TTE: Structure + Tip (Email 3)

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Note: This is an archive of an email from the April 1-7, 2020 launch series of The Traffic Engine (Early Adopter Edition).

If you've come in late, you've missed two emails, linked below:

  1. Tue, (Mar 24, 2020) — TTE: American Airlines (Email 1)
  2. Wed, (Mar 25, 2020) — TTE: Where do I start? (Email 2)

Read them both before you continue. They're important. They lead up to this point.

Yesterday I unpacked a mental model of being able to think like a customer — to see (and understand) the world through their lens. I said it was the most important skill in business.

Whenever my writing coach has me do a reading (read and analyze a piece of writing), she has taught me to do it from two very different perspectives — as a reader (analogous to a customer) and as a writer.

The process is completely different.

When Shawn sent me his section of this email to read, I felt a jolt of excitement after reading it (as a customer). If I had a tail, it would have been wagging.

I would have been throwing my credit card at the screen.

In full transparency: I am so excited to go through this training with everyone else. I am not a domain expert in paid traffic — I'm as eager to learn this as you are.

Here's Shawn, then I will end off with a massive tip that could change the game for you.

SHAWN: Thu, March 26, 2020

I'd like to explain the structure of The Traffic Engine for two reasons:

First, if you're considering signing up for the course when it's available next week (April 1 – 7) it's important that you know what to expect.

Second, explaining my thinking process helps me become a better thinker (and exposes me to feedback that also helps me improve).

I consume enormous quantities of information, including more digital courses than I care to admit. Over the years I've realized that I have a very particular way that I learn best, and that is reflected in the way I teach as well.

I like to orient myself to the 30,000′ view of a topic so I can see the whole picture, see how things fit together (or notice if they don't), and confirm that the structure and flow of topics makes sense.

When that perspective isn't available I often go through the course material and then create the 30,000′ view. (That's not very efficient and it's no fun when the parts don't fit or the creators' logic doesn't hold up to scrutiny.)

One of my favorite phrases is “how you do anything is how you do everything,” and it occurred to me that I have created The Traffic Engine as a reflection of how I learn best.

To inform your decision-making, here's what you should expect…

Broadly speaking, The Traffic Engine is divided into three sections:

  1. current reality,
  2. principles,
  3. and platform-specific strategies for Google and Facebook.

Current reality is a collection of important truths about digital marketing and paid traffic. For example, paid traffic costs are rising, platforms are increasingly demanding, businesses are systems and subject to the insights of systems theory, etc.

Principles are powerful, actionable insights that follow logically from thinking deeply about the second and third-order (and beyond) consequences of current reality.

For example, knowing that paid traffic costs are rising and platforms reward advertisers who provide real value, leads to the principle that it's better to focus on prospect quality rather than high-volume, ‘pray and spray' tactics.

Principles, at their core, are the exceptionally high-value ideas that frame our thinking so our actions are most effective. They're pressure-tested against, and follow logically from, a clear understanding of reality.

I'm anticipating that understanding current reality and the principles that follow will be approximately 40% of the content of The Traffic Engine which we'll cover first.

It's the foundation for everything that follows and, if I may say so with humility, I think this section alone will transform how you think about digital marketing far beyond paid traffic.

Once we understand a set of principles that inform our behavior, we'll turn to transforming those principles into strategies specific for Google search, Facebook prospecting, and Google Display Network + Facebook retargeting.

Those strategies will have two parts — costly mistakes to avoid (why and how), and high-value activities to pursue (why and how).

I'm expecting approximately 30% of the total content to focus on Google and 30% to focus on Facebook.

Again, the distribution will be (approximately) 40% current reality + principles, 60% implementation (half for Google, half for Facebook).

Content will be a mix of media.

Lots of written content, some screencasts (particularly for how to), video interviews sharing stories from people who have used this methodology successfully, and links to other resources I believe are important.

There will be live interaction with me as well (Zoom Q&A and hot seat calls at regular intervals).

This will be an intense, hands-on, action-packed adventure.

I will be using a real offer example for the training which participants will see me develop in real time for Google and Facebook in an ‘over my shoulder' format.

You'll see me assess results and make changes based on those results with an actual brand new offer in the real world (without any advantages you don't have like warm audiences, email lists, etc.).

My goal is skill transfer from me to you. I appreciate legendary coach John Wooden's dictum that “you haven't taught until they've learned.”

It's unrealistic to expect that I can externalize decades of experience, Matrix-style, with a direct digital download to your brains.

Instead, I have distilled what I've learned to its most important, actionable insights that you can internalize and use quickly and effectively.

I know many of you are anxious to implement as quickly as possible and I'm going to address that two ways…

First, some of the initial content will be available as soon as you sign up for the course so you can get started immediately.

This will help compress the time required to understand the first foundational 40% of the material (current reality and principles).

Second, you'll be able to begin implementing long before the course is complete (you don't have to, but that'll be an option).

I'm encouraging anyone who wants to follow along with me and my example offer to do that. (I think you'll find it helpful if I'm a week ahead of you to have a clear view of what to expect week to week.)

There will be additional options for freelancers, agency owners, and creative service professionals too.

Thanks to everyone who has been sending questions — I'll answer some of those in tomorrow's email.


I've read it (as a customer) four times already, and each time I get a new squirt of adrenaline and dopamine. Ahhhhhhh!

Shawn ended with a suggestion, but he wasn't explicit about the impact of what this means.

I want to be very explicit!

Because, internalizing this, then changing your behavior to match, WILL COMPLETELY CHANGE THE GAME FOR YOU.

Process vs. Outcome.

On October 24, 2016, I purchased Bryan Cranston's autobiography, A Life in Parts. I love a good autobiography (Open by Andre Agassi is the Gold Standard).

I really enjoyed A Life in Parts. My kindle book is full of highlights and bookmarks.

64% in (p175), a section hit me — which later was reinforced by Barbara Oakley (Learning How to Learn).

Here's the highlighted section from my Kindle:

Excerpt from A Life in Parts (by Bryan Cranston) | Process vs. Outcome

You'll want to read the highlighted text over and over until you've internalized that this means.

“I wasn't there to get a job. I was there to do a job. Simple as that.”

“I was there to give a performance. If I attached to the outcome, I was setting myself up to expect, and thus to fail.”

“There was to be no predicting or manipulating, no thinking of the outcome. Outcome was irrelevant.”

“I couldn't afford any longer to approach my work as a means to an end.”

“Once I made the switch, I was no longer a supplicant. I had power in any room I walked into. Which meant I could relax. I was free.”

Barbara Oakley, in Learning How to Learn (free to enroll btw!), teaches to learn to focus on process, not product (product is the result/outcome).

Process means the flow of time and the habits and actions associated with that flow of time. As in: I'm going to spend 20 minutes working.

Product is an outcome, for example, an assignment or project you need to finish (or a course like TTE/SOI/ARM/LBC, etc.).

One of the easiest ways to focus on process, is to focus on doing a Pomodoro: a 25 minute timed work session, not on completing a task.

Translating this to TTE — forget about the outcome (the traffic engine) you plan/hope to create “x” many weeks later.

As Bryan Cranston discovered, this thinking and behavior is flawed.

Free yourself to slow down. Enjoy the process.

“Slow is smooth and smooth is fast,” as the Navy SEAL saying goes.

If you have questions, or if you wanna share an insight you had, head to the comments section here.

Talk tomorrow.

—André (and Shawn)


All series emails can be found here.