This post is part of our new Real Life Diaries of an Entrepreneur series. Copywriter Jess Paxson of Jess, XO pulls back the curtain on the ins and out of scaling her business. Since starting in 2018, she’s quadrupled her monthly income by continuously trying new things. Follow along to learn what worked, what didn’t and what she’s trying next.
Wanna catch up on the rest of the series?
There are a lot of things in business I get.
I get that whole building relationships thing.
I get invoicing and timelines.
I get that part of being a business owner is wearing all the hats, most days.
And, to be honest, I really love that most days, too! I love feeling like kind of a renaissance woman – a Da Vinci of the creative world (to be completely dramatic). I like it when my family and friends say, “You do that, too? How’d you learn all that?!”
But, two things I didn’t really get until this month?
1 | How to run Facebook Ads
2 | How to shift a scarcity mindset
Now, I know those seem like two totally different things, but I promise they relate – and, THIS has been what all the learning of this month has been centered on.
So, in this month’s installment of The Real Life Diaries of an Entrepreneur, I’m sharing with you:
- How I made the decision to run FB ads
- What that looked like in the backend of my business (does “backend” of biz make anyone else giggle?)
- And some of the mindset blocks I’ve uncovered along the way
If you’re thinking, “Jess, I don’t want to run FB ads EVERRRR,” this blog post is still jam-packed with value when it comes to stepping into playing a big game and how to make informed decisions as an entrepreneur.
So, you’re not off the hook. Keep reading!
The Facebook Ad Fight Club
Sure, people will talk about their “super low cost per click” or their “conversion rate,” but there are a lot of questions left unanswered in the conversation as a whole.
- Why run Facebook ads?
- What type of product or service works best with ads?
- What is the best thing to send people to from an ad? A sales page? A landing page for a lead magnet that feeds into an email sequence? My services page? A blog post?
- Can I even use ads if I’m a service-based business?
- How do “audiences” work?
Plus, the idea of learning how to run Facebook ads – the system of something so nuanced that I would be feeding cold-hard-cash into – seemed ridiculously overwhelming.
So, as usual, I want to show you that underbelly (ew?), and talk you through my decision to run Facebook ads, how I chose to do it, and how the whole process has felt as a business owner.
But, FIRST: Some terminology you need to know
Cost Per Click: This is the phrase used to note how much each click is costing you, on average. For example, if you spend $50, and you get 30 clicks, your Cost Per Click is about $1.67. You want to see this number go as low as possible.
Conversions: For the sake of Facebook ads, a conversion can be any desired action your ad viewers are taking. Inside of Facebook ads manager, you can dictate the type of conversion it calculates. A “conversion” could even be getting your ad viewers to view a page on your website. Or, for example, if you’re running a campaign to build your email list, your “conversion” would be when someone enters their email address. Your conversion rate would be the number of conversions divided by the number of people who landed on the page.
Now that you know your way around, let’s talk about why I decided to run ads for The Promptlate Shop.
Why Run Facebook Ads: How I Made the Decision to Try Them
When I launched The Promptlate Shop last month, I was super happy with the sales and interest from a completely organic launch.
In case you’re not sure what an “organic launch” is, it doesn’t mean I sprinkled sprouted oats all over my business or anything.
“Organic” simply means that I launched to my immediate audience, and asked my immediate audience to share. The reach of The Promptlate Shop was to my circle and my friends’ circles – I didn’t have any cold audience reach for this launch.
So, with that in mind, all went super well, but there was a natural die-down of sales when my friends stopped talking about the Promptlates. And, I really stopped talking about it, too! Mostly because I was buried, bushy-eyebrow-deep, in client work, but also because I just needed a break from living and breathing The Promptlate Shop for months.
As I thought about sales strategy for the shop, two things became really clear:
- My product (a killer D.I.Y. website copy solution) is all about timing. Copywriting help is something you have no idea exists until you need help, NOW. That “need help now” feeling was what I was hoping to tap into so that I could provide a solution to the frantic inquiries I get on the weekly for copywriting services to start YESTERDAY. In order to reach more people at the exact right time, I knew I could expand my reach to a colder audience.
- I want this shop to run on auto (mostly). I want it to give me more freedom, not less. In order to sell consistently, by organic reach alone, that takes a lot of content power. I want it to be a solution for as many people as possible who are literally sitting on a pretty website because they’re stuck on copy. I’d rather create something that runs in the background and I don’t have to worry about than add a million things to my own to-do list on a weekly basis.
Which brings me to…
Why I Chose to Hire it Out
I’m primarily a service-based business owner, and you know what that means:
My time is money.
I honestly don’t think I would have considered running Facebook ads so quickly if I didn’t really know and totally trust the Facebook ads agency I wanted to hire – Till Agency.
Till is a comprehensive Facebook ads agency. Davey, Jesse, and Ryan are a powerhouse team with a lot of creative industry experience and crazy strategy skills, so I knew they would take care of my ads with a holistic view of my business in mind.
Here’s the thing: I really have no desire to learn the ins and outs of Facebook ads.
But, here’s the other thing: I’ve taken the time to “know enough to be dangerous,” as they say.
I’ve run my own lead-generating ad campaigns, so I understand how it works – which I definitely recommend everyone should do.
But, I don’t know enough to be able to strategically evaluate which pieces of the puzzle are falling flat, what to tweak, and how to troubleshoot. Ad campaigns in general are like a giant testing facility, so I wanted someone to handle all of that for me. Plus, Till handles all of the creative of actually creating the ads for you, in addition to running them.
If you’re a service-based business and you want to know how (or if) ads can work for you, another expert team to reach out to are Pete and Jordan – they’re all around geniuses, too.
The Infrastructure of a Quality Ad Campaign
Repeat after me: Ads are not a magic pill.
If your offer isn’t selling at all, a larger reach won’t necessarily be your saving grace.
If you’re not booking from your audience of 100, increasing to 1,000 may not give you the results you’re hoping for.
So, if there’s one thing you take away from this post, it should be this:
Your cost per click doesn’t matter if your website or your systems aren’t ready to receive that traffic.
For the ads to The Promptlate Shop, we’re taking a few different approaches, and we’ll test and see how they work.
When viewers click on any one of my ads, they’ll be directed to one of these places:
- Directly to The Promptlate Shop: I revised the copy on this page, and am working to give more inside looks at the product itself, to quell those questions I’ve been getting, like, “Wait, what does this actually look like on the inside?”
- A tripwire offer: A tripwire offer is a low cost, valuable offer that will get your viewers to get out their wallets. I chose to practically give away my Uncover Your True Brand Voice Guide. Then, after they purchase, they’ll be offered LIMITED time, exclusive (totally awesome) access to The Website Bundle Promptlate – while they still have their card info in front of them.
- Lead generation campaigns: I have a number of free resources available that we’ll be running ads to, as well. This type of campaign is typically the highest converting for me. It allows me to nurture and get to know my audience, and really prime them for the offer I’ll be pitching.
So, with all of those potential landing places in mind, here’s what I recommend you get in order before you send a surge of traffic to your site.
On-Page Website Copy
The words on your website should both attract the right people and repel the wrong people.
It’s easy to think, “Well, Jess, with more traffic, shouldn’t I make things more general so more people will buy?” NEVERRRRR. Remember: If you’re not repelling, you’re not really attracting, either. In order to attract the right people, you’ve gotta make them feel like they’ve finally found where they belong.
Wanna know more about attracting and repelling? Check out my blog post: How to Hook More of the Right People with ONE Sentence.
Tired of ignoring your website copy, and ready to give it all a makeover? Head to The Promptlate Shop.
If you’re sending your traffic to download a lead magnet, but you don’t have a solid nurture sequence (yes, for every single freebie!), you’re missing out on some lifelong customers and loyal fans.
For each of my free resources, I craft a specific nurture sequence (3-5 emails) to help them get the best results possible from that freebie (and to make sure they actually download it and take action!). From there, I send everyone through my generic welcome sequence, so I can begin to further solidify that know, like, and trust factor.
I use Flodesk to streamline this process. And, the cool thing is, I can craft one core email that acts as a template for my nurture sequences, and then I can just duplicate that template inside of my new workflow for each lead magnet and tweak accordingly.
Bottom line, if you’re leaving your new audience acquisition high and dry after they get to you, there’s not much of a point wasting your time acquiring a new audience, now is there? (Tough love, I know.)
Chances are, even if you’re sending your influx of traffic to something free, you’re going to get more inquiries, too.
So, based on where your people are landing, do you make it easy and clear cut for them to inquire with you on your website?
I’m not recommending that you put these things directly on a landing page. Landing pages and sales pages should be free of distraction, and solely focused on the action you want your visitors to take.
BUT, if someone takes the time to venture over to your website, is it easy for them to get there from the home page? Is your contact form easy to fill out? Do you have an automatic response that goes out to their inquiry?
This doesn’t only apply to Facebook ad audience acquisition, either.
Do you have some awesome-sauce Pinterest traffic? Were you recently on a CRAZY cool podcast, and now you have all kinds of new visitors and followers?
Audience Acquisition Rule #1: Know where they’re coming from.
Audience Acquisition Rule #2: Know where they’re landing.
If you have a poppin’ podcast feature or a BOMB blog post that sends you daily traffic, make sure you have a lead magnet upgrade on that sucker! If you’re sending podcast or online summit listeners to a resource, make sure you have a specific page that’s easy for them to navigate to, or a page with a URL solely devoted to that audience.
For example, when I was featured on the Brands that Book Podcast, I created a page that was mywebsite.com/brands-that-book, for easy navigation (and so I could remember it on the podcast interview).
Don’t throw a party, leave the door open, and then leave your guests without food, or booze, or the heater on when it’s 12 degrees outside.
The Mindset Struggle
The most difficult thing of this whole decision-making process was cultivating a growth mindset instead of perpetuating a scarcity mindset.
Guys, it’s SCARY to dive into something that requires you to invest or commit before you see results.
But, when you really think about it, isn’t that the nature of almost anything good in life?
You’ve gotta be vulnerable and invest in community before you get to experience the true benefits.
You have to invest in giving value before your audience learns to trust you.
You need to spend $5 on pumpkin cream cold brew before you know if it’s LITERALLY going to conjure feelings of fall for your entire day.
It’s how life goes: First sow, then reap.
So, the one question I would have you ask yourself is this…
Am I choosing to play big, or am I doing too much all at once just to keep up with what I think everyone else is doing?
Am I taking my next step or am I trying to compete with her last step?
And some questions to help you answer that one:
- Is this idea or offer validated, or do I think going big is the only way I can keep up?
- (Note: If “keeping up” pops into your mental vocabulary, that’s almost always a red flag.)
- Can I take myself on as a client right now, and make sure my infrastructure is ready for an influx of traffic?
- Do I have the capacity to learn a new platform, or do I want to hire someone to help/take over?
Every time I’ve taken a leap in business, it’s paid off.
Every time I’ve made a decision from scarcity (like booking a client because there will be no more clients, ever), it always turns out real bad.
After I did some work to change my mindset, I jumped in with CONFIDENCE, and my ads for The Promptlate Shop launched last week!
(Stay tuned for a progress update next month!)
What’s Next for the Real Life Diaries of this Entrepreneur?
Next month, I’ll be reporting on the results that come from my Facebook ads campaign. Yep, I’m going to share – and I’M SCARED, OKAY? But, as I promised, this is real life, so you can look forward to a full update!
In the coming months, I’ll also:
- Work on refining my client systems (using HoneyBook) and client education. I really want to make our client experience not only a factory for amazing, heartfelt, authentic messages that sell, but I also want to make it a training hub for our clients so they feel CRAZY COMFORTABLE using that message in the future. According to my clients, they already feel that way, but I know there are some gaps I can fill even more efficiently, so my team and I will be working on that!
- Begin prep for December sabbatical! Last year, I wanted to take December off, and it was an EPIC fail. So, this year, I’m starting early! And, I’m using my sweet business manager’s tips to prepare for time away (Jenna, from In the Details Darling)!
So, meet me back here NEXT MONTH for updates about everything I just mentioned, and more!
Have you ever made a scary leap in your business? How did you approach it with confidence instead of fear? What helps you decide whether you’ll outsource something, or take a DIY approach? I love hearing about how other entrepreneurs make these daily decisions, so let me know in the comments!