Case Study: I Spent $464 on Facebook Ads and Here’s What Happened

Do G=facebook Ads really work for small businesses?

Part 1 of 2: This post explains how I used Facebook ads and email marketing to get sales. Part 2 will show you how to use this info for YOUR product-based business.

The other day I did a free online Master Class about how I added 552 people to my email list in 6 days. It’s the kind of thing I teach in this marketing course for entrepreneurs and today I’ll give you more info about email list building, Faceboook ads, and answer some of your questions.

How I Added 552 People to My Email List in Six Days

Here’s what I did.

12.29.15: I had the urge to try something new. I knew I was launching my Startup Mastermind Group on January 14 and I hadn’t had much time to devote to letting people know about it.

12.30.15: I came up with the idea of a Startup Challenge. A 5 day email challenge that would get people excited about starting a business and help them get a plan in place. I figured I could do ONE DAY at a time.

All I had to do was create ONE email a day for 5 days. How hard could that be? It wan’t very hard and it was a total blast.

My first real action step was to create an outline of the topics for 5 days

12/31/15: I sent ONE email to my list to invite them to sign up for the Challenge. I also posted the Challenge info on my Facebook Page, Instagram, and Twitter. The email I sent to my list was like this:

Subject Line: 2016 can be YOUR year! Take the Startup Challenge (starts Saturday – open up!!)

After the first email to my list I decided I wanted to try OTHER WAYS of getting sign-ups, not just using my list. I decided to do Facebook Ads to find NEW people (more on that below, including how much I spent and my sales results). I get asked this question a lot…

“Do Facebook ads really work for small businesses with small budgets?”

I’ve dabbled with Facebook ads, gotten frustrated, tried again with some success, and was ready to do it one more time and throw some money into it. My goal was to build my email list quickly. 

When someone signed up for the Challenge, they received an immediate autoresponder email welcoming them and explaining the 5 days etc.

The autoresponder immediately after sign-up: Welcome to the Fashion Startup Challenge!

Each day the Challenge-ees received another email with a simple lesson inside and a focused challenge step. I also encouraged them to click over to my Facebook Page to interact with me and stay accountable. The Challenge emails were all text, no graphics at all.

The exact subject lines I used for each day of the Challenge:

  • 1.02.16: (Startup Challenge) Day One – what you need to know FIRST
  • 1.03.06: (Startup Challenge) Day Two: Getting samples / prototypes made
  • 1.04.06: (Startup Challenge) Day Three: Finding your PERFECT customer
  • 1.05.06: (Startup Challenge) Day Four: Your Website
  • 1.05.06: (Startup Challenge) Day Five: Finding Money For Your Business 

I also sent 2 follow-up emails to everyone who signed up for the Challenge checking in and making them an offer to sign up for the Startup Mastermind and the my best-selling online startup course, the New Designer Program. I gave them a $100 coupon code and a deadline.

  • 1.11.06: (Startup Challenge) How did it go? PLUS this Thursday is Mastermind day
  • 1.13.06: We start TOMORROW: Fashion Startup Mastermind Group

Pro Tip: At the bottom of every email, I put links to the previous days’ Challenges to avoid frustration and confusion for the Challenge-ees. I didn’t do this the first 3 days and it was a total drag for people who missed some emails. Live and learn.

My Results

I did one boosted post ($200) on Facebook and one targeted ad ($264) in the newsfeed. The ads ran for 6 days.

I spent $464 total on Facebook ads

I added 552 brand new “qualified” people to my list.

I sold $2700 in courses and the Startup Mastermind Group to NEW people.

BTW, I say “qualified” because I believe if they sign up for a Fashion Startup Challenge, they’re starting a business and they’re one segment of my target audience. If I offered a free iPad for signing up on my list, those people would not be valuable for my biz because they just want the prize and probably would never buy anything.

Also, my sales number doesn’t include purchases from people already in my community (on my email list) because this really was an experiment with Facebook to get new signups.

PLEASE NOTE: I’m talking about list signups in a very casual way but there’s way more to it than that. These are REAL PEOPLE who trust me with their email. No one really wants to sign up on a new list, right? So when they do, I value each and every one of them as the creative, delightful souls most of them are! These folks are a community with hopes and dreams and fears – not just “a list”. And I strive to treat them with respect and care.

Your Questions

I picked out a few Q’s from my community to answer here.

Q 1: What program do you use for your email campaigns and auto emails?

A 1: I used 1ShoppingCart for the Challenge and I use Constant Contact for my weekly newsletter. It’s a long story why I use both and I’ll be getting rid of one of them soon. I recommend Constant Contact and Mail Chimp for startup entrepreneurs.

Q 2: You used graphics on Facebook that were simple but effective. What program did you use to create them?

A 2: Canva. I created them all myself but next time I’ll hire someone to do it since it’s pretty time consuming.

Q 3: What program do you use that automatically delivers content, including video clips, audio clips, PDFs, etc.?

A 3: These are 2 different things. See A 1 above for automated emails (autoresponders). To give people audio clips, video, PDF’s, you need more tools. Here’s what I use…

  • Audio mp3’s: I upload them to my blog and/or site and link to that. Or you can also upload to Google Drive and link to that. I create my mp3’s using Instant Teleseminar or Zoom.
  • Video: I host them on Vimeo Pro (for membership-only content in my paid courses) or YouTube (for free stuff) and then embed the links to the videos on my site. Anything that’s for a paid course that I sell has a password for members only.
  • PDF’s: I upload them to my site and link to them or drive people to a special page with the PDF download links. You could also use Google Drive, Amazon S3, Dropbox, and more.

Q 4: Is there a way to target people for your Facebook ad audience who like someone else’s page?

A 4: Yes, and that’s exactly how I did my targeted newsfeed ads. The simple answer is this (although FB changes all the time). When you choose your audience, I pick the countries I want, age and gender, and then go to “Detailed Targeting”. Instead of choosing the default options I start typing in names of specific Facebook Pages I know (or think I know) my target audience follows, like The Business of Fashion.

Q 5: I see how this is effective for your business, Jane. Could you give us some examples of how to use it for a product–based business?

A: Absolutely! My “Challenge” experiment can be tweaked for any niche, selling any product. The key is to focus on the LIFESTYLE of your target customer, not just the actual product you carry. For example, if you make yoga clothing, you could do a specific challenge to spend 5 minutes a day for the next 5 days trying out new breathing techniques you teach (or link to others’ teachings).

If you sell baby products, you could do a 5 Days to Be the Happiest Mom at the Playground. Then send them simple, do-able strategies to relieve stress, boost their morale, and foster community. Of course, the whole point is to sell products. So you can sprinkle in some offers to buy throughout your challenge or make one bigger offer at the end of the Challenge like I did.

2 Specific Case Studies for Product-Based Businesses

Part 2 of this post (email list building case studies) will lay out EXACTLY what I’d suggest to a VIP client – the specifics of what to say in the subject line, the content of the emails, the offer to buy — everything! I’ll post it up on Monday so stay tuned.

Your Turn

If you made it this far, you’re my hero – ‘cuz this is one looooooong blog post. Do something for me, will you?

TELL ME WHAT YOU THINK. Yes, I’m shouting that…

What’s the ONE thing you learned from this article that will help you? I LOVE hearing from you and can’t wait to read your comments!

Thanks for reading. Click here for Part Two of this series. 





9 Responses

    1. Hi Karyn,
      A boosted post is when you post something on your regular Page and click BOOST POST. When I boost a post I do not click on Targeted, I boost to LIKES and friends of people who like my Page. I strongly recommend you do the same thing. The place to do targeted ads is when you create an ad and choose your taegeting. This article could help you: http://www.cbo.me/blog/boosted-posts-promoted-posts-newsfeed-ads
      – Jane

  1. Jane, you have given me a concise how to guide for how to do a FB intro campaign to launch Kat Bond and FLS products. I cannot tell you how I appreciate your knowledge and expertise! Kat

    1. Go Kat!! My pleasure. And remember, you can definitely start with a simplified version of this. 2 days, 3 days… Do what you can just so you do something!!
      – Jane

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