Jason Drohn is an American marketing expert, author, entrepreneur, and ex-truck driver for Pepsi Bottling Group in Erie, Pennsylvania. His is a genuine story of overcoming adversity. Alongside his wife Chelsey, he has gone from living too broke to buy spaghetti noodles to leaving his truck driving job in 2006 because of the successful business he built with the power of digital marketing.
Even while studying at Mercyhurst College, Jason recognized he had a talent for communication that resonated and motivated, and he has used those gifts to build an amazingly successful marketing company and assist major companies explode their bottom line profits.
Literally thousands of people have benefited from Jason’s digital training and coaching programs such as MoneySites.com and Leveling Up Marketing to name a few. He has consulted privately with both major companies and home-based business owners all over the world. Jason’s business strategies for marketing on the internet are state of the art and have become one of the highest standards of quality.
Find out more about Jason Drohn at www.jasondrohn.com.
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Start of Interview with Jason Drohn
Jason Harman: Hey it’s my pleasure to welcome Jason Drohn to the show. He is an internet marketer who will talk to us about some great things, including maturing as an entrepreneur and business success and internet marketing, and just a lot of great stuff, including how to start a movement. So Jason welcome, how are you.
Jason Drohn: I’m good how are you? Thank you for the introduction.
Jason Harman: Good, good. How did you get such a good name? Jason, what a great name. Your latest and newest venture that looks very exciting is Leveling Up Academy, which is an entrepreneurial training portal. Tell us more about that.
Jason Drohn: So Leveling Up Academy is really about giving tools and skill sets to people who want to start a business. Whether it’s primarily digital business for now, but we do have quite a bit of training in there for offline businesses as well. And it’s really just about moving through the discovery process, putting together different profit streams, getting traffic and then ultimately scaling that business idea.
Jason Harman: And how new is that, have you launched it?
Jason Drohn: We are launching. So we’re kind of in the beta phase I guess you can say. We launched it with our own internal list and it’s been going really, really well. We’re in the process of doing some webinars and doing all the affiliate stuff and everything. But we wanted to do a pretty good beta test of the training and the content and make sure people were moving through it and taking action and getting results, and so on and so forth before we actually opened up like full scale. So the front side, the public side is gonna be built out quite a bit more. Lots more articles, lots more tips and strategies, and of course the members is gonna continue to be updated and stuff as we go through, too.
Jason Harman: How long have you been in the internet marketing space?
Jason Drohn: About 7 years.
Jason Harman: 7 years okay. That’s kind of I guess middle age in internet time. What changes have you seen over the course of your timeframe? Did you start in the CPA or cost per action area?
Jason Drohn: Yeah, we did a little bit of CPA stuff. We’ve been in affiliate marketing for a long time. Basically, I kind of got started selling other people’s products as an affiliate mostly with free traffic, search engine traffic. And then we moved into having our own products and getting affiliates and all that stuff. And really now we’re concentrating very much on building a community, creating a movement, actually starting something of significant value, if you will.
Jason Harman: Well talk to us about starting a movement. First of all, maybe define what you mean when you say that.
Jason Drohn: Well in my mind I’ve always seen starting a movement as having more, not necessarily global reach, but you’re affecting people in a dramatic way, encouraging them to really start opening up to their friends about it and so on and so on.
One of the things you asked about the history, one of the things about the make money online space is/or internet marketing in general, is it’s not necessarily mainstream if you will. People understand it, people understand that you can make money online, but at the same time it isn’t that the systems and the processes and the programs and the training and stuff that’s out there isn’t necessarily geared for starting a real business. It’s geared towards generating an income. Do you know what I mean? It’s more about the income to get through month to month, I mean that’s even how it’s sold, that’s how it’s pitched. All the things that end up going into starting up business, forming an LLC and getting an accountant and all these things that you end up having to muddle your way through, are things that are missing. Those are the things you learn in a traditional business school. Not necessarily advocating a traditional business school either, because so much of it is outdated. But Leveling Up academy is really trying to bring both of those worlds together.
Jason Harman: Would you venture to say making the internet marketing business maybe a little more credible or sustainable?
Jason Drohn: Yes absolutely. And that’s really the primary point here. I mean even when I was in college I was the president of The Young Entrepreneurs Club. And there was a lot of stuff. There’s just such a different shift like in mind space between making money online and being an entrepreneur. Serial entrepreneurs are really about creating something with lasting value, whereas making money online anymore today is more about like a quick fix thing. You know what I mean? It’s generating an income.
Jason Harman: Yeah, I think that’s kind of sad to tell you the truth. It’s sort of a quick buck mentality and instant gratification oriented thinking but it’s so sexy and appealing to so many people that internet marketing trainers, you kind of can’t blame them for selling it that way right?
Jason Drohn: Right. It sells and that’s the thing. But the reason it sells is because you continue to have a new batch of people who are turned onto the idea of making money online and going through and buying these courses. Every time they launch they buy one or two courses, and then 3 or 4 and then they give up. And they’re like oh I tried it and it didn’t work, whereas entrepreneurs are more about sticking with it and making their idea work and really just sticking it out.
Jason Harman: Yeah, the concept of built to last. But what’s surprising to me is I’d love to get your opinion on it. Remember a few years ago when there were these sweeping legal changes saying that particularly addressing internet marketers and infomercial marketers probably, the way they used testimonials and things like this. It doesn’t seem like it really changed very much.
Jason Drohn: It doesn’t.
Jason Harman: What happened with that?
Jason Drohn: Yeah, the big change was really that if you were gonna use testimonials then you needed to have record of them, whether it be an email or something. You needed to actually have verifiable proof so if somebody was to come back and say is this testimonial real, then you could actually back it up.
Jason Harman: That’s not much of a requirement – there’s always one or two big success stories you could fish out, right?
Jason Drohn: Yeah so we actually kind of moved to just not using testimonials. I know testimonials are a great sales tool, but in terms of if your product is actually as good as you say it is and as good as what the sales letter or the sales message or whatever is, then you shouldn’t necessarily need testimonials to continue to back it up and maybe pull emotional triggers that don’t need to be pulled. You know what I mean?
Jason Harman: Yeah, and it just doesn’t seem like the concept of the average result testimonial ever happened.
Jason Drohn: Right, even like I like watching infomercials cause I’m a marketer.
Jason Harman: They’re so good, I mean you just want to buy everything. They’re just incredible formula.
Jason Drohn: The little disclaimer across the bottom that says this is not an average result, most people don’t lose any weight, or whatever.
Jason Harman: Most people are just as fat as they were when they started or even worse, right?
Jason Drohn: Right. You do actually have to get up off your couch and do something.
Jason Harman: What a concept, what a concept. Well talk to us a little bit about the power of podcasting, if you would, your thoughts on that.
Jason Drohn: I love podcasting for a couple of reasons. One, when you’re into podcasting, first of all you have a rabid fan-base. People who listen to your podcast and you can talk to them, which is a very integral like bonding medium, like hearing somebody’s voice. So the relationship that you can build through podcasting is incredible on a one to many level.
Number two, iTunes, in order to have an iTunes account you need to have a credit card, or a PayPal account, so somebody who’s listening to your podcast has means to pay money for things. So it’s an incredible database or index of buyers
And, three, you can use podcasts very successfully to sell both your products, your affiliate products, building your own list and so on. Really just buy making sure you have little cut segments or buy URLs and redirect them to an affiliate link. So, podcasting really is an incredible medium for reaching a lot of people.
Jason Harman: I’m kind of surprised that you mentioned that the listeners in that having an iTunes account, they either need to have a PayPal or a credit card to have an account. Really? You consider that to be a big qualifier? I mean doesn’t everybody have a credit card?
Jason Drohn: Well, yeah they do but they’re also willing to spend money. They’re willing to spend money on apps, songs, whatever, and they also have an Apple device.
Jason Harman: I know that Apple has wrestled with the idea over the years about is there a way to directly monetize podcasting. Of course we all monetize, hopefully our podcasting in the backend. But to do it on the front end paying $0.99 cents an episode or something like that. Have you followed that all or do you have any thoughts about it?
Jason Drohn: I have. For a while a friend and I were doing a podcast. We really played around with the idea of premium podcast. So using one podcast a month or two podcasts a month as your lead generator show I guess. And then doing 2 or 3 that were kind of locked away in a membership area for $4 a month or $5 a month, and monetizing that way. You can’t necessarily directly monetize through iTunes, but you can pull leads for your premium series from iTunes.
Jason Harman: What we do, from my real estate, The Creating Wealth Show, we pull down some of the old episodes. I mean, not many – we’ve got about 340 episodes up, total that have been published. But we’ll go through and we’ll take certain episodes down that are older and stick them in the archive. And we have a member’s section where we charge $10 a month. But in addition to that we have documents, articles, and monthly conference calls that are private for members only. But one of the things I wrestled with on that with the podcasting I kind of noticed that for the members site it’s not really real feasible to use guests in your show to put them only into the member’s section because the whole point of the guests coming on your show is they want to get some exposure right? And so the member section is a much smaller pool than the broader market of just being on a couple of podcasts. So, any thoughts on that as to how you deal with that one?
Jason Drohn: Yeah. Guests are awesome for like front end, especially if you are gonna sell your podcasts in the membership section. Guests really provide massive front in value, because A, they want to get exposure so they’re gonna give you content. B, they can a lot of times mail for the podcast, they can mail and say, hey, check me out on this podcast, which is a really great lead generation strategy. And then on the backside, in the membership like locked area, then podcasts that are more content based, not necessarily guest based, but something that is more content based on strategies relating to your podcast maybe. And it might be more about the content and delivering value.
Jason Harman: Any thoughts on the world of tablets or mobile differ – of course they differ and it’s all the rage now. But any ways that publishers can better market to table users?
Jason Drohn: I love Kindle Books. I love the Kindle Books strategy in terms of writing a short eBook, putting in iBooks and Kindle and using it as lead generation into your business. So selling it for $0.99 cents, $1.99, $2.99 or even giving it away for free and just including links in the book for your squeeze pages or your site or whatever. Really, really like the digital book model. In terms of mobile websites, mobile advertising, the click to call advertising, any of that. I have messed around with it enough to know that it’s viable, but when I was, the leads that I was generating weren’t necessarily good quality leads. Those leads didn’t come through and buy anything so it ended up just being a waste of money. That I’m sure has changed to some degree now.
But the fact is, I mean even when you’re watching TV, I think it’s like 63% of people have a web enabled device in front of them when they’re watching TV. And there’s like 20 or 25 have like 2. They have their phone and their laptop sitting on their lap when they’re watching TV. So mobile is definitely interesting. One of the things that I have kind of always thought though is even though mobile is getting incredible like proliferation, like everybody, a lot of people are talking about it, a lot of people are building apps and doing all kinds of stuff. People are always going to use the internet. They’re always going to work on a computer at a desk. I mean there’s just so many things you can’t do from an iPad.
Jason Harman: Well that’s interesting. Name some of them. Personally I don’t use my iPads very much. I use them to read Kindle books and I use the actual Kindle. I like the Paperwhite and they just came out with a new one I ordered and it’s so light it’s more like a book book. But a lot of people just think their iPad is like their…I don’t know how they do that, I like a keyboard and a good old fashioned laptop.
Jason Drohn: So do I. I look at iPads and tablets and stuff as media consuming devices. Generally you consume media through them but…
Jason Harman: You don’t create it.
Jason Drohn: You don’t create it, right. And that’s one of the reasons why I like Kindle books. They’re really easy to put together, they’re free to put out there, you don’t have to pay anybody anything and you can start generating leads from them pretty quickly. The one thing is you want to make sure to optimize your key words in the book listing. So for instance we have just a little book that we put together just testing some stuff out about how to tell if somebody’s lying. And that book gets 40-50 downloads a month. There’s no backend revenue strategy, it was really just testing out how people find the book and how you can influence rankings in Amazon, which is largely based on sales and feedback and just kind of going from there.
Jason Harman: I see, looking up Kindle here, I see passive profit, Phoenix formula. I guess the lying book isn’t under your name probably, right?
Jason Drohn: No, no, we have a couple of different names in there.
Jason Harman: Okay, good stuff. But what about the backend marketing strategy on Kindle.
Jason Drohn: Backend-wise it’s really all about the up sells that you put in an email sequence. And it’s actually a little bit like iTunes, so if somebody buys a book for $0.99 cents it means they’re actually willing to pay for information. So it’s just making sure to include links throughout the book, preferably early in the book too, that lead to your website or lead to an email opt in page that you then follow up with email.
Jason Harman: Good. So we talked about podcasting a little bit, we talked about Kindle in the tablet market. Anything else that you’re working on that you want to talk about.
Jason Drohn: In terms of the up sell process from either podcast or Kindle you really need to have some sort of product or service that you sell. So like one of the things that we found that work really, really well is webinars. Webinars to sell a product. Give it some content and then following with a short pitch at the end. Putting together membership sites or video products, as part of the product that you’re actually selling. Monetizing experience or monetizing the things that people know how to do from either their current job or something they went through, or whatever really is fascinating to me.
I was on the phone with a client yesterday and he owns 22 ice cream trucks. He’s 57, he’s looking to retire when he’s 60. He’s like I have all this knowledge about opening an ice cream business, monetizing an ice cream business, paying off the trucks like all this stuff. Do you think it’s worthy of putting together a book or membership site or something. I was like absolutely. I’ve seen products that sell really, really well, generating a couple hundred thousand dollars a year on how to start a hotdog stand in New York City, or how to have a hotdog stand. So a lot of those little like sub-segment, like micro businesses can be really profitable, as well as any of the various niches. Like disaster survival is one that’s really interesting to me because National Geographic has the two TV shows now. They have Doomsday Castle and Doomsday Preppers.
Jason Harman: You may not know this but my number two show is called the Holistic Survival show.
Jason Drohn: I didn’t know that.
Jason Harman: Yeah, the Doomsday Preppers are stars on the show and that’s a hot topic. When did we launch that show? I think in 2008 or 2009, when things were looking pretty bleak for sure. They’re still looking bleak in some ways, but good in others. And that show gets a lot of interest. There’s a lot of people out there that are very interested in prepping. And I think that’s a good thing because if the disaster, really not if, but when the disaster of some sort hits, the more people are prepared the better off we’ll all be because people won’t be trying to consume your resources, they’ve got their own to take care of themselves right.
Jason Drohn: There’s just so many different niches and topics and things that you can put an eBook together, put a little video course together or whatever and sell it online and at that point in time doesn’t equal money. At that point you can comfortably survive. It doesn’t take that many sales to generate an income. I mean, I live in Pennsylvania, it’s cheap to live here, $3000 a month and you’re living a pretty decent life. You know what I mean? That’s like a hundred sales of an eBook.
Jason Harman: It’s amazing. I always sort of wonder what the longevity is. I mean I sell on Kindle, I’m not saying I try very hard or do a very good job of it. Is the longevity just sort of perennial. I mean it obviously depends on the topic on the title and that kind of stuff. For example my first book back in 99 was on personal branding and relationship marketing. But I have to rewrite that book to include social media. It’s just out of date. What are your thoughts about, the way that revenue streams can continue or is there work behind the scenes to optimize constantly and…
Jason Drohn: That’s a really great question. It really depends on your marketing strategy. For anybody who’s ever done any pay traffic, Facebook ads or ad words or whatever. The traffic stops as soon as you stop paying for it, which isn’t necessarily a long-term revenue. It’s not like a set it and forget revenue strategy you can just turn on and go. There’s constant management. I mean, yes, you can pay somebody else to do it or whatever, but the products that I’ve seen that do well forever are generally very niche-based. Something like dating is actually a great example of something like this. Disaster survival could be. Health and fitness, like truth about abs, or any of those health and fitness kind of products that are generating sales through affiliates and those affiliates are using search engine. Meaning they’re getting ranked for keywords and sending the links through their affiliate link and then ultimately the person is going and buying a product. Those products tend to stick around for years. Four years, five years, six years.
Jason Harman: I would agree. I’ve done several shows with relationship experts. I had John Gray on the show. He’s the Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus. I would assume that his books are somewhat perennial, they’re probably still everyday he’s making lots of sales from those books he wrote like 25 years ago or something.
Jason Drohn: So, it really just depends on the niche, it depends on the marketing strategy. I mean that’s one of the reasons why we try to stay away from pay traffic as much as possible because the systems break as soon as you start not focusing on them.
Jason Harman: That’s true, yeah good stuff. That’s kind of the myth folks of internet marketing. This is not as easy as it might appear to some of those folks that say oh yeah you’re gonna make a product and you’re gonna do a $4 million dollar product launch. And you’re just gonna retire after that and it’s so easy, you’re just gonna hire someone else to write the product for you. It’ll be done in two weeks and you’ll do this launch and you’ll make $4 million dollars and that’s it.
Jason Drohn: The truth is everybody sees the big numbers, especially when there’s a product launch. And first of all you have to have a lot of good relationships in order to successfully pull off a product launch.
Jason Harman: Would meaning with affiliates.
Jason Drohn: Yeah with affiliates, people don’t just line up to promote your stuff because you think they should. And number two they never tell you actually how much they pay out in an affiliate commission. So generally it’s 50 to 75% if you do a $2 million dollar launch. At the end of the day after everybody is paid you might walk away with a couple hundred thousand dollars.
Jason Harman: And a lot of these numbers, frankly, is just a lot of exaggeration, right?
Jason Drohn: Yeah, there’s quite a bit of exaggeration in the numbers.
Jason Harman: See the problem with the internet marketing world is that in some businesses, of course you’re never looking at the person’s tax return, which that’s not necessarily true either. But in the internet space you just really don’t know. I mean, there’s just no way to tell. If someone owns a restaurant and they brag about how great they’re doing, I mean all you have to do is walk by and you can make a judgment. But in this space it can be just completely bogus, right?
Jason Drohn: Yeah, there’s a lot of fake it till you make it. There’s a lot of that. And that’s kind of all of these things are really why we started Leveling Up Academy, was to kind of getting out of the whole rat race cycle and actually establish something that has some lasting value. Ultimately the goal is to get it accredited and start doing degree programs. That might take two years, it might take five years, but that’s where it’s going.
Jason Harman: Very good, good to know. Well what do you think the future of the internet marketing space looks like? Where do you think we’re going with this? I mean, we talked about the cost per action being this sort of quick buck thing. I don’t know, it’s hard for me to imagine people just jump on ClickBank and make a bunch of money. Do you have any thoughts about that, has that changed a lot since it started?
Jason Drohn: It has. The thing about it is Google is consistently making it more and more difficult to A, get ranks in the search engine, to B, get cheap traffic. I mean, it’s not ten years ago anymore before my time. I hear the good old glory day stories of oh the traffic was like a cent a click, or you just had to put up a page and you’re on the first page of Google and all that stuff. The thing is that there’s so much competition. You really have to understand how to get traffic, you have to understand how to monetize that traffic. There are some good systems out there, but you need to actually put the pieces in place in order for it to work. In terms of the future, it’s one of those things it’s like mobile I think is gonna comprise a lot of it. Facebook is gonna comprise a lot of it. Right now Facebook advertising is pretty cheap to get into, not saying it’s gonna be that way forever. Digital products are gonna comprise a lot of it, and it’s not necessarily even what we may know like from ClickBank, but it might be Kindle books, it might be podcasts or magazines and iTunes. But everything is eventually going to turn into digital. So the soon you jump on digital products the better.
Jason Harman: That’s good advice Jason. Give out your website and tell people where they can tell more about you.
Jason Drohn: So my personal website is JasonDrohn.com. Drohn is my last name. LevelingUpAcademy.com is where all of our training is. And I have a book available on Amazon called Phoenix Formula too.
Jason Harman: Tell us about Phoenix Formula.
Jason Drohn: Phoenix Formula is more self help, like upgrade your business, upgrade your life kind of thing. Back in 2009 being dead broke finding the internet and really going from thee. Actually I shouldn’t say finding the internet, but I moved from helping clients with internet marketing to actually doing it on my own and selling products and all that stuff and the transition happened in 2009. And every since then it’s been awesome. So basically Phoenix Formula is the process I use, which is largely inspired by Andy Robins, and Think and go Rich and all of the self help books, but it’s my slant using my life, the examples of my life and the process that I use and still use to break through barriers and achieve goals and really do what I do.
Jason Harman: Good stuff. Well Jason Drohn thank you so much for joining us today.
Jason Drohn: Thank you for having me, I really appreciate it.
Narrator: This show is produced by The Hartman Media Company, all rights reserved. For distribution or publication rights and media interviews, please visit www.HartmanMedia.com or email [email protected] Nothing on this show should be considered specific personal or professional advice. Please consult an appropriate tax, legal, real estate or business professional for individualized advice. Opinions of guests are their own and the host is acting on behalf of Platinum Properties Investor Network, Inc. exclusively.
Transcribed by Ralph
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