Bradley Nickel

Online Marketing Guy |

6 min read

Turn Your Passion Into an Online Business With Display Advertising (3 Case Studies)


“Follow your passion and the money will come.” 

Ever heard this little tidbit of advice?

It’s practically become Generation Y’s mantra.

Heck, the media even has a name for it:

“Passion problem”.

Why is it a problem?

Because for every NY Times best selling author, rock star or noveau fashion designer, there are a million others who end up dead broke by following their passion.

However, the internet has made it possible for people to follow their passion in a different way:


It’s near impossible to become the next Lebron James or headline Madison Square Garden. It’s much easier to teach thousands (maybe even millions) of people how to play the solo from Stairway to Heaven…

…and then sell them $197 online course.

As the saying goes, “those who can’t, teach.”


With info products and Display advertising.

Can My Passion Really Make Me Money Online?

Most info products fit into the “Big 3” markets:

  • Lose weight (health)
  • Make money (wealth)
  • Get more sex/meet the person of your dreams (relationships)

Read more about info products in our previous post: The Business of Display Part 4: Information Products.

This makes sense. Why?

Because health, wealth and relationships are the three pillars to living a happy life.

However, what if your passion doesn’t fall into one of these categories?

Fear not.

In today’s post you’ll see three businesses in three markets that have zero to do with with money, health or getting it on.

You’ll even see one biblical product you might think would never make one single dollar, yet is likely doing in the high five to six-figures in revenue.


With a little help from Display advertising.

Case Study #1: The Dog Training Secret

Do you love dogs?

Do you have experience training a dog… even if it’s your own?

Now you can share your insights with the world.

This is what the folks over at do. They have a info product called the “Hands Off Dog Training System”.

It appears this product is making them a pretty penny.

How do we know this?

Because they’ve spent over ~$180k on display in the past 6 months:

Screen Shot 2015-07-30 at 11.28.51 AM

The Funnel

Now, this guy isn’t Cesar Milan. He’s not on Animal Planet. He’s not a celeb in any right. He’s just a normal guy who happens to know a thing or two about training dogs.

So, he can’t make sales based on his name or reputation.

Yet, he’s seeing success because he’s set-up a traditional direct response sales funnel in a relatively uncrowded market.

Funnel Part #1: Opt-in Page

The funnel starts with a simple Leadpages opt-in page. Nothing fancy. Just a video, a bit of information and an opt-in button.


This video is very casual. It comes off like he’s having a conversation with a friend. There are no special effects. It’s not exactly HD quality. It simply explains his method and why you should opt-in.

This is a video anyone could make with their iPhone.

More importantly, this “I’m just like you” style is principle #1 of the 6 elements of landing page persuasionPeople buy from people they like, and people like folks who are just like them.

Funnel Part #2: The VSL

Once the prospect opts-in, they immediately see an “ugly” VSL on the next page.

The VSL sells their flagship product for $37.


Now, only a handful of people will buy at this point.

A good conversion rate from cold traffic tends to hover around 5%.

Yet, remember the part where the prospect opted-in?

They can now communicate with them through email. Most of their prospects will buy off the backend.


What’s the secret behind this sales funnel?

Honestly, there isn’t one.

This is your typical sales funnel that most info products business run on cold traffic. didn’t reinvent the wheel.

This is a sales funnel that is easy for just about anyone to set-up.

Advertiser #2: Blues Guitar Unleashed

Can you play an instrument?

Have you ever given private lessons?

Well, the average price of a private guitar lesson is somewhere between $20 and $40.

However, has a suite of digital products that run as high as $197.

What does this mean?

You could put together a simple version of a digital product on learning guitar in the time it takes you to give a handful of lessons.

The price of one person buying one copy of a $197 would be more than you might make giving 4-5 hours of private lessons.

This is precisely what Griff Hamlin — owner of — does.

Griff has scaled to the point where he spends ~$3-4k+ per month on Display.

We’ve noticed he’s begun to scale his campaigns even further within the past couple of weeks.

Screen Shot 2015-07-30 at 11.37.35 AM

The Funnel uses a funnel very similar to the funnel The Dog Training Secret uses.

There’s one simple difference, and it has to do with the fact that their flagship product is almost 5x the price.

You’ll see what they do instead.

Funnel Part #1: Opt-in Page

Seen this before?

That’s right — a simple opt-in page using a Leadpages template.


However, after opt-in you’re you’re sent to a simple “check your email” thank you page instead of a sales page. BGU does not go for the immediate sale.



My instinct is that a product in the $37 – $47 range could be an impulse purchase.

Something that’s $97+ might require a more trust building.

So, what’s next?

You guessed it — Email.

Email Marketing + Sales Page

Griff sends you a ton of great content.

Free videos, lessons, the whole shebang.

He provides a lot of value upfront and you get to know him as a teacher. You’re able to decide if his style is right for you.


Again, his emails come off very personal.

He includes pictures of himself, his band and gives you a window into his life. This not only builds credibility as it shows he actually performs professionally, but it builds rapport.

He shares intimate parts of his life with you. This makes him seem like a real human being as opposed to some sleazy marketer trying to suck another dollar from your wallet.

He eventually sends you a link to a long form sales page for his flagship product.


Again, there is nothing innovative about this sales funnel.

It’s simple and easy to set-up — no point in reinventing the wheel.

Just take what other info product advertisers are seeing success with and use it as inspiration for your own business.

Advertiser #3: Teach Sunday School

That’s right.

Sunday School meets Display advertising. sells an info product with games, lesson plans, etc., for Sunday school teachers.

This advertiser spends much less than the other advertisers featured in this post.

However, $2,000 – $3,000 per month is a decent spend considering the Sunday School teacher market is much smaller.


The lesson here?

Catering to a tiny audience can work quite well.

Someone who is interested in this product will be VERY interested. It will be extremely on-target.

However, it might be harder to scale over the long run as the market is so small.

The Funnel

Again, similar to The Dog Training Secret and Blues Guitar Unleashed.

See a pattern?

This simple funnel just plain works.

Funnel Step #1: Opt-in

A simple opt-in form made with — you guessed it — Leadpages.


These opt-in pages follow a similar formula.

Give value up front in the form of free emails, videos and/or eBooks and then make the sale.

Funnel Step #2: Sales Page


TSS’s product is also priced in the $47 dollar range.

Therefore, they choose to hit the prospect with a sales page immediately after they opt-in.

However, instead of a VSL, they chose to use a long form sales page.

Copywriting Lesson: It’s Okay To Be Cheesy

A lot of copywriting resources talk about writing your copy as if you were talking to someone. What they don’t always cover is word choice.

What sort of words, phrases and idioms do Sunday School teachers respond to?

Let’s take a look at the first email you receive when opt-in to’s list.


Great to meet you!

Moments ago, we “met” when you were searching the
web for some Sunday School Bible Games.

I want to be certain you found what you were looking for.

Below you’ll find my online collection
of 94 Bible Games:

I think you’ll like them (& so will the kids!)

God Bless,
Mary-Kate 🙂

PS- I thought I’d take a moment and introduce myself…

My name is Mary-Kate Warner, and I’ve spent the last
decade figuring out how to be a more effective, creative
and de-stressed (lol) Sunday School Teacher.

These days, I share my “Greatest Hits” for making
the Bible come alive for kids via my email newsletter.

If you are looking for any specific Bible teaching tool, be
sure to check out my full resource list here:

Notice the language. It’s campy. It’s cheesy.

The copywriter included phrases like “we met”, “lol”, “God Bless” and a smily at the end.

These little details amp up the credibility to your emails.

Why? Because corporations don’t talk this way.

People do.

Also, this the prospects in this demographic are likely female, a bit older and might find this type of language amusing.

Don’t be afraid to use cheesy language in your copy if it’s appropriate.


Teaching your passion to other folks IS possible. It’s not that hard when you follow a proven formula, like these 3 businesses have. Follow their lead and you’ll be well on your way to success.

Bradley Nickel

Online Marketing Guy |


  1. I like the Sunday School example. Because it is a market i have never thought of targeting especially through display ads.

    • Hey Isaac,

      Yeah, it’s a super interesting example of a ‘strange’ niche selling with Display.

      Thanks for your comment!


  2. Great stuff…

    Question – I thought google didn’t like u send traffic to a “only opt in” sales page?

    Is this not the case?

    • Hey Jaime,

      Google can be finicky about sending traffic to opt-in pages, but as long as a landing page follows Google’s terms & conditions then it’s all gravy.

      Thanks for your comment!


  3. Who would have ever thought that teaching Sunday school would even be a viable online business?
    Look strange to be. Interesting how they are making it to work.
    Most especially by using display.

    Everything seems straight forward to me too.

    • Strange indeed!

      And you’re right — it’s all pretty straightforward and not too difficult for anyone to set-up.

      Thanks for your comment!



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