Welcome back to the story of Brooke Harris’ blogging journey! If you missed it, be sure to check out last week’s episode to hear her backstory. Brooke started her blog, Happy Simple Mom, fairly recently, in May 2018, and was able to grow her blog using consistency and collaboration. The amount of traffic and followers she was able to get via Pinterest and a collaboratively-run Facebook group are quite impressive. But the story doesn’t end there. A friend introduced her to Brilliant Business Moms and she decided to apply to the Facebook Ads Intensive.
Listen to the full episode here.
Blog traffic and ad revenue are great but when you can create a product that sells, that’s where you can really see an income increase.
Occasionally someone will have some sort of expert experience that easily translates into a product that sells right away but more often it’s a slow journey. It takes time to grow your blog, to figure out what you enjoy writing about, and to learn what your audience responds to. Then eventually you are ready to create a digital product that you know is really going to serve what your audience needs. It can take time to get that great product that people are really buying.
Brooke says, “It's great. It takes a long time to get there but it’s really great when it finally happens!”
Building a Good Sales Page Is a Key To Success
Brooke started out the Intensive with a freebie-to-tripwire offer and ended up creating more bonuses to make it a juicier offer. She was able to combine emotion and practicality with the various pieces of the offer which really hit a lot of the pain points her audience was feeling.
Brooke’s was then able to get help from an Ads Intensive Mentor in editing her sales page.
“I got a lot of help with that. I didn't do that leadpage on my own. I thought I had it and one of your mentors tore it apart. And it was great. I was like, Oh my god, she's brilliant. I don't even know how she came up with these words. A lot of times she kept the same words, but just how she moved them around or changed an adjective was perfect. It's amazing how those tiny tweaks make a big difference. I didn't do it on my own but it was great and I learned a lot!”
Now for any future products Brooke decides to create, she’ll be able to take everything she’s learned to make even better sales pages.
Once Your Product Is Ready, It’s Time To Start Running Ads
Brooke has her product with all the enhancements and improvements in place. It's looking beautiful and she has a detailed sales page with lots of visuals on it. Now it’s time to start running those Facebook ads!
The first time you run ads, it can be scary. Will the money be wasted or will it really work?
“You told us to spend $10 a day and I said this girl is out of her mind. I'm not spending $10 a day. I said, I'll give it four days. That's 40 bucks. I mean, when you're counting every penny $40 down the drain is a lot of money.
“Up until that point I had played with ads that spent $2 to $3 a day and they all failed miserably. So I saw this as just more money in the trash can.
“You also told us to give it three and a half days without touching anything. Up until the three and a half day mark, I did not sell a single thing. And I was like I have thrown $40 in the trash can. And literally at the three and a half day mark I got a sale! So then I said, Okay, I can wait another day because I was still negative at this point. But She's not crazy and I can sell through the internet! So I gave it some more time.
“Everyday got a little better but you can’t sell much at $10 a day. It was like one here, one there.
“Then it was time for the scaling lesson. And I said, $20 a day. This girl is crazy. So I think that's my message – $10 a day is a lot. And $20 a day is a lot. That was terrifying for me to spend money like that but eventually it did pay off and now it doesn’t bother me anymore to spend money on ads.
“But yeah, $10 a day was scary!”
(It’s interesting to me that some people are willing to drop $1000 on a course but find the daily ad spend terrifying. I’m the opposite. I’d rather just use the money to scale my ads.)
Brooke says, “And it was scary at first, but I’m one of those people that would drop $1,000 on a course. And then you might not ever do anything with it. But to drop $1,000 on ads was absurd.
“But I don't think it's absurd anymore. I would definitely drop $1,000 on ads now.”
Your Ads Are Working – It’s Time To Scale!
There are a lot of different ways to approach scaling. It can be done vertically or horizontally in a number of different ways and often students will combine different pieces of the scaling methods to find a “recipe” of their own that works for them.
Brooke says, “As far as scaling goes, I used two main methods. I would just create a new campaign with double the ad spend or once it reached a certain level, I would just start adding money. For me, I never saw those die even though I saw other students in the class whose ads would eventually stop working. They did really good.
“Full disclosure. My ads did really well until Election week and then I cut them off. They had started to decline to just breaking even but as long as they were breaking even I was happy because I learned the power of the subscriber list that I was gaining. But I did finally turn them off.
“I'm embarrassed to say that I haven't turned them back on since then. Because I grew so fast and so quickly with the ads I have a lot of stuff behind the scenes that needs to be updated. So right now I’m having to pick and choose where I'm going to put my time and effort and priorities. For example, I need to update my welcome sequence. I never set up a hot and retargeting ad for my ebook. I did it for my course launch, but not for my ebook with the course launch. Hot and retargeting ads did amazing so I see the power in them and I want to do that.
“Managing all that and managing my growth just got to be a lot. So I decided to focus on getting through the holidays and then working on the backend of the business. I took some of the money I made to invest in some tools that I had been wanting and I even hired a VA to help which requires training.
“There's all these pieces of transitioning from a part time blogger to full time and what does that look like? Add in homeschooling too and I’m just trying to figure it out. So that's where I'm at right now.”
Facebook Ads allowed Brooke’s business to grow quickly. Once she catches her breath, she’s planning to jump back in again. The post-Christmas season is big for decluttering so she’s on target to be ready for the rush.
“I needed the break. I had massive problems that I couldn't fix because I was focusing all my efforts in one spot. It was a good break. I made enough money to take a break and my plan is to start back up the week after Christmas and do all of that.”
Remember how scared Brooke was to spend $10 at the beginning? Well in her first three months of running ads, she ended up spending $13,300. Her subscriber list grew by 14,400 people in that three-month period. She went from gaining about 20 subscribers a day, to 250 subscribers a day. And remember, she is attracting the right type of subscribers to her list. Facebook is bringing her purchasers rather than the freebie seekers she had been getting from Pinterest before this.
“That's what you teach us is to attract purchasers and not just people on our list. Up until this point in time, through Pinterest especially, it was like give me the freebie, give me the checklist, give me as much content as I can get for free. And I would hear crickets when I would try to sell to these people. It was so frustrating. Now that I'm attracting people that have a tendency to buy, when I send these emails out, they buy!
“It's exponentially better having these people from Facebook ads on my list. I can tell a difference. They just buy more.”
Brooke spent $13,300 on ads but made $28,000, most of that from her $17 ebook, essentially doubling her money. Before using Facebook ads Brooke was only making about $200-$300 per month from Pinterest and organic traffic.
Despite what a lot of experts claim, you can make money on a lower-priced product. It doesn’t have to be a $1,000 course for you to make money online.
Lessons Learned From a Product Launch With Ads
In addition to the freebie-to-tripwire ebook ads that Brooke was running, she also did a launch to her course. If you remember from last week’s episode with Brooke, she created and launched the course for the first time last January and only sold 8. This time, though, with her list full of subscribers from her ads and even more ads running specifically for the launch, she was able to sell 45 courses. Much better but with room for improvement.
One of Brooke’s readers emailed her about the cost of the course (the course, starting at $97, was a lot more expensive than her $17 ebook had been) and gave some excellent suggestions about how to make the offer better. As a result, Brooke added a new product at half the price of the course which would be less of a price jump for her customers and would allow them to build trust in her products. She sold about 80 of these $47 mini-memberships in addition to the courses.
Brooke spent $200 a day on ads for her course launch and was losing money for the first few days but by the end of the launch, had worked up to a 3x return.
“It took that last day push to really put people over the edge. That's when most of my sales came through. So it was really slow and I just had a lot to learn. I'd never run ads on a launch before. I've learned that people have questions and they needed time to make the decision, because that was a big expense compared to what I've asked from them previously.
“So it ended really well but it was not fast out of the gate. I had to trust the process, because I was scared when I was losing money at the beginning. But I didn't turn them off because I went into the same mentality that we did when we started ads. I wanted to learn from this and see how the whole thing plays out. And then if it doesn't work, then we can adjust and make changes to make the next launch even better.”
Brooke’s launch may not have gone as perfectly as she wanted it to but progress is better than perfection and now she has experience and data that she can use to make her next launch – in January, her busiest season – even better.
Did you love those amazing results that Brooke had? Maybe you've built it up in your mind that your product isn't the right fit for ads or that your niche is just never going to be as profitable as somebody else's. Let's get rid of that myth, because I can tell you, my students show me over and over again that where there's a will there's a way and where there's a problem to be solved, there's a product to be created that can help with that problem. Your product can help someone else who might have been struggling, just like you did in the past.
I just loved hearing Brooke’s story. I loved hearing how she was responsive to her audience in the middle of that launch and pivoted and made it work.
I really hope you took some encouraging lessons away from today.
If you want to know more about the ads intensive and the strategies that Brooke mentioned, be sure to check out more information here. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.
As Brooke mentioned, I'm super honest and I will let you know whether you are a good fit or a not-yet. Typically, if you're a not-yet, I'll give you the things that you need to change or tweak or do or improve upon so that you are ready for the next round because, like Brooke said, the program is a lot of work.
It's a lot of work. It's a lot of time. It's a big commitment. And if you're going to spend that time and money on my program, I want to do everything I can to make sure I'm accepting the people for whom that time and money investment will pay off. I will give you a not-yet it's because I want it to be a great experience for you and for you to be successful with your ads.