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[Podcast] Advertising Tips: How to Succeed with Facebook Ads on a Limited Budget (Jenn Possick)

By Bob Sparkins  |  Published Jan 19, 2023  |  Updated Feb 08, 2024
Bob Sparkins
By Bob Sparkins

A marketer with 17 years of experience, Bob has taught over 1,000 webinars and spoken at over 50 events.

The Lead Generation Podcast Episode 48: Jenn Possick

Advertising your business online can be tricky, expensive, and frustrating. Here to help is this week's guest, Jenn Possick.

Jenn helps coaches and course creators run Facebook and Instagram ads that convert.

In today's episode, we dig into Jenn's discovery of online marketing as an elementary school teacher, what to include on your landing pages for easier list building, and what's working right now when it comes to advertising on Facebook and Instagram.

Key Takeaways

  • All roads lead to your list. Your ads and social media posts are vehicles to get more email subscribers so you can continue communicating with them long after that initial point of contact.
  • Test your funnel with friendly traffic first. Make sure all the pieces of your marketing funnel (landing page, thank you page, email connection, etc.) are doing their job before you start spending ad money.
  • Avoid TikTok ads unless you have strong videos. Ads on TikTok need to be compelling, just like if they were in the regular TikTok feed.
  • Facebook and Instagram news feeds remain at the top. If you are working with a lower budget stick to these two placements for your ads.
  • Shorten the journey from Free to Fee. Your potential clients are getting to know you faster through your social media channels so your email nurture sequences can move faster into sales mode than in years past.
  • Let the algorithm do its thing. Unless you’re going to nerd out on all the options available to you, set your budget, focus on your copy and images, then let Facebook work its magic for optimizing your campaign placements.
  • Stay on top of changes within Facebook Ads Manager. Conversion API and Dynamic Creative are two of the recent updates that give advertisers more advantages than existed in the past.

Resources Mentioned

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Who is Jenn Possick?

Bob Sparkins: Jen, thank you so much for joining me on this episode of the Lead Generation.

Jenn Possick:

Thank you so much for having me. I'm so excited to be here.

Bob: Yeah, it was a pleasure to meet you at Rachel Luna's event back in the fall of 2022, and I can't wait to have more people get to know who you are, what you're up to doing in the world, and how you're helping your clients with their Facebook and Instagram ads and other types of marketing strategies that you do so well. Before we do that though, I'd love for you to share what's one way that you transform the lives of the clients that you work with.

Jenn: Oh, that's a great question. Gosh, anytime I talk about it feels a little bit cheesy, but it's very true in that so I work with a lot of coaches and online course creators, and my clients are literally out there changing the world and making things better for people, and I feel like they're doing all this good and by helping them reach more people through Facebook and Instagram and a little bit of TikTok ads as well, I feel like that's my way of making an impact and helping to change the world as well.

Bob: You weren't always an ad maven, you've also been doing other things in your life before that. What was kind of a turning point for you that took you from where you were to hanging out your shingle as now the ads maven?

Jenn: Yeah, so back in the day I used to teach elementary school. That's when I got my degrees in and I loved teaching. I did not love the politics and BS that come along with teaching in the public education system, but I spent eight years teaching elementary, five years teaching kindergarten, three years teaching third grade. When I stopped, I spent some time figuring out what I wanted to do next and then tried on a few things.

My family in 2014, they were introduced to a health and wellness product that had a really big impact on, especially my dad's health. I feel like it prolonged his life quite a few years, and my parents have always been entrepreneurs. They did what entrepreneurs tend to do. They started sharing about the product with everyone they knew, and I decided to join them. At that time, I knew we needed an online presence, but I knew nothing about the world of digital marketing, but I believe we're all lifelong learners.

That's definitely the teacher's side in me and I'm very much an action-taker. I just started learning everything I could from everywhere I could. I watched every webinar I could find, I read all the blog posts, I bought any course that I found that was applicable, I really did all the things. Very quickly I found that growing an email list so that we could sell to our list was very effective. I ended up, and to really be able to put that on hyper-drive by running it with ads, I ended up growing my family's email list to over 160,000 on the list. Through that, that directly was responsible for bringing in well over 2 million in sales.

Bob: That's amazing.

Jenn: Yeah.

Prioritizing Your Email List

Bob: Nice work. As a fellow educator and person who dabbled in the marketing world in a similar pathway as yours, I can appreciate this journey that you took on, which is awesome. I want to dive into some of the things that small business owners, obviously the listeners of Lead Generation, a lot of them are the clients that you are working with or they're transforming the lives of their clients, they are change makers. The world isn't going to change itself, so let's get it done as a community. Right?

Let's talk first, you mentioned this idea of an email list. Why is it so important when everybody's hearing about TikTok and Instagram and Facebook and all the social media push, why is it still so important that an email list is a priority?

Jenn: It's such a good question, and with that, my first thought is I think a lot of people also are like, well, people don't open emails as much anymore. It's like are emails still a thing that you need to focus on?

The answer is you do and you still can sell a lot from emails, email marketing is still very effective and it ultimately, it's really the backbone to your business. We don't own social media. You can lose it at any point. I like to give the example, there was one day I was working on my client’s ad accounts and Facebook was like, great, we need you to verify you are who you say you are. I did that and they're like, great, now we need your ID. I sent them my ID and they're like, great, now we're taking away your stuff entirely until we can verify it.

My personal Facebook just totally disappeared and I definitely freaked out a little bit, but at the heart of it I was like, okay, if I have to start over from scratch, it's fine. I still have a way to contact my people. That I feel like is the biggest reason why having an email list is so important. You can always build an audience on a platform, but unless you have that audience, people don't see your stuff on Facebook or on Instagram or even on TikTok. It's like with so many of the platforms with Reels and with TikTok, it's like you're waiting to go viral. That's great when you do, but what about the other stuff? What about when it's something that's important that you want to make sure your people know about

Bob: It's super difficult to predict virality, right? That's the whole point about going viral is it's a surprise and it comes out of nowhere.

Jenn: It totally is. I was talking to a friend about this the other day who teaches Reels a bit, and the Reels that go viral tend to be the ones that are very entertaining, which may or may not have that much to do with your actual business. A piece of it where it's like, it's awesome that you're going viral, but what are you sending people to once you go viral, what's the next step for them? It really should be to get onto your email list.

Determining Your Ad Budget for Facebook and Instagram

Bob: Now to set the stage for some of the more expertise-driven questions that I have for you. Talk to us a little bit about the types of budgets that you work with when it comes to your clients. What kind of dollars per month are some of your clients spending so that those listening, they probably are going to fall within that range, an idea of what success they can look for.

Jenn: Absolutely. There's definitely a range. I have clients that spend way more, but in general, if you're just kind of starting out with ads, what I suggest if you are running list-building ads, I suggest at least a budget of a thousand a month on list-building. And the reason for that is really to make the algorithm happy and to do what needs to be done to get your ads doing their job. It used to be, I would say you could really get your ads going for $10 a day. Now I suggest starting at $30 a day to give the algorithm what it needs to really be able to fully optimize it.

Similarly, if you are running ads for launch events, so any type of webinar, workshop, challenge, I would suggest a budget of at least a thousand. Then you can always scale up from there. So if it's your very first time running ads, I don't suggest you're putting away 10,000 on those ads unless for sure the webinar that you're doing is going to convert and it's predictably going to bring in well over the money that you're spending on it.

Test Your Funnel with Friendly Traffic Before Spending Your Ad Budget

Bob: I think this is another side of the list-building coin, right? Because you're talking now about metrics and about ROI, and we're going to talk more about that in a moment. I would imagine you would agree that knowing what is going to convert by sending your own email list to it first before you pay ads for it is a good way for you to at least have some confidence in making some of those investments going forward. Right?

Jenn: Absolutely. With list building, absolutely. I always suggest that you test everything organically. First, test your funnel, make sure that your funnel is working. I see so many funnels that are broken, one little piece of it can throw everything off, but also make sure it's something that your people want. Absolutely put it out there to your email list and put it out there organically on social as well, and just see what type of response you're getting from it before you put money behind ads. Then when you're running ads to launch events, I still often will recommend the first time that you're launching, launch organically to just your people so that you know what type response you're getting. Even when you are putting money behind it for ads, you're putting most of the money for launch events to your warm audience.

Your warm audience when it comes to Facebook and Instagram is going to be your email list. It's going to be anyone who's visited your website in the last 180 days, as long as you have the pixel on there, and then it's going to be anybody who has engaged with you on Facebook or Instagram on the business pages in the last year.

Bob: Got it. Some of the nitty gritty stuff, I'm sure we're not going to get into everything that is necessary for a successful campaign. We'll make sure to have the show notes include more ways to get in touch with Jen, but there are a couple of key questions that I think people would really benefit from.

Where to Allocate Your $1000+ Budget

Bob: First is if I have a budget that is around that thousand dollars a month mark, I imagine that it might be difficult to put all my money into multiple buckets, spread across multiple ad platforms. Are you finding a particular decision that's being made by you on behalf of your clients where you're allocating the budget in a certain way to a particular platform? I imagine the answer can be different depending on the different types of businesses, but what are some of those decision-making processes you're going through to decide, oh, you should be on TikTok for this, you should be on Instagram, you should be on Facebook or some other platform entirely.

Jenn: So most of my clients, it's just Facebook and Instagram as the general rule of thumb of where to start. And when I'm running those, I typically will do the it's, it used to be automatic placements, now it's like the advantage plus placements, but it basically means it's giving the algorithm full range to just send it to wherever it wants. Most of your results are going to still be on your Facebook newsfeed. I do see some results come in though from Instagram feed, Instagram stories, Instagram Reels, but Facebook typically for most clients still is winning out for ads.

With TikTok, it's a little bit different because you have to make sure that your video is really strong and you have to make sure that your audience is there. So with one of my clients, we've got ads going for her. Now I will say she has more than a thousand a month as of the budget. I would say if you've just got a thousand a month, I'd probably stick to just one platform. If you've got more than that and you want to expand out a bit, I think that's where you can kind of play with it. But the targeting on TikTok, TikTok's platform, the Ads manager looks very similar to Facebook, but it's not exactly the same, and the targeting can be quite different. You want to really make sure that your people are on there.

Bob: Got it. Let's take the Facebook newsfeed then and dive a little deeper into that. Are you finding success with only targeting mobile versus desktop, or do you tend to do both? Let's go there first.

Jenn: No, I feel like that back in the day that a lot of ads managers would suggest targeting each one separately. And I do think there is still something to the fact that people tend to buy on desktop. They might start looking on mobile, but if they're spending several hundred dollars or more, I think a lot of times they do switch over to desktop to make sure that everything is going correctly with the purchases. However, when I'm running ads, I honestly don't usually split it out. I just let Facebook deliver it how it wants to deliver it and kind of go from there.

Bob: Got it. When you are promoting to desktop or mobile, if you're doing this for a list-building campaign, which I know you do quite a bit with your clients, do you find that it doesn't really matter anyway because obviously an opt-in for an email is one field, whereas the credit card information, all those fields that tend to come out with a checkout desktop has got a big advantage for that. Is that the case?

Jenn: Yeah, I just let it go to all the places. Most of your opt-ins are going to come on the mobile news feed though. That's when you look back at the analytics that are almost always with almost every client. That's where I see it.

Improve Your Landing Pages for Ad Campaigns

Bob: Very cool. Now let's dig a little deeper into the list-building version of the ad campaigns. Obviously at Leadpages, we love this concept of building an email list through ads and through organic means. What goes into a really effective landing page for you as an advertiser.

Jenn: Oh yeah, that is a great question. Actually, can I share a little story that relates with Leadpages?

Bob: Yeah.

Jenn: When I first got things going with my family's business, we had our website and I set up the landing page on our website and I'm not a web developer by any means, and it was just me setting it up and our stuff converted fairly decently. It was around 40%. Standard is like 20% is deemed okay. I always have a goal of 50% or higher. I switched to Leadpages after running it on the website for a few months and it immediately went up to 72%, 75%. I think with that, it speaks to some of the things that you guys make it very easy to do to have a landing page that's going to convert.

A few things with it. You want to make sure there's no menu up at the top. You want to make sure it's very clear what your offer is. I think that actually that makes a huge difference sometimes is just the language that you're using to describe what your lead magnet is, make sure that it's something that people can very quickly understand, put the call to action above the fold before they have to start scrolling. That's another thing that I see people making the mistake of not doing a lot of the times.

What Lead Magnets are Working for Advertisers

Bob: Awesome. Then what kinds of things are you seeing promote or convert the best as far as type of lead magnet? So obviously for those listening, if this is a new thing, lead magnets are simply those things you get in exchange for the email address, so checklist, PDFs, videos, webinars, blah blah, blah. What are you seeing your clients converting the best? Because it tends to change a little bit over time, but often it's usually one of a few things.

Jenn: Yeah, so it's interesting. Still just a simple guide works really well for a lot of people. Quizzes are working well, but I think the biggest thing is it has to be a quick win. It has to be something that leads into what your bigger offer is that it really makes sense for you to advertise for it. It has to be something that's solving a problem for them and is easily consumable. One of the interesting things, a lot of times I have clients that want to do list building, but they're wanting to list build with really a launch event. A webinar, a workshop, even a pre-recorded one that's just on evergreen, but I think because the time investment is so much bigger for that than an actual lead magnet, it's more expensive to get people signing up for it just because that time investment is longer.

When Should You Move from Free to Fee

Bob: Very cool. Now, if people are investing money into a list-building campaign, obviously they need to have a payoff for that return on ad spend. How are you advising clients for the timing between that initial list signup to when they're offered something for sale?

Jenn: This is such a good question because I think that this has shifted over time because it really used to be that you would have your email welcome series and you would nurture and then nurture and then nurture, but a few things have happened.

One, people are not opening emails as much as they used to. Email open rates have gone down. Also this thing happens now where you sign up for somebody's ad and then you just go stock them on social. The other day I had a call with a potential client and immediately she was like, "Hey, we grew up in the same area and I found out all this stuff." She's like, where'd you go to high school? When I told her, oh no, she didn't even ask about that. I ended up offering it. She was like, "Oh yeah, I know." I was like, wait a minute. She just went to my Facebook and stalked me, which is perfect.

Because of that we grow the trust factor so much faster now. You're really able to start selling immediately in your email welcome series, and I would suggest that you're selling something a lot of times just like a consultation if that's how you are doing it, or it could be a tripwire of some type on your thank you page as well.

Bob: Very cool. How would you define a trip wire for those that might be new to that term?

Jenn: Yeah, yeah, that's a great question. A trip wire is simply a low-cost item, still having it make sense in the grand scheme of things, it's kind of like what's the next step of what you can offer after the lead magnet.

Getting a Higher Return on Ad Spend

Bob: Got it. As you're doing the metrics of seeing what's the successful campaign, and obviously you want this return on ad spend to be positive, most likely. First of all, can you help people understand what return on ad spend is and what kind of multiple are you looking for to deem something as a success for those initial first 90 days of being into an ad campaign?

Jenn: Yeah, that's a good question. In general, I'm looking at a few things. I'm looking at what's the cost per lead, and that can shift a little bit based on the niche. Ad costs have gone up for sure, but I'm still seeing some clients with some niches, they're still getting leads for that $1 or $2 range. In general, $1 to $6 per lead is kind of my goal. Now, there are some niches that are just going to be more expensive.

My client, who is a business coach that works with multi six and seven-figure plus businesses, her leads are not going to be dollar leads. Her leads are more expensive. Sometimes it's really up to $15 a lead can still be considered a really good cost. Then looking at the return on the investment, it depends so much on the business and what's the next step.

I have some clients where it's the next step. They immediately are getting people into a consultation so they know if they're closing those consultations or they know how many people they need so they can very quickly learn if their whole funnel is working to bring people in for a consultation to get new clients. I have others where they are not launching for several months, so they're not going to know for certain until a few months down the line whether those are really working. In that case, they're still going to be looking at what's the email open rate? Are they having people responding to the emails? Are they taking those next steps for engagement for it?

Bob: Got it. I imagine that you have some spreadsheets in other tools at your disposal for helping you track any favorite method that you're using to calculate the cost of the lead with the ROIs and the profitability of these campaigns?

Jenn: Yeah, I mean, honestly I just use Ads Manager and then Google Sheets that I just put the information in. Some of the things that I will look at the CTR, which is click-through rate. You want that to be basically 2% or higher. That's showing you how people are responding to your graphics. Then I look at the number of link clicks versus the number of all clicks. You want that to be roughly like link clicks should be roughly half of the all clicks. That kind of lets you know how people are responding to the copy. Is it getting them to click then to the landing page because the whole point of the copy, whole point of the ad just to get them to that landing page. Then I'd also like to look at, how is that landing page converting for you as well? It's kind of like all down the line.

What’s New in Facebook Ads Manager

Bob: Now, I don't know about you, but one of the things that frustrates me about Ads Manager and Facebook particularly is how frequently it visually changes over the years, over the weeks. I don't know. I know you, you've done courses before, I've taught some and they've changed the next day after recording 10 hours of video. What are some of the maybe hidden aspects of the ads manager here in the new year that maybe wasn't there a year or two ago? Those that might be returning to Ads Manager might be like, oh, I need to know about that.

Jenn: Yeah. Okay. I think one of the biggest things is conversion API. It's moving, and this has been coming for a little while. This started with the iOS updates, so you still can use the Pixel. However, eventually conversion API is going to mostly replace it, so look up the platform that you're using, make sure that if you can, you're putting conversion API on there as well because that's going to help with the tracking and it's going to help you have better results in terms of more accurate results. It's never going to exactly match up how many results Facebook is showing you versus how many your email service provider is showing you, but it's going to be better if you have conversions API.

One of the things that Facebook has really been pushing recently is using Dynamic Creative. Dynamic Creative is where you're putting in multiple graphics under one ad.

It used to be that you would have to do two ads under one ad set, but now you can put up to 10. If you have a small budget and if you're spending 30 a day, I really suggest probably more two to four at the most for the graphics, but it's been working really well for Facebook, for people that have smaller budgets to be able to really test it and pull out what's working the best. Facebook has also in that same vein really been having this push towards letting the algorithm just kind of do its job. It's so weird.

They took away a ton of targeting options. They took away everything to do with anything politically, anything religion, anything like medical. They took away a lot of options. With that, some of my clients, it's like it's either going to a lookalike audience or it's also testing broad audiences where all you're doing is putting in the demographics and then you're letting the algorithm use what it already knows about you and your account and the audience in general to just deliver those ads.

Now, I will say that doesn't work for every business. I have some clients where it's just they're too niched in and they really only can work with a specific person. If it's more general of an audience, and I've even done it for my own, which is it's like I work with business owners, I work with a lot of coaches, a lot of online course creators. I've still seen success with using a broad audience for ads.

Testing Ad Formats with Dynamic Creative

Bob: That's really good to know. Now, one of the things that I always try to pay attention to is the format of ads. You mentioned the copy, getting the link click from the copy. There's the options of video, static images, no image at all. Length of copy before the image? What's showing up before the show more, there's all kinds of variables here. Are you seeing any trends that can help people make it more likely for their ad to be clicked on?

Jenn: Yeah, so with Dynamic Creative, it's really nice because you can test multiple things all in the same ad, so ultimately you have to test it and see what works for yourself. Long copy still seems to do a really good job for most of my clients. It's so interesting though, because I have quite a few clients where graphics are outperforming video, which is such a funny thing, but I think it's because we're inundated with video that sometimes graphics just make it very easy to get the point across. Graphics in general I would suggest definitely using, but still test video because video might work brilliantly for your audience.

Tools for Advertising Success

Bob: Excellent. As we start to wrap up, are there some other tools that you're using to help with your ad campaigns, making the images, making the videos, that kind of thing to help people shortcut their pathway to success?

Jenn: Yeah. Well, it's so funny. Back in the day, I was using Photoshop for creating my graphics, but I mean, honestly, Canva is the easiest tool to use. I think at this point most people have it, and you can create graphics that look totally fine.

For video, honestly, I will hop on Zoom and just record video because usually it's just talking head video. You can also be just on your phone recording video. Typically, you want to make it a square video, so use some type of an app after you record it to make it a square and make sure that there's space for captions.

Bob: Are you adding the captions yourself or are you using a tool for that?

Jenn: Usually I just use the ads manager caption editor for it.

Bob: Hopefully go in and tweak any letters or words. Right?

Jenn: Oh, no. You always have to go in and edit it, but it's gotten so much better. I remember when it first came out, it was like I would have to spend probably a good 30 minutes editing on a one-minute video, but now it's usually everything except for your name and a couple little spots.

Bob: Yeah, it's amazing how far we've come in such a short time.

Jenn: It really is.

Bob: That's really cool. I'm imagining as we are doing this on a podcast, you may listen to podcasts or enjoy a book recently. Anything that's sticking out that people should be paying attention to as they're learning how to market better or be better humans?

Jenn: Oh, no. This is a very good question. Recently, I've been really into Andrea Crowder's stuff, like everything that she offers because it's so much of the growing my business is so much mindset stuff and getting out of my own way. I mean, anything with Rachel Luna is always amazing. Well, speaking of Rachel, she does have a book coming out, Permission to Offend that I know is going to be honestly amazing. I pre-ordered 10 copies of it to give away to people, so there is that.

Bob: Yeah, that's great. I know you and I met at Rachel Luna's Confidence Activated Event. There is actually a podcast episode a few turns back that people can listen to where she and I had a chance to chat a little bit of a preview of what Permission to Offend is all about. So definitely check out that previous episode.

Getting Unstuck

Bob: My last question for you, Jen, is as an entrepreneur, I'm sure you run into obstacles, you get stuck, stuff comes up that you weren't expecting. Are there any quotes or mantras, anything that you turn to when those things happen that help you get to the other side of it?

Jenn: Oh, that's such a good question. One of the things that I refer back to a lot of the time is the idea of doing B-minus work, and I think that actually came from Brooke Castillo, and it's like when we think I, like many people want everything to be perfect and we'll go back and make revisions, but it's like as long as you can get it out there, it's like done is better than perfect, and it's like you can make such a difference for people just by getting it up, getting it out, and B-minus work, you're still on the honor roll.

Bob: Spoken like a true teacher, so I love that. Awesome. Well, thank you so much, Jen, for sharing such great wisdom and specific points on increasing success with Facebook, Instagram, other advertising platforms. Where can people go to learn more about what you do for the clients you work with?

Jenn: Yeah, jennpossick.com, @Jennpossick on all my socials, and then I have a lead magnet called Skyrocket Your Email List that walks you through the three biggest mistakes that I see people make with their landing pages and how to fix them so that you can get 50% plus opt-in rates, and that is at jennpossick.com/skyrocket.

Bob: Awesome. We'll have that in the show notes. Of course. Thank you so much for joining me today, Jen. It was a real treat.

Jenn: Thanks so much, Bob. This is a lot of fun, and I am so excited that I get to be on the Leadpages podcast.

Bob: Yeah, well, you've been doing great work with our product and you really know your stuff when it comes to Facebook ads, so thanks so much for being part of our Lead Generation.

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Bob Sparkins
By Bob Sparkins

A former high school history teacher turned entrepreneur and marketer, Bob has educated business owners worldwide on how to leverage lead generation to grow their brands for over 18 years. Bob is a conversion expert, specifically when it comes to landing pages. Hosting over 1,000 webinars, he has walked thousands of business owners through advanced strategies to help them optimize their pages and maximize their leads and sales. Bob works with Leadpages affiliates and users to ensure they have all the tools, knowledge, and resources they need to build high-converting landing pages that grow their businesses.

The Lead Generation Podcast Episode 48: Jenn Possick
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