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.

How to Set Up a Master Spreadsheet Using IFTTT

In my last post, I explained why you would want to have a Master Spreadsheet, and 4 other spreadsheets you’ll want to set up for your blog right away. You don’t want to miss it,  so click here to read it. Then come back here for instructions on how to set it up.

What Is IFTTT?

From the IFTTT website-  IFTTT (pronounced “gift” without the “g”) is a service that lets you create powerful connections with one simple statement: if this then that.

The IFTTT community can create if this then that connections, called Recipes, between lots of different applications, called Channels, including Facebook, Twitter, Dropbox, Evernote, Gmail and others.

It’s a beautiful thing. Take some time to browse around and think about how you can use IFTTT to streamline and automate your monotonous blog tasks.
How to use IFTTT to set up a master spreadsheet of your posts.

How To Set Up Your Master Spreadsheet Using IFTTT

Luckily, you don’t have to be a programmer or a developer to automate a Master Spreadsheet for yourself. I use a tool called IFTTT. Like anything in life, there are multiple ways to get your spreadsheet up and running using the IFTTT recipes.

For myself, I like using the recipe
IF (Any new post on your WordPress Blog) THEN (Add row to spreadsheet in Google Drive.)


IFTTT Recipe: WordPress Blog to Spreadsheet connects wordpress to google-drive

You can also use
IF (New RSS Feed Item) THEN (Add a row to spreadsheet in Google Drive).


IFTTT Recipe: RSS to Spreadsheet connects feed to google-drive

Or even use two recipes to send each post to bit.ly to create a short link first- Then send each new bit.ly to a Google Drive Spreadsheet. The possibilities of using IFTTT for blogging are literally endless.

Creating Your Own IFTTT Recipes

Don’t let IFTTT intimidate you! Just follow the instructions and fill in the fields for RSS feed and other things it ask for. When you first set up an account, you’ll also need to connect your account to the different channels you plan to use. Like Gmail, Google Drive, RSS, WordPress, and even your social media channels.

Sometimes I run into trouble when first setting up an IFTTT recipe to specify the correct path or format my spreadsheet rows properly. The format has to match your existing spreadsheet or the columns won’t line up correctly. Luckily it just takes a little trial and error to make yours match.

You can also create the blank spreadsheet first and save it to a folder in Google Drive- then specify that location in the recipe, or just fill in a spreadsheet name and IFTTT will create a spreadsheet by that name in a folder called IFTTT automatically when you first run the recipe.

The Formatted Row Section of my Master Spreadsheet using the first recipe above says this:
{{PostPublished}} ||| {{PostTitle}} ||| {{PostUrl}} ||| {{TagsAndCategories}}
When I’m setting these up for clients, I use the RSS option and turn on notifications, so I know when they publish a new post.

For that recipe the formatted row looks like this:

{{EntryPublished}} ||| {{EntryTitle}} ||| {{EntryUrl}}

That’s it. Simple, easy to set up and now you’ll have a link to each and every blog post right at your fingertips.

Do you have a favorite IFTTT Recipe for your blog? I’d love to hear about it. Let me know on Facebook or Twitter.

Get all of your blog posts at your fingertips in a Master Spreadsheet with @IFTTT via @amypsu02Click To Tweet

5 Spreadsheets to Set Up When You Start Your Blog

So you want to start a blogging business, or maybe even turn your current hobby blog into a full-time income? First you’ll need to get organized.  Even if you’re not Type A, there are a few key spreadsheets that will make your blogging life easier and there’s no better time than now to set them up.

Having systems in place for record keeping helps me to be more efficient in my work, both running my own blog and helping others as a virtual assistant. I think the key to spreadsheets is to keep them simple and manageable.

I’ve been publishing on this blog since June 2014 and I’m so l glad I took the time to set up these key spreadsheets from the start. Now I can easily see my blog’s growth, access specific posts to share quickly, and keep track of other key information I need for affiliate programs all in my Google Drive.

5 Must-Have Spreadsheets I Set Up Right Away

Social Media Growth
Master Spreadsheet (set up using IFTTT)
Editorial Calendar (I learned from the Blog Clarity Course, Content Brew.)

Bonus Spreadsheet: Passwords to all of your social media accounts so you have them handy.
I like to share, so if you click on any of the spreadsheets above you can view my example in Google Drive. All of them are very simple and straight forward to use- and some include formulas to add up the columns automatically.

Why Should You Set Up a Master Spreadsheet From Day 1

When it comes to business, and life really, I always get better results from using a proactive approach, rather than a reactive approach. I think it’s really important set your self up for success from Day 1. Plus, it’s much easier to stay organized and have all the information you need at your fingertips, than to retroactively try to record things you could have automated from the beginning.

I’ve heard from many bloggers who, after a few years of posts, decide that a Master Spreadsheet of all of their posts would be really helpful to organizing their business and executing specific social media marketing strategies. At that point, they have hundreds of posts and the time investment to play catch up is relatively large.

If you have the Yoast Plugin you can also export an XML sitemap and copy it over to a spreadsheet, then reformat it the way you prefer.  I have found that if you update posts regularly, the dates on the sitemap are from when you last updated the post, rather than when it was originally published. I’d much rather have a spreadsheet created as I go.

Ways to Use a Master Spreadsheet

There are so many ways to use a Master Spreadsheet of all your blog posts. Here are a few:
• Easily see when each post has been pinned last and to which boards.
• Keep track of where and when you’ve shared each post on Facebook Share Days or Linky Parties.
• Make notes for yourself (or a VA) about what needs to be updated on each post.
• Keep track of which posts contain affiliate links, and thus have the potential to earn you income.
• Record keyword rich descriptions, Facebook posts, and tweets that you might use to promote each post and then bulk upload them to a scheduling tool, like Hootsuite Pro.
• Have the links to all of your posts readily available for sharing.

So now you know why you need a Master Spreadsheet, but how do you go about setting it up?
Click here to read more about how I set up my Master Spreadsheet Using IFTTT.

If you’re  reading this and you’re not a newbie, it’s ok! You can still set up your Master Spreadsheet to start recording your blog post links going forward.

Do you have another type of spreadsheet set up for your business that I missed? I’d love to hear from you on Facebook or Twitter.