Question Based Advertising is The Future, $40M In Sales Doesn’t Lie!

Stephan Goss

In Episode #719, Nathan interviews Stephan Goss. He’s the entrepreneur and technology executive behind his first company, Zeeto, which he started at the age of 22 and is still running today. He’s led the company in expanding from a team of 3 people to 70 in just under 5 years and with the launch of the ad network, he plans on continuing the company’s growth story in 2017. Previously, he founded Samples.com & Getitfree.us, which is the biggest free samples property on the internet.

Famous Five:

  • Favorite Book? – The Power of Habit
  • What CEO do you follow? – Elon Musk
  • Favorite online tool? — Slack and Gmail
  • How many hours of sleep do you get?— 8.5-9
  • If you could let your 20-year old self, know one thing, what would it be? – “Keep going for it”

Time Stamped Show Notes:

  • 01:04 – Nathan introduces Stephan to the show
  • 01:56 – Stephan bought Samples.com 3 years ago and Getitfree.us for 6 figures
  • 02:31 – Everything started with Samples.com
  • 02:48 – Stephan left Switzerland when he was 19 and spent 10 months living in tent
  • 03:31 – Stephan and some of his friends were running ad campaigns on the internet
  • 03:55 – Everything is lead generation with Samples.com
    • 04:03 – They acquire users for $1 and they get $1.25 in return
  • 04:30 – Stephan was making a 20-30% margin at first
  • 04:59 – One of their large clients called and asked for more targeted leads who offered $8
  • 05:46 – Stephan came out with a decent approach to find targeted leads
  • 06:22 – Stephan was spending $10K for ads
  • 06:51 – Stephan had a business partner and they had some cash flow to begin with
  • 07:14 – The model of Samples.com was good because they can get their ROI fast
  • 07:34 – Samples.com is still running
  • 07:55 – Stephan continued the question asking model for the targeted market and scaled it
    • 08:26 – The lead value is more of a composition of all the answers
  • 08:46 – 2016 total top line revenue was $39M and total ad spend was around $20-25M
  • 09:18 – Samples.com currently has 25 people
  • 09:25 – Stephan spent the bottom line money on investing on the Zeeto site
  • 09:42 – Stephan is currently breaking even with Zeeto
  • 09:55 – Stephan still gets his salary from the company
  • 10:23 – Zeeto’s model is taken from Samples.com’s question-model
  • 11:10 – Zeeto is similar to Google Adsense
    • 11:20 – Regular CPMs from Adsense range from $5-20
    • 11:33 – Zeetos’ CPMs range from $400-2200
  • 12:00 – From Nathan’s research, podcasters earn $15-20 CPMs
  • 12:11 – Nathan shares how he asks his advertisers about their CAC and his audience
  • 12:44 – With Google Adsense, there will be around 3 ads per page
  • 13:27 – The technology around Samples.com and Zeeto is considerably pretty hard
  • 14:43 – Facebook and Google has all this data regarding leads that other big companies don’t have
  • 15:13 – Zeeto’s goal is to help publishers have a better revenue model
  • 15:21 – Zeeto’s product has just been launched
  • 16:32 – Stephan sees Zeeto as an additional feature to the paywall
  • 17:01 – Zeeto is incremental
  • 18:18 – It will be more complicated for Zeeto to write questions for each of the articles rather than by being an addition to the paywall
  • 18:24 – “Questions are built to be more broad”
  • 18:59 – Stephan doesn’t know what is really going to work yet
  • 19:25 – Stephan’s goal this year is to see where they’re going to fit in
  • 19:50 – Anything that will drive people to the web will work well
  • 20:19 – Stephan’s sample call-to-action
  • 20:34 – You can make custom questions fitted to the website
    • 20:46 – The goal is to optimize questions for the best response rate
  • 21:22 – Zeeto was built from scratch
  • 21:54 – Nathan struggles with which of his advertisement he should show to his new subscribers
    • 22:00 – Nathan sends them an email autoresponder
  • 22:27 – Zeeto has a user group that has interesting attributes
  • 23:07 – 3 advertisers are not enough to do it efficiently
  • 23:14 – Zeeto now has 200 advertisers
  • 23:37 – Zeeto is completely free and they’ll send a check for the revenue share
  • 25:05 – The Famous Five

3 Key Points:

  1. It’s easier for people to give out their details in exchange for something free.
  2. To collect your targeted leads, you need to have focused questions.
  3. Stay encouraged and Just keep going for it!

Resources Mentioned:

  • The Top Inbox – The site Nathan uses to schedule emails to be sent later, set reminders in inbox, track opens, and follow-up with email sequences
  • GetLatka – Database of all B2B SaaS companies who have been on my show including their revenue, CAC, churn, ARPU and more
  • Klipfolio – Track your business performance across all departments for FREE
  • Hotjar – Nathan uses Hotjar to track what you’re doing on this site. He gets a video of each user visit like where they clicked and scrolled to make the site a better experience
  • Acuity Scheduling – Nathan uses Acuity to schedule his podcast interviews and appointments
  • Host Gator– The site Nathan uses to buy his domain names and hosting for the cheapest price possible
  • Audible– Nathan uses Audible when he’s driving from Austin to San Antonio (1.5-hour drive) to listen to audio books
  • Show Notes provided by Mallard Creatives