Steve Gordon: Welcome to the Unstoppable CEO Podcast. I’m your host, Steve Gordon and today we’ve got a very, very special interview for you. This is, I think going to blow your mind the things that we’re going to cover. Very excited about speaking with Rick Cesari today. He’s helped major brands from GoPro to George Foreman build billion-dollar brands through brand response advertising, and strategic video marketing.
And I have to tell you, I get more questions about video these days than just about any other form of marketing. And so, today, I think we’re going to answer all of your questions. I’m excited that Rick is here. His book, Video Persuasion, is really designed to put the big brands’ proven video marketing techniques in the hands of small business owners all across the country just like you who are listening today. I’m excited, Rick, that you’re here. Welcome to the Unstoppable CEO Podcast.
Rick Cesari: Hey, great, Steve. Thanks for having me on. I really appreciate it. I’m looking forward to the interview today.
Steve: Yeah, it’s going to be fun. So, I was thinking in preparation for this, how many things in my house got here because of you and I think it’s probably a pretty high number.
What’s in Your House Courtesy of Rick?
Rick: But let’s talk about them. Sonicare. Do you have a Sonicare toothbrush?
Steve: No, I don’t have that. But my in-laws do, so yes.
Rick: Okay. Oxy Clean. Do you use Oxy Clean?
Steve: By the bucket. Yes.
Rick: Okay. George Foreman Grill?
Rick: Rug Doctor carpet cleaners?
Steve: We’ve used them.
Rick: GoPro cameras. If you’re a golfer, Momentous Swing Trainer is a golf aid we did a while ago. And maybe your wife uses a Clarisonic skin brush. That’s, I don’t know, that just there’s lots of different products that, oh juicers too. The Juiceman Juicer and the Breadman bread machine. So and the George Foreman Grill. So,
Steve: Yeah, and for those of us who grew up in the 80s and 90s, it’s like we grew up with your commercials and infomercials.
Rick: Oh, absolutely. Yeah, one thing I want to mention, though, Steve, before I go on because you mentioned like, I’ve worked with big brands. And, you know, just so your listeners know, all of those companies I started working with when they were doing less than a million dollars in sales and helped them grow into very large businesses. So the things we’re going to talk about today are really designed for smaller businesses that want to grow or just, you know, get more business.
Steve: Well, and that’s what I love about what you’ve done in the book and what I want to get to today for sure. Before we dive into that, we’ve given everybody a little bit of a window into your background but kind of take us beyond the bio. How’d you get to this stage of career?
Rick: That’s a good question. I’ll try to keep it short because we got lots to talk about. But I actually have a degree in biology, believe it or not, and that doesn’t really like sound like it would, how do I get into marketing from there, but I went to school up north and then I moved down. My family was living in Daytona Beach, Florida. So I moved back down. And I just was tired of school. I was thinking about becoming a marine biologist. That’s why I studied biology. And but you’d have to go on to graduate school for that.
So I moved back down to Daytona Beach, and I became a little bit of a bum for a year. I was a bartender and a lifeguard. You know, enjoying life until I could figure out what I wanted to do. And I started reading a lot of books, motivational books, like, you know, by Norman Vincent Peale, the older ones pre Tony Robbins type of thing. And also reading books about how people made money. And back then and still today, a lot of people became millionaires by investing in real estate.
So I read a lot of books about that, went to seminars and I went to this one seminar that taught me how to buy distressed property. This is the mid-80s right now so I’m dating myself. Went out, bought a property, turned around and sold it in two weeks and made $12,000 and I was in my early 20s. And that felt like a million dollars. And I was so grateful I called a, I don’t even know if this is a magazine that still exists in Florida. It was called Florida Trend. It was a business magazine, and I called him up and said, Hey, you got to interview this guy. He really, you know, helped me out. And they did it.
And then his seminar started to take off and I helped build up the seminar business. And, you know, that’s how I started learning marketing and direct to consumer marketing. And we started out with newspaper ads, but these were some of the first guys to be using infomercials in TV. So I quickly learned how to do that type of advertising really from just doing it, you know, hands-on. Actually, video production, working with people to produce the infomercials, buying the media time and, you know, I was doing that for someone else.
And then I left and started my own company in 1990 and took the same concepts that we used to promote real estate seminars. But I always had a passion for health and nutrition. And we’re teaching people the benefits of drinking freshly extracted juice and built the Juiceman brand. And that business took off and grew from zero to 75 million in sales in a little under four years. And we sold it in 1993 to Salton. I say we, it was my brother and I.
And I took a little bit of time off and then people just started coming to me and saying, Hey, could you help me do some marketing and so nothing was planned, but I basically started an agency. And that’s, up until about a year ago that’s what I was doing for the last 20 years was had a direct response marketing agency, helping other people build their brands and sell their products. And that’s when we, you know, got to work with all those great products like we mentioned earlier. With the more recently being, you know, the work we did with GoPro.
And it’s been interesting because I’ve used video as really the main marketing technique over that time. And, you know, the delivery platforms have changed, which we’ll talk about. But I really, what I really focused on in my book, Video Persuasion is kind of everything I’ve learned over the last 30 years, and how to get people to respond to video and what you need to put into video. So it’s much more focused on the content of the video, rather than the technical aspects of it.
Steve: You’ve done, I think, clearly some amazing things with very small businesses that have grown to be very, very big and household names now. And I know that there’s a ton that folks will be able to learn. I want to get into that in just a moment, but before we do, unless you’re very unique, I’ve interviewed 150 people now, you could be the one. I’m still looking for the one who has had the perfect up and to the right path in business.
Rick: No way.
Steve: And when I find him, I can stop the podcast and I’ll be done. But are you the one? Am I done?
The Flawless Entrepreneur (Probably) Doesn’t Exist
Rick: No, no. Not at all. I’ve had more ups and downs and, you know, really hitting rock bottom. And I’ll tell you what, I brushed over it but, you know, when I was promoting those real estate seminars in Florida, I basically wanted to go out and go on my own. And the owner kind of didn’t want me to do that and sued me and it got into and I didn’t have any money, very much resources at the time.
And I was forced to, I spent so much money fighting the lawsuits. I actually borrowed money against my mom’s house. It was like a $50,000 you know, second mortgage or refinance. And so I not only was out of my own money, I was in debt. And so I basically, this is 1986 I had to declare personal bankruptcy to kind of stop the lawsuits. And so when I moved to Seattle, I was, I had there was a friend out here that was in the fishing business, and he put up about $8,000 and it enabled us to make our, my very first infomercial when I was doing it for myself.
And it was basically called How to Make a Million in the Stock Market. So I flew out to Seattle. He was up in Alaska fishing. I took a flight up to Kodiak, Alaska. We went out. We were long lining for halibut and we got into a huge storm. The boat actually sank. We had to get rescued by the Coast Guard. So I was flat broke, owed my mother a ton of money. We went into the Coast Guard Station and I called in because we were testing this show that had just aired over the previous weekend.
And we spent like $3,000 on media time. And I when I called in, back then it was all through telemarketing, the telemarketing service had $12,000 in orders. So literally went from pretty much the lowest point in my life to one, you know, just amazing turnaround success. And then that show went on to generate quite a bit of money. But, you know, for me, the moral of that story is that you really can’t give up. I like that quote, I think it’s Winston Churchill during the Battle of Britain said never, never, never give up. And I feel like that’s something that I’ve lived by through my business career.
Steve: And you just never know when that break’s gonna come. I mean, you have to keep pushing and pushing and pushing. And sounds like that’s exactly what you did.
Rick: Yeah, no, I did. And then, you know, again we could probably spend a couple hours talking about some of the ups and downs in a career. Because even though I started to make money with that one project, I bought a company and then that didn’t go well. So I lost a lot of money. And then I kind of was like, bouncing off the bottom a few times before things and really turned around for good which happened with the juicing business in 1990.
And I think that’s kind of, if you’re an entrepreneur and you said it yourself, you know, you’ve talked over 150 people, you’re going to take risks and the nature of taking a risk is they’re not all going to work. Some are going to work and some aren’t. And I think that it would be a shame if anybody stopped taking the risk. Just they need to, from my perspective, think things out, learn from other people, watch what other people are doing and try to minimize the risk but don’t ever stop taking the risk in business to try and be successful or more successful.
Steve: I think that’s great advice. And I think that it’s funny that willingness to take the risk is the thing that I see is making entrepreneurs kind of unique in society. I tell people all the time. Like normal people would not sign up for what we signed up for, you know?
Rick: Oh absolutely. Well, I’ll give you another example because it’ll kind of tie in a little bit to the video marketing, but it’s the story of the guy who started GoPro, Nick Woodman. So I, you know, look for products to market and I was out the at the outdoor retailing trade show in Salt Lake City, and he was selling these little cameras out of the back of his Volkswagen bus because be couldn’t afford a trade show booth.
And he was, you know, his background was he was a surfer and he designed a camera to take pictures of himself while he was surfing. You know, I said, Hey, this looks like a cool product. We could probably help you with some marketing. He came up to Seattle. And his story was that he started an internet company in the late 90s when, you know, I, you probably remember and some of your listeners, that was when there was the big tech bubble that blew up, and his first company went bankrupt.
He took a year off and traveled around the world surfing and came up with this idea for the camera. And you know, once he introduced it, you know, we started working with him. I can get into details later because there’s some good video marketing tips in there, but we were able to help them grow the business from literally start-up to a billion dollars in sales in eight years.
Steve: That’s incredible. That’s incredible. Let’s do that next. Let’s dive into video marketing. I want to, let’s take a quick break. We’ll come right back with more from Rick and we’ll dive into all the ways that you can use video to grow your business.
Commercial Break: Hi, this is Steve. I hope you’re enjoying this interview. We’ve got more to come in a minute. But what I’d love for you to do right now is rate this podcast. leave us a review. Rate us on iTunes. It will really help others discover the podcast and help us help other CEOs, other business leaders become unstoppable. So if you go to unstoppableceo.net/itunes. You can find instructions there and links that will take you right to where you need to go to review the podcast. Thanks so much. Now back to the interview.
Steve: Welcome back, everyone. This is Steve Gordon. And I’m talking with Rick’s Cesari. And Rick, tell us about video marketing and educate us. Where’s the best place to start?
Getting Started With Video Marketing
Rick: All right. Before I get to the best place to start, I just want to share a couple of trying to find Oh, here it is, a couple of facts just real quickly because you said everyone’s asking you about video. And this will just take a second. It won’t be boring. But every second almost 17,000 hours of new video will be produced. Forbes says that more video has been produced in the last 30 days than all the TV networks combined in the last 30 years. Basically, this starting this year, nearly 80% of all internet traffic will be made up of videos.
And that shows you how much we’re becoming a video first society and that people really receive their information through video. You know, another fact, viewers retain 95% of a message when they watch it in a video compared to 10% when reading it in a text. And if you use video and an email, it leads to 200 to 300% increase in click-through rates. And including a video on the landing page can increase conversions by as much as 80%. So the reason I throw all those statistics at you is to say hey, don’t take my word for it. You know, if you aren’t using it video in your business, you need to start doing it.
And so you asked me the question, you know, how can people get started even if like they’re just a sole proprietor, small business type of thing and so I’d like to talk about the kinds of video that I think people need to start using. You know, I like to see people if they have their own website or ecommerce site or whatever, I like them to have kind of a video on the homepage that’s just a like an overview of what you do. And it’s your why, why you’re doing it. And it, so that way someone can come to your website, and without doing a lot of reading, they can just click on the video, and hopefully, this message is delivered from you.
You’re always your best spokesperson. And just it’s an overview of what you do, why you do it, what’s the benefit to the viewer or end-user to your client? And why are you different than the competition? And you should kind of know those things anyway if you want your business to be set apart from everybody else. So it’s a good exercise in doing that. Then I think this second most important types of video, and I do this today when I consult with businesses and they hire me to come in, the very first thing I do, I say, I want to reach out and set up a testimonial shoot of actual clients that are, have bought your product or using your service.
And, you know, most companies now have a, you know, an email list database of customers or clients that they can reach out to. And in my book, I give a video sequence that you can download that, to get these testimonials to come and show up. And so I try to line up a video shoot with 10 to 15 people that have actually purchased the product or service and I sit down and I do a short 15, 20-minute interview with them. And I asked him like, you know, why did you buy the product? What do you like about it? What do you don’t like? Would you recommend it to a friend? If you were selling this to someone, what would you say?
And by the end of that interview, I, you know, by the end of interviewing 10 people, I really have a really good understanding of what people like about a product, what they don’t like, but also I’ve recorded these on video. So out of that 10 or 12 people I interview, three to five of them will be just amazing sound bites. And I think, from a marketing perspective, to me, testimonials and video testimonials are probably one of the most powerful things you can use on your website or advertising materials to convince other people to, you know, get involved in or hire you or buy your products in your business.
Steve: Yeah, that’s fantastic. And those are fairly simple things that anyone could do.
Rick: Yeah, and that’s the thing. There’s aren’t like, there aren’t like, like big secret things. These are things that I used promoting real estate seminars 30 years ago and used to promote GoPro with online videos. And, you know, one of the things I go into in the Video Persuasion book is really the underlying psychological concepts of what makes people buy. And I, you know, I recommend another book to people.
You might have read it, Steve, it’s called Influence, the Psychology of Persuasion, by Dr. Jill Cialdini, and he talks about six persuasion principles that are really hot buttons about why people buy something or will respond to your video. You know, we talked about testimonials. Testimonials are powerful because they’re called social proof. And basically, all that means is that if people are in a situation, and they don’t know how to act, they’ll look to what someone else is doing to help make that decision.
So if you think about it, if you’re on Amazon and you’re trying to decide whether to buy a product, you look at the reviews and if it’s got good reviews, then all of a sudden you’ll buy it. If you’re on a website and you’re trying to think whether or not you want to buy a product or sign up for a service if they have good, authentic testimonials, that will help convince you. I like to use the analogy if you’re ever driving down the road and there’s a left-hand turn lane, and there might be two left-hand turn lanes, and there’s like 15 cars in one of the lanes and one in the other.
And, you know, why do people always go to that one lane where all the cars are? Because they look it and they say, Well, if that guy’s doing it, that must be the way I should be doing it. And they get in the longer line. So whenever I, you know, approach an intersection, if there’s two left-hand turn lanes, I look for the shorter line. Same thing for movie theaters, stadiums, things like that, that people have a tendency to follow what other people are doing. It’s just built into our psychology.
Steve: Yeah. And it’s a fantastic book Influence by Dr. Cialdini and you can see all of the, you know, even in those first two examples that you shared with us with the video on the homepage, you know, and then in the testimonials, how you’re weaving that in through all of these. And so, for somebody who’s listening, and they’ve got a professional firm, you know, they maybe are a consultant or, you know, maybe an architect or an engineer or somebody like that, and they go and they do these two things. Where should they go next with video? What are some of the best ways that they can leverage that, maybe on an ongoing basis?
Leveraging Your Video Marketing
Rick: Yeah, so one thing that your listeners can do, if they go to my website, which is rickcesari.com, they can download a free ebook that’s basically the top three types of online video content and how you can use it in your business. And it’s a great, great information. And basically, the three types are, and these aren’t my statistics, they come from different online platforms.
But the three types of videos that people mostly watch and I’m talking about not entertainment videos, like family vacations and things like that, but you know, business type videos, so they watch tutorial videos, which are kind of how-to, and that’s an explanation of your product or service. It’s like an instruction guide. Testimonial videos we already talked about. And the last one is a demonstration video, which is how to, you know, demonstrate your product or your service. And those would be the other types of videos that I think people should incorporate into what they’re doing.
So I think, normally, Steve, the next question that comes up is well, I’ve never made a video in my life and I don’t know anything about technology. How do I make videos? And, you know, I spend a chapter in my book talking about, you know, one of the nice things about technology is it’s advanced so much that it really puts the ability to make good videos in everybody’s hands. And, you know, your cell phone that you use every single day has one a better camera in it now than a $75,000 camera, you know, 15 years ago. It’s you know, 4D high definition.
But, you know, the thing where that sets apart, you know, a little bit better more professional looking video as opposed to like just a handheld video is usually the audio and some simple lighting. And so for under $100 on Amazon, I tell people what, you know, they can go buy this type of microphone that plugs into their cell phone, this type of light, and you’ve really just knocked out two of the main components of making a, you know, a nicer looking video. And, you know, they also have like little tripods that wholesale cell phones and things. And the other part of the, is the editing side of it.
And again, I talked about this in my book. There’s like 10 or 12 different apps I point out. I’ll give you an example of one, it’s called Content Samurai. So you can write a blog or a one-page description of maybe what you do in your business or some type of service that you provide. You can plug it into Content Samurai, they’ll let you record your voice, and then they’ll automatically match pictures and you come out of it and can download a video. And it’s just the technology has just made it really easy for everyone.
Steve: Yeah, it’s totally amazing what can be done today. Now, as I think about those different categories of videos, the, you know, the tutorial videos and the demonstration videos, this is where when I’m talking to professionals, this is where they get tripped up because unlike a product business, what often what they’re selling is intangible. And so they go, I can’t do a demonstration video. I’m sure you’ve got an answer for that.
Video Marketing for Service-Based Businesses
Rick: Yeah, let’s talk about it. So I basically, have a lot of great how-to videos on my YouTube site, which is rickcesari.tv. So what I’m going to talk about here, I have one video that’s like that says, How to create a great product demonstration video. And I know we’re talking about services, but I just want to take you through the product demonstration and then we’ll alter that a little so it addresses a service business. The five steps to creating a good product demonstration video, if you think about what an infomercial is, that’s what it does.
Now I work with a lot of large Amazon sellers, creating good product videos. But step number one is you introduce your product. Step 2 you demonstrate your product. Step three, and this is really the most, one of the most important, is you focus on the benefits of the product, the benefits to the end-user. And this is like, think about if anyone’s in a service business, you mentioned, architecture, real estate insurance. You know, all of those provide really good benefits to the end-user, but people fail to talk about those benefits.
I like to put in my demonstration video some short testimonials because that reinforces what you’re saying from a third party, adding credibility. And then the last, and this is where a lot of people fall down, Steve, they forget to put in a CTA. And I don’t mean a CTA, like, you know, buy now and save $10. It’s basically telling the viewer, the next step that you want them to take. So they’re watching this video about your service and you say Listen, if you’d like to get more information, go to my website and you can read a lot more. Go to my website and you can download this free book which will tell you more.
Go, you know, if you are doing a product, you know, go on your Amazon, go to the buy box and order the product. If you’re on an ecommerce site, you know, put the product in your cart. People need to be told what to do. And I’ll give you an example. If you finished up your podcast here, and you said, Hey, if you really enjoyed listening to me today go to iTunes and like my podcast. Now if you didn’t say that, very few people would do it. If you did say that I guarantee you many more people would. So you have to really tell the viewer the action that you want them to take as part of your video.
Steve: Yeah, and I see that left out in all kinds of marketing, not just video. People just think that their prospects are their, you know, their future customers. They’ll just know what to do and that, as you know, from your direct response background, and you got to be very, very, very specific about connecting that dot for people.
Rick: Yeah. And again, it’s like I feel like I, you know, people will make a demonstration video or explain their business or service, and then they don’t tell people the next step. And so that’s something that, like you said, I see people leaving out all the time.
Steve: So we go and we make our videos. And now, you know, you as you mentioned with the stats earlier, there, it’s more crowded than it’s ever been for video content. How do we get the video out so that people will actually see it?
Rick: Well, that’s a great question. And there’s a lot of different answers, but I think, you know, what you have to do, it’s like there’s very few, like, overnight success. It’s like okay, we can’t make a video and then there’s going to be 30,000 views on YouTube. So I think it goes hand in hand to really building up your social media separate from any video that you do so that you have a following. And then when you do that, you can introduce the video to your following to make a better connection.
You know, that would be kind of organic growth where you’re just doing your normal social media, you know, Facebook, Instagram, if it makes sense. YouTube. Even my YouTube channel, and it’s something relatively new I’m still trying to build that up. I don’t have a huge following yet. So then that’s the organic part of it. Then the other part which is more ties into more of the direct response part of this is that you would do some type of paid advertising. And Facebook is a really good place to do that.
I don’t think there’s a business in existence that I haven’t seen advertised on Facebook. And so the key to that is, and I talk a lot about this in the book, is really good direct response principles where you’re trying if you spend $1 on advertising, whether it’s on TV or on Facebook, or on YouTube, you’re trying to get at least $1.50 back and hopefully a little bit more than that so the advertising program pays for itself.
Every one of these products that we mentioned earlier in the interview, we were able to crack the code for an advertising model that basically paid for itself. And that’s how every little company was able to grow into a much bigger company. So it’s a combination of the video is good content and then you have to get this content out into people’s hands. And there isn’t a, you know, a magic button you can push to do that. It’s like you, it’s part of building your business. It’s just that it’ll happen faster as you implement video into it. I hope that answer made a little sense.
Steve: No, it did. Absolutely. So in some of the information you shared with me prior to the interview, you have a statement in there that there’s something that every entrepreneur should learn from GoPro. I’m curious what that is. What was the lesson there?
Rick: Let me, I have to go back and tell the, I told you about how I met Nick Woodman, the founder and everything else, but it’s really the nature of the GoPro spots. And it’s really a great, if you see what we did with that campaign, it really tells you a lot of how you can use video. So one thing we haven’t talked about is I like to say that making a good video is very much like giving a speech from the stage.
Now you work with a lot of professional people and, you know, service businesses. I’m sure they speak in front of groups, they speak from, you know, some speak from the stage. And so if you think about creating a video, it needs to be a little bit like that. And I read a book when I was in my early 20s, called How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. And he had a simple formula for giving a speech because tell them what you’re going to say, say it, and tell them what you said. And I’ve used that formula for my videos.
And think about this, Steve, how many times have you been watching TV or watching an online video, and you have no idea what they’re talking about until you’re like either a minute in or you get bored, and you click away from the station or click away to something else online. So I’m a huge believer in telling people upfront exactly what the following video is going to be. And that’s one way to hook them in or engage them in the following content. And so for GoPro, every TV commercial we made for GoPro started out with a brand logo. It was the picture of the GoPro camera.
Then there was user-generated footage in the middle, you know, people jumping off a cliff and a wingsuit or snowboarding or scuba diving, whatever. And then we ended it with a direct response offer. And at the end, the very final scene in the GoPro spots was go to our website, someone will win one of everything we make every single day. So three great things happen. People would go to the website and they’d register for the contest. And you would collect their email address. So now you can remarket to people and you’re building your database.
The second neat thing that happened was people would go to the website and they would see all the other cool videos and they’d share them with their friends. And it created a viral effect to the business. And the third was more pure direct response. People would get to the website and they’d purchased a camera, generating revenue which we would use to offset the advertising costs. So in those simple 32nd spots, it tells you a lot about a video strategy that could work for your business, adapting it to what you do.
Steve: That’s brilliant. And I appreciate you sharing that. That, I think the way that you explained it there that breaks it down in such a simple way that I think anybody can understand and go apply that. And so I know there’s a lot more in the book. Tell everybody where they can find the book and where they can find out more about the work that you’re doing.
Rick: Great. Well, thanks for the opportunity to do that. You know, as far as the book, the book literally was launched on Tuesday. I hit number one in my category so thank you, for anybody that’s ordered the book already. You can buy it on Amazon. You know, just look up Video Persuasion, or you could look up my name, Rick Cesaro. But even better, if you go to my website and sign up for that free download, there’s tons of great information.
Everything we’ve been talking about today, I write a weekly blog and it’s tons of great marketing information for all types of businesses. Everything to do with video, and you’d be on the list and every time a new blog came out, you’d get that and you know, just have access to all the information I kind of put out on a daily and weekly basis. So either, you know, buy the book on Amazon or you can go through my website to buy it as well.
Steve: And let’s give them that website one more time, please.
Rick: Okay. It’s rickcesari.com. RICK CESARI, rickcesari.com. Thank you for the opportunity to spell it out.
Steve: Well, we’ll have that linked up in the show notes so if you’re driving or doing something for you can’t write it down right now, you can certainly find it on our website. And you can Google, Rick as well. He’ll show up in Google. But get the book. It’s outstanding, and just a wealth of knowledge in there. You know, we know that, just from what we’ve seen that video is, is going to be an increasingly influential medium. And so it’s something you ought to know about, and hopefully something that you’re using in your business. Rick, thanks for educating us today. And I appreciate you investing a little bit of time with me.
Rick: Well, thanks, Steve, for having me as a guest. I really appreciate the opportunity. So thank you.