239% ROI: A Facebook Ads Success Story (Part 1 of 3)

This post is the first in a series of case studies so you can see the thought process that goes into planning and executing an effective Facebook advertising campaign.

Sure, you could just “boost” an organic post to get your message in front of more eyeballs.

But just boosting posts willy-nilly won’t get you the kind of results I’m seeing pop up all over the internet lately boasting massive ROI. In fact, you could spend a lot of money and not get results. Which kind of defeats the purpose of paying for traffic, now doesn’t it?

Here’s the thing- when you’re launching a product, there are a lot of moving parts. In the “real world” a blogger launching a product is doing the jobs of multiple people.

Scratch that- careers of multiple people.

For an ad campaign alone, in an advertising agency, at a bare minimum, you’d find

  • an account manager who works with the client
  • a copywriter or a team of copywriters who do the writing
  • an art director who plans the design
  • and a creative who executes the design.
  • Not to mention the traffic team that works as a liaison between all the departments to make sure the project is on time and budget.

What, you ask? All of those people for one simple advertising campaign? yep.

Is that level of bureaucracy necessary?- not always. But I just wanted to give you some perspective on the amount of work that goes into advertising campaigns in general.

Some Background Info and a Resource

In full disclosure, I have a Bachelor of Arts in Advertising from Penn State. BUT Facebook didn’t exist when I went to school. In fact, the entire marketing landscape seems vastly different these days. (In reality, Online Marketing is just Regular Old School Marketing in a different form…. but more on that later). I have to keep up on my skills by scouring the internet for articles, taking courses, and just doing the work.

Despite my background in Advertising, Sales, and most things direct marketing, Facebook ads intimidated me. I was nervous. And I almost talked my client out of Facebook ads because I wasn’t sure I was ready to run them and she would lose money.

She wanted to try it anyway.

So I bought the Absolute FB Ads Course from Claire Pelletreau and crammed my little butt off. Totally worth it, as you’ll see in the rest of this series. I also STILL continue to reference it and get support in the accompanying Facebook group, which is priceless.

If you’re a course creator or coach and you’re planning on attempting to run your own ads, this course is a must-buy. Especially since the price is going up May 1st from $297 to $997. I will still recommend it at $997- it’s totally worth it.

Using Facebook Ads to Generate Leads and Sell Courses

This product launch consisted of a series of 3-4 Campaigns over the course of 3 months. This is part one. I’m also planning to write more about how to think like a scientist when it comes to campaign planning and launching products, but that’s basically where I start.

With questions. And hypotheses.

So for the very first campaign we ran, we wanted to know simply, can we increase the number of subscribers on my client’s email list using Facebook ads and a proven lead magnet? What will it cost?

Keep it simple to start.

Assess what you know and what you want to test

We knew a few things going in.

We also weren’t sure about a few things like,

  • We weren’t sure if (or how soon) these leads would convert to buyers.
  • We also wanted to know if we could generate revenue from cold traffic (people who had never heard of Dirt and Boogers before) by using a small offer (or tripwire) on the Thank you page.

Typically it’s pretty impossible to convert (or sell) offers to prospects directly via Facebook ads (or so I’m told). It’s like the holy grail to get an offer that converts cold traffic. And that’s why most people use sales funnels in conjunction with their Facebook ads.

If this is all sounding like a foreign language, make sure you grab my free glossary of sales and marketing terms here. (coming soon).

The Plan

We planned to run 2 ad sets, to test two different cold audiences. Each ad set would have one version of copy with 2 different images in each, A & B. After we determined a winning image we would test new copy. We ran the same image/copy combinations in both ad sets.


Ad Set 1                                        Ad Set 2
(Audience 1)                                (Audience 2)

Ads                                                Ads

Ad 1A         Ad 1B                            Ad 1A      Ad2B

Ad 2A         Ad 2B                           Ad 2A      Ad2B


I admit, my plan to try advertising would not have been this organized or thorough without Claire’s course.

The Ads

So, as you can see, I made two different images and one set of copy to start with.

I researched what had done well organically in the past, starting with searching for places the blog post about these tips had gotten really big shares on Facebook. I pulled the concept of “Mom Tantrums” from one of those and made it the headline.

The rest of the copy came from audience research and personal experience.

Originally I planned to test a second version of copy with the winning image, but the ad on the left did so well, we decided to scrap the test and just go with the winning ad for now.

When you set up an ad in the Power Editor, you can customize the Text, Headline, Link Description and Call to Action button.

That’s a lot of variables to test.

So make sure you’re only changing one variable at a time.

The Results

Here are a few screenshots.

So what does that mean? 

The important numbers are the views to the Calm Down Landing Page and 50 Calm Down Leads.

610 people clicked on the link in the ad and visited the landing page. 220 of them signed up.

To calculate the conversion rate use this equation:

Conversions divided by Clicks= Conversion Rate

220/610=.36 (x100)= 36%

This offer converted at 36% which is spot on with industry averages.

Since we put a small tripwire offer on the Thank You page- we were also able to get 10 purchases. That means the tripwire offer converted at 4.5% (which can hopefully be improved and will need to be for this funnel to be self-liquidating).

Some other important numbers to note:

  • These ads had a click-through rate of 2.69% (anything above 1% is excellent),
  • a relevance score of 9 (out of 10),
  • and our average cost per lead was .50. (It’s best to estimate this at $2 a lead to be conservative. It also depends on your industry).

So we were pleasantly surprised with this result on the first try out of the gate.

Turns out we were able to get that cost even lower on our next campaign- so stay tuned!

Feedback from my Ad Mentor, Claire Pelletreau

I might be 37 years old, but a part of me is still like a kid in school trying to impress the teacher. So I was thrilled to be able to prove Claire wrong when she told me I wouldn’t be able to convert any sales from cold traffic when we opened the cart for the course.

I’ll be sharing the next two phases of these ad campaigns and how I put together those specific ads that converted cold traffic to course buyers, but here’s a sneak peek of the final results I shared with Claire and she sent out in an email to her list.

Here’s what Claire had to say about our results

“I LOVE talking about successful Facebook ads from businesses that are B2C; it can be a lot harder to get non-business people to part with their money, so when I heard that this person got sales for her course from a COLD audience, I was blown away!
Here’s what went down:
Amy Lefever Pessolano bought Absolute FB Ads and joined us inside the Support Group 4 months ago. Amy is the social media manager for Amanda Rueter, a parenting coach, and owner of Dirt and Boogers. Amanda wanted to use Facebook ads to launch her online course, but Amy was worried she couldn’t deliver. “I was really anxious and nervous to try anything. I almost talked my client out of trying ads just yet because I didn’t feel ready. But she wanted to try it, so I bought Absolute FB Ads and crammed.”
Amy plowed through the how-to instructions and got confirmation about the strategy she was formulating inside our Support Group.
Her strategy was relatively simple:
1. Run list building ads for a PDF lead magnet well before the course opened for enrollment;
2. Get even more new subscribers AND re-engage existing ones with ads for a free video series;
3. Promote sales of the course to cold and warm audiences.
When Amy mentioned that she wanted to run ads promoting the course to cold audiences (a.k.a. people who had never engaged with Dirt and Boogers before), I tried to talk her out of it.
“Chances are you’re not going to make any sales from cold audiences, BUT I hope to be proven wrong!” I told her.
I WAS wrong, you guys! 2 of the 26 sales that came in came from cold audiences. Amy ended up spending $661.31 on her ads, which generated $2,255.87 in course sales. In other words, Amanda saw a 239% return on her Facebook ad investment!
Talking to Amy after the launch wrapped up, she said:
“Before the course, I thought I knew what I was doing, but I wasn’t really sure. Turns out, I didn’t even know you needed to add the pixel to the LeadPage header too! Yikes! Now I feel really confident and comfortable enough to make a solid plan and adjust it depending on how things do along the way. I’m looking forward to the next launch round to take what we discovered in this launch and really knock it out of the park.”
If you have plans to launch an online course or group program in the next year or so, there is no better time to get expert Facebook ad training. Starting this Monday, Absolute FB Ads will cost new customers $997 to join.
But if you enroll before then, you get it for only $297 and still get access to every update in the future. PLUS you’ll be added to our incredible Facebook ad Support Group immediately.
If you’re ready to get SERIOUS about making good money in your business, and using Facebook ads to get you there, join Absolute FB Ads here.

If you join- please let me know! I’d love to “geek out” on ads and ad strategy with you. Plus, consider joining my VIP group in the Umbrella Tree Cafe to talk shop with me. I’m planning lots of great content to help you sell more stuff so stay tuned and subscribe to be the first to know.

This Book Completely Changed the Way I Think About My Online Business

Before you continue reading, I feel it’s my duty to warn you before I tell you about this book. It’s really like Pandora’s box. Once you read it, you will be seeing the teachings applied EVERYWHERE. All of the major marketing guru players are using these techniques in their marketing.  It might be hard to focus on your current business priorities, your family, anything at all really. Your head will be spinning. You might be overwhelmed by a flood of fresh ideas.

It might be hard to focus on your current business priorities, your family, anything at all really. Your head will be spinning. You might be overwhelmed by a flood of fresh ideas.

You will feel like Dorothy once she peeked behind the curtain and found out that the great and powerful wizard was not all that great and powerful.

Ok, are you ready to hear about it? And how it’s helped me so far on my entrepreneurial journey?

First, I should give you a little background story. 

For the past 20 years (wow, I am really that old), I’ve been studying advertising and marketing in some shape or form. 20 years ago, we were learning about integrated marketing and the beginning of media conglomerates. Integrated marketing= put your logo on your trucks, packages, etc. basically all channels have to work in sync. Today that seems like common sense.

I graduated with a Bachelor’s in Advertising, but I didn’t get a job in an agency because I couldn’t decide if I wanted to be a copywriter, a designer, a media buyer, or an account executive…. I loved them all equally. But I had to choose one and work my way up the ladder. Not to mention, I was also competing for entry level jobs with people that had 2 years experience and I kept coming in second place.

Not getting a job in my field directly after college crushed my confidence. Absolutely crushed it. I am still recovering.


I also started to realize that everything I’d believed about the world, wasn’t really true. (more on these in-depth discoveries at a later time). But essentially, I started with a very small view (being a small town girl from very modest upbringing) and my mind slowly began to open to the possibilities about how the world really worked and what it meant to be successful.

So, instead of taking the direct path, I found myself on a winding road. For someone who craves efficiency and values achievement, the winding road has been a struggle. But it turns out, that winding road, taught me far more than the shortest direct route ever could.

Are you still here waiting to find out about this book?

The book that changed the way I think about my business.

To really understand the impact of the book, you probably need to hear more of the story. But it’s my birthday today and I don’t feel like hashing through the past in this post.

I just wanted to tell you about the book and how amazing it is.

So, I’ll save the rest of my backstory for another time. (If you want to hear from me about my business journey, sign up here )

So what is this magical book?

The book is called DotCom Secrets by Russell Brunson. 

If you click on that link above, you can get yourself a “free” copy. It’s actually $7.95 because it’s free plus you cover the shipping. That’s less than what it costs on Amazon though. It’s not a “scam” even though free plus shipping offers often feel scammy. I assure you, it’s completely legit.

You will get a copy of the book in the mail.

But you’ll also be in Russell’s funnel – so before you click on that link you need to make sure you’re ready.

Because he will make you want to buy all. the. things.

That’s what he does. He’s a master.

You CAN say no to his additional offers and still get the book for $7.95.

But pay careful attention to what he’s doing along the way. Some boxes may be checked automatically, so make sure you uncheck them.

p.s. Don’t worry or feel bad if you do end up buying additional things from Russell, (and you probably will because he’s got this whole midwestern farm boy charm thing going on) he always delivers and you will learn something from everything you buy from him, or it will reinforce something you already learned but may have forgotten.

Read this first

Before you write another blog post, obsess over your social media strategy, sign up for a course on how to do one specific thing- like make a webinar or launch a product, STOP.

Stop chasing the shiny objects.

Get this book and read it.

Then, if you feel ready, get 3 free chapters of the next book, Expert Secrets. The entire book (Expert Secrets) launches April 18th.

You can grab Expert Secrets here. (again, FREE plus $7.95 shipping). (or upgrade and get the Black Box with both books).

As you’re reading Assess Your Past Purchases

After you’ve read the book, or as you’re reading it, let it sink in a little, then go back through your email and find the ones that led you to buy the last business course you took.

See if you can recognize the frameworks Russell taught you in their messages.

Start to pay attention and really study the emails you’re getting from free offers you’ve signed up for before.

Trust me, I have been “studying” sales funnels for at least 2 years to see if I could figure out the formula all of the masters were using to make six or more figures online. I had notebooks and notebooks of notes and observations. At times I felt like I was in a maze and I kept circling back around, never making forward progress toward the destination. I was learning a lot- but it wasn’t actually moving me toward my goals.

Then I read DotCom Secrets. 

And suddenly it was like Tinkerbell was flying through the maze in front of me lighting a glowing path of fairy dust to the exit.

Don’t get me wrong, I am still in the maze.

But now I can see farther ahead than just my feet.

And it feels amazing.

Want to follow along on this business journey of mine and find out how I’m applying the secrets for myself and my clients? Make sure you sign up here so you don’t miss any updates. 

Tina Fey’s Rules of Improv Comedy Will Change the Way You Play With Your Kids

Several years ago, I sat by the campfire, completely engrossed in the book Bossypants, by Tina Fey.

I’ve been a fan since Weekend Update with Jimmy Fallon.

But reading this book, especially as a parent, made me love her even more.

As I read her Rules of Improvisation, I couldn’t help but think about how they applied to playing with my boys.

Tina Fey’s 4 Rules of Improv

*Comedian Tina Fey has Four Rules of Improv that resonate with both business and funny people:
  • The first rule of improvisation is to AGREE.
  • The second rule of improv is to not only say YES, say YES, AND.
  • The next rule is MAKE STATEMENTS. (Neeson does great in this department)

*source: http://www.openculture.com/2013/06/the_dos_and_donts_of_improv_comedy_.html

You can also read a full excerpt from Tina Fey’s Rules of Improvisation That Will Change Your Life and Reduce Belly Fat* here.

Now Let’s Apply the Rules to Playing With Your Kids

I can’t help but think they will also resonate with parents who want to do a better job when it comes to engaging in imaginary play with their kids.

Picture this scenario:

Your child hands you a plastic banana and says, “Nana wants to talk to you.”

Think about how you would typically respond.

You could take the banana from your child and say, “what do you mean Nana wants to talk to me? This isn’t a phone, it’s a banana. Bananas are for eating silly.” Or you could assume your child meant the actual banana wanted to talk to you and shut him down by telling him bananas can’t talk.

But where is the fun in that?

In an improv comedy sketch, the scene would die there, and your play session would also hit a brick wall.

Or, you could follow the rules of improv and see where this could go.

Instead of correcting your child, let them take the lead. They are your “partner” in play, just like your fellow improv comedian is your partner in the scene.

Follow the first rule and agree.

“Why thank you, Johnny.” you say, as you take the banana and put it up to your ear.

But you can’t stop there. You have to agree AND add to the scene.

“Hello, Nana! How are you today? Johnny says you wanted to talk to me.” 

Or… perhaps you begin having a conversation with the banana as if IT was who wanted to talk to you.

Either scenario could be quite fun.

In Tina Fey’s rules, you also have to make statements instead of asking questions. You can’t ask your partner a bunch of questions about what Nana wants to talk about, you have to make statements as if you’re talking to Nana. And then maybe you say, “Yes, sure, Johnny is right here. Of course, you can talk to him again.” Which turns the scene back over to your partner.

There are no mistakes, only opportunities!

Perhaps Johnny meant that Nana was the banana’s name and that the actual fruit wanted to talk to you. But when he handed you the plastic banana, you pretended it was a banana phone. Oops!

But remember, there are no mistakes in improv.

You put the banana up to your ear and say, “Hi Nana! Johnny said you wanted to talk to me.”

Chances are, your kid won’t correct you because he instinctively knows the rules of improv are to agree. BUT if you messed up and were supposed to talk TO the banana, you can easily pivot if he calls you out on it. Just keep going.

Remember, there are no mistakes.

It’s Ok to Look and Be Silly

I hear all of the time, that people just don’t enjoy playing with their kids. They don’t know how to pretend. If you struggle with this, start with some easy games, like restaurant or grocery store.

They seem to be the easiest to join in because you can order food and your child will just bring it to you. Then you hold it up to your mouth and pretend to eat it.

The opportunity to let your guard down and just be silly is one of the greatest gifts of playing with kids. They think everything you do is amazing! You don’t have to convince them. Just join them on their imaginary adventures.

You might be surprised where they take you, and just how much fun you’ll have along the way.

If you try this with your kids, I’d love to hear how it goes. Leave me a comment below or come chat on Twitter. 

If You Yell At Your Kids, You Are Not Alone

It seems like ages ago now that I first discovered the Orange Rhino and her stop yelling challenge.  I was in a completely different season of life back then, with a busy two-year-old and a baby. All of my hands on, positive parenting techniques fell apart when I couldn’t get off my butt to intervene because I needed to nurse a baby.

I felt stuck.

I couldn’t parent the way I wanted to– it no longer worked, now that I had more than one child to parent. Having two kids wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be and that made me angry. Angry that I felt like I couldn’t handle it. My husband insisted that yelling was the answer. I disagreed but I tried it. I started yelling. And it went downhill from there.

At first, I only yelled occasionally. I felt guilty each time I yelled.

But the longer I struggled, the worse it got.

My stern mom voice remained hidden somewhere. I struggled to get the right tone. When I started yelling on a regular basis, my kids also stopped listening. They tuned me out.

I read the book, Yell Less, Love More. I even wrote a review.

I started to feel more in control of my yelling. Things were getting better. I learned to be ok with not having another baby and started embracing the big boy stage. Things were looking up.

I found ways to lighten the mood when I was irritated. And then I got pregnant.

Fast forward to now.

I not only have a baby but TWO older boys to parent. Just like before, parenting 3 children is much more complicated than the cliches of knowing what you’re doing because you’ve done it twice before. The boys are older, yes. But that doesn’t naturally make them big helpers. They have their own feelings and frustrations about having a baby around.

Everyone in our house has something they are unhappy and frustrated about. Times 5. (Yes I’m even counting the baby because she has needs too)

It’s a lot to juggle all those feelings, including your own. That’s why it’s so important to get a handle on your own triggers and focus on keeping yourself in a good place.

Related: 31 Self-Care Tips For Busy Moms

Take Care of You, Mama

I am learning that, slowly but surely. Taking care of yourself doesn’t happen on breaks from your kids, it happens in the everyday moments.

When you stand up for yourself when your kids try to bully you into giving in to their every whim. They can be little tyrants sometimes, right?

When you gently remind them that it’s not ok to talk to people, especially your own mom, that way. (Back-talk, the struggle is real!).

When you calmly say, “How many things can Mommy do at one time?” and they answer,” 1.” “Yes, one son. Mommy can only do one thing at a time.”

You can teach them in those moments. But you can’t teach them if you’re screaming and lashing out at them.

Great, I know I need to Stop Yelling, but How Do I Make It Happen?

I am writing this from a place in the middle of my journey. I still yell at my kids and I’ve decided it’s time for me to grow up and be the parent again. It’s tough to admit sometimes, but I am the adult in the situation and I don’t always act like it.

So, here’s what I’ve done so far and my plan:

  1. I read an e-book called Happy You, Happy Family: Find Your Personal Recipe for Happiness in the Chaos of Parenting Life, now I need to start implementing the tips.
  2. I also took the Banish the Mom Funk Challenge.
  3. I realized that this will probably be part of my life that’s an on-going struggle. So I need to approach it in baby steps and implement changes gradually. It’s much bigger than taking a deep breath to stay calm when I get frustrated and it’s ok to just focus on doing better tomorrow, rather than attempt to stop yelling forever.
  4. I got the Stop Yelling Handbook and enrolled in my friend’s Mama’s Anger Management E-course.
  5. I’m actually going to go through the course this time, instead of just skimming it. I should probably re-read the Orange Rhino’s book too.

I’m also going to keep reminding myself that parenting is like life. It’s a process. A journey. With seasons and peaks and valleys. You never know if you’re on the right path until you get to the destination. And that’s ok. It’s what you learn along the way that’s important, to make each day a bit better than the day before.

It’s ok to be angry. It’s not ok to take it out on people or break things. (This is a new catch phrase in our house, because my kids have a lot of anger to express too.)

Stay tuned! I’ll continue to share stories from my journey to yell less, including how I deal with my own triggers, like noise, feeling my kids are in danger (even if they aren’t), being interrupted when I’m trying to concentrate, and more.

If you’d like to be updated when there’s a new post in this series, subscribe here!