When you're getting business leads aplenty but no sales, something needs fixing.
Our go-to traffic expert Ilana Wechsler had a client in just that situation. In this case study episode, she tells how they turned things around with a combination of audience segmentation, offer adjustment and smart paid traffic maneuvers.
In the podcast:
01:37 – So, here’s the backstory… With thousands of leads and zero sales, this member of the music industry needed help.
04:49 – Let’s dig in and solve this dilemma. Challenge accepted – Ilana dives right in to fix things, beginning with the customer profile.
08:15 – Overhauling the all-important offer. Because James always says you need an offer that converts.
12:06 – The reasons a new offer was so critical. Discover the two-fold effect of a low-cost paid offer.
13:38 – Why you shouldn’t stake everything on Facebook. If all of your targeted marketing is on FB, you could be asking for trouble.
14:40 – Making a bet on YouTube. How would an audience on the world’s biggest video platform respond?
17:24 – This is what happened, basically. James and Ilana sum things up.
19:30 – The results in numbers. The end results validate the efforts to get there.
You’ve got to love a good case study. On a business podcast, it quickly takes things out of the realm of theory and makes them real and actionable.
That’s why James has brought on his regular co-host on the topic of paid traffic, Ilana Wechsler. Ilana has a story to tell of a client whose membership sales doubled with her help. Naturally, James is interested in the how.
So, here’s the backstory…
Ilana’s client works in the music market, which is refreshing amidst all the case studies you’ll hear about online businesses. Assuring, too, for listeners running regular offline companies. If Ilana’s guidance can work for him, why not for them?
The client was running their own traffic, just Facebook ads, when Ilana came on the scene. They were running a free offer and getting great response – several thousand leads. The trouble is, not one lead turned into a sale, which is actually typical, says Ilana.
Building a database off free offers can be worthless if you don’t have something of value, which is probably a whole other discussion, she says.
An interesting discussion, though, says James, who’s been running paid traffic to his book and to a challenge, which are both free. The critical question is whether those free leads are converting into sales.
“Big list means nothing, if they have no commercial intent.”
So we shouldn’t be enamoured of a big list, he says. It means nothing without commercial intent. He imagines a lot has to do with the framing and the targeting of who’s coming on to the program.
Exactly, says Ilana, as well as the backend that comes with the free lead.
In any case, her client was getting thousands of leads, costing him money in ads, in email marketing, and in storing those leads. And none of them were buying.
The question became, was it a problem with the offer, or with all the leads the platform was generating? Then, too, the music industry is highly competitive. How could a one-man-band type compete with some of the deep pockets out there?
One man and one Teach Traffic lady, says James – in her Teach Traffic shirt. Ilana should have a cape, he says, to complete her traffic superhero outfit.
Let’s dig in and solve this dilemma
Hilarious, says Ilana.
Challenge accepted, her first step was identifying the proper customer avatar – who exactly is your targeted customer? What are their pains? What are their frustrations? What do they like? What do they don’t like? What’s keeping them up at night?
At the end of the day, she says, it’s really worthwhile time spent to go deep into customer research. Because you want to write an ad – an ad that speaks so profoundly to the prospect that they think you’ve read their mind. If you know what’s going on between their ears, that will help both your targeting and your ad copy.
Did the customer have good visibility on what was happening? asks James. Even before research, you need to know you have a problem. How were the analytics and the tracking and the data? Is that something most people have or don’t have? And do you need it to make decisions?
“We all know you can’t buy groceries with email subscribers.”
Absolutely, says Ilana, that’s the starting point. This member was doing conversion tracking, and could see his subscriber count going up, while nothing was happening in his bank account. And we all know, she says, you can’t buy groceries with email subscribers.
It’s a common thing, says James, people spending on ads and not sure they’re getting results, or knowing the results aren’t great but not knowing why. So make sure your data and your tracking metrics are in place.
Ilana’s done the hard work, he says, the stuff every good copywriter or smart person exploring a new market will do. He does it – pulls out a spreadsheet and researches who’s in the market, who they’re talking to, what language they use. It has parallels with the Ask method.
And that helps, says Ilana, with some of the advanced targeted marketing strategies they use on Facebook. They can really layer audiences, for instance. And a tip for listeners: with the Apple iOS update, Facebook have actually made it harder for targeting. So she uses a tool called Interest Explorer, which helps find some really micro niches. Or “nitches”, for American listeners.
Riches in the nitches, says James.
Ilana still finds it weird to say.
Anyway, the tool allows them to micro-target their audiences and layer them through inclusion or exclusion, going deep into exactly what they want and nailing the targeting on Facebook.
Overhauling the all-important offer
Then she helped her member craft a new offer. James had drummed it into her since back in the day that you need an offer that converts. And that’s everything with paid traffic.
That’s it, says James. There’s no point driving traffic to a poor offer. It’s like water in a hole-riddled bucket. An offer that converts is the hardest thing to achieve. But once you nail it, you get to enjoy other problems, like where to get enough team to handle all the business you’re getting.
“The difference in performance from an offer that converts versus one that doesn’t work is like night and day.”
Ilana agrees. And it’s worthwhile testing different offers, because she knows, as a traffic person, the difference in performance from an offer that converts versus one that doesn’t work is like night and day. When your offer works, paid traffic is like gasoline on a naked flame.
James paraphrases Dan Norris as saying, you could spend all your time and energy trying to flog a really crappy offer, or you just make an incredible offer, a great product, and then have the world beating a path to your door to buy it from you.
Every traffic professional James works with will only take on a prospect with a great offer. He imagines that’s true for TeachTraffic.com. Could Ilana tell a good offer from a bad fairly quickly?
Absolutely, says Ilana. It was glaringly obvious to her that this member needed to change his offer. And she thinks many people struggle with that, because they feel wedded to the offer they’re running.
The reasons a new offer was so critical
Ilana suggested her client come up with a very low-cost paid offer, for two reasons. One: to generate a list of buyers. Ilana has many times, for clients, split tested a free offer versus a paid offer. The low-cost paid offer would generate far and away more revenue, because people merely took out their wallet, even if it was only for $1.
In this case study, it was a $29 offer, but it did as intended. It made them a list of buyers – less leads, but qualified ones.
Number two, it made the ads on the front end self-liquidating. The revenue generated from the offer paid for the ads themselves from the front end, let alone what the back end would generate with the recurring rebills, because it was a membership.
Way to go, says James. In the industry they call that the SLO, the self-liquidating offer. It’s the magic, self-perpetuating machine. You can add more money, get more database, and it pays for itself. It’s the Holy Grail.
Why you shouldn’t stake everything on Facebook
Now, like many people Ilana speaks to, she is not a fan of putting all the eggs in the Facebook ad basket. It was great their campaign was working, and they’d continue, but it was risky to rely 100 percent on Facebook. They needed to diversify.
You don’t want to build your entire business on the Facebook ads? teases James. That’s like rant number two. My Facebook ads cost too much now, and it’s not working anymore, and I’m basically screwed, and I can’t pay wages. He’s talked about OwnTheRacecourse for over 10 years. One day, he thinks, it’ll catch on.
The other complaint, says Ilana, is My Facebook ad account got shut down. I did nothing wrong, and I’ve got no idea why. Which is also very common.
Making a bet on YouTube
So they thought they would implement the exact same self-liquidating offer on YouTube.
In the music industry, many people are searching for music education. So keyword targeting on YouTube felt like a logical progression. Ilana helped her member do that. It did not work. But Ilana actually liked that about this case study, because it is never a linear path, especially expanding into other platforms.
They did YouTube keyword targeting and specific placements. People just didn’t buy, which fascinated and surprised Ilana. She thought if it worked on Facebook, the offer could very well work on YouTube. But it didn’t.
They had to pivot again and change the offer for YouTube. But what they did is they put that self-liquidating offer on the thank you page of the free offer that we were doing on YouTube. So YouTube ad to free offer. On the thank you page, we had the paid offer. Then the back end clicked in as well.
The client told Ilana that YouTube subscribers generated in this way were actually much more engaged in his emails. Open rates were better, and people responded to the emails. And they eventually did buy, they just needed a bit more time. So the quality of the leads were better due to the type of targeting that they were using on YouTube.
An interesting component to this, says Ilana, is that it wasn’t a linear path. And just because one offer is working on one platform, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to work on another one. So again, you can’t be wedded to your offer, you’ve got to try and match the offer for the platform.
James has seen this many times where they’ve changed an upsell or the pathway, taken out steps, added steps, tried free or paid, and it can have double or triple or quadruple type results. It sounds like the catchment pull on YouTube had a different type of interest or intent.
And often, he says, even a weaker offer can do well with a good pre-marketing campaign. Maybe those people searching had already been exposed to something before, or had lots of similar content, which is why the ad was served to them. And they were just ready to go, they were further in the buying window.
This is what happened, basically
The last step with this case study, says Ilana, is they then had a retargeting campaign across multiple platforms – Google search display, YouTube, and social, etc. That was the final piece, if you will, of this particular puzzle for this particular person.
She wants to mention, as well, that the reason they wanted to expand into YouTube was the abundance of traffic there. Part of the problem on social was the client had sort of tapped out quickly on his audience. On YouTube, there is just an insane amount of ad inventory and traffic available.
This is what James is hearing. YouTube is the hot zone for people who have maxed out Facebook, or haven’t considered it before, if you can get it to work. He had a music client himself who gave up on YouTube. Two years later he told James he’d figured it out.
To summarize this case study: the client wasn’t getting a great return on investment for his ad spend; he dug into the data, did the research, built a good customer profile, tried new offers, expanded into different platforms, and then doubled down on the remarketing. It wasn’t a linear path, meaning it wasn’t always step-by-step.
The results in numbers
The end result was 300 percent increase in business leads, 150 percent increase in sales, and doubled converting traffic sources.
You can check out all the details of this episode’s case study HERE.
The client was stoked, says Ilana. And the beautiful thing is, number one, he’s diversified. Number two, he has control now as to how much he wants to grow and scale. And he’s building his database as well, so people will keep dripping into his membership, which he’s growing into a behemoth.
He’s basically set up new traffic sources, tuned his offers, and improved the targeting, says James. He imagines part of the work Ilana does with her client is to innovate, as well, and stay in front of challenges.
He recommends giving a percentage of time or energy towards working on the future, rather than panicking about the fact that something working before has stopped working, which is the terrible cycle he sees way too many marketers in.
“When you go online, you have to stay sharp.”
James’s commitment when he quit his job was to keep innovating. When you go online, you have to stay sharp. That’s why he recommends joining TeachTraffic.com and getting Ilana on your team. Let her tell you what to do with your strategies and campaigns, he says. She knows this stuff.
Enjoyed the show? Leave us a review on iTunes