Ad costs go up?
Okay, let’s just make a few little tweaks to our ad copy, try some new audiences, and then surely it will get better… right?
In reality, if something in your marketing or ads strategy has foundationally shifted, you need to take a step back and re-imagine it.
If you find yourself in that boat where your ad costs have gotten more expensive, your once profitable strategy has suddenly stopped working, and nothing you’ve tried seems to be working, tune in to this episode of the Not For Lazy Marketers Podcast for the new way of looking at your paid ads strategy.
You can’t continue executing the same and expect different results.
It’s time to shift your way of thinking.
After tuning in, share your biggest takeaways from this episode with me over on Instagram (@emilyhirsh)!
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READ THE EPISODE TRANSCRIPT
Hello, everybody. Welcome back to the podcast and happy October. I can’t believe it’s October. This is one of my favorite months for several reasons. One is that I love fall. It’s my favorite season, and since I moved to Texas, I love it even more because it means the summer is over. I also love October because it’s my birthday and I’m turning 27 this month. I just told my husband, I’m like, I have three years to do all the cool things and then it won’t be cool anymore once I’m 30. I’m actually not kidding, because it’s so much cooler to be like, “I’m 20-whatever and I have three kids and I did XYZ,” and that kind of goes away when you turn 30. I don’t know, then you’re like a real adult. So I have three more years to get to the hundred million dollar mark between my two companies and meet all my goals a then I’m retiring. Just kidding.
Anyways, I’m excited for October. It’s a new quarter. I just feel like there’s so much momentum happening right now. We’re going to finish this quarter off, this year off, really, really strong. We have so many exciting things happening. We announced a couple of weeks ago, The Shift and phase one of our announcement with our new offer, where we have our highest level of done for you overhauled. Hopefully this month, if all goes as planned, we’ll be announcing the mid level, and then soon after that, our level one, which is our program Ignite. So I’m excited for everything there. I just feel in so much flow right now where we’ve just hit the mark and we’re in stride with everything. So that feels really good. Won’t last forever, because that’s reality.
Today I want to dive into talking about shifting your thinking potentially with your paid ad strategy and how you’re utilizing paid ads. I’ve mentioned this in a few of my recent presentations, in the Monthly Round Up last month, and then also when I spoke at T&C in San Diego and a lot of people really resonated with it. So I thought I’d bring it to the podcast and see if it supports you guys. First of all, we know in the last six to 12 months, ad costs have definitely gone up and a lot of people are struggling with the idea and the question of, “how do I get my ad costs back down? My ad costs have gone up, I don’t know what to do. What do I do?” CPMs have gone up, I’ve heard it a hundred times, especially in the last several months.
Now there definitely are accounts that we have on our roster that we’re supporting that still get excellent ad costs, like I’m talking dollar webinar, registrations $2, $3, $4. That is not the norm, and it really depends on your industry. If you’re targeting B2C, you’re targeting consumers, you’re in the health and wellness industry or the mindset personal development industry, you’re going to have a less expensive cost per lead. It’s always been that way, and it still is that way. But if you’re in the B2B space where you’re targeting other business owners, like myself, and you are going after people where the market has just gotten more saturated with webinars, with offers similar to yours, you’ve got to work a lot harder and your ad costs have probably gone up.
So with that, there’s people really struggling with, “how do I get my ad costs down? The only thing that’s changed is my ad cost, but now my whole strategy is not profitable because my ad cost has gone up.” If you’re in that boat, this is really for you because I really believe all the time whenever there’s a challenge, I think it’s an opportunity to think a different way. I think as humans, we often just try to do the same thing and we try to do what we know and keep doing that and hope it gets better, hope if we change these few little tweaks, like new ad copy, new audiences, whatever, it will get better. But the reality is if something foundationally has shifted, I think that is an opportunity for you to say, let me just like step back a little bit farther and see if this is an opportunity for me to change what I’m doing on a bigger picture.
Pretend like I don’t have to do it this way and re-imagine it. I’ve done that many times in my business, whether it’s with my marketing strategy, whether it’s with delivery, whether it’s even sometimes with the team structure. I find a lot when I’m growing my team or we have process, it’s like, “well, why are we doing this?” “Well, we’re doing this because we’ve been doing it for two years.” “Well, why are we doing that?” “Well, we don’t know.” So let’s question that. It’s the same thing with your marketing right now.
So the shift that I’m talking about is of course, number one, you can try and get your ad costs down. I’ve shared lots of strategies about doing that on here, including launching new ad creative, testing out interest audiences compared to lookalike audiences, making sure that you have seasoned audiences to leverage for your lookalike audiences, testing dynamic creative versus the individual ads. There’s lots of things you can do to try and get your ad cost down. Then also you can say, “okay, my ad cost has gone up. How do I increase my sales conversion?” Those are all options, but let’s just re-imagine maybe the way we’re looking at our paid ad strategy.
Here’s what we know as a fact: Facebook and Instagram are the number one social platforms. They are. It probably will be for a very, very long time. They have a monopoly, whatever you think about that, but it is true. Your audience is there and probably spends the majority of their time there. So that means if you need to grow your business, which is every single entrepreneur and CEO. You need to figure out a way to garner attention online to grow your audience, to grow your leads, to generate leads, generate sales. So we know they’re on these platforms. That is a fact. We know that, okay. So if we know that we have to solve the problem of “how do I make sure I am getting attention, I’m drawing people to my brand. I’m growing my list, and I’m doing all these things while it’s still affordable,” which means we might want to shift our paid ads strategy because we know that they’re there. We know that they’re on the platform. The answer is not probably switching platforms, it’s utilizing the platform in a different way.
So here’s what I’ve been talking about in the Not For Lazy Marketer Process. There are phases, there’s pillars or levels, if you will, that you run ads to. Those three phases are brand awareness and visibility, that’s the first one. That’s the second step of the process, but the first one that you’re running ads to. Then you’ve got your lead generation, which is the third step of the process, but the second one you run ads to. Then you have your sales and retargeting, which is the final one, and it’s the fourth out of fifth step of the process.
In the past, what I would teach was you’d spend about zero to 5% of your monthly budget on your brand awareness and visibility ads, which means content ads running to your podcast, running to videos, running to strategic content. Then you would spend maybe 80 to 90% of your budget on lead gen. Majority of your budget was going to lead gen ads. And a lot of times those were what I call complex lead gen ads, so webinars, video series, self-liquidating offer funnels, anything that requires a larger barrier for the lead to come in and participate in what you’re offering. So buying a self-liquidating offer or signing up for a webinar, or a video series, or even a challenge, is a bigger commitment than what I call simple lead gen, which is PDFs, checklists, basic downloads, guides, things like that that are no-brainers. Like I really want access to that super valuable download, I don’t have to show up to a webinar, I’m going to download it. Then you can make things that are really attracting and appealing, okay? But you didn’t have to do that. You could go straight cold traffic to a webinar.
So previously, you’d run the 80 to 90% straight to your lead gen, and oftentimes it was complex lead gen. Then you’d have zero to 5% of your budget going to potentially sales retargeting ads. So if you had a webinar, then you have retargeting ads going to those webinar registrants. Maybe you would have some different ones like general sales ads, and then abandoned cart ads, and then you’d mix it up. I say zero to 5% because some people are not in a place, and I’ve talked about this before, where if you don’t have the base audience coming in, retargeting ads are icing on the cake. They’re not going to save your strategy. So you may not be ready or need retargeting ads because your audience to retarget is not big enough yet. That’s the previous general standard way to look at ads. But if you are somebody who’s really struggling to get your costs down, here’s a different way to think about it.
Number one, you’re going to increase the ad spend to your brand awareness and visibility because if we know that your audience is on Facebook and you can gather attention still on Facebook and Instagram, then why not increase your spend to your super valuable content to grow your audience? We also know that those ads are way less expensive, right? Video ads, podcast ads, they’re definitely less expensive ads. Now you don’t want to put a hundred percent of your budget here because you need to do something with that audience. You need to sell that audience. You need to get that audience on your email list, but let’s just increase that audience a little bit. Let’s get it to 10 to 20% now instead of zero to 5%, and let’s leverage this audience a little bit more. Let’s grow it a little bit more so that we can then move to the next thing, which is retarget.
One thing to note on those audiences too that I think is really important is the audiences that the person does not leave Facebook to get in that audience, so watching your video, engaging with your Facebook or Instagram page, sending you a DM on Instagram, those are all audiences that are not impacted by the iOS updates. So even if the user has opted out of being tracked, they’re still being tracked within the Facebook and Instagram app. It’s when they go to a landing page and they’re pixeled, that’s when you potentially lost that data. Building up these audiences is kind of good for two different ways. One is that they’re less expensive, so you’re using paid media to still generate an audience and get more eyes on your brand in an affordable way. But also two, you can leverage those audiences for things like lookalike audiences and future strategies, because those audiences won’t be diminished by the loss of data from Facebook.
So we’re going to increase our brand awareness and visibility ad spend, then the second thing is we’re going to consider increasing your ad spend to simple lead gen. So maybe you don’t have this at all, but considering an ebook, or a PDF download, or a checklist. These things are so easy to make. The key is making them so extremely valuable that somebody would pay for it. That’s honestly the key with basic lead gen downloads and making it so valuable that somebody would pay for it. Then even with it, you can test three different ones and see which one does the best. So if your webinar cost per lead is too high and you cannot get it down and you can not get it affordable, we know we still need to grow your email list. So instead of going straight to a webinar to cold traffic, let’s go straight to a basic lead gen. Let’s test that out. Then on the thank you page of that lead gen, we’re going to put your webinar. So we’re going to go “now sign up for my really sexy, awesome PDF download.” You know what your audience wants.
Again, I like to test a lot of different things, because they’re not that hard to make and, oftentimes, you have the content and past things that you’ve done. So right now, we have five that we’re going to be testing in the next six weeks because they’re easy for me to make. I have a lot of content, I have a content writer who turns it into PDFs and checklists, and I can test a lot of different things on the thank you page. You can now have a call to action that would have been more expensive to run cold traffic to because now at least you’re getting the lead for less and then you’re sending them to the webinar, or maybe you have a high ticket sales funnel and you want to send them straight to an application on the thank you page with a video, a mini video so you’re that leveraging that thank you page, but you’re getting that lead in at a lower cost so you can of course follow up with them, retarget them, follow up with your email sequence, and you’ve got the leads, you’ve got the audience.
So we’re going to increase our monthly ad spend to these basic lead gen, and then we’re going to decrease our ad spend to complex lead gen. So we’re going to decrease our ad spend to webinars, slow funnels, video series. I say this with the caveat of if you have a funnel converting right now that is not too expensive cost per lead, then you don’t have to do this. This is not for you. This is for you if your ad costs have gotten too expensive, are out of hand, your strategy is not profitable, you’ve run on the hamster wheel. If you’re listening to this and getting $4, $5, even $10 webinar registrations, and your strategy is profitable, I don’t think you should do this strategy because I think you should scale what’s working. Keep this in your back pocket in case things change, but this is for you guys if you’re here because I know that people listen to this and they’re like, “oh, that’s a good idea. I want to try it,” but don’t break something that is already working.
So we’re going to decrease our complex lead gen ad spend, and then we’re going to increase our retargeting ad spend to both our complex lead gen. That means we’re going to re-target those simple lead gen leads that came in through a simple lead gen, like our checklist. Now we’re going to re-target those people to something like our webinar, and we’re going to re-target people through the funnel, to our sales. So we’re going to actually increase that ad spend the amount we would normally do to retargeting. We’re going to get that to maybe it’ll be more like five to 10% instead of zero to 5% of your monthly budget, and you’re also going to have a killer email sequence connected to your basic lead gen to send somebody to your complex lead gen so that you’re hitting those leads with on the thank you page, a great email sequence and retargeted ads. And now you’ve kind of gamed the system where you’re able to still use Facebook ads to generate an audience and generate leads because we know that will still work. We just have to make it so that it’s affordable and the numbers make sense for your business. So you’re using the Facebook ads still to do that, but in a way that’s affordable and you’ve shifted your strategy. Where you put the budget is potentially a little bit different.
So if you’re in that boat where you’re struggling, you’re struggling to get a webinar cost per lead, and you’ve tried everything. Especially if you’re in the place where it was less expensive before iOS, especially if you’re there, I would definitely test putting a basic lead gen on the front end of your funnel and tying your webinar now to the thank you page, to the email sequence, and to the retargeting ads and seeing if that brings your overall costs down. The reality is growing your email list and growing your audience is always going to benefit your business, because that’s an asset to your business that you can use forever. I don’t think people really understand the value of growing your email list with quality leads because it doesn’t always just pay off right away. It sometimes pays off in six months from now, but if you’re consistently adding new leads to your list every single month, and you have a strategy to convert those leads, they may not buy this month, but they’ll buy in 3, 4, 5, 6 months. So you’re able to create that kind of snowball effect and have that asset for your business, that then growth just becomes a little bit easier and easier and easier as you build up those assets.
So this is the new way of looking at paid ads. If you are in the boat of struggling with ad cost right now, and really challenging you, no matter what shift or thing we go through in our business in marketing, like I said, this way of thinking can be relevant with growing a team, structuring your business, your offers, your marketing, instead of just doing the same thing and expecting different results. When you’re on that hamster wheel, challenge yourself and say, let’s just forget the foundational pieces I’ve had and been doing it this way for years, and just ask myself, is there a better way? Because we can take the facts of what we know, which is Facebook and Instagram has my audience on it, and I can create amazing content to attract that audience. We can take those facts and then figure out how to make this work for your business. So that’s my new way of looking at marketing and challenging you to challenge the way you’re thinking, versus just continue to do the same thing and expect different results. I hope this was helpful for you guys today, and I’ll talk to you next time.