money came in from those new mastermind students, I would just repeat that process over and over and over, and invest heavily into building my list.
John: And even taking it to the next level, taking the recordings from the mastermind sessions and turning them into a standalone digital product that you can add on for different variations. Right?
Chris: Yes. Yes, absolutely, repurposing.
John: We’d be a good team, Chris.
Chris: Yes, we would.
John: So Chris, let’s end today how we started, on fire. With you sharing one parting piece of guidance, the best way that we can connect with you, and then we’ll say goodbye.
Chris: Yeah, you can connect with me on Facebook. You can connect with me at iloveretargetting.com. One thing that I would really encourage everybody to definitely do is setup retargeting on your website. Don’t miss this opportunity. And the other thing is just take action. Don’t over think it. Don’t be distracted by shiny things. And don’t be afraid to fail. Fail fast and you will succeed.
John: Love it all. Now, I'm going to your website as we're speaking. And I'm hoping that there's gonna be an opt-in bribe for your email newsletter list that says how to retarget your website.
Chris: Well, there is one/fire. Iloveretargetting.com/fire. And that’s the free video that I have just for the Fire Nation. So you guys go there and it's gonna be an awesome video that you're gonna get for free.
John: You know, I didn’t even know that. That was not even a leading question Fire Nation. Iloveretargetting.com/fire. I just wrote that down too, because number one I'm gonna put it on the show notes page, and number two, I'm gonna go there to make sure that I've got my stuff in order, if you know what I'm saying?
John: Awesome resource Chris, thank you so much for all of this.
John: And Fire Nation, you're the average of the five people you spend the most time with, and you’ve been hanging out with Chris E. and JLD today, so keep up the heat. And head over to eofire.com, just type Chris in the search bar. His show notes page will pop right up with everything we've been talking about today, resources, books, awesomeness, and of course: Iloveretargetiing.com/fire.
John: Chris, thank you for sharing your journey with Fire Nation today. For that my friends, we salute you and we’ll catch you on the flipside.
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