Kevin is the Founder of Voy Media and is an expert in growing brands using sophisticated paid advertising strategies. Kevin was very open in today’s episode with sharing multiple ways to help you grow your own business through some great online organic and paid strategies.
Kevin Urrutia (U-root-tea-a) Real Estate Background: #skillset
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“Utilizing organic content from users who are posting on Facebook, Instagram, or twitter usually end up working better for us” – Kevin Urrutia
Theo Hicks: Hello, Best Ever listeners and welcome to the Best Real Estate Investing Advice Ever show. I’m Theo Hicks and today we are speaking with Kevin Urrutia.
Kevin, how are you doing today?
Kevin Urrutia: Hey, I’m doing great. Perfect. Thanks for having me on.
Theo Hicks: Thanks for joining us. Looking forward to our conversation. A little bit about Kevin. He’s the founder of Voy Media. He’s an expert in growing brands using sophisticated paid advertising strategies. He is based in New York, New York. You can say hi to him on his website, which is https://voymedia.com/.
Kevin, do you mind telling us a little bit more about your background and what you’re focused on today?
Kevin Urrutia: My background is actually in computer science. That’s where I went for college. Kind of always growing up, I’ve always wanted to do a startup. That sort of startup phase and sort of mentality has made me always interested in my own company. Right after college—I grew up in New York, I moved out to California, San Francisco to work for https://www.mint.com/ and then another company called Zaarly, just because I’ve always wanted to do something with startups and essentially tech. But even when I was there, I always had an idea of making my own products, my own services, my own apps.
Me and my partner, Wilson, who runs the agency with me, we were building stuff all the time. But we always had an issue where we just didn’t know how to market things or we didn’t know how to get customers. We thought we had a great product, great service, people will just magically come in, and that’s obviously not true. With anything that you have nowadays, you need to think about marketing.
Eventually, that kind of led to us starting our own eCommerce businesses, because we were still working but we still had that itch to do something. It’s always something internal like you want to do something. We both quit our jobs and we then sort of started doing our own eCommerce brands. At that time, Amazon FBA was really popular, so we were learning through podcasts, through websites. We did our first sort of eCommerce brand that was working well and then we started another one. We call it the stairstep approach, where the first few companies that you make, maybe you don’t have success, but you’re learning stuff on the way. When you’re learning that, that next company just gets better. Ultimately it led us to doing Chester, which is our luggage company that we grew to basically $1.5 million to $2 million in a year, through our other previous experience. But then that also led us to starting Voy Media which is our agency that we help other DTC brand owners, just because taking some of our previous experience, we saw that a lot of founders we talked to needed help with that, because that was their first company, where for us, this was our fifth or six sort of company, and we can sort of share and learn that experience and sort of mentor them, but at the same time, help them with their campaigns or Facebook ads, for example.
Theo Hicks: Perfect. At Voy Media, that’s where you help these companies, maybe it’s their first company and you help them grow their sales, grow their brand through these various online advertising strategies?
Kevin Urrutia: Yeah, Facebook, Instagram and obviously, like Snapchat, for example.
Theo Hicks: Okay. One of the things you mentioned was the Chester Travels, your luggage brand. And before we were talking, you mentioned the amount you grew it to, but we’re also able to go from, obviously, zero traffic to the website to 60,000 per month. I think, best ever listeners who are listening, at this podcast we always talk about thought leadership and having your website be the hub, and then using social media and things like that to direct people to your website.
Do you mind walking us through some of the strategies that best ever listeners can start implementing today if they want to go from whatever their traffic is now to 60,000? If they’re going to double their website traffic, what’s some advice we have for them?
Kevin Urrutia: One of the biggest things that we see here where a lot of founders or partners that we work with is they don’t really think too much about organic traffic or organic SEO. For me, one of my things I first learned when I was starting my first business – obviously, I didn’t have any money, so I was like, “Okay, how can I get ‘free traffic’?” As I was searching online on Google, people are like, “Oh, you need to do SEO, it’s free traffic.” Obviously, SEO isn’t free traffic. But the skills and the mentality behind SEO really has helped me with all my other businesses now. Just knowing to look at what product people you are searching for online is super helpful. That comes from just using Google Keyword Planner.
Even for us, when we started Chester, we were looking at the sort of volume of luggages and we were really surprised about how many searches a month that keyword got, and there was only a few brands actually selling luggage. Of course, that was a mix of things, where it’s like luggage is actually pretty expensive to produce and there’s also shipping fees. But even then, the pure knowledge of using Google to find keywords that people want to buy is helpful in order to get the traffic. For example, for us, we use Ahrefs, which is one of the best SEO tools I think out there.
We saw keywords that people were searching for. For example, something that we ranked top 10 for was best flight tracker. Best flight tracker has about 5000 searches a month, and then we wrote an article talking about all the best flight tracker apps, that way people can go to our website, obviously find information about the best life tracker apps, but then at the same time, we can introduce them to our brand, Chester, and then show them, “Hey, because you’re probably looking for a flight tracker, you’re maybe going on a trip or you’re on a trip right now.” This is a great way to interject yourself into that conversation.
Another thing too is you really want to be thinking about what keywords people are searching for your product or service that you’re selling. For us, we’re selling luggage. We know that there’s hundreds of airlines, right? For example, there’s Norwegian Airlines, theres Hawaiian Airlines and people always have these questions about, “Hey, what are the fees?” We went to Google and we saw, okay, Hawaiian airline baggage fees, we saw that that has 4000 searches a month. We then, with our team, strategized and wrote an article about what are all the Hawaiian airline baggage fees. For that, we did research. We just called—sometimes you can find information online, sometimes we would just call the Hawaiian Airlines and say, “Hey, look, we’re interested in traveling, what are your fees?” And then we would write that down, and then we would put it into an article, and then that one, we also ranked in top 10.
Now, when people look for airline baggage fees, they’re probably trying to figure out what luggage you want to buy, so it’s the perfect query or search term for us… Because we’ll say, “Hey, look, our luggage fits this standard airline that you’re looking to get, so you should probably buy our product.”
Theo Hicks: Sure. Using an example of luggage, you’ve got luggage and then whatever your product is, and when you think of topics that are directly related to whatever your product is. So rather just in writing articles about luggage, you went and said, “Okay, well, what do people use luggage for?” They use it for flying. Then you found keywords for airlines and then wrote articles on that. Is that what the process is? You have a product and you just think of anything related to that product and see what the top keywords are and write an article on that?
Kevin Urrutia: Exactly. And sort of think about what issue your product is solving? What are the pain points in that? Because if you’re looking for that, then you can write content that really addresses that. And then you realize that there’s so many variations for that. Here for us, for example, obviously, we have Hawaiian Airlines, we have Norwegian airlines, we have Delta, we have Frontier, we have Iceland Air. Eventually, you’ll find out there’s so many variations of that, that you just need to just sit down, eventually just crank out all these articles for all these variations. That’s the way we think about it. But yeah, people are asking these questions, you need to answer them.
Another one that we’re really popular with that we see a lot of traffic is password photos. People want to know, how do I get a password photo? What is a password photo size? All these queries that maybe not related to luggage in general, but they’re related to travel. And then you need to think about sometimes you go outside of your niche to a bigger sort of audience, because that’s going to drive the volume, and then that’s going to lead to the sales. People are going to recognize your brand and they’re going to think about you. At least for here, what we think about is we want to be an information hub for traveling, and then luggage is a mechanism that we sell products and make money.
Theo Hicks: Yeah. Basically figuring out what kind of category your product falls into.
Kevin Urrutia: Yep.
Kevin Hicks: Yours is luggage, and the overall category is basically travel. Maybe to get a little bit more tactical. Let’s say I find my keyword and I’m writing my article, is there a certain number of times I want to mention that keyword? How often should I be writing these articles? Do you write them yourselves or do you hire someone that writes them? I know those are a lot of questions.
Kevin Urrutia: For something like this, we hire writers. With content, I think what people need to realize is that you want to be spending a lot of money on content, because it’s going to be good quality content. Of course, you can pay for cheap content, a lot of people do. But we’ve done that before and it looks bad. You have to edit it, you have to reformat it. For me, I don’t have time to be doing that. I’d rather pay a premium. That way, once a writer gives me the article, it’s good to go. Basically, that’s how I think about it. But obviously, some people think that my time is worth more editing, then go ahead and do that. But I just don’t have the time to do that anymore.
But basically, we use a job listing board that has great article writers right now. But we basically just go post it on there and say, “Hey, we’re looking for travel experts.” Another thing that we also do to find good writers is just go to blogs that are already talking about travel, and then most authors have bylines, so then you can easily find their Twitter or their LinkedIn, and then you can reach out to them to ask them to write on your blog, too. We also have another financial blog too and that’s what we do. We went to Yahoo Finance, we went to all the top finance websites and then we contacted their bloggers and then we just emailed them.
Another great way to get this too is look for industry events. For example, if there’s a travel industry event, most likely the page has ‘who’s speaking’. Those speakers are speakers, but a lot of times they’re writers too. If you know that they’re speaking at this event, they’re probably really up to date with the content or the topic. Those are great people to bring on to write your articles.
Theo Hicks: How often are you writing articles? How often do you recommend someone writes articles when they’re starting out, and they want to grow their traffic?
Kevin Urrutia: I think, five to 10 articles a month to sort of really kickstart the process. But as you start growing and as you start to have more money essentially – because as you get more money you can reinvest it – is do as much as you can; 20-30 new articles a month.
For me, the way I think about it is there’s no limit. If I have money and I want to keep investing, I think of it as an investment vehicle. SEO and content is a thing that’s going to keep growing and making me money. I want to keep writing and writing. Obviously in the beginning, you don’t have money, so you want to at least do one or two a month. But as you’re growing, as you’re bringing traffic, you just keep reinvesting it. That’s a great way to think about it there.
Theo Hicks: Sure. We focused on the organic traffic, the SEO, the free traffic. Now, let’s transition into paid traffic. You said you’re an expert in growing brands using sophisticated paid advertising strategies. Do you mind walking us through what these strategies are? What’s the best use of your money when you’re paying for advertising?
Kevin Urrutia: Something that we’ve done for Chester here, the way we like doing it, it’s a two-fold way; we love using organic content. Organic content for us is probably UGC. So content that people post on their Instagram, people post about them traveling. What we like about the luggage space is that people inherently love posting when they’re traveling. It’s a way to show off, right? “Look, I’m going on this trip,” and they love showing off their luggages, they love showing off their bags that they’re carrying. So for us, it works really well. What we do there is we partner with the influencers or even just normal people that tag us with Chester Travels on Instagram, and then we tell them, “Hey, look, we really like your image. We would love to use it for advertising. Is that okay?” And then we just ask them a message. Sometimes, they ask for money, but we tell them right now we’re not paying money. We just want to get your approval to run the image.
Most of the time 90% people say, “Okay, that’s fine.” 10% say, “I want money,” but we just say, “No, we’re not giving any money.” Then eventually they’re like, “Okay, fine, just run it.” But then we then take that organic content and put it onto Facebook. That’s really one of the best ways that we see right now that’s giving us the best ROI, is taking organic content that people would see natural on Instagram or Facebook and running them as an ad, versus — we’ve tried for Chester. If you look at our website, we have professional photos that we paid thousands of dollars for, those perform worse than these organic content of someone just looking rolling their luggage at the airport. Those work so well compared to everything else, and we tell people, we need more of that content. What we do here is, we look at why that organic content works so well and then we try to reverse engineer it and then give these people that gave us a great organic content, a script now that shows that emotion, that sort of feeling that we’re looking to portray. Because if you look at it sometimes, sometimes people will send products out there. We’ve done it on some brands. They’ll sell products out there and then they’ll do a video, but if you look at the actual expression of the person, it’s like, this is the first time that they’re ever seeing it. And you can really tell that that’s not organic in the content. Where for us, what we do is we tell influencer, “Hey, use it for a week or two, and then we’ll go and do a video with you. That way you can fully experience the product,” versus, “Hey, this is the first time opening it. Let me look at the lines right now.”
Theo Hicks: These are kind of like testimonials.
Kevin Urrutia: Yep.
Theo Hicks: Okay. For the influencers, when you give them the script and tell me to use it for a week or two, are you having to pay them or no?
Kevin Urrutia: If we want them to do a script, yeah, we usually to pay them something. For us, payment is usually in cash or it’s another luggage. So yeah.
Theo Hicks: Perfect. And then the first part of the step, you said, where it was like people are just posting their travel pictures, are they tagging the company’s name? [unintelligible [00:16:14].22]
Kevin Urrutia: Okay, yeah. Basically, if you have product or service, and that sort of email flow or funnel, you should encourage them to tag stuff, like, “Hey, we would love to see the product in the wild. Tag Chester Travels to our team to keep up,” right? And then people would love to just show off and do that. Yeah, usually you want to give them a tag that they can do, or at least make it very simple for them to find your Instagram, because a lot of people like tagging things naturally without them even knowing that you’re looking at it. Make sure you have an Instagram handle. Make sure you have an Instagram that looks clean, that looks good. That way people can say, “Oh, wow, they actually care about their profile on Instagram.” If you have something that looks ugly, then no one’s going to tag you because no one wants to show off something that’s ugly.
Theo Hicks: Okay, Kevin, what is your—traditionally it’s the best real estate investing advice ever. But since you are in marketing, what is your best marketing advice ever?
Kevin Urrutia: Best marketing advice? I think the best marketing advice I have is probably for people to think about funnels and sort of upsells in their sort of process of a product. For funnel for me, that means obviously you get someone with a website, right? And then they buy your product or service. Usually, what most people do is let’s say for example, you go to https://www.nike.com/, you buy a shoe, that’s sort of like the end of the checkout experience. What we’ve seen work well for eCommerce and sort of brand owners right now is that on that thank you page, you have another offer, another product that you can sell that they can quickly add to the cart without having to enter their credit card again. We still see that to be one of the biggest average order value boosters for eCommerce owners, and not that many people are doing it, but the best information marketers do this all the time. The reason why they do is because it works so well.
At least for us here we’re seeing this happen more in the ecommerce space with a lot of these checkout apps for Shopify, for example. But it’s funny, because 10 years ago, internet marketers have been doing this for so long. Before back then, it was seen as spammy, but now it’s okay. It’s like, oh, this is just the way to do it now. It’s pretty interesting to see that shift in mentality, where before, it’s like, “Oh, my God, this is so spammy.” Now, it’s like, “Okay, you need to do this,” and it’s okay now.
Theo Hicks: Okay. Basically, kind of thinking it from an example I have – I bought him some pizza from Domino’s. Right when I clicked Checkout, and it says, ‘Do you want a brownie?” Instead, I check out, I order my pizza and it says, “Oh, by the way, do you wanna buy a brownie?” I click yes. And then it automatically buys that brownie for me without me having to go through the process of putting in my information again.
Kevin Urrutia: It’s so quick and simple. The reason why it works so well is because you already got that first sale, which is the pizza and now it’s like, okay, it’s in addition, and if you don’t need to enter your credit card, that’s great. Something like Stripe does this really well, where they save a token for the next hour of your credit card that you can then use this to keep charging to it.
Theo Hicks: I like that. All right, Kevin. Are you ready for the best ever lightning round?
Kevin Urrutia: Yes.
Theo Hicks: Okay.
Break: [00:18:54] to [00:19:41]
Theo Hicks: Okay, what is the best ever book you’ve recently read?
Kevin Urrutia: The best book I’ve recently read was probably going to Dotcom Secrets by Russell Brunson.
Theo Hicks: If your business were to collapse today, what would you do next?
Kevin Urrutia: Like I said before, SEO, content marketing. It’s probably the best thing out there to sort of establish authority and get people to look at your products or services.
Theo Hicks: It sounds like you’ve started a lot of businesses before. Is there any business that didn’t work out that you ended up losing money on? How much did you lose? What did you learn?
Kevin Urrutia: We started this company called Dog Subscription Box. We wanted to make like a bark box competitor because we saw that they were growing. But for that company, we were sourcing all the products for all-natural organic dog products. We had the boxes, we had the custom logo, we had the design. We invested maybe 5 k to 10 k in that. This was like me doing it in between another company. But eventually we just decided this is going to be so operations heavy and the margins were so thin because we couldn’t get really good deals on some of the products because we didn’t have volume yet.
Theo Hicks: What is the best ever way you like to give back?
Kevin Urrutia: I think for me, what we do here is we host a lot of weekly webinars and weekly sessions with other founders, entrepreneurs, where we answer all their questions that they might have about Facebook ads, or about how to think about creatives for their companies.
Theo Hicks: If Best Ever listeners want to listen to those webinars or join one of the webinars. Is that Voy Media?
Kevin Urrutia: Yeah, https://voymedia.com/ or we also have our Facebook group. It’s called Facebook Ads Explosive Growth and we host webinars there too. We also will do deep dives in some top brands. And tell you guys, okay, what landing pages are working, what email are working, what creatives are running and how to do that for your brand as well. We post that on our YouTube as well, too.
Theo Hicks: Perfect. I think you kind of already answered that. But I’ll ask anyways, what is the best ever place to reach you?
Kevin Urrutia: The best place probably https://voymedia.com/ or just email@example.com, so you can email me and then I love answering emails. LinkedIn too, I’m pretty active on LinkedIn as well.
Theo Hicks: Perfect. Kevin, well, thanks for joining us today and giving us your marketing expertise on how to grow a brand. Best Ever listeners, we kind of talked about this a lot in the context of—his luggage brand is travel, but be creative and figure out a way to apply all the advice he gave today to your real estate investing business. At the end of the day, you’re still selling a product. Just take out luggage and travel and add in whatever specific real estate niche you’re in and then your overall category being real estate or finance, whatever.
But overall, we talked about how to grow traffic to your website. You’re a real investor, you have a website. It kind of falls into two categories, which was the organic traffic and then the paid traffic. We talked about how to figure out what types of keywords to focus on and then based on what people are searching for, different variations of that keyword, different keywords than a overall category that you’re in.
You gave the example of luggage being your product. One example was the luggage fees. And then variations of the luggage fees and every single Airline has a bunch of articles right there. And then figuring out how to write articles that are focused on travel in general. Anything that’s related to your product or content on that based off of the most popular keywords in order to get traffic to your website.
You mentioned that you are at the point now where you’re hiring writers. You gave us tips on how to find these writers. You mentioned that you will look for other travel experts. You can go to blog posts that write about traveling, reach out to those bloggers. You look up industry events, and then reach out to the speakers who are going to talk at that event. And you said that five to 10 per month is a good ballpark goal. There really is no limit. You can write 50 per month if you want to. Obviously, if you’re starting off writing by yourself, you can do a few months, but probably 10 is the minimum.
It’s interesting, so you basically use this organic traffic and then you leverage that for paid advertising as well. The specific example you gave us; Instagram, people are posting pictures of themselves traveling, you found out that you had a lot more success when you used these organic pictures in your ads than spending all this money on some professional picture. You’ll partner with influencers or people who just post pictures of them walking through the airport with your luggage, asked them to use their image and you’ll use that image on Facebook as an advertisement. And they said you get more in-depth where you send a piece of luggage to a big influencer, they use it for a few weeks and then you send then a script for a video ad.
These are, basically from a real estate investor perspective, think of these as testimonials. Your best ever advice was to think about things in funnels. Your example was don’t just stop at once they buy your product but to have an extra step after that, and your example was on the thank you for ordering page, have another product or service that they can buy without having to put in their credit card information again.
Kevin, thanks again. I learned a lot. I always enjoy having these marketing type conversations because usually it’s just about real estate investing. I appreciate it. Best Ever listeners, thank you for listening. I hope you enjoyed the interview. Have a best ever day and we will talk to you tomorrow.
Kevin Urrutia: Thank you, Theo.Follow Me: