AMY PORTERFIELD: “Should I spend money on ads for selling my product and promoting my offers? Or should I spend it on growing my email list? Here's the cold, hard truth: if you don't have a list, you don't have anyone to sell to or to promote to. You must grow your email list. And the great thing is that you can absolutely use ads to grow your list and get more visibility.
“Now, if you're trying to go into using ads to sell to a cold audience, they're going to be extremely expensive. Plus, they won't convert as well because these people are new to you and new to your world. Instead, create a lead magnet, and then use your ad money to grow your email list with a cold audience, driving traffic to your lead magnet. That's where I want you to spend your money if you're new to all of this.”
INTRO: I’m Amy Porterfield, ex-corporate girl turned CEO of a multi-seven-figure business. But it wasn't all that long ago that I lacked the confidence, the budget, and the time to focus on growing my small-but-mighty business. Fast forward past many failed attempts and lessons learned, and you'll see the business I have today, one that changes lives and gives me more freedom than I ever thought possible, one that used to only exist as a daydream. I created the Online Marketing Made Easy podcast to give you simple, actionable, step-by-step strategies to help you do the same. If you're an ambitious entrepreneur, or one in the making, who's looking to create a business that makes an impact and a life you love, you're in the right place, friend. Let's get started.
AMY: My latest podcast obsession is My First Million, hosted by Sam Parr and Shaan Puri. They discuss how companies made their first million and brainstorm new business ideas based on the hottest trends. They recently released an episode with my friend Nathan Barry from ConvertKit. It was called “How to Become a Billion-Dollar Creator.” And I loved when Nathan talked about some of his biggest failures and what he'd do if he had to start over. You know I'm a sucker for conversations like that. You can check out My First Million wherever you listen to your podcasts.
Welcome back to another episode of Online Marketing Made Easy. I’m so glad you’re here, because today's episode is so very insightful. We're talking about perfecting your ads. And whether you're planning to spend a hundred dollars on ads or ten thousand dollars on ads, this episode is going to help you not only get the most bang for your buck—as in the lowest-cost ads possible—but the things I'm going to cover in this episode will also help you convert at a higher rate. After all, the conversion is what we're after, right?
So, here's the thing. Ads can be intimidating, whether you have a team or not. There's a lot of thought that goes into them, and there are certain things that can make them work like a charm and things that can make them royally flop. So in today's episode, I'm sharing four principles you want to keep in mind every single time you create an ad. We'll also talk about testing and troubleshooting, things that come with the territory, when you're using ads in your business. Now, if you're multitasking, come back to me because there's a piece of today's episode I do not want you to miss. It's honestly the most important thing that we'll talk about here today, and I'm sharing what it is after we talk about the principles and the testing and the troubleshooting. So don't go anywhere, because if I can give you one piece of advice in this whole ad's conversation, it's what I'm sharing at the end. Do not miss it.
Now, before we dive in, I have a special request. Will you please share this episode with a special friend or a loved one who's starting a business, has a side hustle, or even thinking about starting an online business? I promise they will thank you for sharing this podcast because it's going to be full of insights to get them started. And I am forever grateful as well.
And speaking of being forever grateful, I actually have a thank-you gift for you. So I've created a free resource to go along with this episode. It's a roundup of our top-performing ads. That way, you can see how we capitalized on the four principles that I'm going to talk about in this episode. So, when we're talking about the ads, it's so much easier if you can see the ads I'm talking about, so I want you to go grab your resource by heading over to the show notes. So go to amyporterfield.com/443, amyporterfield.com/443, and you can get the free resource, where I'm actually showing you my best-performing ads.
All right. Are you ready to dive in? Let's do this.
All right. First up, the four principles for perfecting your ads. And principle number one is spend time perfecting your headline. You want to be specific while, also, being intriguing. But this varies from, let's say, your email subject lines, where you can leave them thinking, “Oh, what's that about? I should click into this email.” You do not want to do that with your ad headline. If they're glancing at it, they should know exactly what you're talking about so they can decide quickly if they want to click on or invest time into what you're offering. They should see it, read it, and instantly understand if it’s for them.
So, here's an example of what I'm talking about. This is from one of our top-performing ads, and it reads “Free Guide: Dreamer Today, Entrepreneur Tomorrow.” And in this guide, that is associated with that ad copy, there are three questions to help them easily kickstart their business. So a free guide to help them do that is something that grabs their attention and speaks to our audience.
So, your headline and your graphic are basically the two things that are going to grab your audience, so they have to be exactly what your audience wants to hear and see. But it's not just the headline that's super important. You actually want to put emphasis on the first two lines of your ad copy because they usually show above the fold when you're looking at them live on social apps, especially on mobile. And most of your traffic will come from mobile.
Now, I'll give you a couple examples of headlines in just a bit so you can get a few more ideas. And then remember to snag that free resource with our top-performing ads to get even more headline inspiration.
All right. Moving on to principle number two. Be intentional about using keywords and key phrases. So you may be wondering how to find what key words or key phrases will resonate with your audience. A great place to start is with your social media. My copywriter spends time reading posts from our audience, whether it be on Instagram or Facebook or in our communities, and you can do the same. So spend some time reading through the comments or look at questions your audience is asking. And also, I'm sure you have an idea of the questions and the pain points they have, but seeing it come from their mouth is golden.
So notice how they’re explaining something. How are they asking the questions? What words are they using? And listen, if you don't have an audience, don't sweat it. Find someone in your industry who is serving people similar to the people that you want to serve. So look at their comments and their communities because you can learn the same thing I'm talking about here from what they have going on.
Another thing that can be super helpful, and this really applies to those of you who were your ideal-customer avatar at some point, try sitting down and journaling through some of the pain points and emotions that you felt at different times throughout your journey. You can be your own source of inspiration when you're just starting out, if you were your avatar, say, two, three, or ten years ago.
Another important thing to remember is that you do not need to overthink this. And here's why. When you put copy out into the world, you're going to get data. You're going to see how it lands, and that's going to be your audience's way of telling you that they connect with it or they don't connect with it. Especially if you're just starting with ads, we do so much experimenting, and I want you to do that as well. You may need to test a few things out over time, and that's totally normal. We're going to talk about testing in just a moment, so stay tuned.
Okay. So, principle number three, your ad should add value. In other words, how will what you're promoting or selling through your ad provide your audience, whether they're warm or cold, with a solution to their needs, their desires, or their problems? This comes back to the basics of what I teach. In order to do anything in your business, you must understand your ideal-customer avatar deeply. That means you need to intimately know what their pain point, desire, or need is, and everything you create must revolve around how you solve those things or how your offering is the solution. Remember that the content you create is what I call the invisible bridge. Your content is helping them get from where they are now to where they want to be. So conveying that in your ad is of the utmost importance.
So, when you're creating your ad copy, ask yourself, how will this help them? And does my copy convey that clearly? Does my copy convey that clearly of how I'm going to help them? If you can't relate what you're selling or promoting directly to what your audience needs, it won't resonate or convert. And a low-converting ad is an expensive and ineffective ad.
And even if you're thinking that you've landed on what makes them tick, keep paying attention. For example, we found that when we create ads that are all about growing an email list in a specific way, and content creation, that's another one, these are big topics that grab our audience's attention. They convert really well. Our audience is all in. And those more-broad general business-building ads that I've ran in the past, they don't even convert well with a cold audience. So that surprised us as well.
So always be paying attention to what's resonating with your audience. I'll share more about tracking your metrics in a bit to know what is actually resonating.
Lastly, principle number four, don't forget your call to action, your CTA, and make it clear. This is something I actually see people do wrong all the time, and that is not being extremely clear about what you want your audience to do. And in your ad this is really important because if they don’t know what to do, you’re wasting all your money.
So this is just like any email you would send, anything you'd post on social. If you want your audience to take a specific action, you must tell them very clearly what the action is. And if you want them to download something, say that. If you want them to sign up for something, say that. The cool thing about ads, at least with Facebook ads, there's also options to reiterate what they are going to get out of your offer in your call to action. So, for example, with an ad to get people to sign up for my free masterclass about list building, next to the call to action, which clearly states “Sign Up,” we added “Build a Thriving Email List Even If You're at Zero.” And we were able to add that in to the copy to reiterate the value, the solution, and to speak to their pain point.
So, to see an example of this, make sure you head on over to my show notes, amyporterfield.com/443, and you can grab my highest-performing ads, and you can see exactly what I'm talking about here. I think it's easier to see it as I explain it.
So, I'm going to share some of our best call to actions with you, so lean in closely. Are you ready? The three that work best for me, and you can choose these when you're setting up your Facebook ads, is Sign Up, Listen Now—we do that one with our podcast a lot—and Learn More. Now I'm laughing a little because these aren't the most unique calls to action, right? I didn't just blow your mind. You probably thought I was going to give you some super-catchy and clever call to actions, but I'm not because these are the ones that are working. Sign Up, Listen Now, and Learn More. And when you see the examples in my ads, you'll see how we actually got to choose those as buttons, so you'll see it in the ads.
But the reason why they're so simple is that sometimes those clever calls to action, they get lost in translation. They can throw a person off or confuse them. So your old trusty, dusty, to-the-point CTAs are always your best bet.
Now, before we chat about troubleshooting and metrics, I want to share my most important piece of advice about this topic. Let's take a look at some of our best-performing ads from 2021, and I want to analyze how we've utilized the principles that we've talked about today.
The first one is an ad for my free list-building masterclass, and the headline reads, “PSA: Roughly half of all adults in the U.S. admitted to checking email before they even get out of bed, according to a study by Adobe.” So notice the catchy header. It gets your attention. And given that half of the U.S. population does this means that there's a high chance that my audience will resonate with this.
And then the ad goes on to say, “The fact is that people actually like reading email and consistently rate it among their top ways to stay connected,” which is very good news for entrepreneurs like you, who want to reach their audience without being held at the mercy of things like iOS changes or social-media crashes.
Okay. So, the reason I wrote it like that was that there's a big pain point that my audience is experiencing, dealing with things out of their control, like iOS changes or something happening on social media, when all they want to do is stay connected to their audience. So that's why the copy resonates with them, because they totally get it.
Okay. So, going on, the ad reads, “Building an email list might seem tricky (okay, okay—I know for some it's completely overwhelming), but it doesn't have to be that way. All right. So when I say “building an email list,” that's a key phrase my audience is drawn to because it's a pain point they have. Building an email list is a pain point for my audience, period. So I'm going to use the exact phrase they're using.
Okay. The ad goes on to read, “After 13 years of building my own email list into the hundreds of thousands and teaching the art and science of list building to thousands of students all around the world, I've discovered a handful of simple, yet powerful, steps that can kickstart your email list like nothing else. And now I'm sharing these secrets in a free training called Why Growing Your Email List Feels So Dang Hard and What To Do Instead that will take stress and second guessing out of growing and engaging your email list.”
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Okay. So, here's the solution I'm offering them: a free training, where I'm sharing the things I've learned over thirteen years of growing an email list. And then from there I have the call to action. So the call to action is “Build a thriving email list, even if you're at zero,” and then tell them to sign up. And so I actually write the word Sign Up, but then I can choose a button in the ad that says Sign Up as well. So that's what I'm saying, where there's other features you can add to that call to action.
All right. Let's look at another one of my ads. This one is an ad for my podcast, so I'm aiming to get downloads here, especially to get the audience member to be so intrigued by my ad that they have to go listen to my podcast episode. Now, I should mention that with this one, we always do video ads for my podcast. They just work better than anything else, and I tend to do a lot of video ads for other things I'm promoting when we can, because videos drive traffic so much better than just a static image. So you'll want to play around with your ads to see what works better. This is something that we've learned for us over time. We've tested and troubleshooted these ads, so I know that carving out time to create a video for an ad is definitely worth my time. So you have to figure that out for yourself, which we’ll talk about soon as well.
So, here's the ad copy for my best-performing podcast ad from 2021. The ad reads, “How exciting would it be to work on your business rather than in your business?” Okay. So here we are again with a catchy header, and the reason I think this one was so attention grabbing is that we often hear about this idea of working on versus working in your business, especially from successful people. So it's nothing new they've heard, but they get it, and a lot of my audience members want to learn how to work on your business rather than in. So, for anyone who wants to grow a business, this is a concept that they really get and they want to know more about.
Okay. Back to the ad copy. “Well, it can be done. In today's podcast episode, I show you the step-by-step processes you can take to start delegating tasks in your online business.” And then I give them the link of where to go.
One thing I want to mention is that with Facebook ads, you can add in links. We find this really valuable to use in all of our ads, for paid and for, like, paid products and for free products, like my podcast, for example, because then we can get people directly to the show-notes page to listen.
One thing I also want to point out is that I mentioned this is a video ad. Now, the video ad is just me off the cuff, talking about why the podcast episode is valuable for them to listen to. What I'm reading to you now is the ad copy below the video. So we still use ad copy even when it is a video. We do a video and ad copy.
Okay. So to get back to the ad copy, then the rest of it reads as such, “Here's the thing. Creating automation can help you streamline and save time every week. In this week's podcast episode, I give you all of my favorite tips and tools to create, one, auto responders in your emails for all the FAQs that land in your inbox; two, seamless scheduling systems; three, social-media content creation so you can batch and post with ease; and four, standard operating procedures. Every job now has a how-to-do-this list, plus a process for hiring a virtual assistant to provide valuable ongoing support. I also have a fun accountability challenge at the end because I want to make sure I'm cheering you on as you implement. You're not going to want to wait another minute. This is the blueprint you need to take to get big results.” So, that is me going through all the value, the solution to their pain point, the why this is an episode they must rush off and listen to right away.
And then I say, “Listen to this episode to learn how to save time every day and do more of what you love in your business.” And then we close it out with a call to action and the reiteration of the value that they will get from this episode. So it says, “Automation for the smart business owner, listen now.” So again, there's that call to action, “listen now.”
So automation is kind of a sexy keyword in our world. So we knew that even if people skimmed the ad copy, if they see this highlighted at the very end, “Automation for the smart business owner, listen now,” they'd be interested.
And then, of course, we close it out with a very basic, but very clear, call to action, “Listen now.” No room for interpretation.
All right. So for more examples of some of our top-performing ads, I want you to go to the show notes. This episode’s a little bit difficult for me to record because I want you to see what I’m talking about. So again, amyporterfield.com/443, you can get a PDF of my top-performing ads.
All right. So, let's move away from the principles and talk about troubleshooting and tracking. These are two things that are super important if you're looking to score low-cost, high-converting ads. We're going to talk about A/B testing and how to effectively track your ads and use that data to improve them, and what to do when your ads are denied.
First stop, A/B testing. So A/B testing is when you use two variations of something, such as an email subject line or, in this case, an ad to identify what your audience resonates with most. When it comes to ads, you want to test one variable at a time when you're A/B testing, because if you have two completely different ads, you won't be able to tell what's working and what's not. But if you have two ads with the same ad copy and headline but different images, and one performed well and one didn't, you'll know that one ad image resonated with your audience and one didn’t.
Now, there are three big variables to test when it comes to ads: images and creative, so let's say video; and then headlines; and copy. And you actually want to test them in that order because you'll generally find the solution before you even get to copy.
Now, you may be thinking, “This is great, Amy. But how long should I run an A/B test like that?” I'll say at least a week, but that can depend on your budget. So you want to make sure it's getting enough traffic for you to make a good judgment on it. But also, you don't want to break the bank and run it too long with an ad that's not doing well.
So, for example, ten clicks isn't enough to really assess how an ad is performing. So try to see if you can run it for at least a week. Now, depending on what type of ad and what kind of budget you have, aim to get around one hundred clicks on something to really see what it's doing before making a judgment call or changing things up.
Now, let's dive into how to effectively track your ads. I'm going to share what we do on our team, but feel free to take what you need and dismiss what you don't, but we found this process to be really helpful. So we actually create a spreadsheet with our measurables and metrics so that we can track it daily. Now, ours are pretty in-depth, but your spreadsheet doesn't have to be to see the data that will actually help guide you in running the best ads possible. So we have a column for where we are month to date, and then we have a column for our overall goal for the month, and we also have the percentage of where we are to that goal. And then we have a separate table that has the daily goals and measurables.
Also, one thing to note is that if you're running ads to a paid-for product, those measurables won't look different than something like your weekly free content, such as my podcast.
So, here are the measurables that we like to track. Ad Spend, Total Reach, and then for the podcast, we track Landing-Page Views. So that's kind of our form of tracking the conversion because we can't track downloads, so we track landing-page views. And then, also, Average Cost Per Click, also known as CPC; and then Average Click-Through Rate, also known as CTR; Average Cost Per Lead; and then Landing-Page Conversion Rate. So that's for the paid product ads that we do, so we can get a real look at how our ads are actually converting into paid customers. Now, there are a ton of different measurables that you can track, depending on what's most important to you and your business, but those are the ones that work for us. The beautiful thing about keeping a daily pulse on your ads is that you can see what's happening over time and pretty easily.
Okay. Next stop, here's what to do when your ad is denied and how to troubleshoot. Most times a denied ad is an easier fix than you think. The good thing is that you get a reason as to why your ad is denied. So simply look at that reason, and if it makes sense and is a quick fix, then just do as they request and resubmit it.
Now, if your ad gets denied and you know that it is denied in error, like, for example, let's say that they are accusing you of being an MLM—and unfortunately, Facebook does not like MLMs—so let's say you're being denied for being an MLM, but you're not an MLM. This happens often. So then you resubmit it for manual review, which means that you get a human looking at it, and 99 percent of the time it'll be approved.
All right, my friend. So I hope you're gaining a ton of insight from this episode, but there's something I need to talk to you about, and this is actually what I'm most excited about sharing with you in this episode. It's a question I often get. And that question is, should I spend money on ads for selling my product and promoting my offers? Or should I spend it on growing my email list? Here's the cold, hard truth: if you don't have a list, you don't have anyone to sell to or to promote to. You must grow your email list. And the great thing is that you can absolutely use ads to grow your list and get more visibility.
Now, if you're trying to go into using ads to sell to a cold audience, they're going to be extremely expensive. Plus, they won't convert as well because these people are new to you and new to your world. Instead, create a lead magnet, and then use your ad money to grow your email list with a cold audience, driving traffic to your lead magnet. That's where I want you to spend your money if you're new to all of this.
And here’s the thing. If you’re listening right now and you have that question, like, “Can I run ads to grow my list? Is that a good use of my money?” the answer is yes. But, also, I want you to go check out my free masterclass all about growing your email list because I want to take the guesswork out of it. So it's called Why Growing Your Email List Feels So Dang Hard and What To Do Instead. It's totally free. And in the masterclass, I'm going to share my favorite seven simple solutions to attract new email subscribers and attract them quickly. So I created this masterclass because I kept hearing the same frustrations from my audience over and over again. So we're going to cover each and every one of those frustrations, and you'll walk away with knowing exactly how to get started to grow your email list, which means you'll get to start using ads that much quicker. So head to amyporterfield.com/emaillist, grab your seat, and start growing your email list. So amyporterfield.com/emaillist.
All right, my friend. This was a jam-packed episode, and I hope you're walking away feeling confident and excited to tackle some ads. So to recap, here are the four principles. One, make sure your headline stands out. Make it clear and intriguing. Two, be intentional about using keywords and key phrases that your audience uses. That's a big one. Three, make sure your ad copy is clear about the value you're offering. It should be obvious that whatever you're promoting is a solution to your audience’s pain point, need, or desire. And four, be overly obvious with your call to action. Clever doesn't always win the race, so tell them exactly what you want them to do so you do not waste a penny on your ads.
And if you need to work on growing that email list, I want you to head on over to amyporterfield.com/emaillist, grab my seven simple solutions for attracting new subscribers, and you, my friend, will be on your way to not only a healthy email list, but also running high-converting ads.
All right. I'm so excited for you to get started. Thanks for joining me today. I'll see you next time, same time, same place. Bye for now.