EP 48: The Evolution of Facebook Advertising
Kelly: So welcome back to Thrive, your agency resource. Today, we are talking all about Facebook advertising. My guest is Kim Barrett, founder of Your Social Voice, the digital agency based in Perth, Australia. He's a world renowned marketing strategist focusing specifically on Facebook, so I thought he'd be a great guest today. Welcome to the show Kim.
Kim: Thank you so much for having me. I really appreciate it.
Kelly: And I appreciate you stayed up in Perth for me tonight. So you've been working specifically in Facebook since 2015 when you started your agency. Give us a sense of what you've seen from an evolutionary perspective over those last 4 or 5 years.
Kim: One of the biggest things probably is that it's gotten way more expensive, that's been the biggest evolution, but I think it's always interesting to see, I would say, the sophistication of the marketplace but also people. I remember when we used to just be able to put up a picture and it had like a nice pretty yellow border on it and it didn't really matter what the picture was or anything like that. People would click it. We would get leads. We would get sales. It was all kind of happy days. But I think now that consumers are probably more educated and they've been seeing ads for so long in that marketplace and scope.
The way in which you need to connect with people, I think it's definitely changed big time. And that’s the biggest one I think, where it's much more connection-based, and you really need to be, like real and to really think about who your customer is, a lot more than before where you could just really kind of almost chuck up anything, and it would work, even if you didn't really know who your audience was that well. And now I think it's like you've really got to know even more. Like whoever knows the customer the best is I think the one who wins these days.
Kelly: Yeah, so your focus at your agency is really lead generation, sales development from social media. So why do you think it is that about eighty percent of businesses fail at marketing effectively online through digital means?
Kim: Most of the time, for lack of a better word, is because they suck. And looking at it, not in a bad way that we all suck at some point in time. But what I mean by that is normally there is three things that I look for and this is applicable not only on Facebook but really any platform, which is the niche, the offer, and the copy. It is like who you are targeting, what you're presenting to them, and the way that you write it.
Most of the time if you're a good business, you probably have one of those three things wrong. If you are flying by the seat of your pants, you probably got all three, and look it doesn't really matter if you have all three wrong or one wrong. But that's what I find most of the time that business owners have wrong is that they don't have a good offer, they don't know who they are positioning it to, and because they don't know those three things they can’t articulate it and write it in sales copy or any copy to encourage people to take action.
Because they don't know who they're talking to. So they are trying to use words they’ve read a book about copywriting, or watch a copywriting webinar, or something like that but they can’t actually get people to do anything, because they don't know who they're talking to and what they're trying to give them.
Kelly: Right. And also I would imagine when you're using that copy or writing that copy, you really have to identify what the pain points are. If it's something that is a solution-based product offering or service offering, so understanding those pain points is really important.
Kim: Yeah, I mean really for anything, it's we all go towards pleasure away from pain, and so you've got to be able to articulate that in some way shape or form and what I find most the time is that people are just get that wrong. And when do you ask them enough questions- like one of the big things that we do for most of our clients is just asking questions- they know who they are eventually, but they don't really put in the work to think about it.
And I think another reason that is that sometimes people treat digital, they don't treat it with the respect that it needs. And when I say respect if you're going to run a TV ad or a radio ad, most of the time you spend a lot of time, energy and effort making sure that was gonna be picture perfect. However, most the time, your digital strategist is going to be more effective than your TV or radio, but you’re like oh I‘ll just chuck it up. I will just put it up and say what happens. And it's like, why don’t you give it the same, give advertising to your business, why don’t you give it the same level of data or research and analysis, creative that you would TV or radio or billboard or whatever it might be?
Kelly: Yeah, well that's actually a really interesting point because I think when you have let's say a TV spot you're putting so much time and money into that whereas digital it's so much more flexible, so much more nimble. So it's like let's just throw something up, see how it does. If it doesn't work we can just change it out quickly, but your point is really well taken that if you apply the same rationale and the same logic to what you're doing digitally, it would be much more effective, and those three things that you mentioned before are spot on.
Kim: Yeah. And I don't know, and because I think it is so easy to tweak and adjust. Look, I am guilty myself as well, like even tonight I've been sitting back and I was like oh, I'm launching YouTube ads, and I was just putting things up and I was like well, I'm going to probably talk about this tonight so I’d probably listen to my own advice. Because it is that easy. You are just like oh, I’ll test this, I’ll test that. It is so easy to pass over the whole research component as well.
Kelly: Yeah so before we were talking about how businesses themselves, if they’re handling their own Facebook advertising, most of them don't do it effectively, and we would imagine as digital agency owners or advertising agency owners that we do it the right way. But the reality is that we don't really do it the right way either. We might do it better than the businesses for sure, but what are the most common mistakes that you see other digital agencies or even in house creative teams making on behalf of their clients when it comes to running paid campaigns?
Kim: One of the big ones that I find is that most people don't go for- you ever heard the saying that you need to go for low hanging fruit?
Kim: Like I always say, people will always forget the jam, like the fruit that's falling off the tree and has been kind of trod on a little bit and it's that you literally scoop it up. Most of time I find that #1, they don’t test. #2, they don’t really go for what is sitting there in front of them. And it's shocking to me sometimes, like we took over an account just recently, that a couple of agencies had a go and this guys like, "I had never been able get a sale for this product."
And as I looked at it, I was like, it's a pretty good product- sells LinkedIn stuff, how to get like tens of thousands of views on there, and I was like this page where he promotes a lot of that stuff, I'm just gonna literally do one retargeting ad. He’s like no one has ever done to get me the sale. If you can give me a sale, I would think you are the best in the world.
One retargeting ad, set it up, turned on, next day there was a sale. Like did anyone do retargeting? Did they all try and create the sophisticated funnels and long form sales copy and all this sort of stuff. It was just really easy retargeting ad, because I think a lot of the time we get like the curse of knowledge, where it’s like we know so much as digital agencies, as marketers and things like that, like oh I've got to do something so sophisticated to show my client that they're also getting the value that they pay for because obviously a lot of time.
A lot of agencies will charge reasonable investments and we feel we got to go that next level but I think that sometimes, the simplicity though of what you can do with social media whether it be retargeting Facebook, we do a lot of testing with the lead ads before we the build funnels. And I think because it's so simple a lot of my clients think I'm doing something so simple that they could do it themselves. I want to go a little sophisticated.
But at the end of the day, it is whatever gets them results, like you could set up a lead ad but if the client wants those leads, and they make sales from those leads, they don’t mind. They care about what was going to get them the result, not necessarily how complex the system is. So I think that is a big mistake that a lot of people make. Sometimes simple is actually going to be better because it's what you need to get a fast result for the client so that they’re happy, then you can layer in other things as well.
Kelly: Yeah. And I just wanna build on that for a second, because I think we as agency leaders, or even the people who work in our agencies, is what we think is simplistic is not necessarily what the client thinks as simplistic. I mean you just mentioned retargeting. Well ask a client to go ahead and try to set that up. Even if they're familiar with the concept of retargeting, they're not gonna be able to execute that, and they may not have thought of it. So again it's all about value, not necessarily just thinking, oh well that's too simple. Let me not start with that. So I really love that. That's a great answer.
Kim: Yeah, I do see that all the time I think we can all do that like what are the wins that are there for the client to be had, and then use that as your building ground for everything else.
Kelly: Yeah, so you are obviously world renowned marketing strategist. I’m curious to know what are the steps that you take in your own process to determine the right marketing strategy for a brand or service-based company?
Kim: Generally speaking, most the time when I'm looking out like this, the strategy that's going to work, I kind of look across three areas and some kind of full in and out of marketing depending on who you speak to. So the kind of the key areas that I look at, I'm gonna call it like a marketing, like how healthy it is, health check if you will.
So we've got lead generation, we’ve got the housing conversion side, and the follow up side. And if you imagine like a beautiful Venn diagram with the cross over. They are kind of what I look at for, first of all to see what is going to be, what a client actually needs first of all, and then what's gonna be the best strategies and tactics to really do that.
Because I always think, sometimes- it's funny someone asked me, "Like how do you define, like what is a marketing strategy?" And I was like, "That's the thing. It is provocative. No one knows, just gets the people going!" It's funny because if you are someone to define it as like a marketing strategy, it is actually pretty hard. Even if you're a marketing person to define it, and the way that I always explain it to people, a mentor of mine actually told me: that strategy is anything that you do that's above the shoulders, tactics is anything that you do that's below the shoulders.
Like for example setting up a Facebook ad is tactical. Even just using Facebook as a whole is tactical, thinking about what you're going to do before you even go in there is strategy. That’s strategic. That is what you need to be thinking about. So I think the biggest thing is that assessment and research part is really what forms then what you actually going to do. But a lot of people, again, it is like "We're just gonna run some Facebook ads."
But what if the constraint in their business from start to finish, when we're looking at it from marketing and sales, is actually not leads. What if they are getting enough leads but a) they are not converting them, or maybe the quality is not right, or that they're not following up on them. We've had clients before, they’re like all we need two hundred leads a week and I am like, no, you don't cause you’re only converting ten of those. What about the other 190? Like yes, you can just get more leads, but that's not actually the solution to the problem right now. The solution is how do you get the most out of those 200?
Kelly: And what's preventing you, what the road block that is pushing you in the direction that you're not converting those other 190, let's look at that.
Kim: Exactly. And then you suddenly find out, there is always holes in their CRM or they are just targeting the entire world, and they can only service the US or Australia, or whatever it might be. And then I'll say, oh all these holes, that's actually what's holding you back. Sometimes it's just a few small tweaks, but you need to be able to look at the hole. I say like that the ecosystem from kind of, and this is just the first part but from like the front-facing and the full client-facing like when you first touch your customer or first interact with them to where the sale happened, which again, is only one part of business. But you need to be able to kind of identify.
And that's why I think- sometimes it frustrates me a little bit these days with everyone, well not everyone, but a lot of people being able to pull like a facial marketing to get out of a box of cereal and they own a digital agency whether it be website, Facebook funnels, whatever, but they don’t actually understand the flow of business and a lot of the times they're like, "We need funnels, we need this." Maybe you don't. You need to be able to assess that process, I think, to start off with.
Kelly: Yeah, no, that's great. So as we start to wrap up, I know that you speak all over the world and you train a lot of different business owners and other people who are interested in Facebook advertising. What's the best piece of advice that you'd give leaders of other agencies who are struggling to achieve that consistent ROI on Facebook in particular?
Kim: I would say that the first one and it sounds silly but is to only go for one niche. And look, this is something again I will say that I didn't do at the beginning but that's what made my journey probably way harder than it needed to be. Because I was figuring out campaigns across, most of the time, at least ten different industries, which really forced me to become a very fast critical and strategic thinker. However, if I can go back I would not do that because it was so stressful from a monetary standpoint, from that standpoint and everything like that.
Because you can nail one niche and you just do that, as entrepreneurs and business people we all go, oh but I want something new, I want something fresh, I want to try to test this new thing out. But not for clients like they want predictable results every single time so if you can find a client that you can actually copy and- a niche of client but you can just copy and paste campaigns, you've got to going, it is effective, it's predictable and then you can slowly scale, scale, scale, I think that is the big thing and I only know because I did that completely wrong, as to why I would give that advice now.
Kelly: Yeah, well what you're talking about is really positioning, and you are absolutely speaking my love language when you talk about positioning. I did the same thing in my agency. We didn't start out with one defined niche and then by the time we sold, I sold the company, we were really just focused on nonprofits, foundations, and C. S. R. initiatives, and I wish I had figured that out sooner. So love that answer.
Kim: Yeah, I think it's the one that we all need yeah but it's also like the hardest, like, "Oh, but I want to work with that person," but oh no, it is just nightmares and pains ahead.
Kelly: Yeah, for sure. Well I'll certainly add links to your agency site and your personal site and all of your social media handles in the show notes today, so everybody can get in touch with you if they have additional questions. Just want to thank you again for staying up with me. I know it's about 9 or 9:30 in Perth, PM so thank you for joining me on the show today Kim. I really appreciate it.
Kim: My pleasure again. Thank you for having me.
Kelly: Alright, take care.