Interview with Ryan Allaire


Interview with Ryan Allaire

Webpreneurmedia:

This time we're going to be doing a deep dive with a guy who is absolutely crushing it in direct marketing, but Ryan Allaire's story starts out when he and his family were living in a cramped motel room so I think this is going to be a really fascinating and inspirational conversation. He's also one of the most energetic guys you're ever going to meet. Ryan, it's a real pleasure to connect with you.


Ryan Allaire:

Thank you so much. Thanks for having me. It's so great to be here and so awesome to be here.


Webpreneurmedia:

Well I'm really looking forward to chatting with you, Ryan, because your story couldn't be more rags to riches. Is it true you got started in marketing at just the tender age of 13?


Ryan Allaire:

Yes, yes it is. You're right, it's kind of a cliché rags to riches story which I kind of struggle with because I'm like, "Oh, it's just another story." But to me it's been a unique experience. It started at the age of 13, like you said in the intro, growing up in a motel room is a true story. I grew up, or I take it back, we lived out of a motel room for a while, grew up in Florida, and we were there for probably over a year, closer to two. And it was a humbling time. My parents always struggled with making money and I've always watched them struggle with that. Then I had a friend and his parents and it was like the complete opposite. It's like everywhere we went it's like money was just running into them, they couldn't repel it. It was so interesting how I would watch someone struggle, and someone make it so effortlessly and have multiple nice vehicles and multiple homes and vacation homes and had multiple estates.


Just this completely different life because here we are trying to make it in a motel room and then my parents rented homes, we got evicted, we'd have the electricity turned off, the water turned off, and it's funny, some nights we would have candles and looking back, some of those were the best moments with my siblings and with my family and my parents are great people, I love them, they're probably the hardest workers I know if I'm being truthful and transparent. They are super hard workers, but the irony of all this and what it taught me at a young age is not really just how hard you work, it's also how you work and how you apply the work you're doing because I watched my mentor, and he worked hard but nowhere near, my mom would detail boats, she worked in a fruit field and they gathered oranges, and they'd get them ready and polish them to sell in farmers markets and fruit stands. My dad was in sales, so I kind of got that from him and he worked his long hours doing these moving sales jobs, and I'd watch them work all the time, but never get ahead.


There's been times they would in the states that have an income tax where you get back a portion of your taxes, so for about a week or two we'd go all out. I was kind of looking back, the typical poor thing poor people do, you blow all your money the second you get some. But we'd go to the carnival. My parents did the best they could just to be fair and I love them to death, but the crazy part is is at 13 years old, the writing on the wall was very clear, meaning it's not just how hard you work, it's working hard and working smart at the same time, and this is how I got into direct mail.


My mentor, I worked in a mail room, I would walk in and funny story, I was actually working at a golf course and also McDonald's before this, and this was kind of a part-time thing I would do with my friend whenever I was with him, we'd go into his parents office, his dad's office, and then we would do odd jobs for $20, $50. And we'd help with something small, and to me that was exciting because I got to bring home some money and make some money while I was there. And I ended up actually transitioning from working at McDonald's at 14 and also this golf course, to working for them full-time because I realized I could work in a nice, cool office, the golf course was super hot, and a lot of hard work. I'm weed whipping around lakes and divets and all these things on the golf course in Florida, so just imagine that. And then McDonald's, I don't care where you are in the world, a greasy fast food restaurant is never fun, right? In any climate.


So I realized, hey, I can make more money than all my friends, I can sit in this really nice, cushy chair in this beautiful office, and I worked inside of a mail room, meaning I would help get direct mail piece mailings ready, send them out, then we would fulfil different products that they were selling through the mail, and this is when it came full circle, because I got to see exactly how it worked, because I knew it started out with them sending out four page letter, six page letter, sometimes a 10 page letter, but basically a bundle of paper, right? They'd mail it out and then from there I would watch them sell products that would range from $20, $40, $50, $100 and then some products were even thousands, which I'll talk more about that in a second, those are things they would sell on the back end.


But anyways, so I would watch this process and I'm like, wow, literally these people are making millions of dollars by sending out a couple pieces of paper and postage, the envelope, and selling these products. In the time it was in personal development. This was in the late '90s going into the early 2000s and Mary Kay was very popular, and they actually had product packages and books and things that would help a lot of Mary Kay agents and people that were in the Mary Kay cosmetic business.


It was interesting because I got to see people from all walks of life. What's funny is you could always spot the Mary Kay ladies because their email addresses would be like pinkcadillacdrivingbetty@gmail.com. And I don't know if you know this, but in the Mary Kay business, when you achieve a certain level, they gift you a car, but you have to paint it pink, actually it was Cadillac's. What's funny, and get this, it's crazy, I was actually driving one of my sports cars down the road and I'm like oh my gosh, that's an interesting Cadillac, because it was like this magenta pink, it was a really interesting color pink, and I got closer up to it and sure enough it said, "Mary Kay Specialist, and had her website below it.


Webpreneurmedia:

Brilliant.



Ryan Allaire:

So today, in 2021, they are still giving out pink Cadillac's, which is pretty funny. But yeah. So it was crazy, it was just all walks of life, from younger people, these Mary Kay specialists, I would go ahead and I worked in the mail room and then finally I would hear my, so it was kind of a family business where my friend worked there, his dad owned the business, his parents were working there was well, and they were retirement age, the one was an educator in a school, public school here in America, so he was working there and actually had like 20 staff members total.


So I would go from the mail room to I would walk over when the phones would get busy and I would pick up the phone just to help basically take orders over the phone, because what happened is they would mail out a direct mail piece, and then people would get those. The internet was still kind of new but they had the capability to go online and check out, but it was still a newer thing. Most people either sent back the order form with a check, money order, cash, or they filled out a credit card on the order form or they would call in the office and place an order that way.


Again, funny story, kind of like the Mary Kay story, right? Almost 20 years later, we still do the exact same process.


Webpreneurmedia:

Right.


Ryan Allaire:

Where in my office we collect stacks of cash, cash is still, people send, it's very minimal just to be fair, it's probably a half percent of our sales comes in through cash, but it's funny, people will still send $97 in the mail to get a product package, and we still take orders over the phone. Funny story, my mentor would have people fax in their orders every single day. Now, up into 2021, we probably get one or two a month, but believe it or not, people still fax in an order. It boggles my mind. I don't even have a fax machine. If you think it's through like 1-800 Conference Call, they have a fax line you can buy for like $20 a month or something, so I keep that just for giggles.


Webpreneurmedia:

Just in case.


Ryan Allaire:

Yeah, exactly. If the internet goes down, I can send out faxes.


Webpreneurmedia:

Because what year was it that you got started?


Ryan Allaire:

So this is in the early 2000s is in this era. So get this, you're thinking okay, how'd you get into the internet marketing scene, and just to kind of bridge that gap really quick, my mentor had a mentor named Corey Rudl, and he's out of Canada and I don't know if you guys have heard of him, but he basically started internetmarketing.com was his website and Tony Hsieh, the owner of Zappos, credited him and was his mentor, Jermaine Griggs, who's like the poster child for Infusion Soft, and he has Hear and Play Music, came in through him, and I could list the internet marketing veterans in the next hour, name people that are doing huge things today and have been for the last couple decades that came up under Corey, and Corey told my mentor like, "Hey, writing's on the wall, the internet is where to go." And he said, "You shouldn't really be focused on the internet. The same thing you're doing offline."


Because basically we had a name and address and we would send them a physical piece of mail. He said, "Well now you have a name and email address, you can email them and save the money on your hard costs." We still were continuing to do direct mail because it was actually the bread and butter, and we'll talk about this more in a second, the highest converting stuff and still is to this day, but the fact was is people were also doing a lot of online marketing. So what happened was my mentor saw the writing on the wall and we had a CRM, a Client Resource Management software that we would physically punch in all of our direct mail orders. So someone bought offline, they paid cash, they sent in a money order, we'd put in their first name, last name, the product they purchased, and then their email address, and this was back when everyone had either an AOL email address, or Yahoo email address were the two big providers back then. And my mentor noticed in the CRM you could push a button and email your entire customer base, right?


So I don't know if you ever heard of the product called Butterfly Marketing, but it was with Mike Filsaime, he did a million dollar day promoting it, and my mentor sold over $150,000, we were number two affiliate behind Rick Raddatz, Russell Brunson was behind us.


Webpreneurmedia:

Wow.


Ryan Allaire:

This is dating ourselves. And how basically we ranked in that product launch was by emailing our direct mail customer base and from there we would sell out events, workshops, Michael Cheney, we were actually his very first speaking gig in 2008, he came over with Laura, and he's a marketing legend in the UK. But he was one of the early adapters that was crushing it on Click Bank and these affiliate platforms. But yeah, it was crazy how we still continued to mail and we always mail and we've never stopped that, but from that point forward we would include email marketing, tele-seminars was a big thing, so we would email people and send out direct mail pieces pushing everyone to a tele-seminar. Now we know it's all webinars and interviews like this and podcasts, so it's kind of funny because the tele-seminar stuff is kind of coming back in different forms, in podcasts, Clubhouse, for example, it's just a complete audio thread. But yeah, it's kind of funny to watch the evolution.


So to answer your question, sorry for the long, drawn out answer, 13 is when I got my start, in the early 2000s, and that's how we went from an offline marketing company to an offline marketing company and an online marketing company was basically through the industry and through mentors and people that were paving the way to where we're at today.


Webpreneurmedia:

Just keeping that vision I guess of what may come next so that you're always able to maneuver into those new markets. I guess a question for you, Ryan, would be, for anybody who's listening or reading this who doesn't really understand the differences between internet marketing and direct mail or direct marketing, could you just maybe give us your view on that?


Ryan Allaire:

Yeah, 100%. So how I compare the two is one is a virtual, online process where the other one is an offline and physical. So instead of seeing it virtually through a Facebook ad, Instagram ad, YouTube video, social media post, and email. Those are all online touch points, and what we focus on is long form sales letters, postcards, we even send out what we call lump email, and actually Nick and Kate do an amazing job with this, where they send out an entire product package and we do the same in several different industries that we market and serve, and really what we do is, what I love about direct mail and you can be as inexpensive as 17, 20 cents for a mass market postcard flyer or you can spend 85 cents to a couple dollars and send out a more bulkier package or a product kit and then you could spend dozens of dollars and fulfill big product packages. But the point is that anything that they're receiving physically is direct mail and offline.


And really, so the next question is, "Okay Ryan, when do we know to spend 17 cents or the $50?" And for me how I gauge that is from what we're selling. So if someone's coming in as a lower ticket responder off of one of our direct mail pieces, meaning they're spending $20, $50, anything under $100, then depending on how much they spend is what they're receiving in the mail. It could be as simple as a poster and a USB, or a 10 page booklet, or USBs, an entire product series, DVDs, booklets, manuals, more books, and a step by step process for them to maneuver through the content. So you can get as elaborate as you want, but to answer your question, direct mail is anything in the physical form.


Where we focus at is basically making that touch point because here's the thing, Tony Robbins taught this back in geez