Gavin Bell, a Facebook Advertisement consultant, Vlogger, and founder of Funnel Academy, talks about the pros and cons of Facebook Ads for small businesses, describes the stages of campaign setup, and explains why he recently moved to WordPress.
Gavin Bell is a UK leading Facebook Advertisement consultant, Vlogger, and founder of Funnel Academy, helping businesses and entrepreneurs grow their businesses and generate revenue using proven Facebook ad strategies.
Gavin manages Facebook & Instagram ad campaigns for football teams, health practices, coaches, online memberships, SAAS, businesses selling online products & more. He is also a keynote speaker, traveling across the world speaking on stages about Facebook ads, funnels, online marketing, entrepreneurship, and marketing in general.
Pros and Cons of Facebook Ads
For someone starting an ad campaign with a small budget, and thinking whether Facebook would be the right platform for them, or perhaps Google or Taboola. What are the pros and cons here?
“Yeah, great question. I think when it comes to Facebook ads first, the likes of Google ads in terms, you have to think about the type of business you’re in and the type of intent that people typically have before they buy. So if it’s a Google ad, like for example, if you’re a 24-hour plumber, you don’t want to run Facebook ads to say, ‘I’m a 24-hour plumber,’ with the idea that somebody, when their tap burst, might remember that ad that they saw. Because you only call a plumber when your pipe burst, right? And what you do is you go to Google quickly and type in a 24-hour emergency plumber. So if you have a 24-hour emergency plumber, Google ads is probably going to be best for you.
However, Facebook ads is the biggest opportunity, in my opinion, for small businesses right now. First of all, the ability to pinpoint any message that you want to a specific demographic of people is more powerful than any other platform. So regardless of what you’re trying to advertise, it will get you out there. We know that we can get that to a very specific group of people.
So from a small business point of view, that’s relevant because if you’re maybe creating content, video, or blogs, you want that to be seen so we can promote that out to people for very little money and get that content seen.
If you’re a local business, we can target a demographic around your brick and mortar business and ensure that everybody in that area can be seen and then combining those two things. Let’s say that you are a bar or a cafe; you can target university students in your local area and say, ‘Hey look, Edinburgh University student, do you want to get a free coffee? Click on this link, use this coupon, and you’ll get a free coffee.’
That student then comes in, maybe buys a brownie with their coffee and immediately you got a new customer. So I think you need to look at how do people buy from me already and then what venue is then best? If you’re the plumber it’s going to be Google. If you’re a local business, then Facebook’s probably going to work as well for you.”
Asking The Right Questions
Many of our listeners are people that run ads for other businesses. Does Gavin have a go-to process that he adheres to in terms of questions he needs, or the kind of campaign he needs to set up at the beginning?
“Before we start working with a client, we always, always, always… there tends to be a lot more education that we need to do before any money is spent. So sometimes they’ll understand these things, but sometimes they won’t. And if they don’t understand these things, you have to coach them to the point that they do understand them. So like what is your cost per lead? What is your target cost per lead? How much are you willing to spend to acquire a lead? What’s your target cost per acquisition? How much are we willing to spend to acquire a customer into the business? What’s the lifetime value of a customer for your business?
All these numbers, if we don’t understand them, we don’t understand how successful our campaign has been. Because we could run ads for a client and we get a four times return on ad spend, for example. We might go, ‘That’s great.’ But if that isn’t profitable for the client based on their cost per sales and things, then that’s not great. So we need to understand first and foremost all these very specific numbers so that we can then say, ‘Right, our campaign is actually profitable.’ Because if you’re running ads for businesses, then those clients are paying you to essentially deliver a profit and you need to deliver a profit on top of your management fee.
If you’re not clear on what profit is for that client, you might be running ads for them for a couple of months, thinking all is going well. They tried it out and said, ‘Hey, look, this isn’t working for us.’ And you’ve just gone and lost a client. So be super, super specific with lifetime value, cost per acquisition, cost per lead. What is their budget? What are the KPI’s, the key performance indicators that they want in order for that campaign to be successful.
Because you’re managing their money, plus you have your own fees, it might seem to the client that you’re actually not bringing results and you might not actually bring results. But how can that translate in terms of the sales process? I mean, before we close the deal, before we send the proposal, how can we make sure we’re talking about the right figures?
Yeah, so I think what, again, it comes to an educational aspect, which is, more often than not, businesses will come to me and we’ll want to run ads. Because normally because they’d been told they need to run ads by somebody else. And they don’t fully understand what that looks like and how it needs to look. So if a business wants to just run ads, then what we need to do as agencies, consultants, is to educate that client on where we need to be as a business before those ads work.
And so my sales process is mostly made up of educating the client and getting the client to a point where I can confidently say, ‘When we spend money on this thing, it’s going to work.’ So that doesn’t actually just include the ads. That includes things like the funnel that we send them to. What is the offer that we’re going to use? What is the thing that we’re trying to sell at the end of all of this? And how can we use ads to drive more people to that offer and then what numbers can we monitor there then get people into the sales page? And how can we monitor how the sales page performs to see whether we’re actually getting results?
I would say 80% of the time if your adverts aren’t working, your ad campaigns on Facebook aren’t working, it’s not a result of the ads, it’s a result of the overall funnel not performing. And so, when you’re dealing with clients and talking about these numbers and the sales process, it’s vitally important to have them understand the importance of that funnel. Because otherwise, if your ads aren’t working, let’s say the client or a different agency runs the funnel if your ads aren’t working, they’re going to blame you, whereas it might be the funnel that is not working, not the ads. And so you and the client, everybody needs to be clear that this is part of a larger process, a larger sales system that every single cog needs to be working.”
Early Campaign Setup
One of the problems in Facebook or any ad platform is that you have to constantly renew the ads and that’s a commitment. It’s a challenge in terms of the client, but it also has potential to bring work. So how does it look like in terms of the early setup, how many landing pages do we usually need? And what about the maintenance part?
“Typically when we launch a campaign, we will direct traffic to one single offer. Now, depending on the client’s capacity that offer will … We might split the offer into maybe two or three different landing pages based on normally, to be honest, just their capacity. Like, do they have enough budget or are they willing to create separate pages for this? So one single offer, perhaps two or three landing pages.
And then from a campaign perspective in Facebook, again, it’ll depend on the budget slightly, but we want to start with at least four or five different audience tests. So one campaign, conversions objective, sending people to these landing pages, and the ad set level we want to be testing. Like four or five different audiences. We might want to try a lookalike of previous customers or lookalike a website traffic. We might want to re-target their email list, re-target their website traffic.
And then within each of these different audiences we’ll have, well at least start with four or five different ads. Our process when it comes to this is, we will run four or five different ads and there’ll be four or five different images or videos, different creatives, but the same text. And the reason for that is we want to run those ads and get a very clear indication on what image or creative is performing best.”
Because then, after a week or a few days, we can go and we can turn off the images that aren’t performing. We can take the images that are performing, duplicate them, and then we can try different texts, different copy with those images. And it means everything you do in Facebook is just a test. We never want to assume this message or this ad will perform best. Assuming that, ‘oh because we have this branded video that will perform best.’ Never want to assume anything. So we always want to test something.
So when we are creating our campaign, we set it up in a way where we can go in after a few days and go, ‘Okay, so this image is performing best to this audience, this image is performing best to that audience, this video isn’t performing as well.’ So we’ll turn that off and let’s take those images and let’s try some different copy. Let’s maybe change the headline, let’s maybe make the copy shorter or longer.
So everything is just a testing process and if we’re running those campaigns and we’ve got, let’s say, five audiences, five ads within each audience, so we’ve got 25 ads running at one time, going to three different landing pages. You can see very quickly you’re going get a lot of data there to say, ‘Okay, this landing page is performing best, this audience is performing best, this type of image is performing best. We’ll take that, we’ll turn everything else off, and then we’ll make more tests within that.”
Seeing the First Results
How long does it take until you actually get back to the client and say, “Okay, we have success here. How long does it take you to come back with the first results?
“Yeah, I tend to get back to new clients after… well first of all, when I work with a new client, typically we will sign people up to three months as an initial starter. And what I like to try and break those months into: month one – we’re trying to find what I call a consistent cost per acquisition. So we’re trying to get our ads to perform consistently.
Now I don’t care whether that is profitable, breaking even, or making a little bit of loss. Obviously profit is better, but all we’re trying to do there is find a consistent cost per acquisition, let’s say $20. In month two, what we’re then trying to do is reduce that consistent CPA down to a profitable level. So we’re trying to then fully optimize that campaign to get it to a point where we’re seeing a consistent cost per acquisition profitably.
And then, in month three, that’s when we’re trying to scale that to spend more money to keep that profit and then obviously ongoing after that. So that’s the kind of expectations that we tell a client is, ‘don’t necessarily expect to see profit in month one.’ Month two is when we’ll try and get there, month three is when we’ll scale. But typically I will probably get back to a client after a week and say like, ‘Our campaigns have gone live.’
I normally leave them for a week, get back to the client after a week and say, ‘This is the initial findings that we’re seeing.’ Now, for those of the people that are listening that run ads for clients, the most important thing you can do at this point is just be 100% honest with the client and say, ‘Hey look, we’re not seeing results right now, but this is why I think this is the case and this is what I’m going to do as a result of this to make sure that we’re testing this fully.’
And I feel like when you set those expectations and you communicate effectively with the client and tell them, ‘Look, things aren’t working the way we want them to work right now. This is what we’re doing.’ Mine is always his understanding in that perspective, and it meets the expectations of in the case of us where I say this month one, month two, month three, then the client isn’t necessarily expecting results in month one. So when you do get results in month one, the client is much happier.
And so, I think it’s just important to communicate effectively, set expectations and then obviously do everything that you can to see little wins within your campaigns and then every time you get a win, whether it’s a profitable ad or you’ve generated more leads, this in the last couple of days, whatever it may be, always, always, always communicate those wins to the client, because then they’re seeing what you’re doing as a positive experience.”
Why Gavin Moved to WordPress
Gavin moved recently from a different platform to WordPress and MemberPress. What are the advantages he finds in WordPress, and what are his rules of thumb when it comes to funnels?
“Yeah, great question. So I moved my membership to WordPress and MemberPress, because the platform that I was using before was just an absolute nightmare from an admin perspective and managing the members within the Academy. Security problems around it. It was just an absolute mess. And I moved over to MemberPress to have more control over my members.
Because one thing that I never actually fully grasped before I launched the membership site was just how much member admin you need to do. People’s cards failing, people’s cards expiring, people leaving, people joining, people pausing, people forgetting their passwords, all these different things. I didn’t grasp how much you’d have to do with that. And if you’re having so much admin like that, you need a platform that can make your life easier or make your team’s life easy. From a funnel perspective, so I still mostly, one of the things that we’re moving from is is I used ClickFunnels before. But we’re now moving to WordPress for building all the funnels as well.
I used ClickFunnels previously because for me it was quick and easy to build something, but there are so many problems with ClickFunnels that we’re now moving to a point where, because I’ve got a team just get them to create essentially paste the funnels that hadn’t ClickFunnels into WordPress. And it gives me way more confidence and being able to send traffic there and knowing that it’s going to work. One of my concerns, and one of the reasons I used ClickFunnels before, or any landing page builder, was the inability for me to be able to edit things quickly.
So then my developers were like, ‘Well, have you heard of Elementor?’ And I was like, ‘No, what is it?’ And they’re like, ‘Well, it’s a way that you can easily build WordPress pages.’ And I was like, ‘Okay, let’s do it. Let’s come in.’ And I’m going to say now we are moving off the sales pages and things from ClickFunnels into Elementor because obviously my team can help me with them, but I like having the ultimate control. Because if I’m running ads, I want to be able to very quickly change a headline, change text, add a video in here, take a video out of here without having to ask a developer to do it. And obviously Elementor allows me to do that, which is great.”