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Easy Wins for Facebook Ads Success with Andrea Vahl

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Want to use Facebook Ads to grow your business but not sure if they’re worth the investment? Author and consultant Andrea Vahl talks pricing, strategies, know-how and more to help you get your ads right and generating revenue!

What You’ll Hear

  • [01:10] About Andrea and her background
  • [02:36] How the ‘Dummies’ book came about
  • [03:46] Andrea’s tips for staying focused with social media
  • [05:33] How to succeed with Facebook Ads
  • [07:34] How much budget people need for Ads
  • [09:53] Costs of B2B versus B2C Ads
  • [10:48] The difference between boosting a post and an ad
  • [12:34] Generating more blog traffic
  • [16:28] How Facebook Ads can help every business
  • [17:56] What tech know-how you need to do Ads
  • [19:55] How Andrea got into stand-up comedy
  • [22:45] The most interesting place she’s visited
  • [24:00] Andrea’s final tips

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In this podcast I spoke to Andrea Vahl. Andrea is a Social Media Consultant and Speaker and is the co-author of Facebook Marketing All-in-One for Dummies. Her newest book is Facebook Ads Made Simple.  

She speaks and trains all over the world and has appeared in top lists on Entrepreneur.com and Inc.com, and is also a stand-up comedienne.

About Andrea and her Background

Andrea doesn’t actually have a marketing background and fell into it by accident. However, she explains that she was always interested in marketing and entrepreneurship. 

15 years ago, she was laid off from her job and started a couple of businesses, including at-home wine tasting. This coincided with Facebook and Twitter becoming more popular and used them to promote her business. 

Using social media for business was a great success for Andrea, and people soon started to ask her for help to do the same. This led to speaking, writing and training opportunities all over the world. 

How the ‘Dummies’ Book Came About

Andrea explains that Wiley, the publisher, hold all the rights to the books, and when they have an idea for a topic, they source the authors by finding people who are experts in the subject. 

They look for people who have a good platform and are subject matter experts; Andrea was blogging regularly and building her audience at the time Wiley approached her. She was already connected to fellow author Phyllis Khare, and wrote the first and second editions with Phyllis and Amy Porterfield. 

Andrea’s Tips for Staying Focused with Social media

Andrea recommends using a publishing tool to make managing social media easier. She personally uses AgoraPulse, which allows her to pull content from all her platforms into one place, and reply to direct messages, tweets and more in the same place. 

Using a tool in this way means you don’t have to go into each platform to read messages and you’re less likely to get distracted and waste time watching goat videos, says Andrea. 

She also recommends being intentional about the time you put into looking at a feed or connecting with people, and sets time boundaries to help avoid procrastination and distraction. 

How to Succeed with Facebook Ads

Andrea says that the biggest complaint she hears from people is that Facebook Ads don’t work, and it’s usually because people don’t optimise or test enough. They run one, boosted post and only try it once. Instead, they need to make sure the ad is correctly optimised around conversions or lead generation to get more from the Facebook algorithm. 

People don’t test enough, such as using only one or two images. Andrea says that one type of audience can cost three times more than another in conversion terms. Systematic testing allows you to distil down to your best audience. 

Then, you can maximise your budget by putting all of it towards the best-performing images and audience. Images are one of the biggest factors in whether or not an ad converts, so you’ll need to try lots of different ones. 

How Much Budget People Need for Ads

Andrea says two factors in deciding a budget are what your niche is and what you’re optimising for. She explains that some of her clients have really high lead costs, but it works out for them because they have a really high-cost product. 

You need to balance your ad spend against the cost of what you’re selling and make sure that you’re budgeting a good percentage. Take your marketing budget and spend at least 20% on testing. It can differ wildly depending on what you’re promoting, too. 

An eBook can cost from $1 at the lower end up to $10 or $15 in the B2B or small niche spaces. You have to know your general cost baseline to be able to measure definite results from your ad – and your testing. 

Andrea recommends people start testing before they need it, and start off with smaller, lower-cost products. Ramping up ad spend the week before a conference won’t work and won’t give you a proper idea of what the audience wants.

Costs of B2B versus B2C Ads

B2B ads can be more expensive than B2C ads, Andrea says, because the audience size is usually smaller, but that’s not always the case. Cost can vary depending on how specialised the product is and the offer itself. 

Sometimes, people promote something that’s widely needed in the B2B space, such as how to grow a business, which has a wide appeal, but a piece of software may be more niche. 

The Difference Between Boosting Posts and Running Facebook Ads

Boosting a post is not the best use of your ad dollars, Andrea explains, because it won’t be optimised in the same way. There are some settings you can select to help it do better, so it’s not a complete waste of money, and it’s easier than setting up an ad. 

Andrea uses the boost post option when she shares a new blog on her Facebook page, but she will also choose an audience or two to retarget the post to – that’s optimised for the best cost-per-link click. 

In general, though, it’s better to go through the Facebook Ads Manager and setting up a post which is optimised properly, choosing placements and pixel optimisation, as well as audience settings not available for boosted posts. 

Generating More Blog Traffic

You can extend your reach and get more blog traffic by retargeting a post. Facebook organic reach can be really difficult, admits Andrea. If you put in all the work for a blog post, you should push it further. 

Using the retargeting option means that your warmest audience sees your content, and it saves you money, because you’re showing a post to the people who are most likely to click on it. 

Any new content should be pushed out with an ad, says Andrea, and you can get a lot from a very small spend when it comes to retargeting. You could spend just $10 and reach a lot of your warm audience, especially if you don’t have much web traffic. 

If you have more traffic, a decent email list and lots of engagement on your Facebook page, you may spend a little more so you can reach those on your list as well. $30 over the course of 5 days reaches a lot of people, gets good link click-through and optimises your post for very little money. 

For a cold-audience campaign, use a lead magnet to grow your list and to bring in more people and help them connect with you. Then you can communicate with them further through your email marketing. Your Facebook Ads should be used primarily to grow your list. 

To get people to opt into your list from a good lead magnet, Andrea says the price varies. Some of her clients get leads at a spend of 25 cents each, although that’s very definitely not typical. 

Again, it’s about your baseline and what you’re selling. An eBook requires less commitment from your audience than a one-hour webinar, so ad spend will be less too. Promoting a webinar can cost between $5 and $15, and location and market will also have an impact. 

How Facebook Ads can Help Every Business    

Andrea believes that all businesses can use Facebook Ads successfully: “You can get a lot out of Facebook Ads for any type of business, and I’ve worked with some weird businesses over the years in tiny niches.” 

She says she tries to be more general when she talks about potential ad spend, because it depends so much on your baseline. You also need to look at the cost and return you’ll get. 

Maximise what you do and learn what works in the backend conversion part of the funnel, and use Facebook Ads at the top of the funnel to build awareness. Retargeting is also useful because it allows you to show special offers.

What Tech Know-How You Need to do Facebook Ads

Facebook Ads used to be a lot easier to put together than they are now, admits Andrea. Domain name verification, a choice of optimisation options and all kinds of different settings to choose can have a big impact on your results. 

“You do need to be a bit more tech savvy than you used to, and there aren’t a lot of tools available that make it easy. I have a book called ‘Facebook Ads made Simple and even that was a challenge to write!”

If you use Ads Manager regularly it becomes easier, but the problem is that Facebook changes the platform and the look and feel of it often. Sometimes you need to use a consultant or an Ads management company to make sure that you’re really getting everything you can from your campaign. 

How Andrea got into Stand-up Comedy

Andrea did improv comedy for a long time, like the TV show ‘Whose Line is it Anyway?’ which she enjoyed because it involved games in a group setting. She never expected to do stand-up, which meant being on-stage alone and having to make people laugh a lot. 

She took a class and enjoyed it more than she expected, and began to do stand-up, even though it’s still scary. She explains that she thought she’d use it for her speaking and to write jokes into presentations, but ended up writing about her midlife crisis and her failings as a mother instead!

During the pandemic, she’s done some stand-up on Zoom, but because you can’t see or hear the audience you feel like you’re bombing the whole time. However, she started using a laugh track at home, and that helped. 

Andrea says that stand-up comedy is hard and requires a lot of travel and a full-time commitment. She prefers to be at home with her kids, so she does it part-time and works it in when she can. When she travels, she attends open-mic nights and performs that way. 

The Most Interesting Place in the World Andrea’s Visited

Andrea really enjoys travelling and has several places she’s really loved. She was invited to a wedding to India, and got to visit the Taj Mahal. She loves the sights and interesting places in Singapore, and also enjoyed exploring Bali. 

Andrea’s Final Tips

For anyone looking to get into Facebook Ads, her book ‘Facebook Ads Made Simple’ is a great place to start. It walks through the strategy and the different ways to test and optimise ads to get the best results. She also has a free download – her top blog posts about Facebook Ads, the Manager and how to use the pixel. Grab the 94-page guide at www.andreavahl.com/top10 to get started. Connect with Andrea on her website, find her resources and send her a message.

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