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What Is A Perpetual Ad Machine?
In physics, a perpetual motion machine is deemed to be impossible. Without getting into Newton’s laws and entropy and the Law of Conservation of Energy, let’s just say that in the physical world this is true.
However, in the digital advertising world all the rules are meant to be broken.
So what is a perpetual ad machine exactly?
In its simplest terms, a perpetual ad machine would be where you invest $1 in advertising and get back $2 in profit.
Think about that for a second. If knew that there was a guarantee that if you invested $1 into your machine, that you would see a return of $2 – how much would you invest?
$20? $1000? A Million? A Billion?
Truthfully, if you knew for a fact that you’d make your return, there is no limit to what you could invest (barring you know, taxes or other peculiarities that might crop up.
When I searched YouTube for a perpetual ad machine, this was the first result:
And this was the first Google result.
So the good news, is literally no
Why Would Someone Want To Build A Perpetual Ad Machine?
Well this seem pretty self-explanatory. If you invested a dollar and got two dollars back – who wouldn’t want a perpetual ad machine.
The intention of the perpetual ad machine, is to give you a source of location independent income. This is income that you can use to travel, live where you want, do what you want, and build up that proverbial “fuck you money”.
Let’s be real here for a second, that are huge (HUGE) brands out there investing millions, if not billions of dollars in their advertising. And as a publisher (yes you, that publisher), you can cut yourself a slice of that pie by building an audience and showing them ads.
How Do You Build A Perpetual Ad Machine?
Now it probably won’t surprise you, but this is where things get complicated. If it was ‘so simple’, then everyone (or at least all those digital marketers out there) would be millionaires right?
So how do you build a perpetual ad machine – what are the steps, and what do you need to make it happen?
Let’s start with the most simple model possible.
Let’s say I run ads, and I’m able to get users to my website for 5 cents each. So If I invested $1000, I’ve now got 50,000 users on my site. Not bad right?
Now, let’s say I’ve also got a newsletter sign up on my site, and 5% of all users sign up for my free newsletter and gift. Great, now I’ve got 2,500 users on my email list.
Then let’s say that my email has an automated 15 email sequence that goes out. Now obviously not everyone is going to read my emails, but a percentage will, and a percentage will fall in love with my content and come back again and again and again and again. So let’s say out of our original 50,000, we end up with 1,000 die-hard fans.
Now let’s say I sell advertising on my site (among other things, remember, this is the simple example). And that for every page view I make an average of 5 cents. Well I need 50,000 page views to earn back my initial investment. But let’s say those 1,000 die-hard fans are voracious readers, and each reads 100 pages over their lifetimes, I’ve now hit 100,000 page views, and at 5 cents per view, I’ve earned $5000.
From a $1000 investment, I’ve just earned $5000, just from the click of a button – how hard would you like to push it?
What Steps Are Needed To Build A Perpetual Ad Machine?
The basic building blocks of a perpetual ad machine are:
- An ad account (Google, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn)
- A website
- A blog with content (good content, common)
- An email list
- Remarkeitng audiences
- Adsense (or other ability to monetize)
Effectively what we’re doing here is playing advertising arbitrage. We’re finding ways to buy ads inexpensively, get users into our funnel, get them addicted to our superior content, then sell more ads then we paid to get them there in the first place.
That is really what the formula breaks down to.
Is It Complicated To Build A Perpetual Ad Machine?
So if it’s that easy – why is this so hard? If it was that easy to print money – wouldn’t everyone be doing it by now?
And look, we get it, this is no easy feat. This is not a beginner friendly strategy.
This takes years of practice and honing your craft. You must think like both an advertiser and a publisher, generating the addictive content that users actually want to read, while at the same time finding the most cost effective advertising to get them to your site in the first place.
So what makes me so confident this is possible? I’m the kind of person who loves to optimize. I love to take a puzzle and break it down into all of its component parts, figure out exactly how each one works better than anyone else, then put it all back together a create an efficiency machine that no one thought possible.
Call me an engineer…
The Cross-Platform Remarketing Perpetual Ad Machine
Cross-Platform Remarketing is what separates the marketing boys from the marketing men. This is where we turn marketing playtime into a finely tuned Marketing Arsenal, with the sharpest and most lethal weapons.
As a quick recap, Cross-Platform remarketing is when we bring in users from every different platform at our fingertips (Google Search, Google Display, YouTube, Facebook and LinkedIn would be The Big 5), mix them all in a big pot on our website, and then run follow up remarketing campaigns on each platform.
This is when our marketing goes nuclear and we’re on our path to complete world domination (ahem). So what does this have to do with our Perpetual Ad Machine?
Well it’s all well and good if you can convert say Google Searches into profitable leads, but in any niche, the number of Google Searches is technically limited (by the number of searches, OR become too expensive over a certain threshold).
Meaning, that at a certain point we recommend expanding out to any and every platform where you can successfully convert more leads.
However, there is still one more wrinkle in this, which is the question: does it ever make sense to lose money in the short term, to make money in the long term? Our answer is a definitive yes (but proceed with caution).
Let’s take LinkedIn for example. LinkedIn is a notoriously expensive platform. If on Facebook you typically have CPCs of $3 and CPMs of $20, on LinkedIn you’ll probably see closer to $10 CPCs and CPMs closer to $60. Yeah, it’s about 3x as expensive.
So does that mean that LinkedIn is a no-no and we stay away? Think again.
First we have to ask the question: why is it so expensive? LinkedIn afterall doesn’t set its ad prices, but rather sells them at an auction, meaning the free market and advertisers have determined that that ad impression is worth that much.
Why? Remember LinkedIn is a professional network, and professionals generally have the ability to make larger purchases, or in the case of decision makers, can make multi-million dollar investments in their business. Quite a different game from dropshipping $3 socks now isn’t it?
But it goes deeper than that. In his seminal book: Influence – The Psychology of Persuasion, Robert Cialdini lays out his 6 principles of persuasion:
- Commitment & Consistency
- Social Proof
Now, it’s beyond the scope of this post to go through all of them in great detail – but I’d like to focus on Commitment & Consistency, Social Proof and Authority – and I’m going to lump them all into one.
When you run a successful Cross-Platform Remarketing Plan, you are are effectively hitting all 3 of these points. By being religious (in the ‘work hard’ way, not the…religious way) about your marketing you will be showing your Commitment and building Consistency, you’ll develop social proof as people start interacting and engaging with your content, and most importantly you’ll be developing authority.
Put yourself in their shoes for a minute: imagine every time they fired up their computer, they read the news, they scroll facebook, they check their gmail, they’re on LinkedIn, pinning on Pinterest or whatever they happen to be doing, and YOU keep showing up.
And more importantly than that, you’re not just showing up and saying ‘hey buy my stuff’, you’re showing up and you’re actually being helpful. In fact, as Gary Vee lays out in Jab, Jab, Jab Right Hook, if you focus on GIVING first before you ever think of asking, you’ll also be building up massive amounts of Reciprocity too.
Starting to see why Cross-Platform Remarketing is so powerful? If you’re doing it right, you’re cultivating Reciprocity, you’re showing your Commitment & Consistency, you’re developing Social Proof, building authority, and if you’re doing everything right, people should be starting to like you – you’ve now nailed 5 out of 6 of Cialadini’s principles of Persuasion.
The last one – scarcity – can then be used when you unleash your right hook. When you make an offer, you can talk about how it’s only available for a limited time, or how after this weekend you’re locking it back up in the vault – don’t overplay the scarcity card – but there it is.
So to loop this back around and answer the question: does it ever make sense to lose money in the short term to gain money in the long term?
Our answer is a definitive yes, although always proceed with caution. However if you follow our plan of the Cross-Platform Remarketing Firestorm, likely you will end up losing some money up front (sorry, investing, you’re investing money upfront) as you plant your seeds, and in time as you unleash your firestorm, and your face, your message, and your helpfulness shows up everywhere your clients are – they will naturally (this is a natural human biological process – we tend to start trusting non-threatening people that we spend enough time around – as noted by Jack Schafer in The Like Switch).
But Don’t People Hate Ads?
I need to take a step back and answer an important question that is probably burning a hole through your brain faster than Elon Musk is taking us to space: ‘but don’t people hate advertising?’.
This is a fantastico question. Seriously, A+, because there are some ingrained preconceived beliefs that we need to examine and unravel here.
Why do we think people hate ads? Because the truth is most advertising sucks.
Honestly, most advertising as absolute garbage, and in our belief, does more damage than good for the brand.
Think about it, everytime you’re scrolling your feed and you hear some annoying jingle for some annoying brand that you just hate, and they start playing that stupid video – and you just want to rip your hair out!
Bad, bad, bad advertising!
So can advertising be good? Let’s just take a moment to reflect here. I mean, if you’re reading this right now, (and we’re 2000 words deep), that’s a sign that you’re pretty into my advertising.
Wait – this is advertising? Sure – this is advertising, I’m advertising my knowledge and wisdom to you, in an effort to help you be more successful in your life. And while it’s true that I’m not ‘selling’ anything to you, I am selling you on the idea of liking me (I mean I hope I am…wanna be friends?).
And this is my point – this is where traditional advertising gets it completely and utterly wrong – traditional advertising is predicated on getting your attention and then selling you something you didn’t want – they show you a flashy video, play an annoying jingle, give you an offer then say ‘buy our thing’ – and you’re like ‘ew no, go away’.
Contrast that with helpful advertising that legitimately helps you, without a paywall, without demanding that pay copious amounts of money upfront. See the difference?
If you run a Cross-Platform Remarketing Firestorm, and every time someone goes anywhere on the internet, your smiling face is showing up and dishing out useful (and free) advice, that is legitimately actionable and delivers results – why would anyone be annoyed by you?
If you legitimately reveal real secrets and you open up people’s minds to new possibilities and show them the way to success – not only will they not be annoyed when you pop up in their feed – THEY WILL ACTUALLY BE EXCITED BECAUSE YOU’RE HELPING THEM (ahem…sorry I got excited).
Can Beginners Build A Perpetual Ad Machine?
The short answer is yes, but the longer answer is no.
I believe that anyone can do anything, but this is definitely much more advanced material the requires a deeper level understanding of marketing and how each platform works to get it setup.
However, I’m a big believer in experimenting and trying new things. So if you’ve got some time to kill or some cash to burn, sure, give it a shot and try setting one up.
Maybe start simple – start with just Google and Facebook – and get them linked up and speaking to each other. In time you can add more platforms, create new ads, experiment with text-based, photo or even adding video ads.
This is one of those marketing projects that has the potential to grow infinitely large (seriously, do you have ANY idea how many platforms there are out there??). Once you’ve linked up all your platforms and get them speaking to each other – you’ll need mountains of content.
Oh right, probably should have mentioned that upfront – before seriously embarking on this Cross-Platform Remarketing Firestorm – we recommend having bucket loads of content handy. Say at a minimum 30 blog posts, 50 videos and 100 photos (just to get started).
Think about it – we will be unleashing a massive marketing effort, and the last thing we want is our audience getting bored with seeing the exact same photo with the exact same offer.
You need to keep things extremely fresh (remember: half the excitement of seeing your face pop up in their feed is the feeling of ‘oh!! Here is again to teach me something new!!’ – and if your ad is stale and they’ve seen it 12 times, well, they’ve developed a terrible affliction called banner blindness and you no longer exist to them.
This is why I recommend having mountains of content available before even considering getting started (see why I say this is for advanced folk?).
One simple hack to make your content go further: get 100’s of (relevant) stock photos. Now while I’m not thrilled with using stock photos for a long term brand building exercise, they are an excellent way to get started.
And, writing copy can be painfully slow. And while we do recommend writing as much fresh copy as you can, sometimes just copy/pasting the same copy onto 15 different photos – is a quick way to squeeze more juice out of that copy.
Again – long term – your goal would be to have fresh copy on every single ad and post you make.
Does It Take Long To Build A Perpetual Ad Machine?
As above, the short answer is no, the long answer is hell f*ing yeah it takes a long time.
In truth you could get started with your Perpetual Ad Machine today. I’m serious, you could get started with a basic one today (not promising it will be profitable yet, but you can start assembling all of the elements).
Get your website, get your ad platform, get your ad revenue system setup, get your mailchimp auto-responder ready to fire and have your remarketing audiences populating – and you my friend have the core building blocks of your Perpetual Ad Machine and your Cross-Platform Remarketing Firestorm ready to fire.
However, for the more perceptive readers out there, you can probably read between the lines and see that it’s going to ultimately be more complicated and time consuming than this.
As I mentioned above, I really recommending having at least 30 blog posts, 50 videos and 100 photos ready and at your disposal before getting started.
On top of that, you’ll need to develop an automated email follow up sequence 10-30 emails fired up and loaded. That means writing the content and choosing the appropriate links for each one.
On top of that you’ll need to develop about 10 different ads to start – which will eventually grow out to well over 100.
These will all take time to develop, as well as maintain and manage (if you mentioned 2021 in your ads, you better be ready to update them to say 2022 when the new year rolls around!).
So does it take long to get started? No. Does it take long to perfect and master this system? Asbo-freaking-lutely. But before you complain, if it was easy, it wouldn’t really be worth doing now would it?
Does It Cost Money To Build A Perpetual Ad Machine?
You may start to see a pattern here, but the short answer is no it doesn’t cost money, but the longer answer is yes, you’ll be investing serious money into this over the long term (once it has proven to be successful and effective of course).
Now, if you’re a resourceful bootstrapper (which you get my full and utmost respect), you can launch this Perpetual Ad Machine for zero dollars. Let’s run through the elements:
- Website – Free (wordpress.com, start on the free plan)
- Mailchimp – Free
- Facebook account – Free
- LinkedIn account – Free
- Writing your own original content – Free
And there you have it – if you wanted to hardcore bootstrap – you could setup all of your accounts for free – then just promote your content as aggressively as you can on your social media channels – start driving people to your site, get people signing up to your newsletter and BAM – there you have it – your own Perpetual Ad Machine – completely for free.
Now – what is the drawback to doing it free? It takes longer, it takes more work, and possibly most important, your friends and family on Facebook might have zero interest in what you’re promoting.
Now if you were to ask me ‘okay Arthur – so of all those elements which WOULD you pay for?’ – and if I had to pick just one it would be paid advertising. These would be ads running on Google/Facebook/LinkedIn.
Seriously, for low amounts of money (pennies per click) you can reach your target audience anywhere in the world – and in the case of Google – know that they were actively searching for you.
On top of that, and this is just a personal preference – but paid ads run 24/7 – they’re like the Terminator – they will not stop. This is why I personally love paid advertising – it runs around the clock, day and night – and keeps working hard while I’m sleeping. Seems like a pretty good deal to me – no?
The Martial Arts Perpetual Ad Machine: Conclusion
Without a doubt the Perpetual Ad Machine and the Cross-Platform Remarketing Firestorm are advanced and complicated topics. My goal here with this article wasn’t to suddenly make you an expert (trust me, that takes time), but rather to plant the seed in your head that this is even possible.
This is the kind of thing that I’d wished somebody would have opened up my eyes to 10 years ago (back when Google and Facebook were CHEAP – which is another important point to remember – that as these advertising platforms get more and more popular, and more big brands with big brand bucks start to figure them out – they will only get more expensive from here).
Now please indulge me while I reminisce a little bit. 14 years ago I was 18 and starting University. Now I get it, university kids don’t have any money (I think I may have had 1 credit card from Canadian Tire – nicely done kid), but they do have time, they do have energy and they do have friends they can collaborate with on big projects (besides solving those differential equations…).
Now in fairness, back then I probably didn’t have the balls to do what I’m proposing here, however there is another part of me that wishes I could go back in time and bitchslap the little bitch out of me, and grow some balls and take on a project like this.
I know it didn’t seem like it at the time, but back in 2007 Google (and Facebook) were effectively in their infancy – if someone had given me the tools to understand how they worked, and how to use them to your advantage – holy smokes I could have taken over the world.
Now I get it, this is all fantasy, if I could go back in time I also would have bought Apple stocks in ‘97, before they blew up and became the world behemoth they are today.
But here is my point – what I’m laying out here in this post, are concepts that I’d wish I’d known years ago. They’re concepts that I’d wish I could have started working on years or decades ago and turned into something meaningful today.
Now I can’t go back in time, but I put everything I can into this today. I’m on this journey with you. I don’t profess to have all the answers or to have figured it all out.
But I’m here in the trenches with you – trying, experimenting, investing, growing, failing, learning – but no matter what – here to keep going – here to keep putting one foot in front of the other.
This post represents the first in a series. As I travel further and further down this path, I will continuously update, either updating this post, or more likely creating new posts in the future which detail out exactly how to get this built.
My dream, my fantasy, is to develop a Perpetual Ad Machine, that is so tightly dialed in, that I can reliably invest $1 in advertising and see a $10 return by the end of the year (again, I’m focused on long term time horizons – I advocate for long term wealth, over short term pennies).
Now this obviously requires creating content that people actually care about and what to read, that solve burning problems for them, and the whole system needs to be so tightly dialed in, that all waste is expunged from the system.
Every ad needs to be optimized, every landing page needs to be dialed in to convert, every offer needs to grab peoples attention, and every piece of content must have users nodding their heads saying ‘yes, yes, yes, I need that’.
Lastly – people need to actually open their emails. If your emails suck, or you’ve got bad headlines, or you’re collecting bad emails – then my friend, you are SOL.
This entire machine needs to be well oiled, and every piece and part carefully examined to confirm that not only is it the best, but that it is essential. Anything non-essential gets tossed.
As Darwin found – only the fittest survive. Make no mistake – this is a game of outsmarting and out maneuvering the competition. Game on.
To your journey and success,