Hello and thank you for stopping by our site.
I’m Sebastian Alberti, I welcome you to read through and get to know more about me, the team and Marketing Lab the first performance-based advertising agency in Australia.
Here’s a little bit of background as to how I got into the advertising game.
Prior to me starting Marketing Lab I was working as a Mechanical Design Engineer, responsible for designing and developing machine automation projects that ranged anywhere from 100k to 100 million dollars. My responsibilities, varied greatly but for the most part I was in charge of procurement, designing jigs, fixtures and robotic machines that would assemble parts into complete products. This would enable companies to eliminate the need for human interaction and therefore streamline and speed up their time to take the product to market.
I worked on many projects for well-known iconic businesses like, Holden, Ford, Victoria Police, Connex Trains, Defence Force, Fisher & Paykel, Boeings to name a few.
I didn’t know at the time that my experience in working on automation projects for big multinational companies, would eventually help me build a unique performance-based marketing agency later in life.
At the time I was saving every penny to buy my first house where my wife and I would eventually move into with our newborn child.
8th March 2006 – The day that it all changed…
I remember this day clearly; my mother was diagnosed with a stage 4 brain tumour and was admitted into hospital immediately.
We were told that there was little they could do for her and that we should try and come to terms that she was unlikely to live longer than 6 months.
I decided to quit my high paying corporate job to support my mum during this horrific time, as she was relying on me to take her to regular Chemo treatments and ongoing doctor appointments. During this time, I was looking for a way to make some money to stay afloat while I was caring for my mum… so I decided to turn to the internet.
At the time there were quite a few savvy guys that were talking about making a second living from running affiliate marketing offers.
This drove me to investigate further to see if I too could share the success that some of these guys were having so I could continue to support mum.
In my research I came across marketing gurus like Frank Kern, Eben Pagan, Jeff Walker, Robert Cialdini, Gary Vanderchuck & Brian Tracy.. these were the guys that changed my life.
After consuming every little bit of information, I could from these guys on how to persuade, increase buyer interest, and motivate cold web visitors into buying, I finally put what I had learnt to the test.
Over the weeks and months of losing virtually every dollar that I had ever saved, by running unsuccessful campaigns, I can honestly say I had hit rock bottom.
Although I had obtained a wealth of knowledge I was not getting anywhere.
I put an endless amount of time and research into finding markets with a problem. A problem that could be solved by a product. Then one day it clicked, I decided to advertise as an affiliate for a diet eBook which sold for $47USD. Being an affiliate, I was offered a total of $37USD for every sale, which was quite a good margin.
This eBook taught people the ins and outs of losing weight, the foods to eat, the exercises to incorporate, the times to train and the exact portion sizes of meals to consume. It was truly an awesome product for its time, and it had hundreds of testimonials and reviews to back it up.
I decided to promote this product using Google AdWords as it was reasonably new back in 2007 and there were lots gurus raving about how well they were preforming using this new platform.
I set up a campaign and keywords and wrote my ads and drove people to an offer that was associated to my own landing page so that the vendor knew where the sales came from.
I put $100 and let the campaigns run over night. I was promoting this eBook in the USA, since they were heading into summer it made more sense that this market would be more inclined to want to lose the unwanted weight.
I woke up the next morning and first thing I did… was check my sales.
I was shocked, I had spent $102.45USD and made 1 sale of $47USD. I was down -$55.45.
I wasn’t shocked because I lost money, more so because I made a sale. I realised at that point how powerful the internet could be and this motivated me to persevere.
That day I began brainstorming ways I could improve my campaigns. My goal was to make 2 sales the next day.
I concluded that each keyword was different depending on the buyer’s intent. I decided to pause all keywords except for the one that had made me the sale as it was this keyword which had the best buying intent. I placed my bid for the night, activated my ads and went to sleep.
The first thing I did the next morning, was check my account. I remember it like it was yesterday, I spent $22USD and made 3 sales. I was blown away, I had exceeded my goal and actually made $141USD which was $119USD profit.
It was like a vortex had opened in front of me, I finally could see the opportunity clearly.
That day I was keen to experiment with new keywords, so that I could increase my number of sales the next day.
So, my thought was to bid for the product name as that indicated to me that people were in a buying mode and they were now simply looking for a good price for the eBook. I changed my campaigns to reflect this hoping to see the result.
I set my budget of $100, hit run and went to bed. The next morning, I checked my account and I was gob smacked. I spend $103.23 and made 9 sales of $47USD totalling at a profit of $319.77USD.
This was when it all changed for me, the start of my marketing career had officially begun.
Every day I would add new keywords to my campaigns, and I would double my bid. I had got to a point where I had 3X my money. I did this over months and reached my first $1000-dollars in a day. I was astonished at how predictable and consistent the growth was. For the first time, I had hope to believe that I may be able to turn this all around and get my mum the expert treatment we wanted for her but could not afford.
By this stage my mum had worsened so much that she couldn’t get out of bed and she was admitted into palliative care. The Dr I was wanting to appoint to help mum was doctor Charlie Teo, who was a renowned brain tumour expert. His fees would cost $78,000.
My mum instilled in me that I should pursue this as a business and that this would give me a platform to help others achieve what I had learnt. Mum was always big on giving back to others and this was a valuable life lesson that I still carry with me today.
Fortunately, through my affiliate marketing ventures, I had saved the money we needed for her treatment… Unfortunately, mum passed away before we could get her interstate to see Dr Charlie Teo.
After this tragic moment my life had many ups and downs.
Google at the time was gaining loads of momentum and loads of businesses that were beginning to jump online to use the Google AdWords platform to help them drum up new sales.
One day Google decided to change the rules and restrict all of their beta users from promoting Affiliate offers.
Which sadly included me.
It forced me to put an end to my affiliate business which was generating consistently $1000+ a day in profits for more than 18 months straight.
The truth is, Google didn’t need us small fish anymore, they had gained enough user reputation and they no longer needed my measly 300/400 dollars in ad spend. They were frying bigger fish, they wanted the whales of business, the ones that would generate thousands in ad spend. Big businesses in the weight loss arena like Weight Watchers & Jenny Craig as this meant more money for Google.
I was left with nothing, no more affiliate marketing, no job and worst of all I was still coming to terms that I had lost my mum.
I was literally at the point of quitting everything, until I received a call from a Google rep.
The rep went on to say that they were thrilled and humbled by my great efforts in using the AdWords tool as a beta user and that they wanted to reward me with an AdWords Agency – Partners badge and ongoing training, which could be used to help other businesses achieve their online goals.
I had mixed emotions, as I was kind of furious that they had killed my affiliate business but at the same time I was appreciative of the fact that I was recognised and considered for this offer.
Later that night over dinner I had mentioned it to my wife, and she was all for it.
Exactly what mum had said before her passing.
Looking back on this now, I think this was my pivotal point.
This was a bitter pill for me to swallow but I took on both my mum and wife’s advice and started my first Online Marketing Agency – which I named Nettclicks.
At the time I was determined to build a very successful AdWords Ad Agency, geared to help other businesses succeed on the web. Nettclicks was built for a time where it was all about clicks….all you needed to do back then was drive traffic to a website and it would convert.
So, from there I put my head down and worked with businesses all over Australia, sharing my knowledge on how to build a successful digital strategy.
I lived and breathed it every day, 18 hours a day, 12 months a year for 4 years. I did it because I loved it and it didn’t feel like work to me. My burning desire to help others drove me to conduct over 1000 telephone interviews, consulting for over 300 small & large businesses. The positive feedback from my clients made me strive to be something different in the market.
Through my efforts I was invited to speak at a number of Universities to teach students in business and marketing about the advancements in Online Advertising, which was still relatively new, with the subject only just touched on by most universities in Australia.
Things had been great for a good stretch, we had a lot of successful wins, more than I care to remember, but in that time, we’ve also had many costly mistakes that we like to look at as valuable lessons learnt.
During this time, I noticed that a lot of businesses have had to rely on the expertise of many agencies in order to build a campaign that would market and sell to a prospect during their entire buying lifecycle.
This is where I noticed an opportunity to build a business that went much deeper to help clients from an entire lifecycle perspective (start to finish), similar to what I was doing back in the early days working as an automation engineer.
What the market was lacking, was someone that could provide businesses a complete solution to help with common marketing problems, which they were dealing with, every day.
Many businesses were failing online, because they needed to work with 3 or more agencies…one for SEO, one for Website Development, Social Media, Video etc. to get the same outcome by working with an agency like ours. This seemed like the progression that would end up making the first Performance Advertising Agency we now call Marketing Lab.
This meant we could now be more than just a traffic generating agency, or just in business to build aesthetically pleasing websites. This meant we were going to help clients build marketing campaigns that incorporate things like, traffic generation, conversions and lead nurturing this way we can stack our efforts and increase our chances of our client campaigns succeeding.
Businesses no longer need to rely on multiple external resources in order to be able to build a campaign that stands a chance to compete and win. Especially in today’s aggressive & competitive market.
Today businesses can have us build campaigns that not only attracts the right traffic, but also helps convert that traffic into high quality leads that are ready to buy.
To go that extra step further, we help businesses build automated nurturing campaigns that assist them to nurture somewhat interested prospects and turn them into hyper interested leads, interested in what you have to offer.
These are key and integral factors that makes up a successful campaign, and many ad agencies don’t care about helping businesses owners with this. For me when building an agency, it meant I was going to stick to my word and truly offer a solution that provides value and longevity.
Our team consists of 14 growth strategists, made up of marketing experts, writers, data analysts, campaign strategists, lead generation experts, project managers, designers and developers.
Our office is based in Bundoora, Melbourne. However, the bulk of the team are from all parts of the world. As this helps me hire members based on their skills and experience not limited by how far they are willing to travel to get to work.
With the rapid advancements in technologies and innovations in marketing, we now have A.I to help us make wiser and more accurate decisions. Which means that we are less reliant on human intervention or talent like we once had to.
So there you have it, I wanted to paint you the real picture, of how this agency came about. I didn’t want to tell you a glam story of wins, fame and fortune as this is not how I got started.
My story is a whirlwind of ups and downs, but they all helped shape an agency that truly helps clients achieve their goals.
This is my story and what’s helped me get to where I am today.