Thursday, May 31, 2018

The “Secret” to Paid Traffic? There is no secret!

I got started in the world of online marketing first as a funnel builder. I was in Russell Brunson’s “Ignite” coaching program and he was coaching me towards building my “off grid living” funnel. His advice was to find a funnel that was currently working and then hack it. At the time, Survival Life was absolutely killing it in the off grid, prepper, survival market. So that’s what I did. I opted into Survival Life’s funnel with their “Free plus Shipping” credit card knife, and then I bought all of their upsells: the German-steel blade knife, their solar battery charger… even their monthly continuity program (this is where they make their money!).
I built the funnel, and paid for some ads on Facebook ($10/day) and do you know what happened? NOTHING! Absolutely nothing. Now, by  “nothing” I mean I got no opt-ins and thus no sales. The page got some decent traffic… It’s been years now but if I remember correctly I was paying less than 50 cents per website click. I put $100 on that campaign without a single opt-in or dime to show in return. My goal was to turn this funnel into a 6-figure funnel and I certainly wasn’t off to a blazing start! So I contacted Christian, the Ignite coach, and he went into my account and “fixed” my funnel for me. I spent another $100 on paid traffic, but the results didn’t change. No opt-ins. No sales. But I was continuing to work with John Parkes, Russell’s “Facebook guy”, and this campaign saw, even more, traffic because I was paying less than 30 cents per click to my funnel. And this is where you need to watch it when hiring somebody to manage your Facebook ads account. I could probably impress a bunch of potential clients if I told them I could get them 3 unique visitors to their website for less than a dollar. Because that really is pretty cool…
But what if I told them that regardless of how much ad spend they gave me, and regardless of how cheap I could get their paid traffic, that they’d never make a single sale? Well, hopefully, they’d be smart enough to hire somebody else. Somebody who could actually bring them ROI with their ad spends. This was my own funnel, my own account and my own money I was spending though. I needed to get results and after paying for a $10,000 USD (I’m Canadian, so this was a big hit) coaching program, I couldn’t afford to hire any staff. So I Voxered Russell, showed him what we had done and he made some recommendations for improvement. Now we’re getting somewhere!!!! If I do exactly what Russell Brunson recommends, how could I fail?
“With great ease”, that’s how… Another $100 spent and another big donut scored on my end. I went back to Voxer with Russell. He knew how tight I was strapped for cash and he was as frustrated as I was. So in the last effort “Hail Mary”, Russell Brunson himself offered to build my funnel for me! You can’t imagine my sigh of relief. I had gone from my goal of creating a 6-figure funnel, to begging and pleading with the universe to allow me to make a single figure (< $10) from this funnel. But if Russell was going to use his magic to build my funnel, then all my problems were over.

Or so I thought…

At this point, I had become a Facebook master. John Parkes couldn’t believe my Relevancy Scores or my costs per click. I think John may have even told Russell that I was better at paid traffic than he was! So paid traffic wasn’t a problem. But once again, sales and opt-ins certainly were. After another $100 in ad spend, once again we were completely shut out. That’s pretty much when Russell stopped returning my Voxers. We had “hacked” a funnel that we knew was successful. We were driving highly targeted paid traffic to the funnel for mere pennies. But the opt-ins and sales never materialized.

What else could we do?

I certainly didn’t have any ideas for my off grid funnel, but word had got out that I had some chops when it came to Facebook advertising. I was hired by a boot camp gym in Chino Hills, California. So I flew out there to see what they were all about and figure out what I could do for them. I certainly looked at what their competition was doing. And I definitely looked at their websites and funnels. But instead of looking at them and figuring out how I could copy, model, or hack them, I looked at them from the perspective of their avatar. This is what I now call my “Empathic Marketing Strategy” (or EMS which fits in nicely with my Marketing Medic brand). Instead of modeling what others are doing, I look at their funnels from the perspective of my client avatar. The other gyms liked using images of super ripped, hardcore women, in super tight, form-fitting clothes, glistening with sweat. I gotta admit, these were sexy images and as a dude, I certainly appreciated them!
But my client avatar is a middle class, middle aged mother, who is 40 – 100lbs overweight. If I was a woman like that, what confidence would I have that I would ever look like that 22-year-old, supermodel, hottie in the ad? There is absolutely no way a body like that is ever in her future again. So how would she feel entering a gym where she has to look in the big wall mirror standing beside a woman like that? Our client avatar already feels bad about themselves to some degree. How is forcing them to compare themselves to the world’s most perfect body going to help that? So when I created their funnel, I didn’t use any super sexy, black and white, stock photos. I used images of real women from the gym. Images of women who were still overweight, but sweaty and smiling.

My testimonial video was the same. I found women from the gym who had achieved results from the workouts but still had a long way to go. The women shared their insecurities and dreams and explained the support and the family-like environment at the gym. My testimonial videos focused on the emotions of the gym members, not on the classes, the features, or even the results. I created a no-risk offer that was attractive to their avatar and then coached my clients on how to nurture the environment I was “selling” in my funnel.

What did my "Paid Traffic" Facebook ad look like?

It was simply a super scaled down version of the funnel. So there were no surprises when our avatar moved from our ad to our funnel. And it worked! When the dust cleared, we brought in an estimated $10,360 in revenue on our $300 ($10/day) ad spend. We ran this campaign for over a year, with only seasonal fluctuations. At the beginning of the year and in the early summer, we paid as low as 11 cents per ad click. Just before Christmas and in the heart of the summer, our costs increased to around 40 cents per click. But again, you shouldn’t focus on the cost per click. Think back to my off grid funnel, those numbers are meaningless.
Again, in the new year and early summer, we paid between $10 - $13 for a $49 opt-in. That’s up to a 5:1 Return on Investment on the front end offer alone. In the summer, we paid up to $30 for an opt-in. But even with that, we’re still not too far away from a 2:1 ROI. In a perfect “funnel” world, the Gold Standard should simply be to have a 1:1 ROI on the front end. If you get a dollar out for every dollar you put in, that means you have FREE TRAFFIC, as much as you want! Invest $10, earn $10. Invest a million dollars, earn a million dollars. No net income is made, but your list of clients that you can sell more stuff to is as big as you want it to be. This gym was doing a little better than a 70% conversion on their $600 follow up offer. So do the math there… If we spent $300 in July (a super slow month) and pay $30 for an opt-in, that means that we enroll one new client every 3 days at $49. That’s 10 new clients or $490 in revenue (already $190 in the black). But if we convert 70% of these people (7 out of the 10), that’s an additional $4200, for a total of $4690 earned on a $300 ad spend, or a 15:1 ROI. If you gave me $15 for every dollar I gave you…. I’d do that with paid traffic all day long! In the peak season, our numbers were almost 3x as good.
Okay, but what’s the moral of this story? Why did this funnel work and the off grid one fail so miserably? Basically, by “hacking” Survival Life, I wasn’t offering anything to my avatar that was different from the Survival Life offer. Essentially I was giving my avatar the choice between shopping with a name brand (Survival Life) or a generic, small-time, nobody. Who has more credibility head-to-head, me or Survival Life?

Of course, they do! No contest.

If I wanted to succeed in the off grid sector, I shouldn’t have cloned what the big guys were doing, I should have done what I could to stand out and be different. Offer something unique. I should have more personally addressed the pain points, wants and desires of my avatar. That’s what I did with the family owned bootcamp gym. I didn’t clone the Orangetheory campaign and offer. There is no way I could have beaten them at their own game. But by offering a different approach, something unique, I was able to attract the attention of my avatar.

So what does all of this have to do with paid traffic???

It all goes back to how you measure success. Success is measured by sales and not clicks. So successful paid traffic starts with a successful funnel. In that you need to identify your avatar. Not their age or where they live. But how they feel. What problems they have. What solutions they are searching for. Then you create an offer that provides them with a solution to their pain. The tricky part here is what makes your offer stand out. Why should they go with your solution when they can probably get another solution for cheaper or from somebody with more credibility? You need to create something unique. Something that can only be attained from you. From there you need to address their false or limiting beliefs. Identify all the reasons your avatar wouldn’t purchase from you and address those beliefs straight up.

Once you have a funnel that employs an Empathic Marketing Strategy, you simply take your offer and your curiosity based unique mechanism and create your ad. Target your avatar’s demographics and interests and speak to them using the language they want to hear. If you do the work identifying the pains, needs, wants and desires of your avatar and then create an offer that is supported by your own unique mechanism, then converting traffic is the easy part.

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