November 22, 2020

JF2273: Generating Revenue & Traffic From Online Stores With Joe & Mike Brusca #SkillsetSunday


Joe and Mike Brusca are brothers who got started in online business selling on amazon and slowly started to grow into more online eCommerce stores, blog sites, publishing fiction books online, and recently investing cash flow into buying and selling land too.

Joe and Mike Brusca  Real Estate Background: 

  • Founders of Build Assets Online
  • Experience building 7-figure revenue generating stores online without a location
  • Based in New Jersey
  • Say hi to them on their 

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Best Ever Tweet:

“Have content to build value and trust before offering an opt-in to increase conversions” – Joe & Mike Brusca


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 Joe and Mike Brusca. Joe and Mike, how are you doing today?

Joe Brusca: Hi Theo, how are you?

Mike Brusca: Thanks for having us.

Theo Hicks: I’m doing good. And thanks for joining us, looking forward to our conversation. So today is Sunday, which means it’s Skillset Sunday, where we talk about a specific skill that can help you grow your real estate business. And today we’re going to be talking about driving traffic to your website. So before we dive into that conversation let’s go over their background. They are the founders of Build Assets Online. They have experience building 7-figure revenue generating stores online without a location. They’re both based in New Jersey, and you can say hi to them at their website, which is So do you guys mind telling us a little bit about your background and what you’re focused on today?.

Joe Brusca: Yes. So we got started in online business, just some basic selling on Amazon back in 2014. Then we started doing publishing on Amazon. And basically, what it evolved into is us owning and operating a portfolio of online websites that generate income. So among these websites are e-commerce stores where we have partnerships with brands and dealers around the US, and we’re basically a retailer for their products; we have blog sites where people will google something, they’ll google “how to remove a stain from a carpet” and then they’ll land on our site, and then we’ll show ads and we’ll make money that way. We’ll also make money through showing some affiliate products on sites like that. We also make money publishing fiction books online… So it’s really a whole slew of things.

Recently, we started re-investing a lot of that cashflow that we were generating from these online businesses into buying and selling land, and I would say we are still relatively new at that, but we can speak a lot about to our experiences online driving traffic in so many different ways, and kind of different scenarios in regards to what’s appropriate for what, if that makes sense.

Theo Hicks: Absolutely. I think before we talk about actually driving traffic to websites, we should probably talk about the website itself. So maybe you’ll tell us what are some of the most important components that someone who wants to get people to actually come to the website needs to have first, before they start focusing on the variety of ways to get people there.

Mike Brusca: I would say it would certainly depend on whatever your goal is. So if it is a situation where you would want someone to make a purchase on your website, of course, you’ll want to be using a platform that would be conducive for that – Shopify or WooCommerce – and have certain elements to, say, get a deposit or something of that nature. If you’re just working to generate leads, of course, that’s a different situation. Or if you’re working to just get people in the door to give them information and have that lead to a particular action, that would be separate. But what I’m getting at is you want to think about the end goal first. So whether it’s lead generation, an actual purchase, or just serving them content in order to market to them again later, then those will be 3 very specific goals and what you would do would depend on that.

Theo Hicks: Okay, so from a real estate perspective it’s most likely going to be the first and the last. So, generate leads and then to provide content. So maybe let’s start by talking about the generating leads one first, and then we talk about the provide content. So If I want to generate leads to my website, what do I need to do on my website?

Joe Brusca: Well, most obviously, you need a place for them to input their information, to sign up to become a lead. So when you’re thinking about driving your traffic, say you were driving your traffic to content – which we can get into – say you had a blog post… You’ll want to have a lead form or a link to your lead form, somewhere woven into that blog post.

Or if you’re just traffic to a certain page, say you have a product listing on that page, you can have a page to sign up for the newsletter or something like that, some incentive for them to sign up to become an actual lead. That’s really the first thing you need in place if you’re going to collect a lead. So I’m just speaking to this as if someone is a total beginner at online marketing. To do that, you need to have an autoresponder; we use an autoresponder called AWEber and it’s basically just a platform that allows you to collect emails and send emails, and you can collect other information as well, such as phone numbers and things like that. And there are tons of other software that you can use if you’re going to be doing like phone leads and stuff like that. But as our businesses is right now, we would like to focus on emails.

If you do want to do phone leads, you can use things like Google tag manager, where you can actually define actions. So say your goal for someone landing on your website is to get a call. You can use Google tag manager – and this might be a little bit advanced, but you can have your tech guy do it – to where if someone is on your website and say they’re on a mobile device and they tap the phone number, which is going to prompt their phone to call, and that’s something you can track as an action in your google analytics via a Google tag manager. So like Mike said, once you define the goal, there’s usually a pretty easy solution to do it.

Theo Hicks: I’m curious about your thoughts on this… So I see some websites that have a home page and then ten different tabs you can navigate to, and I see some websites where it’s just one page and it’s like the blog page, and there really aren’t other pages on that website besides that main page. And there’s obviously anywhere in between. Which end of the spectrum do you think is better? I’m sure it depends on what your goal is, but as for the purpose of generating leads, what’s the best format? Do you want to have a bunch of tabs, an About Us tab, the blog tab, the podcast tab, Contact tab, or is it better to just have everything on one page?

Mike Brusca: I think sometimes people can do too many things and get almost flustered by trying to do a million things at once. Honestly, if you see a website that is essentially one page with a Contact form, you can be almost positive that they’re driving traffic through some sort of paid means; so whether that is Google ads or Facebook ads or what have you… They’re using those external sources to get the traffic in and onto that page, and that way it’s super simple for someone to sign up. That’s the only action they can take, is to sign up.

But on the other hand, if you have a website and it’s filled with multiple pieces of content, those pieces of content can generate organic traffic just through ranking in google, or getting traffic from social media, what have you… But you can also amplify those pieces of content in order to get people onto your website, sort of nurture them in the sense of building trust so that they understand you know what you’re talking about, and they can learn more about you, and then they can choose to sign up themselves. So each way has their pros and cons. Joe and I specifically prefer to do it the content route, and there are a few different reasons for that we can get into.

Theo Hicks: Okay. [unintelligible [00:10:19].00] having the multiple pages on?

Joe Brusca: Yeah. When you say multiple pages, again, it’s going to come back to the goal of your website. So I’ll just give you an example; on our land site we do have multiple pages, because we sell multiple pieces of land. So if someone is browsing, say they’re looking to buy land in California, we want them to clearly be able to see all of the properties that we’re selling.

Let’s take a step back for a second. What Mike is saying with the content is that having content builds trust in the audience. Say you are trying to drive paid traffic off Facebook, and you just send to a form where they fill in their email address, and their name, and their phone number. Someone might not do that on their first go around. Some people might, but some people might not. But a more sustainable route is to actually target them with content. What do I mean by that? So say you are renting vacation rentals in Ocean City, New Jersey. You can have an article talking about breaking down the different costs of what it costs to rent in Ocean City, New Jersey, and what you can expect to get in a given price range.

Now, if you drive somebody to your website to that article, kind of like “No strings attached, just here’s the information” and then you have a gentle reminder at the bottom of the article “Hey, become a lead. Sign up for my email list to get notified on properties become available”, some people are more receptive to that than just wanting to get the latest updates on “When new vacation rentals become available, sign up here.” Some people are going to far more receptive to seeing the content first and then getting asked to sign up.

And using the different technologies that are available online — so if someone lands on your content page and you have your Facebook pixel installed, I’m sure all your listeners have seen themselves get re-targeted around the web if you’re looking up dog biscuits or something, and then all of a sudden your web browser is filled with ads for dog biscuits; you can actually do the same thing; so you can target people that have read your article on prices for vacation rentals and what you’re going to get. You can target them to become a lead later down the line, and they’re more likely to do that, because it’s not like a cold audience anymore; it’s a much warmer audience, because it’s the second or third time they are engaging with your website.

Theo Hicks: I see. [unintelligible [00:12:33].00] the last part… So if I write an article — let’s say I want to rent in Chicago. I read an article about all the different places you can rent in Chicago, different prices, different amenities around the area. In the bottom, I’ve got my old lead capture form and they don’t sign up – essentially, if I then have paid advertising, then since they looked at my article, then if they’re on Amazon or something, a little ads pops up and it might potentially be an ad to my company?

Mike Brusca: Not necessarily Amazon, but yes.

Theo Hicks: Okay, some other website, I’m sorry. I just used Amazon as an example.

Mike Brusca: Yeah. You can capture that – pixel, it’s called. So they’ll have that as they browse around, going to Facebook, search other things, etc. So you can use that audience to — say you have a thousand people visit your site and they get pixeled, you have this thousand-person audience. And by targeting those people specifically, you can afford to bid more, because you know that they’re interested; they’ve been on your website, they’ve read your content, they may know who you are already… And it’s a lot warmer with an audience, just like Joe was saying. It’s not like you are spending money on getting people on the door and then they leave because they don’t know who you are and you never speak to them again.

Theo Hicks: Something said earlier about your blog site, so that you’ll have something like how to remove a stain from your floor, right? So in a blog post like that, what would be the lead capture at the bottom? Do you sell cleaner products? Is that what that would be for?

Joe Brusca: In a business like that we might not have an end goal. So we might just be driving traffic from organic search on Google, just to show them ads.

Theo Hicks: Oh. Okay.

Joe Brusca: That’s where we get paid showing ads. But that’s just one example of a business model that we do. So on our eCommerce stores, we can serve them similar content, something about different types of kitchen islands you can buy, and then they’ll get a pop up saying “If you want a discount,  make your first purchase with us.” So that’s an example of a more goal-oriented thing. With online marketing, this might not be that relevant to the audience listening, but as I was trying to say before, it is goal-oriented, and sometimes the goal is just as simple enough as showing someone an ad.

And to kind of loop it all back together, if you are doing advertising online, it’s those types of sites, like the stain example – that’s exactly where your ad might show up if you are re-targeting on Google. So if someone landed on your page about rental properties and then you are re-targeting them with the Google display network, your ad could come up on those websites that are just serving ads. And then they can click and then sign up and become a lead for you then.

Theo Hicks: And the actual software that you use is called Google Display Networks? Is that how you re-target people? Even pixels?

Mike Brusca: You would do that within Google Ads. The Display Network, it would be during a display campaign inside of Google ads.

Theo Hicks: Do you guys do Google ads yourself? Or do you have someone do it for you?

Mike Brusca: We do Google Ads ourselves. And for what we do, it’s like one of the most important functions of our business, is driving the traffic. And I would honestly recommend to anyone, if they want some sort of paid traffic presence online, that they should learn some of it, at least starting out… Because no one is going to understand your business as much as you do. And to just let someone in the door, and say “Hey you know what you’re doing, can you just run my ads?” They’re probably not going to produce a good result for you, and you’re going to waste a lot of money.

It’s not that people out there that run agencies and stuff like that, they don’t know what they’re doing; they actually understand ad platforms very well. But it comes down to again, understanding your business, how much things are worth to you… So if you can’t communicate that easily to an agency, then you’re better off learning it yourself.

Theo Hicks: So if someone is coming to that website and I do a Google ad, is there like a filter I can use? Like I want to only target people on, let’s say, the blog website that you use specifically to list ads on, right? So if there’s something like a function in Google ads, where I can say “Okay, well I want anyone who has been to my website to see this ad when they go to your blog about cleaning your floors.” Is that how simple it is? Or is it a little bit more complicated than that?

Mike Brusca: They would see the ads across any website that has Adsense enabled. So it’s not like they would only see those ads if they go to your cleaning site. They would see it basically anywhere on the internet, because the majority of content sites–

Theo Hicks: Yeah. I understand that. I was asking about setting it up in the first place. Is  it as simple aslike just  a button I can click in Google ads that says “I want to target people who have been to my website.”

Joe Brusca: Yeah.

Mike Brusca: So you would set up what’s called the Global Site Tag, and you can just Google that and it will give you instructions on how you do that within your account. So the Global Site Tag is what pixels, the people on the site — so they visit the website, they get pixeled, and then the number will build in your audience. So you can create an audience on Google very easily that just says, “Visitors in the last 180 days”, and that number will grow as people continue to visit the site. So long story short, if you want to target those people, you will just go to audiences inside your campaign and just select an audience to target.

Theo Hicks: Perfect. So it’s called the Global Site Tag.

Joe Brusca: Just to be clear, If you want to do this on Facebook and Instagram as well, it’s a separate tag. It’s actually called the Facebook pixel. And just like the Google Global Site Tag, it’s a little piece of code that you just paste into the backend of your website. And once it’s on your website, your audience will build on Facebook. And then Facebook will track the same way Google can track what pages they have been to, and all that. And it all happens within their browser using cookies.

Theo Hicks: Now let’s talk about the actual content. Let’s start to focus on your land one. So you want to send you people to your land websites, and you’re doing this to your content; what types of blog posts are you writing about to get people to come to your land page eventually?

Mike Brusca: So for that, we don’t necessarily use content, because it’s not going to be the quickest and easiest route to getting customers. For the land situation, we almost treat it as an eCommerce product; so people can go on our website, they can place a deposit, and essentially we’re selling this all online. And then once they deposit, we’ll handle all the logistics of transferring the deed, and stuff like that.

So really the quickest way for us to do it would be we, we’ll list ourselves on the MLS just through any sort of flat rate MLS service. Put it on Craig’s list, Facebook, Marketplace, and we’ve also done YouTube ads for the property. So we’ll get nice pictures, drone footage etc. make a video for it. And then you can target people in that particular radius with that video on Youtube, and you can even narrow down — say if it’s a property on a lake, you can narrow down the people that are interested in lakeside activities, like fishing, kayaking, etc. So they’ll see that ad as they’re on Youtube, and that would funnel them on the website to check out the product, and then they’ll be pixeled, and then you can re-target them.

Theo Hicks: I see. So what type of products do you write the blog post for then usually?

Joe Brusca: It’s not to say that we would never write blog posts for land stuff, but it’s really important to be tactical and think about when you want to do it… Because it’s a long term strategy. Because ranking in Google does take a little bit of a long time. So with the land stuff right now we’re kind of experimenting with multiple different locations, multiple different states… But the time to start producing content, where you want to rank in Google and do the blog thing, is when you know that okay, this is the particular customer I’m serving, I’m serving this particular area, and it’s more like a repeatable fashion.

So again, it comes down to defining your goals and understanding the traffic method and how the traffic method works. Producing content takes a long time, and it takes a long time to rank in Google. So it’s not worth doing just for no reason; you have to know that you have a business in that space and that the content is going to meet the goal of that business.

So yeah, we create content for our eCommerce stores because they’re well established and we know the type of customer we want to bring in, we know what the type of customer is going to be searching, because we know that from our paid advertising. Because when we do paid advertising on Google, we can see someone who lands on our site – they might be searching for “green kitchen island”, and we know, okay if we have an article about 25 different types of green kitchen islands, that’s a good article that would bring us the customer that we are looking for.

So in terms of the land thing for us, we’re not quite at the content stage yet. But that doesn’t mean that any of your listeners won’t be at that stage. It just comes down to do they have an established business in an area that they want to try and increase their market share in.

Theo Hicks: So you’re saying that you can determine the type of content to produce based off of the people who are clicking on your paid advertisement? Is that what you’re saying?

Mike Brusca: Yeah, for sure.

Theo Hicks: Alright, well is there anything else you guys want to mention as it relates to driving traffic to websites or any other call to action you guys have before we wrap up?

Mike Brusca: Well, one last thing for driving traffic to your website… I would say anyone, if they have not done this, they should make a Google My Business listing. That would certainly help them with whatever they are doing that’s real estate related… Because when people search your name and your website, and even whatever you’re offering to some degree, it will give you extra exposure, and it will help you take up extra search engine real estate. Google My Business, very important.

Theo Hicks: Alright. Anything else I failed to mention? Like a call to action, or where people can go and learn more about you?

Mike Brusca: Yeah. If you want to learn more about what we do, how to drive traffic to a website, and all that, you can check us out on

Theo Hicks: Perfect. Joe and Mike, I really appreciate you guys coming on the show. I’m sure it’s probably clear that I don’t know much about driving traffic to websites, or at least not the specifics about it… So I’m going to try my best kind of summarize at least some of my main takeaways.

The pixeling people – I thought it was interesting. So you said that you can create a global site tag to pixel people that have been to your website and then you can re-target them with Google Ads. And there’s something similar but different that you can do for Facebook as well. And what I got is that everything is very dependent on what you’re trying to do, what your goal is, who your customer is, what area are you trying to focus on… So those are all things that you need to determine first before you decide which is going to be the best way to direct traffic to your website – whether it be paid advertising, whether it be doing content.

I thought it was interesting when you guys mentioned how one of your businesses is literally just doing blog posts and then putting ads on there. I knew it existed, but that’s just interesting to me. And then all of the things that you’re doing online.

We also talked about some of the differences, the pros and cons of having a website that’s just one page as opposed to having multiple pages. We talked about if someone just has one page on their website, they’re probably focusing more on Facebook advertising or other external advertising and it’s sending people to that particular page… Whereas multiple pages allow you to generate more traffic organically, plus you can then use that content to target people, it helps you develop trust.

So I think this is going to be an episode that’s going to be worth a re-listen, especially for me. You guys went over a lot, so I appreciate that. Best Ever listeners, as always, thank you for listening. Have a Best Ever Day and we’ll talk to you tomorrow.

Mike Brusca: Thanks.

Joe Brusca: Bye, Theo.

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