If you’re yet to do paid ads or would like to get better results with your current campaigns, we’ve got an episode for you.
Tune in and get your feet wet with all the reasons paid ads will benefit your online business.
00:55 – What you’ll get out of this series
03:13 – Why paid traffic is so worth considering
04:35 – How to achieve scale with paid ads
06:23 – Paid traffic as a validation and testing tool
07:49 – Take THIS into account before spending
09:51 – What so many struggle to identify
13:23 – How well do you know your customers?
16:16 – Sometimes a platform will surprise you
18:42 – When more can be better
21:03 – Start with your digital plumbing
24:15 – What we’ve talked about
James: James Schramko here. Welcome back to SuperFastBusiness. In this podcast series, we’re doing it over multiple parts. And I’ve brought along my special guest, Ilana Wechsler. Welcome to the call.
Ilana: Thanks so much, James. I always love coming on these podcasts. Thanks so much for having me.
What to expect from this series
James: We love it. We get a lot of good feedback. Your whole thing is you teach traffic. You’ve got TeachTraffic.com. And I’ve asked you if you could share a couple of insider tricks with us. Because you’ve been working on this great presentation, which is something along the lines of a traffic puzzle.
You presented it at my event earlier this year, which was probably the last live event we’re going to be having for a while. And it was very, very popular. I get tremendous amount of feedback on the replay. It’s inside SuperFastBusiness membership. Members have been asking about it. I know you keep a close eye on our community.
And we’re going to be talking about traffic starting from scratch. So you can basically have a successful paid traffic campaign, no matter what industry or service category you’re in, in any market. So it’s pretty exciting. Just give me a little overview of what we’re going to be covering in the next few episodes.
Ilana: Yeah. So we actually have a lot of information to cover, which is why I think we’re going to hopefully split it up into three digestible chunks for people. But basically, I’ve been running a paid traffic agency for so long now. And there are trends that we’ve implemented for our clients across any industry in any market, really almost with any budget.
So I’ve kind of distilled all my learnings from that into these three episodes. And so basically, Episode One or this particular episode, we’re going to cover, probably, the big picture. And so if you’re starting out from scratch, what are some of the initial things you’re going to do to get set up with the best chances of success.
And then sort of in the later part of this three-part series, we’re going to go through and really, you know, rolling up our sleeves and how-to stuff and low hanging fruit you can implement. And it’s stuff that really works for any industry, for any budget.
James: Right. So if we’re listening to this series, by the end of it, we’ll have a pretty good overview of what’s available to us, what the next steps are. Of course, if you want to continue on and go past the series, Ilana’s happy to help you out at TeachTraffic.Com. She’s pretty much sponsoring these episodes, which is great. And I fully endorse that membership.
This is Episode 767. So if we say things you want to read back or go through and listen to again, you can head over to wherever you listen to your podcast and look it up.
Now, that being said, Ilana, where do we start?
Why consider paid traffic?
Ilana: Alright, so I think it’s important to talk about, you know, why you might be interested in or considering running paid traffic for your business. And obviously, I’m going to be a little bit biased, having focused and specialized exclusively in paid traffic. But I do believe it’s such an important piece in a very big pie.
It’s not the pie itself. It’s not the only thing that a business owner should do, by any means. But it is a very important piece in the whole marketing pie because you can draw a lot of the insights from your paid traffic campaigns into other forms of your marketing.
It can help with your SEO, be it you understand if you’re doing Google ads, converting keywords, they help with your SEO on what to invest in SEO. So it really does paint an important picture of what you should focus on in your overall marketing.
You can split test different messaging and see what messaging really resonates with your people. You can test your website conversion elements and make sure that your website converts.
So there’s really lots of reasons why incorporating paid traffic into your overall traffic strategy is really important. And really your goal with this is for your ads to pay for themselves. And then they hopefully run along really nicely in the background, that you can then work on other forms of your traffic.
James: Right. So when the ads pay for themselves, we call that self-liquidated.
Achieving scale with paid ads
And one of the great things about paid traffic is it can give you scale. Because if you are in the first rankings for SEO and you’re doing a good job with that, and then you start going for the longer tails, which is like, easier to rank but less volume terms, with paid traffic, you can really grow your business much, much faster, if you find your offer that converts, and you can actually get it to pay for itself, and then it snowballs.
I’ve been able to achieve that on a couple of platforms where the frontend marketing, which I pay for – a good example is the Amazon platform. I’m able to run ads to my book, that sell more books than the ads cost, which means that it’s positively geared. It’s kind of like an investment property. And that is leading people into a really rich source of indoctrination material that will help people decide if I’m a good person to coach them beyond that.
So paid traffic can give you scale beyond what you can get with organic. It’s fast. It forces you to know the numbers, you must know your numbers. And it actually sharpens up your skills, because you got to be good at the creatives and running the ads as well.
“If you master paid traffic, you’ve got a powerful weapon.”
So if you master paid traffic, you’ve got a powerful weapon. In fact, Ilana, I was coaching someone recently, and we were looking at a new business model. And in the business model calculations – and we used a spreadsheet – paid traffic was mandatory. And we couldn’t work the numbers into a way that the paid traffic would actually work. So she didn’t do the business model from day one.
Whereas I think a lot of owners would have gone into it and bled a fair bit of resource trying to get the paid traffic model to work and then discovered that it wasn’t going to be viable, because the numbers didn’t stack up. So it makes you know what your margins are, and it makes you understand the value of a customer.
And it helps you with your product portfolio, like what products have you got, how much profit are you making, what are your other costs? So if you know all of this, you’re going to be in a great position.
Paid traffic for validation and data gathering
Ilana: I want to add one thing to that as well, is that I know many people who before they even launched a product, it’s in a prototype version and they haven’t gone down the road of manufacturing or anything. They will run paid traffic campaigns to a page and see how many people add that item to the shopping cart. And then on the final checkout page, it says join the waitlist, but they want to see how many people are actually going to add it to the shopping cart before they’ve even created the product.
James: It reminds me of that story of Tim Ferriss when he was doing the book titles for his 4-Hour Workweek. It had a different book title before and then he ran ads to test the title and find the one that was market-validated.
So yeah, it definitely informs your search engine optimization campaigns, it helps you tune your sales copy. It’s low-hanging fruit to scrape up people who have already shown an interest and visited your site, and then you can get in touch with them again easily.
All the big companies, certainly the richest companies on the planet are doing it, like Amazon. If you go and look at a product there, you’ll start seeing ads for it sooner or later. Combined with everything else, of course, you know, with good emails and everything else that we talk about on this particular podcast.
James: Take us on this journey.
Ilana: Alright, so hopefully, James and I have really kind of enlightened you into the importance and the role that paid ads plays in your overall marketing strategy. By no means am I suggesting that this should be the only thing you do. It’s an important piece. But there is definitely a big picture at play as well.
What to take into account before spending
Okay, so now that you have decided, yes, I want to engage in running some kind of paid traffic, before you even spend a dime on any ads or anything, you need to first really think about the type of business that you’ve got, because the type of business you have is going to dictate what kind of traffic campaign you may end up running or will ultimately end up running.
So for example, if you’ve got a service business, like a dentist, let’s say, your traffic strategy and your traffic, I guess, avenues that you’re going to really explore are going to be really, really different to, like, an e-commerce product, or, you know, a service-type business. So it really does first lend itself to thinking about, okay, what type of business do I have? And where are my potential customers or clients hanging out online?
James: You should also refer to the timing of things. Because, for example, an emergency plumber would have people who need something right now, versus some businesses where it’s not an urgent thing, but it’s just, you know, more of an interruption-type awareness. Like a fidget spinner. No one’s waking up thinking, I urgently have to buy a fidget spinner right now. But the campaign you would want for that type of product’s going to be very different to an emergency plumber.
Ilana: That’s exactly right. And I think that really comes down to almost our third point that we’re going to cover, which is your customer avatar and ultimately what offer or what you’re going to be putting in front of that particular person, that’s going to get them into your ecosystem somehow. So there are different, you know, according to the sales funnel, different levels of entry points that people might have.
So if we take the dentist, for example, an emergency dentist, someone’s broken a tooth, and just like your emergency plumber, you’d run very much a Google ad campaign targeting that. Somebody is not going to go to Facebook to find an emergency plumber, or an emergency dentist. However, you might think of a different offer that would be possibly relevant to be presented on Facebook for that dentist.
James: Like teeth whitening.
Ilana: Exactly, exactly.
The hardest thing to identify
But really, this avatar and this offer is, funnily enough, the hardest thing that people end up really trying to identify. It’s the thing that people really struggle the most with, in terms of like, who exactly they’re serving and what’s relevant to put in front of them. And it’s, I guess it is somewhat of a creative process for people.
James: Do you have a way of finding out what that is?
Ilana: Yes. I do now. I don’t know. I guess, I just…
James: Do you do your research and have a look at the behaviors and the trends and the data?
James: For example, I know whenever I commission a copywriter, they always want to know if I’ve done a deep dive survey. They want to speak to my customers, they want access to my products to get the vibe.
Ilana: That’s the answer.
James: They won’t write, copy or do creatives until they understand who they’re dealing with, what sort of problems, what sort of language people are using.
Ilana: Another way that you can really do a deep dive is by, you know, having a look at what your competitors are doing. And one of the perks of advertising online is that you can pretty much reverse engineer what anyone’s kind of digital campaigns are. There are a lot of spy tools out there that you can use.
On the Facebook ad platform, for example, you can have a look at the ad library for any page that is running any ads. So you can see in plain view, anyone can see what offer they’re using, what ad copy they’re using, what creative they’re doing. So really, you can – and I’m by no means saying that you should copy – but get inspiration and ideas from what your competitors are doing.
And I often like to do this regularly. Like, we do this regularly. I teach people how to do it regularly. Because chances are, if somebody is running an offer for a long time, it’s converting, and it’s and it’s doing well for them. People won’t keep things running for long if it doesn’t work. So, you know, doing it regularly is actually really important so that you can say, Oh, well, they’re not running that offer anymore. Chances are, maybe it didn’t work. I mean, you don’t really know.
James: Unless they’re a multinational on a branding campaign, where they’re not tracking the metrics to any particular KPI.
James: It seems common with the very, very big enterprise companies. They don’t even have a particular goal. They just have a spend budget. I’m sure that’s changing over time.
But I remember when I was promoting a product, I was doing really well with my campaigns and I woke up one day and my campaign had been savaged. And when I checked, a competitor was running the exact same ad. Like, the exact same headlines. Same body copy, exact same call to action, slightly different URL.
It sucks when someone clones your account. There’s a lot of uproar at the moment in the online space about people who are copying other people’s products, their lead magnets, their backend products, they just go in. They’ve always got the same excuse – Sorry, it was someone in my team and they didn’t tell me, or, I didn’t know about it. But it’s very important to respect people’s own proprietary IP, because it could take you out of business if you cross the wrong person.
But it’s also crazy to go into paid advertising blind. You have to do your research. And the very good operators will have a research protocol. They’ll go in and do the groundwork.
“Unless you do the research, the whole campaign could be doomed to failure.”
And, who was I talking to? They said, unless you do the research (I think it was Caleb), he said, unless you do the research, then, you know, the whole campaign could be doomed to failure. Like, that’s where most of the effort should be in the beginning, to start with, to understand what you’re getting into.
How well do you know your market?
But I will say this – and you will have found this too, Ilana – a lot of the people you’re coaching in TeachTraffic.com are the business owner or the person who’s got all the years in the trenches. And intrinsically, quite often, they will know their customer pretty well, maybe even subconsciously.
Like, I feel like I know my customers quite well, because I speak to them in the forum every day. I used to meet with them face to face every month. We ran annual events for a decade. Like, I have a good sense of what’s relevant for my audience and which things they’re consuming based on, you know, downloads of the different podcast titles, the different products that we have in our portfolio. I know which ones they consume more of. And certainly our social media videos, I know which ones get the most views. So I could start there as my sort of no-lose proposition, right?
Ilana: Absolutely. And I really think that’s a good point. Because at the end of the day, you as the business owner are the person who understands your business the best. Any third party person or agency that you might get in, they’re sort of on the back pedal, they’re trying to understand your business. There’s sort of a real upheaval in terms of learning the type of customers that you want.
So as a business owner, you’ve got that amazing insight, having spoken to your customers, and know the pains and frustrations that they have. What are the objections that go through their head, what offers that they would be interested in. And so that IP is so valuable that you can use.
James: I’ve got one client who has an upsell page that no copywriter has been able to beat. He’s hoping one day that’ll be different, but he’s got so much insight into his audience that the best version he put up has been unbeatable. And it just comes from knowing its customers.
James: It’s not fancy-looking, it’s not amazing, but just being relevant is such a big clue. That’s like, just be relevant for your audience. If you can get people eliciting that reaction, like, Gosh, it’s like you’re reading my mind. It’s like, Wow, it’s like you’re speaking to me, then you know you’re hitting the mark.
Ilana: Exactly. And it’s funny. I actually know which particular client you’re referring to.
James: Oh, yeah.
Ilana: And that’s an interesting client, actually, to mention, because this sort of leads into kind of what we’re talking about today, which is advertising on different platforms.
Because really, your customers are the same. They’re just engaging on multiple platforms. However, what people are willing to do on Facebook might be vastly different to what they’re willing to do on Google or YouTube, and so therefore, it’s really important to think about what offer is relevant to your customer on that particular platform, because your offers might be different for your different platforms. And actually, that was exactly the case with that same client that you’re talking about.
James: That client, he’s just hitting it out of the park with a different platform altogether, which is fascinating. Like, he’s gone to another platform that really lends itself to his market, and it’s like a goldmine. And it’s just scaling up like gangbusters.
Sometimes a platform will surprise you
So there is a case for like, sometimes you have the best intentions, you’re willing to pay the budget, you think a platform might be great, but it might not be the one for you. So you might have to kiss a few frogs to find your prince, so to speak.
And for me, I’ve certainly been surprised in the past. You think you know where the market is, but one of the big ones for me was how responsive LinkedIn is for my product. People on LinkedIn like my videos, and to come across for coaching, which has been a surprise.
I’ve been really enjoying Amazon for how that works to feed the book. And I wasn’t really expecting that. I learned that one from Allan Dib, who’s got a very successful book on marketing. And he showed me his campaign and I thought, well, that’s really interesting. So I rolled that out.
And I think, some people are a little bit too single-point sensitive with all their eggs in one basket on Facebook in particular. We see that, I mean, we see lots of other platforms having carnage. For example, Apple with their app challenges. They’ve had, there’s been big companies, three in a row – like HEY, the people behind Basecamp; there was Fortnite, and now there’s WordPress. They’re, you know, blocking updates of their apps.
“You don’t want all of your income coming from one source if possible.”
You just don’t want all of your income coming from one source if possible. So if you can figure out a couple of traffic sources, it’s good.
And that’s what I like about your program, Ilana, is you’re teaching Google and YouTube and Facebook, and you’ve put together this whole thing like a puzzle. And unlocking that puzzle, it’s like scrambling a Rubik’s Cube – you get to enjoy all the faces of it, if you can solve it.
And you also protect your business in the future, because you can dial the mix a little bit. Some might take more than others, but if you can have them all performing, that’s good. And certainly with your help, you’ve set up my ads, you know, I set up and then sent to you for fixing the ad campaigns on my brand names, etc. And then we’ve got Facebook campaigns running, and we’ve also deployed YouTube campaigns.
So I feel like with those, plus where I’m doing my business across LinkedIn and Amazon with my podcasts, the Apple platform, etc., I’ve got a really good spread. And then of course, SEO. You turn them all on and get them working, you can still have a really relaxed lifestyle and business operation. But you know that you’ve got multiple pipes coming into your business that are converting and working well and growing and seasoning over time.
So where do we go next?
Should you stick with one?
Ilana: Okay, so now that you’ve really identified what type of business you’ve got, you know exactly who your business services, the customer avatar, and you’ve identified an offer that particular potential customer is potentially interested in.
The next thing you’ve got to do is, so as you touched on, James, I’m a big, big believer in not investing in just one ad platform, diversifying your traffic sources, so leveraging up Facebook and Google. Now, I don’t want to suggest to your listeners that I suggest, let’s say Facebook ads is like, the primary way that you generate leads to have that budget and put the other half in…
James: Never do that. It’s like, I see people, if you’ve got a traffic source that can turn $1 into $1.20 or $1.50, don’t turn it off because you found one that turns $1 into $5. Have them both.
Ilana: Exactly, exactly. You might find for your business that you’ve got, you know, a leg in the Facebook ad camp but a toe in the Google camp. That’s okay. You’ve tapped into another traffic source.
Ilana: And by no means does that mean that, you know, you chop that Facebook leg off.
James: This is one of the most important points, and it’s a crazy thing that marketers do. And I’ve had this, I’m seeing, at least a dozen times on coaching calls where people will actually start switching off a performing traffic source because they found a better one. But why don’t have them both?
James: There’s no reason not to.
Ilana: This is where it really touches on your point before, James, of knowing your numbers. As long as that cost per lead is below that threshold of whatever it is you’re prepared to spend on a lead, then I’m of the belief it doesn’t matter if one other platform’s costing you a little bit more, as long as it’s still under that threshold. You’re in the money.
James: Yeah. And it does average out, right? It’s like your old dollar cost averaging, share purchase plans, etc. You know, the little data analyst in you kind of gets excited about that. Like, if you made a bad investment over time, you can sort of water down the average of it if you can keep buying in when it’s better.
So if you spread your ad spend across the board, but in all cases you’re making a profit, then it’s all profit. So it’s great.
And, you know, if you do get a five X profit or a three times return on ad spend on one platform, by all means go deep, but don’t switch off the one where you only get a one and a half return on ad spend. You’re getting a half versus nothing.
Getting your plumbing set up
Ilana: That’s exactly right. So that sort of leads me into the last point for this particular part one episode on this, is making sure that you’ve got everything set up, or as I like to call, your digital plumbing setup…
James: I’m so glad you didn’t say digital electrician. Oh my god, I’ve been getting the runaround. He could definitely use some help. That’s a classic case where his ads work and he gets the business, but then he blows it all up with bad delivery of service.
And this is something I hear from lead gen suppliers, they get the leads, but the customer blows up with the conversion. And it’s also sweet to my heart because, you know, back in the dealership days, you could do all the work to get someone to walk in your front door, and salespeople can blow it.
“No matter what business you’ve got, make sure your fulfillment side of it is top notch.”
So I just wanted to do a little sidebar here and say, no matter what business you’ve got, make sure your fulfillment side of it, your delivery system, is top notch. And practice so that you get repeat referral business cream on top. And also put your customer in a position where they can buy from you in the future. If you do that, then every dollar you spent today will really compound and leverage over time with your existing customer base.
Okay, back to you, Ilana. So your digital plumbing…
Ilana: I was going to say, your listeners might be wondering if there’s a specific incident you’re referring to.
James: Oh, there is. This podcast was supposed to happen last week. And then it was in jeopardy today. My life is being severely interrupted by a…
Ilana: A no-show electrician.
James: The electrician, he cannot come on time to save his life. Like, he’s got a real issue with it.
Ilana: Yeah. Anyway, so we won’t go into the digital sparky.
James: Yeah. Digital plumbing, I’m cool with it. We’re going to get our plumbing sorted.
Ilana: Yeah, definitely. And this is really, really important before you spend also a dime on any ads, is to get everything set up. So when you are ready, you’ve got all the assets nicely prepared and in place.
So what I mean by the digital plumbing is, you know, creating your Facebook account before you spend any money and installing that facebook pixel on your website; creating your Google Ad account and installing their retargeting pixel on your website; creating your Google Analytics, etc. and sort of getting all that stuff which is annoying, I know, but something that you do once and then you never have to do again. And it just sets you up for success for the future.
So actually, I have a bit of a checklist that if maybe your listeners want to download for free, which kind of goes through all that plumbing that people have to set up, that we actually just use for when we’re helping people, obviously, so they don’t forget the thing like, Oh, that’s right. I didn’t create my YouTube channel and link it with my Google Ad account, etc.
James: So where do we get the checklist? I’m hanging off the edge of my seat now.
James: Right. So if you get the checklist… So you listen to this episode, that’s the homework. Step one, go and get the checklist, Ilana’s secret, special checklist, and make sure that all your system is set up to be able to harness the benefit of what we’re going to cover in episode two and three.
James: That’s a nice introduction.
So let’s just recap this episode. The main thing we wanted to cover in this episode is why you might be interested in paid traffic. I do paid traffic. I get help now from Ilana. She’s got really good stuff, too. I love it when she sends over a document with prompts that we just fill in, that help the ads get written, which I’m sure we’re going to cover later, there’ll be ad creatives that are required, etc.
“Never kill off a campaign if it’s making a profit.”
But of course, you have to set up your pixel, and you’ve got to get your account ready. So it’s about wanting to do paid traffic, deciding that it makes sense, knowing that you should do it across multiple platforms. Never kill off a campaign if it’s making a profit.
Make sure that when you do get the lead or the traffic or the sale, that you follow through and deliver an amazing experience and get the benefit of that. And so you should be in a pretty excited state and ready now. If you’ve gone through the checklist, you’re ready for the episode number two, where we’re going to go through what?
Ilana: Oh, we’re going to go through the initial campaigns that you may want to run, getting started, low-hanging fruit.
Ilana: And then I think Episode Three is going to be growing and scaling.
James: Oh my god, this is very exciting. Ilana, thank you for sharing with us.
Ilana: Thank you.
James: And you can check out Ilana’s stuff, TeachTraffic.com. Go to forward slash puzzle. We’ll link to it in the show notes, too. This is Episode 767. And if you haven’t done paid traffic before, this is the perfect place to start. If you’re already doing it, go through the checklist and see what you’ve missed, because there’s probably some opportunities for you as well. I look forward to the next episode, Ilana.
Ilana: Thanks so much, James. See you.
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