How to Fuel Your Predictable Marketing Funnel with Facebook Ads
Meet Bond. Amanda Bond, also known as The Ad Strategist. I first met Amanda briefly before Traffic and Conversion Summit here in San Diego in February, but I’ve mainly heard about how awesome she is through her colleague and my friend Greg Hickman, who wrote part one to this two-part complete ads and funnels series here on SPI.
Greg’s post was titled The Beginner’s Guide to Predictable Marketing Funnels, and helped you define and understand what you wanted traffic to do when it came to your website. Amanda’s follow up is now about how to get that traffic you’re looking for with Facebook Ads—the hot thing that everyone wants to use now, but so few know how to use correctly.
Without further delay, here’s Amanda to walk you through it. Let’s get some traffic and convert it! Take it away, Amanda!
Ads are sexy. I get it.
“Run your own ads on Facebook,” they say. “You’ll make tons of money, get five cent clicks, and sell ALL. THE. THINGS.” they say. Sounds like a cakewalk.
But after trying it yourself (and dropping a bomb on your bank account with untargeted clicks at $13 a pop—OUCH!), you might realize what everyone knows but doesn’t say. The Facebook Ads environment can be hard. But it doesn’t have to be.
Last week you learned from Greg Hickman of System.ly, a simple way to design your predictable marketing funnel. You’re ready to pour fuel on the fire. Or are you?
Let’s face it: there’s a ton of misinformation online. Most of it is costing you time and money in your business that you just can’t afford to waste. The ads marketplace is noisier than ever—leading to higher click costs, higher opt-in costs, and as a result, conversion rates are plummeting. Everything considered, profitability is suffering. And ain’t nobody got time for that in business.
So what’s a business owner to do?
Stop Guessing. Start Getting Results.
I want you to stop wasting money on Facebook ads. Don’t spend a single cent. At least until you have a strategy, that is! And you’re in luck, because we’re about to break the silence on the strategy that fuels our clients’ success. The strategy that sits at the root of the 20,000,000 ad impressions my company, The Ad Strategist, served up in the past 12 months.
Before we dive in, let’s refer back to last week’s post where Greg talked about building the solid foundation with a good marketing funnel that your business needs for your ads to be successful. Until you do that, you’d be better off throwing dollar bills into the air. The return will be greater than your ads at this point!
But if your engine is built and you have an intelligent funnel that predictably moves leads to create customers, it’s time to throw fuel on the fire. When done right, you’ll be able to take $1 and turn it into $2, $5, $10, $100+ on the back end with Facebook advertising.
Connect. Convert. Close.
To set ourselves up for success, we need to understand the framework that fuels any decision you make around your Facebook advertising. Here at The Ad Strategist we call this framework: Connect. Convert. Close.
True Connection—the long-forgotten element of advertising.
The Ogilvys of the world dominated at using psychological triggers. They focused on overall branding to create relationships in the minds of potential customers months, and even years, before they ever made a purchase. With the advent of digital advertising—and instant measurement—many brands have done away with this type of connection advertising. Instead, they go straight in for the goods.
And for a while it totally worked! Back in the good ol’ days we could get those $0.50 or $1-2 leads and laugh all the way to the (conversion) bank. But today, with all of the competition on the platform, prices for direct leads have skyrocketed. And those poor users are getting bashed over the head with crappy lead magnet after lead magnet in their newsfeed every single time they login to their account.
Think about what happened with email marketing. Your first email inbox used to have you jumping for joy when you saw, “YOU’VE GOT MAIL!” Now . . . well . . . my inbox gives me panic attacks. I say that facetiously, but honestly, things are a-changin’, friends.
This is what is happens when brands try to go straight in for the conversion kill without creating goodwill and connection. Diving head first into cold audiences (without a str-AD-egy) drives your costs UP and results way DOWN. Let’s be smart about our ads and create purposeful connection. Can you imagine walking up to someone, not saying a word, and just leaning in for the kiss? I’m pretty sure they’d slap you and tell you, “get away, you creep!” Don’t be that person, m’kay? Focus on earning your audience’s trust, making them laugh, and ultimately having them enjoy your company.
Here are some great ways you can CONNECT with your audience:
When creating these ads, you’ll set the Facebook Ad Objective to video views (if there’s a video) or page post engagement (if it’s a static image or text only post).
And you’ll only be targeting cold audiences with these ads by using Lookalike Audiences and general interest targeting. These cold audiences will slowly warm up to what you’re throwing down and be more receptive to the ads they’ll see from you in the future.
Convert. Ohhhhhh . . . convert.
Commonly referred to as lead generation, it’s the spot in the funnel that a majority of marketers are starting with these days. In a well executed strategy, it’s the piece that turns lukewarm audience members into warm subscribers. When used haphazardly, it’s a recipe for disaster if disaster included increase conversion costs and lower click-through rates.
“Oh, you have no idea who I am? No worries. Just give me your email and I’ll give you the forgotten world of Narnia in exchange.”
Check any podcast, or blog post on the topic of Facebook ads and people are talking about, “How I grew my list to 80-gazillion people in 7 seconds while Facebook paid me $42,000.” HUH!?!
Okay. That last one is a little facetious. 😉 Our convert ads are as if you wined and dined your (fictitious) date. Now is the time to ask if they’re interested in a kiss. It’s asking a user for their email address in exchange for something they value. It’s requesting they attend your webinar to help them solve a business or personal problem. It’s giving them a quick actionable download that will move the needle on their success.
But most importantly, it’s about asking them to make a micro-commitment to your brand. No monetary transaction has happened at this point but there is now an energy exchange. We’re priming them to become a customer in the near future and demonstrating your value and expertise in micro-format.
When creating these ads, you’ll set the Facebook Ad Objective to “Conversions” (formerly “Website Conversion”).
Next, you’ll select to optimize your Facebook pixel event to “Lead” or “Complete Registration.”
This time when it comes to the targeting, we’ll be getting in front of ONLY those people who already have an awareness of who you are, no matter how small.
The 4 Warm Audience Buckets comprise the following:
- Your email list subscribers
- Your Facebook page fans (+ overall page engagement)
- Your Pixelled Website Traffic
- Your Facebook video views audience
Outside of Facebook ads, your objective should be to continually grow these four buckets. By doing that, you’ll continually have a larger and larger market to get in front of the next time you launch (so it won’t be like launching to crickets).
Go on now, ask for the kiss. Your odds are better now.
The Holy Grail.
The transactional opportunity! “Making ‘dat interweb monies.” Sang in autotune.
The Convert aspect of ads are, you guessed it, closing the sale. These are the sexy ads that lead directly to a monetary transaction. When creating these ads, you’ll set the Facebook Ad Objective to “Conversion” again (formerly “Website Conversion”) but this time, we’ll optimize our Facebook pixel event to Purchase.
The ones who see this ad are only those people in the purchase consideration phase. In the last post, we identified those as our informed audience members of our funnels. They’re the ones receiving your sales emails, or clicking through to your sales page. They’re HOT! They know the heck out of you. Now it’s time to entice them to buy.
Plug a Leaky Bucket Before Adding Water
Now that you see the pathway of the Connect. Convert. Close. framework, let’s talk about implementing it. Most of us start with list building. Then, if we remember, go straight in for the sale, and usually never get around to the branding/connection ads. With our framework, we’re going to implement the ads you run in a backwards sequence.
Starting with the Close ads.
This is like plugging a leaky bucket. Right now you are probably making sales offers in your business. Here’s an example:
Let’s create opportunities to increase the number of successful transactions retargeting anyone who lands on your sales page or checkout page.
Our client, Nikki Elledge Brown, does a great job of engaging in conversation with those who hit the checkout page. Don’t be fooled by the lack of likes or social proof. This ad doubled the conversion rate of her last webinar.
Going back to our example, if you were to double the number of successful transactions from 3 to 6, your sales conversion becomes 6 percent. The cost you paid to now acquire a sales looks like this:
We’ve now halved the cost to acquire a new customer. These types of successes allow for you to capture quick wins and increase overall sales conversion ratios. We’re fixing the delivery and success of what you’re selling, and only NOW that we have the greatest possible number of people becoming customers, we’ll start putting more leads into our machine.
If you don’t plug these holes, it’s like having a leaky gas tank. Every time you fill up, you’ve spent money to leak gas out onto the road instead of fueling your car. Enough about land vehicles, let’s jump on a boat.
Let’s Test the Pond Before Heading to the Ocean
Before we crank up the ad spend, let’s test the waters.
Let’s review your website conversion ads that you’re currently using to attract your existing warm audience into your funnel. As Greg mentioned, this is your afflicted or informed funnel depending on your setup.
Here we’re asking people who already know, like, and trust us if they’d be willing to take our relationship one step further by giving us their email. Until we know that these ads are working with the people who already like us, we’ll stick to targeting those who are in the inner circle:
- Pixelled Website Traffic
- Existing Email List
- Facebook Business Page Fans
- Video Viewers (This is a goodie—and coming up, I’ll show you how to create it.)
We’re not going to target cold audiences just yet. You may be saying, “But Bond, how the heck do I know if it’s working?”
Let’s get our math nerd on and figure out two metrics: Earnings Per Lead (EPL) versus Cost Per Lead (CPL).
Back to our example:
For every 100 people that come into your funnel, 6 are now becoming customers.
Leads = 100 at $5 each = $500 in ad spend + $20 in sales retargeting.
Total sales = $3,000
Expenses = $520
The Earnings Per Lead is calculated by dividing total sales by the number of leads generated to make those sales. In our case, that’s $3,000 divided by 100 people, equalling $30 EPL. For each new person you add to your funnel, you are currently generating $30 in new revenue.
Let’s compare this against the cost to acquire a new lead. The Cost Per Lead is calculated by dividing total ad spend by the number of leads generated to make those sales. In our case, that’s $520 divided by 100 people, equalling $5.20 CPL.
Now you might have remembered that we’re only targeting WARM audiences at this time before we unleash our awesomeness on the world. The people more likely to take action on your offers because they’re already familiar with what you’re offering.
The cost to acquire a sale ($500 ad spend) divided by 3 purchases = $166.67 each.
Where Most People Kick the Bucket
Now you understand the entire process of Connect. Convert. Close. Let’s give you the tools to make sure that you don’t make one of the most common mistakes entrepreneurs make as they’re starting to scale.
The mistake? That their ads STOP WORKING because they forget to fill their bucket.
At this point in your journey, you’ve likely had success reaching out to your existing warm audience who knows, likes, and trusts you. Emails, Facebook Live, Facebook Group visibility, and an occasional podcast interview (or two!).
Your list has grown steadily, but the thing is, after seeing the same pitch over and over, most of them are tuned out. As many of my mentors say, “What got you here won’t get you there” in terms of your growth.
Get back onto the podcast circuit, write guest blog posts, amp up your social media engagement, work on improving your SEO ranking. Consistently get your voice and message out there.
Whatever you were doing in the past that allowed you to build the momentum of your first product/service—do that.
Connect with More People.
And if you’re not sure how to do that, let me introduce you to:
The Facebook Video Amplification Strategy
“Ekkkkkk! I have to be on camera, Bond?”
As a recent camera-phobe, let me first remind you that video comes in many different formats:
- Facebook Live
- Pre-recorded content
- Screenshare with voiceovers
- Animations with sound
- Soundbites from any training/content you’ve ever created
- And any other variation you can think of
And it can be incredibly simple to get rolling with Facebook Live videos. SPI TV’s very own producer, Caleb Wojcik, talks about it here.
This is a strategy I’ve been rigorously testing with our client, Screw the Nine to Five, in 2017. Every week, co-hosts Josh & Jill Stanton go live on their Facebook page, talking about all things related to their sales funnel entry points. In the span of 15 episodes, we’ve grown their total three-second video views audience available for retargeting to 8x the size of their email list.
To date, we’ve spent $4,351.26 to amplify these videos which resulted in $10,677 in IMMEDIATE revenue (as tracked by the Facebook purchase conversion pixel). As in, purchases made from people who have viewed Screw the Nine to Five’s live show and then entered into a sales funnel (listed in the show notes) and made a purchase.
Note: The $10,677 in revenue doesn’t include the future Lifetime Value (LTV) of their new members who purchase their flagship program, Screw U, as they continue to make monthly recurring payments.
Imagine being able to get in front of 157,000 people who already like what you’re throwing down. Imagine having them hungry to consume what you put out into the world, willingly and wantingly becoming clients and customers on the daily.
Here’s my super-loving kick in the butt to get out of your own way and to take advantage of this Facebook Video Amplification Strategy.
Let me show you how we did it:
Each week, you’ll go live (or release a pre-recorded video) that shares what you/your brand is all about. Then, we’ll relentlessly (but nicely) stalk people around the internet with your ads. You know, those fence-sitters who saw at least three seconds of your video but didn’t take action. Once we’ve proven that the ROI is positive, it’s time to smash the amplification by adding some paid (cold) traffic amplification.
“Heck YES! Let’s do this.”
Step 1: GO LIVE
From your Facebook Page on your phone (or using Chrome on desktop), go live from your Facebook Business Page.
Note: Do NOT go live from your personal Page or Facebook Group. The retargeting we are about to set up only applies when broadcasting straight from your Business Page associated with a Facebook advertising account.
Step 2: Create Your Retargeting Audience
Inside Ads Manager, navigate to the Audience Dashboard.
You’ll create a retargeting audience made up of video viewers who watch three seconds or more of the video you went live with.
- Click Create Audience.
- Select Custom Audience.
- Choose the Engagement on Facebook box.
- And we’ll pick Video.
You’ll select “People who viewed at least 3 seconds of your video” then click to choose the Live video you just created. I like to name these Retargeting: [Name of the Show]—Episode [#].
Step 3: Create a Retargeting Facebook Ad Campaign
Now create a Facebook ad campaign targeting the 3-second viewers of this video with content that is relevant to the Facebook Live topic.
At the Ad Set Level, you’ll select the Retargeting: [Name of the Show]—Episode [#] audience to be INCLUDE:
Watch this tutorial on how to set up step 2 and 3:
Make Sure It WORKS
Before you go thinking you’re a retargeting ninja, STOP!!!
Make sure your ads machine is working before you go making it rain with the $$$ you’re about to hand over to Facebook. Before you move on to these next steps, confirm that for every $1 you are spending on retargeting, your Return On Investment (ROI) dollars is greater than $1.
You can easily create the ROI Snapshot report inside of Ads Manager (pictured below), or simply compare the amount of money you spent on Facebook retargeting to the dollars in revenue made from what you’re sending them to in the retargeting ad.
Last measure of success: find the number of people who took action on your retargeting ad. How many people opted-in? Once you know your total revenue earned and the total number of opt-ins, divide the former by the latter.
In this example, $3,160 divided by 353 leads = $8.95. This means that each lead is worth $8.95 to your business. This is your Earnings Per Lead. To break even, you are now able to spend up to $8.95 PER NEW LEAD. Anything below that number is considered profit. Anything higher than $8.95 is a big ol’ red flag.
Of course, you’re a business owner first, so we want to build profit into that equation. At The Ad Strategist, we advise our clients to generally spend no more than 25 percent on their Facebook advertising costs.
$8.95 (x) 0.25% = $2.24 would be the recommended number to STAY BELOW in this example. If you’re successfully keeping your costs low and your profits high, let’s move on to the last piece of the puzzle.
Now that your ads aren’t kicking the bucket, it’s time to SCALE, baby!
Let’s take it full circle and get back to that CONNECT piece. To really ramp up your exposure and your impact, we’ll start broadcasting your Live replays to a larger (cold!) audience.
This targeting will be entirely made up of two types of Facebook audiences:
- Lookalike Audiences
- General Interest Targeting
This SPI post with Rick Mulready will help you research your exact target market before you set up your campaign. I recommend one lookalike audience and two general interest targets related to your ideal customer (and where they are currently hanging out online).
Step 4: Create an Amplification Campaign
You’ll create a Facebook ad campaign targeting the cold audiences you selected above with the Video Views objective:
At the ad set level, you’ll duplicate your ad set with three different targeted audiences.
In our case, it’s:
- Interest: Amy Porterfield
- Lookalike (US) Purchasers
- Interest: Smart Passive Income with Pat Flynn
Once a person from these amplification campaign audiences views three seconds of your live REPLAY video, you’ll be able to retarget them into your sales funnel. And since we already set this up previously, these new viewers will see your retargeting ad(s) auto-magically. That’s it, friends!
In a nutshell:
- Follow the Facebook strategic framework: Connect. Convert. Close.
- Use video content to CONNECT and turn cold audiences into warm audiences.
- Retarget the heck out of your new friends with valuable and relevant content that pulls them deeper into your sales funnels.
- And once you know it’s working, use Facebook’s targeting ability to go out and connect with even more of your ideal clients.