It has been well over two years since we began handing out Linx Digital awards to our YouTube Ads Coaching Program students who have amassed millions of dollars-worth of revenue by advertising on the YouTube platform—and Robin Bouwman is one of them.
He's just hit $10 million with YouTube Ads after joining our YouTube Ads Coaching Program, so we took this opportunity to interview him and share the strategies he used to generate MASSIVE profits for his clients.
We'll also uncover how he utilized everything he's learnt from our course so far—and his perspective on how to effectively scale video ads.
Q: Tell us about your background and your experience with YouTube Ads? What's led you down this path?
I'm in the coaches and consultants niche, so I help people sell their courses or online programs. I got into YouTube Ads around 2 or 3 years ago. It started when a client asked me if I could run YouTube Ads for him and I said 'yeah—I can'.
I tried to figure it all out myself. Google Ads Manager was pretty confusing but I got it to work—and it did for around 2 or 3 months, but then I got to the point where everything stopped working. Since I have been following you guys for a while on YouTube, I decided to join the coaching program.
That’s when I learned the basics of YouTube Ads for the first time—and it’s what got me to my first $1 million, generated for my clients with YouTube Ads. Immediately after that, I decided to be less active in the community to fine-tune the creative process—which is also what you guys taught me or at least, explained to me. I've done so I can scale even further.
The things is, it's pretty easy to scale to a couple hundred a day; but when you get to around a couple of thousand a day, things get a bit more complicated. So that's pretty much what I've been working on, since our previous interview.
Q: Walk me through what your clients look like at a million, versus what they were like $10 million. Are you working with a lot more clients now, or still with the same clients that you scaled up?
It's a combination of both.
What prompted the increase in number of my clients (funnily) was when I started raising my prices a little bit—I was visiting Warsaw at the time. That decision helped me attract clients who spent more on ads because they can, of course, afford it. I also took in only one or two more clients, and focused on the profit-share model. That gave me more flexibility, along with a higher budget to really improve the creative process.
I would say the biggest thing that I started doing was follow two things:
First, is the the creative process that I spoke about.
Second, is to focus on improving the current funnel and do split testing.
I don't know if that answers your question, but that's kind of what changed for me. By focusing on those two things, it allowed me to scale up my clients because I had more budget to actually make the change that they needed.
Q: Do you think doing performance (ad campaign) deals gave you more autonomy in terms of having more freedom and flexibility when it comes to changing funnels, offers and landing pages—outside of YouTube Ads?
It depends on the client, of course; it's just that they trust you more because they understand that if it doesn't work, it's also going to negatively impact them. So yeah, they do. But I also screen for that, because I know that if I do a performance deal, it's probably also going to be about the funnel, right?
So if they aren't okay with that, then you know it's probably not going to work, or I just set a different percentage.
If they want to do the funnel and the percentages, of course! It’s a bit higher—most of the time—but, yes!
The biggest thing about it is that you have to look at it at a more holistic view where changes are made on multiple levers. I am saying this because sometimes, the solution could be as simple as changing the call to action underneath a VSL; and if that already doubles the revenue, that makes more sense than creating 100 YouTube ads, right?
Q: What are some repeated mistakes that clients make—not within YouTube, but the things surrounding it—that have made the biggest impact in performance and overall results?
I have one client who sells a course about 'how-to-start-your-own-agency' that always had a VSL for 20 minutes.
I don't know if you guys are aware but, there's this new 10-minute VSL that people are talking about. We gave a shot at it and that garnered twice as many calls booked for the same budget, while keeping our close rate exactly the same.
Because there are twice as many people are watching until the call to action, we now are able to book twice as many calls. So, yeah—that’s one example of a common mistake; a VSL that's too long.
Another is when qualifying people financially.
On the application questionnaire, I prompt questions like 'can you invest in...(what ever the product is)', and then limit the response selection to 'yes, I can' or 'maybe—I have my money in crypto and stocks', or ' no-I cannot'. In some cases, we mention somewhere in the form that the course is this amount—and if it would make sense for them to invest in it.
Those who responded 'no'—what we do is, we send to the call page. By doing so, we optimize for booked calls and only get qualified leads. If you don't do this, it's guaranteed that around 50% of the calls are disqualified.
So the 'magic' here is to tweak the Typeform, and making sure you're asking the right questions. Doing so can really improve the call quality, without unnecessarily paying more per call.
Another thing that I started testing (but have only tested on one client) is a 'no opt-in' on the VSL; but this is a bit tricky. These VSLs are already proven to work with an email.
Now, I don't know what you guys are at with opt-in rates on YouTube since they are not the same as they were before; but I feel you have to spend a bit more on ads because the cost per conversion or per next step is more expensive. But it’s not something I would recommend to beginners.
Q: Are there any other trends that you've particularly seen within the coaching and consulting space with ads?
I think one of them is either really making everything super easy, and being super transparent.
For example—with no opt-in, we tell them this is a video but afterward, they can book a call to remove all the friction.
Another is where they ask customers for a phone number, and they directly call them before they can even watch the VSL. This one's really 'sales-heavy', but it's happening.
I'm also seeing a trend on low ticket offers—although I have not seen it work well on YouTube as well as it does on Facebook or TikTok. It's usually a course that requires you to book a call to get access to the next part of the course. works—just that in my experience, the low-ticket offer trend is a bit harder on YouTube because it takes more time.
Low-selling offers I've seen work on YouTube are those that either do not use a standard sales page, or just use VSLs to sell especially if the back-end is done right. In this case, it wouldn't matter if advertising on YouTube is twice as expensive because the back-end works out.
Q: Speaking of other platforms, what does scaling look like if comparing YouTube to Facebook?
I think Facebook and TikTok are a bit similar nowadays—it's just that you need more creatives on TikTok to keep refreshing, and coming up with new stuff—
—this is why I love YouTube! On there, we have had the same style for two to three years; and if it doesn't work, we just make some edits in the first three to five seconds and it's running again.
Going back to the subject of other platforms, I also observed that the quality of leads are not as good on Facebook. Since people on Facebook are just scrolling, they click on ads for fun, and as a result, they convert less—unless (of course) you start experimenting with DM ads for the retargeting, then it's kind of all right.
Overall, I feel Facebook is not what it was before; and with TikTok, things fatigue pretty quickly. This is why I think YouTube remains at the top.
Q: Comparing the same offers that run on YouTube with TikTok, have you found there to be much of a difference on the creative side?
Of course—you definitely have to change the creative, but the same principles should be applied.
You see, I think the reason why most people don't make it work on YouTube is due to several things.
First, is how the video is scripted; second is having a charismatic influencer who is going to speak for the brand; and then of course, the editing. The same thing applies on TikTok.
So, if you think you're good at YouTube—you can definitely figure out what video creative works on TikTok quickly.
Q: Walk me through your creative strategy pre 1 million. How has that changed and helped you scale past that 10-million mark?
Before I really started scaling, I knew I had to learn the technical parts like how everything should be structured and set up—and your coaching program did that. Having learned the blueprint really made things more stable, work, and fixed the issues that I had.
As for scaling, I would write a couple of ads and then throw it out there just to see what works. I became more scientific about it.
For example: I would write ads that have three to five hooks, includes a section where I educate my readers, then add a section for testimonials. By doing this, I would be able to switch things out and create two variations; multiplied by the amount of hooks plus the same amount of effort, that gives me 20 ads to test with.
Next thing I do is look at which ones are performing well so I can do more of what's working—same goes with editing. Then rinse and repeat.
Finding that killer ad—you only get there by experimenting. At least, that's how it works for me.
Q: How many new YouTube ads creative are you testing per month?
I used to just do two to three per month; now, it’s five to twenty—all because of the scientific approach I just spoke to you about.
By following that formula, we now have content that can be switched up or taken out. That's what really made the biggest difference. From having—say, five ads per month—we now have 20 to 30 per month, easily.
It may sound like it would take a lot of time—and it does, but it all boils down to preparation, right? Like making sure you have enough editors that can handle every edit that needs to be made.
Q: Talk about your creative workflow that got you earning $10M for your clients. Do you still do all the scripting yourself, or do you have people some in and help with storyboard concepts?
It depends on the client and the structure.
I have clients where I don't do any scripting anymore where I just give my feedback, and those where I don't look at the script anymore.
When I have a project—especially if it concerns a huge performance deal—then I do it myself. On occasions when I get stuck with new creative ideas, I then work with a freelance copywriter—so, it's really dynamic.
Now when it comes to strategizing how I'm going to scale and structure everything, I wouldn't make the decision myself. I have a small team that that helps me with the load. In fact, they do 80% of the work; but when stuff don't work, I am essentially the one who figures it out.
Q: After hitting your first million mark, how did you convince your initial clients to sign-up to your performance-model?
It depends—I look at two categories when deciding my approach.
The first category comprise of people that just want me to run their ads; these are the type who would want the safest approach. Here, I just run ads for them with the occasional small performance deal which could either be ad spend, revenue, or ROAS. Then after a couple of months, you can tell the client your suggestions on how you can scale their business.
Now, depending on how much work it is and how experienced you are, you can charge them for that—or do it for free, and propose getting a percentage above $100,000 or $150,000.
That is one way to do it; the other way is to directly do the bonus.
As for the question of how I convince them?
I just show them some Hyros dashboards, and tell them about how I booked 1000 calls from the previous month for one of my clients. Then, I ask them how their business would change if they got a thousand calls a month. That's kind of how I convince them.
Now, this is another important step I take before I jump on a call with them—I prepare. This means I'll look into their ads and give them suggestions for testing—or things like structuring, creative-wise. nd if they didn't know about that, they’ll know you know your stuff. That in itself is monumental because it bu trust.
Sometimes, I even get access to their ad account and I'll find things that weren't excluded that should have been.
For example, if they’re advertising to the US, I point out they did not exclude baby channels where it's irrelevant; in some cases, I’ll mention that they don’t have a separate retargeting campaign when there should have been.
I also look at their funnel even if they don't ask me—and explain that if they don't change certain things (once they scale), it will become a bottleneck and cause for them to stagnate at $300,000 per month.
With their knowing I looked further than just the ads, it demonstrates my authority that really showcase my expertise.
It's way easier to close people like that.
Q: So, what's next? You've already gotten from 1 to 10 million; how do you plan to go from 10 to 30 million? How do you plan on reaching that level?
Just to clarify, this 10 million is not mine; this is what I’ve gotten for my clients.
To be honest, I'm already getting close to $20 million now; my Linx Digital $10 million award only counts for how much I’ve generated for clients since joining the coaching program, but excludes how much I generated for clients before joining the coaching program.
So—for now, I will be working on a couple deals where I get 10% to 20% profit, work on the funnel, but not really take on any new clients until the end if 2022. I'll just focus on building out these funnels. From there on, I'll start doing my own marketing a little bit more so that I can attract even better clients.
Now, I’m not sure I’d recommend this to other people, but I’m also doing some of my own offers.
Currently, I am doing some affiliate marketing that's making me decent money, and we're just launching a new offer ourselves! It's more like partnering up where I'm more going towards 30% to 50%.
Other than that, I just need to stay on top of the trends.
If I continue advertising and stay on top of trends along with doing the same funnels, then my clients will not suffer from whatever happens next (like what we saw before iOS), they will keep growing. I’ll get clients for as long as people talk about it so, the $30 million should kind of happen by itself.
The biggest thing I'd say that I also want is to have one or two of my own offers. I think that I'll be in a strong position when I get on the sales call because I can use it as a case study...you know, by logging in when I'm on the sales call and showing them. The plan is to market myself a little bit more with those case studies by running a little VSL for myself at some point.
Another thing that I've been trying to do is look for niches that are up and coming.
We talked about them being super easy given that the time investment is so small compared to the money you can make there, you know? Figuring out what's going to be the next thing that I can capitalize on, so that making money is easy instead of hard.
So, yeah—those are the next steps for me: just focus on those things for now, and keep growing by marketing myself a bit better and going to events.
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