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The mistake online coaches always make with Facebook ads

A lot of people come to us who have tried Facebook ads and have found that they aren’t working for them, or they’ve not found them profitable. 

Ads are very good at getting clicks. It’s very rarely the fault of the ad, it’s what happens after the click.

Common mistakes that beginners make

Photo by Tobias Dziuba

There are a couple of common mistakes that beginners make with ads. The first is making the mistake of thinking that ads are a fix-all.

At the most basic level, ads get clicks. But unless you can be sure that when someone clicks on something of yours, they’re going to give you their email address and follow the steps you want them to follow, then you’re just guessing.

The main thing to think about it what makes the ad work. So, you might pay these platforms to show bit images or videos to your market, and hopefully your market clicks on them. If that happens, then the ad’s done the work and the targeting is right; it’s everything else that’s the problem.

Don’t just press ‘boost’

We’ve seen people choosing to boost a post or using the Ads Manager to promote a post that’s just a piece of content with no link, and it will just go out to their friends or people who like their page…

Then they’ll wonder why it hasn’t worked.

The post that you’re boosting is what you should focus on.

If you just push a bunch of traffic to it, but the post doesn’t have a proven track record of producing a certain outcome, then you won’t get the desired results by just doing more of the same.

Some people choose to use ads to boost their following. But while it’s nice to have more followers, this won’t make a difference if you’re not clear on what sort of action you want them to take. You need to have a reliable mechanism in place to get back the money you spend on ads.

The problem with adding too many interests

One more complex problem is that sometimes, people will have a funnel that works, they’ll go through the Ads Manager properly, check the setup, install the Facebook pixel and do everything right. But then, they’ll put about ten different interests in their ads.

They might ask what their target market does on social media to come up with a broad list of interests, from TV shows they watch and magazines they read, to influencers they follow and fitness apps they use.

The problem is, this will bring back an audience of about 200 million people.

If you turn on ads for £10 a day, for example, your ad will be a drop in the ocean.

The chances of finding your target market among that many people are pretty slim.

Even if it did work, how will you know which audience it was that was interested in your ad? We really don’t recommend testing ads out when there are too many variables in place at once, because you might have ended up spending £500 on an audience that wasn’t the right one for you.

Carry out multiple tests

Photo by Lukas

It’s best to carry out testing in a scientific, systematic way, because this will help you reach a conclusion about what’s the best combination of images and ad copy for a specific audience that is likely to use your service. You need to find out what gets clicks and opt-ins from a certain type of person who ends up using your programme at the rate that you need them to buy at.

It’s the process of finding that combination of things that’s the challenge.

You can’t just throw things out there and see what works – you have to progressively test things out to arrive at the right outcome. Make sure you do this over time, rather than treating it as one shot and spending all your money at once on ads. It’s something you might test out over years to find out what the ingredients are to get the most return.

And when something doesn’t work, think about what you’re going to do next.

Try testing out one interest with a very small age range – testing maybe an audience of 500,000. If that doesn’t work, view the next test as the next experiment.

It can feel tough when you spend money on ads and you don’t get that money back. That’s why lots of people think that ads don’t work. But if everybody who’d ever run Facebook ads just ran one test and then stopped, nobody would have ever made any money through ads. It’s an ongoing process of ruling out things that don’t work so that you can find combinations that do.  You might see people who say that they made ten times the ROI on ads, but what they’re not talking about is all the effort and the money they put into testing things out to get to that point. And everyone is willing to do that.

It doesn’t happen overnight

Think of ads in the same way as you think of training. Some people think they’re going to get quick results by just doing all the exercises, taking all the supplements, and cutting back on calories. But even though building out a slow, progressive plan might take six months to get right, the people who go down this route have done it in a way that will last forever rather than 28 days.

If you’re spending cash on ads that isn’t renewable, the worst case scenario is that you’ve blown all your money in one go on something that didn’t work.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska

And what if the ad does go really well? You might have made one hundred times your ROI on your ad spend, but you have no idea what it is that made it work so well.

How to scale successfully

You might find two or three interests or demographics that work – maybe you’ll spend, for example, £100 to acquire a customer that spends £200 initially and then goes on to spend £100 for months on end. Let’s say your target for acquiring a customer is £100-£150 for an audience of 500 000 people. It’s a certain interest that starts generating customers for that price.

Look at what you’re spending your money on, and how much of that money has been spent on stuff that works. As you scale your spend, you’re walking on a narrower and narrower rope – so you need to make sure that you’re spending money efficiently.

As your ads start attracting your target audience, you’ll probably start spending more to attract more of the same people. The problem you then run into is that this might also cause your cost-per-lead to rise. But this is such an efficient use of your budget, because you’re spending money on audiences that you know contain your customers.

As you use more and more of one audience, you should start scaling by finding a second audience that will use your product, and a third. As the numbers get bigger, this needs to be a very systematic process which involves testing out what works and trying out different things to find new audiences.

The value of hiring a coach for ads

One thing you could do to make this all a bit easier is hire a coach for ads. One real benefit of this is that they’ll have already done a hell of a lot of testing with ads.

In our case, I think we’ve spent about a million pounds in ads over the years. Hiring a coach could give you a shortcut and a head start on all that, so that you don’t have to do it yourself. You might also find that you actually save yourself a load of cash by speaking to someone who’s already got all this experience of what works.

We’re both still learning when it comes to ads. Don’t see us as ad gurus – we’re just people who have used ads a lot. 

If someone tells you they’ve cracked it and they have the secret to successful ads, they’re either an ex-Facebook employee, or they’re lying.

Business coaching vs. Fitness coaching

What we do is going to be quite different to what business marketing coaches do, because you’re looking at quite a different audience.

While getting business coaching clients is very similar to getting clients at Propane in some ways, they use a type of funnel that is designed to work for business-to-business marketing. In personal training, the way people make purchases is different, and you need to keep in mind that different factors will influence people’s buying decisions in the fitness market.

For example, people looking for a business coach might make the decision on whether to go ahead with a booking based on a one-hour training video. But with personal training, people want to actually have a conversation with the coach.

We’ve also generally found that the level of business awareness is quite different in the fitness market, where people won’t necessarily know or understand all of the sales tactics or have that existing understanding of how advertising works on social media. This means that you have to think carefully about what’s appropriate and relevant to the audience you’re marketing to.

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