CASE STUDY: How I Got 9 Leads by Spending $80 on Facebook Ads and What I Learned

by

Brandon Stiles

How much would you pay for a lead? $10? $100? $500?

Your business probably has the same problem that so many new small businesses have: you need more clients and leads BUT… you don’t have any budget for advertising. Plus, things like Google ads and Facebook ads can seem like the Wild West at times- there’s so much information, so many guides, and so many how-tos floating around that you don’t know where to even get started.

In his book Awaken the Giant Within, Tony Robbins teaches that all human behavior is based on two things:

  1. The avoidance of pain
  2. The pursuit of pleasure

The most interesting part about those stipulations though is that humans prefer one over the other.

When push comes to shove, we would rather AVOID pain than PURSUE the pleasure. And that applies to anything. Take working out for example.

We so often have trouble sticking with our workouts because it’s way easier (and more satisfying for the brain in the short-term) to AVOID the pain of things like cardio and lifting weights than it is to PURSUE the pleasure of things like getting fit and healthy (which can take months).

Spending money on advertising is no different.

If you’re anything like me, you probably get emailed 3-4 times a week with different companies trying to get you to advertise your business on their sites, with each offer pretty much the same as the last. Who knows, maybe you even tried it once or twice- paid a monthly (or yearly) fee to be a ‘Featured Business’ on some big site. But in the end?…. Crickets. Nothing. No leads, no profile views, nothing. A total waste of money!

So with a small advertising budget, unlimited options, and the risk of losing all your money, what CAN you do?

Well unfortunately, even though it usually takes money to make money in life, today we’ll look at a way to minimize the pain (not as much of a hit to your wallet) while significantly increasing your chances of getting some leads. How?

A Facebook ad.

I’m going to walk you through a case study of my first venture into advertising on Facebook. What was good, what was bad, what could have been done better.

“When push comes to shove, we would rather AVOID pain than PURSUE the pleasure.”

SCARED OF FACEBOOK ADS?

It’s understandable! There’s a lot of information out there! Type in ‘Facebook advertising’ in the Amazon Kindle store, and you’ll get almost 1,000 eBook results. That’s a lot of reading to catch up on!

There’s also a financial risk- what if you spend money on some ads and you don’t get any leads or any engagement?

You’ve also probably heard a lot of horror stories from other businesses about how Facebook ads didn’t work for them. And it might not have.

However, before we go further, let’s put some things into perspective. With any advertising process, it’s important to manage your expectations about its success. What would you consider a ‘successful’ campaign?

Right out of the gate, you’re probably NOT going to get 500 new leads for $0.40 each and convert all of them into clients at the beginning. Shoot, even a top business would be stoked to get that! But what if you got 10 leads and booked 1-2? Or 30 leads and booked 2-3? That could translate to spending a little money in order to get a LOT!

Now, this post is not going to teach you how to become a Facebook ads expert- that takes practice and a lot of failures before you can really lock that in! However, I’m going to show you what I did this week that got me 9 leads for $80. If you can convert even 1 of those (2 in my case), the ad will more than pay for itself, and then some.

Also, the takeaway from this case study is that the amount spent on the ad (in this case, $80) was enough to get 9 leads while getting my feet wet in the world of paid advertising was not a huge expense. It wasn’t as successful as I imagined, but… it WAS close to my target!

All I’m asking for you to do is this: Learn from what happened in this case study, and then make the decision right now that you’re ok with spending $80-100 for your first experiment with Facebook ads. Just $80. If it fails and you get no leads, at least you will know MUCH better next time, and you’ve also spent less than you would compared to advertising for a month on a paid network site!

So let’s dive in.

 

THE SETUP

To set up this campaign, I did three things:

  1. Set up a landing page on my website that my ad linked to
  2. Set up an automated email list on Aweber to send to entrants
  3. Set up my ad (the look, the budget, the target audience)

Let’s go over these real quick.

 

STEP 1: THE LANDING PAGE

When you’re setting up an ad that has such a specific call to action (in my case, it was giving away two free packages), you don’t want to just send your prospects to your home page and have them look around for some sort of contest entry- you want to send them DIRECTLY to a special page for your ad.

So I set up a quick, easy landing page on my WordPress site with a small opt-in form. It looked like this:

The Landing Page

That’s it! It’s a video people watch to check out some of our DJs in action, a little description about the sweepstakes, and then an opt-in form with a big purple Call to Action button.

It took me about 10 minutes to set this up on my site; you don’t have to make it complicated at all!

 

STEP 2: THE AWEBER AUTOMATED LIST

After setting up the landing page, I went to Aweber and set up a campaign to send to anyone that entered the competition. Take a look:

 

The AWeber Campaign Setup

So what’s happening here is that anyone that entered the competition got a ‘Welcome to the Competition’ email, and then 2 days later got a separate email asking them for a little more information about their wedding as the contest finished up.

By doing an automated campaign like this, you’re establishing a little bit of a rapport with the people entering the competition outside of their entry. After all, only two of them are going to win a free DJ package, but all the rest are perfectly good leads that you can sell your services to. Maybe reach out to the ones that don’t win and offer them a $100 discount on your services for participating!

 

STEP 3: THE AD

If we’re going to spend just a small amount of money on an ad, we have to make sure we’re giving away something VERY compelling to get clicks. Since we’re not taking a lot of financial risk with this ad, it means we’ll have to take a risk elsewhere. in my case, it was my time.

In my case, it was my time.

I put together an ad offering two free packages to randomly drawn winners, valued at $1,175 each.

The ad looked like this:

My Facebook Ad, done with Canva

And that’s it for the picture. Why that design? Well, it goes along with the design principles that we’re learning about here at SJW.

THE COLORS

In terms of color, we’re following our 60/30/10 rule, which not only makes a design look cohesive, but also allows it to stick out. The light green (our 60% color, which is our brand color) stands out on a mostly-white Facebook page. The white text (our 30% color) pops out from the green, and the purple (our 10% pop color) pops out even more. It draws the prospect’s eye to ‘Free’, and then they branch out from there.

This ad design would definitely catch your client’s attention on a crowded Facebook page. Also, notice there’s a TON of space- you’re not overwhelming them with information! They see what they’re getting right away.

Finally, we put our logo at the bottom (or the top, or the side) to complete the branding, and then the ad was ready for its copy!

THE COPY

Once the image is in place, it’s time to write the copy. Here’s what the ad looked like once we added the copy:

 

So why that wording? Well, it does a few things:

In the description, it provides some social proof for the company (it’s won an award), it gives a value of what the person stands to win ($1,175), AND it puts a deadline on the competition, which creates a sense of urgency; people know they have to get in on this sooner rather than later- it can’t just sit in their inbox. They’re MUCH more compelled to take action this way.

Finally, the headline in bold (“Want to win a FREE DJ for your Wedding?”) solves a huge problem for people that view at the ad- weddings are super expensive, and people want to save money. This will allow them to do that in a big way! So the pain of joining a competition is not as big as the pain of having to shell out big bucks for wedding entertainment.

So that’s the psychology behind the ad, and what you should think about with yours.

You want to have:

  • A clear, concise image that draws the eye (through color use, or use of space, or a crazy picture)
  • A compelling headline that hits a person emotionally/financially and solves a problem
  • Provide a little social proof (an award you’ve won, a big company or person you’ve performed for, a testimonial, etc)
  • A very valuable offer
  • A time limit on it to compel a person to action

That’s gonna be your foundation for an ad that will drive leads!

SETTING THE BUDGET/DEMOGRAPHICS

 

One of the reasons Facebook ads are great is because you can get SO hyper-specific with who you want to show your ad to.

A lot of people think getting your ad out to the most eyes possible is the way to go; if someone can get a million pairs of eyes on an ad and can convert 1% of those people, that’s 10,000 leads right? Mathematically yes… in the real world… NO.

We call that Funny Math- yes, the calculator shows that, but advertising doesn’t work like that. Really good ads convert to an action on a customer’s part at a rate of about 1%, with most coming in between 0.5-1%. Broadcasting your ad to a million people would not only be SUPER expensive (in the five-figure range), but would also be a HUGE waste of money.

Think of it like this: what if- out of the million people who saw your ad- only 600,000 of them were already married? You would have essentially wasted more than half of your ad money on unqualified buyers. Wouldn’t you rather spend WAY less money where 100% of the people that see it are in the market for a wedding vendor? That’s a 60% increase in ad effectiveness!

So with that in mind, let’s set some demographics on our Facebook ad.

Here’s what I did:

 

Let’s break that down.

You’re going to advertise to your local market (in this case, the greater Atlanta area) and anyone within 25-50 miles of that market.

Next, pick the ages of the people you want to advertise to. Since most people under 18 aren’t getting married, you’ll probably want to start around that age (18-22 usually). I also chose to advertise to women only.

Most importantly, only advertise to people that got engaged recently. Yes, Facebook let’s you get that specific, and that’s HUGE. By showing your ad to only that specific demographic, your ad effectiveness is approaching 100%; now most everyone who sees this ad will at least be in your target market (recently engaged people that are planning a wedding) and might be interested in your service.

If you look at the little ‘Audience Definition’ gauge in the right-hand column, you can see the ad stood to reach about 28,000 qualified people.

So if we can use this ad to get .001% (a pretty conservative estimate) of people to engage the ad and click on the ‘Learn More’ button, we could potentially end up with 28-30 new leads. Not bad for $80! That’s about $2.67/lead. If you charge $1,000 for your service, that’s a 37,353% ROI. Whoa.

From there, just set your budget to a Lifetime Budget (in this case, $80), and let Facebook fill in the rest, like so:

 

THE RESULT

As it stands, we’re one day away from the competition ending, but I had 9 signups from the ad! Not counting the 2 eventual winners, that’s 7 qualified leads, all for the cost of the ad ($80) and my time (2 free packages, which will still be good for a few reviews).

However, if we can book just 2 of those remaining 7 leads, the monetary profit will be over $2,000, and anything above that will be just gravy.

The good news is that those remaining 7 people are already primed to talk to us; they’ve seen us on Facebook, they’ve seen our website, they’ve entered our competition; that extra exposure pays off in the end.

I’ll update you how it turns out!

 

NOW… WHAT WOULD I HAVE DONE DIFFERENTLY?

There are a few things I would have done differently with my first Facebook ad campaign.

For starters, I would have only given away ONE package instead of TWO. That would give me one less night where I would be working for free.

I would also spend a LITTLE bit more to hopefully get a few more leads. I predicted that I could get about 28-30 leads, but ended up only getting 9. I think if I would have doubled my budget and expanded my advertising territory, I could have gotten a lot closer to that 28-30 number.

With one day left in the competition, here are my stats:

 

So my CTR (click-through-rate) was higher than anticipated- .009% vs the projected .001%, which is good, and the CPC (cost per click) wasn’t bad; basically, I paid Facebook $1.15 to get someone to click on the ad and go to the competition landing page.

However, something happened when they got to my landing page that didn’t convert well.

Of the 65 people that clicked my link, I only got 9 opt-ins. Now, that’s about a 14% conversion rate, but I thought it’d be more like 40-50% once I got them to the website page, so I’d need to figure out what went wrong when the got there and fix that for next time! Maybe it was the overwhelming green landing page, or maybe the video wasn’t great.

Once the competition is over, and I reach out to the remaining leads that didn’t win, I’ll let you know how I was able to do with converting the leads into bookings!

 

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