Facebook Ads strategies for e-commerce businesses ⎜ Fempire Media ⎜ EP 131
Ryan Cramer: What's up, everyone? Welcome to my corner of the internet. I'm your host, Ryan Cramer, and this is Crossover Commerce presented by PingPong payments, the leading global payments provider helping sellers keep more of their hard earned money. Hey, what's up, everyone? I'm your host, Ryan Cramer, and thanks for tuning in. This is episode 131 of Crossover Commerce, and this is my corner of the internet where I bring you the best and brightest in the Amazon and e- commerce space. Now, that can include logistics and shipping, that can be anywhere from product listing optimization, or it can even include advertising, which we're actually going to be diving in today. In the past we've had a lot of people talk about PPC or paid media spend just on Amazon. But today I want to go into a broader topic and more of how to build brands on social media, but also just building up that strategy, whether it be Facebook ads, or other kinds of social media ads and engagement to help build your brand grow. And that's what we're going to be talking about today, that's why I called it Facebook ads strategies for e- commerce businesses. We're going to be diving right into that today. But as always, Crossover Commerce is presented by PingPong payments, who have now helped over one million customers worldwide establish and transact$ 90 billion today in cross- border payments. That's an average of$ 150 million per day, helping people send and receive money worldwide. That can be anywhere from sending your VAs or your employees worldwide to different currencies, helping them receive money and save on fees when it comes to helping your business grow. Instead of taking money away from your margin, we're giving that freedom back to sellers. So that being said, go and check out PingPong payments today, those links to sign up for a free account are going to be in those show notes and comments section below. But that being said, this show is always about my guests. I like to highlight them. It's not just about me, that would be one hell of a podcast for me talking about myself. No one would listen to that. But that's always about my guest today. So that being said, we brought in Shelby Fowler with Fempire Media. Just a little bit about Shelby, she started the Fempire Media back in 2019. After freelancing, she started her own digital media company and digital ad company and is based in Arkansas. Actually, is from San Diego so we're going to dive into her and really shine her expertise on how to use Facebook ads to grow your e- commerce business. That being said, welcome Shelby Fowler of Fempire Media. Shelby, thanks for coming to Crossover Commerce. How are you?
Shelby Fowler: Hi, thank you for having me.
Ryan Cramer: Yeah, no problem. So I got that right, you're in Arkansas, you're from... Were you born and raised in San Diego? What's that background story because we were just bantering about that a little bit before this, we weren't live.
Shelby Fowler: Yes, I'm a California girl. So I was born and raised in California. I actually was from Central California, so like Sacramento, Merced... I grew up in Merced, California. And then I moved to San Diego right out of high school, and that's kind of where I'd been.
Ryan Cramer: Awesome. But we were talking about your family, asked you to come to Arkansas, but you're moving to Texas, which I feel like a lot of, believe it or not, tech companies are moving to Texas. Is that kind of like the reason you're doing that or just is there another reason for Texas?
Shelby Fowler: No, we're cowboys fans. So I think that's-
Ryan Cramer: The one reason you're going is because of the NFL Dallas Cowboys.
Shelby Fowler: Yeah, being closer to go to games. No, where we live right now is more of a rural area. So we miss people. So I'm really excited to be just closer to more life, more people, more culture. So yeah, we're going to move to outside of Dallas area.
Ryan Cramer: That's awesome. I'm actually, believe it or not, I was born in Richardson, Texas. I grew up in Plano, which is a suburb of Dallas. So there's always great stories I hear from Dallas and just Texas in general, I feel like it's a big hub spot for that kind of environment. So that's awesome. Congratulations on that move. But first off before we kick into it, for anyone who's listening to this, Shelby has fantastic pink bright hair, and I love it. And actually, it feels like a branding choice, right?
Shelby Fowler: Oh, yeah.
Ryan Cramer: Almost like a stand out from other people, and that's not a bad thing. So was that a decision... Tell me the story and the background on that because I'm super curious by it.
Shelby Fowler: Yeah, it's very intentional. Naturally, I have dirty blonde, light brown hair. But I think in the online space... First I got pink hair because I just wanted to, I thought it'd be fun and it'd be fun for a temporary situation. But we actually talked about this recently, I'm like, " I wonder how much money my hair has made me?" Because it really has become the whole brand. So now people know me as like the pink haired girl, and they see me on things, and they're like, " Oh, that's Shelby." And they know me by pink, and when people see pink things, they send me pictures. They're like, " Oh, I saw pink shoes that reminded me of you today." It's just become such a thing now where I'm like, I can't even get rid of it if I wanted to. It's now a life of its own.
Ryan Cramer: So you're stuck until you die, pink hair. Yeah, exactly. It's almost like... Is it the Sharon Osborne or the Osborne family, right? They would always dye their hair and they always had crazy, different kind of color hair. I'm curious too, the pink, I'm assuming, maybe your favorite color? Hopefully it's your favorite color. If not, we have a problem with picking colors.
Shelby Fowler: It is one of my favorite colors.
Ryan Cramer: crosstalk. Okay, so I was going to say, is it supposed to invoke... You're in advertising, right? I'm in marketing, and partnerships and advertising, and I like to go on the cerebral side. So we're diving into advertising and marketing, and how does a brand feel, right? So with that being said, is pink supposed to be, on a cerebral side, supposed to invoke an emotional response, like red would be almost like passion, or fire? Blue is more like calmness or green is serenity. Do you know what pink is supposed to represent and help with that?
Shelby Fowler: I use a lot of yellow and pink. And I think it's because I am really upbeat and an eternal optimist. So I think that the brand has reflected that. So just more happy, it's supposed to make you more happy when you look at it. And of course, most of our clients are women. So again, it's a more feminine color. So yeah, I think that that... It wasn't intentional at first, I will tell you that. It just has become... Again, it's had a life of its own. And now it really does fit so well, because I think what separates our service or our business, and our brand against others that do something similar is we are very positive, we're not boring advertisers, we're fun and we're funny and funky, and all of the things.
Ryan Cramer: Well, I love it, I love the ability to stand out from the crowd, and that's all about how marketing is, for either your personal brand or for others around you. I'm really weird, I like blue and darker colors. I guess that's my mantra and my chakra, whatever you want to call it, if you will, it's more a calming sensation, I think personally. You alluded to we're all female entrepreneurs, so Fempire Media I'm assuming is alluding to female empowerment or just media in general. Love the name, fantastic name.
Shelby Fowler: Yeah, thank you.
Ryan Cramer: What was kind of that thought process? Is something you've always wanted to build your business into and really showcase just all women or is that intentional or is that just kind of by accident?
Shelby Fowler: It definitely started that way. So we primarily worked with women to start with, and that had been my clientele to begin with. So I really wanted to help female entrepreneurs scale their businesses with ads. And as we've grown, as the team's grown, we definitely service male clients as well. But I think the thing with advertising, the advertising world, is that it is very male dominated. So you have a lot of masculine marketers, the hustle hard, the... It's just very male dominated, and it leaves very little room, I think, for female businesses to really be spotlighted. Is that a word? Spotlight-
Ryan Cramer: Yeah. Shine upon, yeah...
Shelby Fowler: Yeah, so that was my intention going into this was I really wanted to help female entrepreneurs and to help female- owned small businesses. So as we've grown though, we definitely service... I would say now we're probably like 30/ 70, so 70% of women- owned businesses and then the rest I have male clients. And it'll probably evolve to 50/ 50 or so.
Ryan Cramer: So with that perspective, did you have in your background, like your whole career, did it become really highlighted just the ideas from either just men or in general that were very focused on I'm going to do it this way, no outside collaboration, or is it just like they were missing the mark and you're like, " I can do that better." What really sparked you to be the entrepreneur in that mindset. Was it that?
Shelby Fowler: I think it was the missing mark. I was very aware of the market and I would study it, I studied the people who had the top ad agencies and I watched what they were doing. And their perspective, I think it was very... It was lacking, I guess, the feminine touch, I guess, I don't know-
Ryan Cramer: It's okay, yeah.
Shelby Fowler: All of the marketing in advertising, it just didn't speak to women, and I think women buy differently than men do. So I noticed that they weren't really targeting women at all, I think they were targeting mostly men, and they were missing the mark, because there are a lot of women- owned businesses that need advertising. I know that if I went... If I saw their marketing or their brand online, it wouldn't speak to me. So I felt like, " Oh, I could do this better." And I think because I'm also... There's a lot of people in my space who over promise and under deliver. So they preach that advertising is the shortcut to success, and they preach all of this stuff. I disagree severely. So I think watching that and realizing I wanted to do things with integrity, and I think that that's really shaped the brand, because I really wanted to not over promise people, I want to give them realistic expectations, and I want to give exceptional service to everybody. So I really saw the market, being like, " There's such a gap in somebody who's willing to be honest, and just wants to help people." It started with wanting to help women, but now I think it's really like... To me, it's not about that anymore. It's like, " I just want to help businesses and give them real advice about advertising and give them real direction." And that might mean sometimes that you're not ready to advertise and I'm willing to share that with you. I don't want to sell you on something just to make a buck. That doesn't feel good for me.
Ryan Cramer: Right. Collaboration and just education, and that's what we always preach, at least on this podcast is education itself is the most important asset you can probably have in business, because whether it's data that leads you down a product selection if you're an entrepreneur, or service that there's a hole in the market, in your instance, what it would take to obviously reach a certain market or just really allude to certain clientele you're trying to reach. We were even talking about this before we went live was there's so many other businesses that have, in the past year and a half, have moved online from strictly offline, where they want to create a presence online. And you were even alluding to just a lot of businesses, they're not going to have their marketing staff go in back to the offices. Our entire marketing staff is all remote. No one's in the same town or city or maybe a little bit nearby, but we're all scattered throughout the United States. How has that shaped that one... I say one, it's still somewhat going on around the world. How has that dynamic shift of something as large of a pandemic shifted the way that people are going to operate in businesses moving forward, has that benefited you, or this business and industry that you've kind of worked with? It's a really long and detailed question I just asked right now.
Shelby Fowler: Yeah. No, it's a great question. I feel very grateful that during the pandemic we had our best revenue we've ever had, we had the most revenue crosstalk
Ryan Cramer: Congratulations.
Shelby Fowler: Thank you. I'm very aware that that is not everybody's experience. However, most of us watching or most of us listening, we are in the online space, right? So there's more people online now than ever before, and like we said, there's more people that are... they were forced into remote positions. And I think businesses realize, like, " Hey, overhead here could be a lot lower if we kept these positions remote." And also employees are wanting to stay remote, because they don't want to drive 40 minutes to the office and then have to park and then walk up to the office. They don't want to sit around in an uncomfy desk, right? They're enjoying staying home or working from wherever they want to work. I think what we're going to find is that employees are going to be like, " Hey, this does not make sense." I think the challenge for business owners and managers though, is going to be how to learn how to manage remote work versus in person work, which I think is probably not that different. I've always worked... This has been a remote position always and my team is remote. We've never had an office. But I think, from what I have heard from clients and colleagues and things is people are having difficulty with that right now, making that shift. So what I say is like, if there's this many businesses that are going online, and this many positions that are going to become remote, I think advertising and marketing online is going to boom, we're in a position right now where the sky's the limit, it's only going up from here, because with this many businesses going online, they're going to need to get the attention and become unforgettable amongst the competition. And the way to do that, the most effective way to do that is through advertising, getting in front of a ton of eyeballs in a short amount of time.
Ryan Cramer: Absolutely. So yeah, that's a great segue into what your expertise is, is in Facebook and Instagram ad strategies, I won't leave on Instagram. One and the same company now, they used to be separate, obviously. So why get into this space? It feels like a very much a... Obviously, there's tons of eyeballs. There's lots of different opportunities, it's a very visual medium, right?
Shelby Fowler: Yeah.
Ryan Cramer: Where people's attention spans have gotten even less over time. Your expertise comes in, in this regard, and you're like, " We're going to stick our flag in the ground and help people grow in this direction." Why?
Shelby Fowler: Yeah. So the reason why I love Facebook and Instagram, and when I say Facebook, just know that I'm meaning both.
Ryan Cramer: Correct, yeah. Social media, Facebook and Instagram, both and the same.
Shelby Fowler: Yeah. What I love about it is the detailed targeting, there's no other platform that allows you to... the targeting aspects that Facebook allows you to do. Not YouTube, not LinkedIn, not Google, they don't allow you to niche down like Facebook and Instagram does. So that's what I love, love, love about it. And I think when you think about... And I'm not saying that other platforms aren't fabulous, because they are and I certainly have... I've been hired by other agencies to look over their data and analytics and ad reports for YouTube and Google and Pinterest and LinkedIn ads, and give some direction to them. I'm not an expert in those areas, but I can tell... I'm good at ad strategy. But with Facebook and Instagram, what I love about it is that's the attention, right? The attention is there, people are using the platform, so meet the people where they're at. And especially those of you who sell something that has a broad audience, you should be building brand awareness, especially at least on Facebook and Instagram, you need to put your stake in the ground so people know who you are. And yeah, that's really what I love about it is people are there, the eyeballs are there. Yes, attention span is seconds, right? However, I think with the detail targeting, you can reach a very niche person. So if your ideal client or customer is a very specific person, you can really reach that person with Facebook. And you may not be able to get that kind of detail targeting in other advertising platforms.
Ryan Cramer: Yeah, like I like that a lot. And I think a lot of people are, like you said, you're meeting people where their eyeball's already at. It's how are you going to capture their attention when you're there? What's the intent? Is it click through? Or is it just brand awareness, which the definition of that is just people becoming obviously aware of the brand? If they're in market, they can opt into, if they're not, then it's just top of mind always being there for them. Someone asked through our LinkedIn, from Francois, one of our friends of the show, believe it or not, he actually said, " How should ad strategy work with merchandising to ensure a smooth customer journey?"
Shelby Fowler: With merchandising, I'm going to assume what we mean by this is running ads to your online store to ensure-
Ryan Cramer: That's what I would assume, yeah, that's what I would assume.
Shelby Fowler: Yeah. Okay, so here's the thing, with your store, I want you to know your numbers first of all, because this is something that I see a lot of entrepreneurs and business owners, they just know miss the mark here is that they don't know their numbers. I want you to make sure that your landing pages are converting already before we run ads to it, because that'll save you a lot of time and money really, if we can get that right. There's a lot of... This is a question that... I could answer this a lot of ways, we could spend a lot of time digesting and digging into this. But my recommendation is that running an ad to your store, you want to make sure that you're spending enough money, because people don't spend enough money to reach customers. So you have to get in front of enough people to get those people to say... to get a percentage of the people to say yes, right? Then you need your website to be converting when they get there. So once they click on your ad, once they're on your website, we need to make sure that they're buying and if it's cold traffic, then you can pretty much assume... You really want it to be around 2% of the people that click on that page are buying your product, okay? So if we're not getting close to that, there's a problem, and you need to adjust your website. A lot of people will be like, " Hey, my ads aren't working." Well, it's not your ads, in many cases, it may not be your ads, it's your website. So once they click on your ad, you want to make sure that your landing page is converting at least 2%, okay? Now, keep in mind, they're going to look at your product, they're going to be like, " Wow, that's great." They're going to add it to cart. Here's where it gets fun, because 60%, on average, people abandon cart. So 60% of those people are going to leave. So you want to make sure that you have abandoned- cart emails that get sent out because you don't want to lose those people. They were already interested in your product, they added it to cart. I mean, I do this all the time, I'll shop, like window shopping, and I'm like, " Oh, I like that. I like that. I like that." And then I look at the cart and I'm like, " This got out of control really fast." So I leave my cart for a little bit. Or I forget about it, right? I have two little kids at home. So who knows, I have to be mom for a second. I have to go somewhere-
Ryan Cramer: Your two daughters put gum and one person's hair and you have to run and do something real quick, or you accidentally swipe away all your notifications, right, on your screen.
Shelby Fowler: Exactly.
Ryan Cramer: Exactly.
Shelby Fowler: It happens.
Ryan Cramer: I do the same thing all the time.
Shelby Fowler: Yeah. So make sure that you're sending emails out. So that's really the customer journey, is like you want to grab the attention. But once they click on that ad, you need to make sure it's converting. And then if they add to cart, you want to make sure that you have abandoned- cart emails that go out. So people that entered their name and email, but then they never purchased, they never finish the purchase. What you can also do with that email list now, because now you have an email list of people who never bought, who abandoned the cart, you can run retargeting ads to those people. And that's where you're going to get them. Have you ever done this? I've done this many times where I went to go buy something, I added it to cart and then I forgot about it. And then I got some Facebook ads and I was like, " Geez, Louise." They're bombarding me. But I can get all of these reminders, but I'm like, " Gosh..." As an advertiser, I appreciate that, because I'm like, they have a good ad strategy. So make sure that once you collect enough emails, you can run retargeting ads to those people. The ultimate goal for all of us building businesses and brands is that you're unforgettable, you want people to... once they're in your funnel, they can't get rid of you. You're never leaving them alone. You're just going to constantly be in front of their eyeballs. So they're like, " Geez, Louise, there's that Ryan guy again. Oh, my gosh, there he is again. Oh, my gosh, there he is again." You are always in front of them, they open emails, they're getting emails from you. They open Facebook, they see your ads, they see your posts. They open Instagram, oh, my gosh, more ads, right? You you want them to be constantly reminded of you. We want to be top of mind. And that's how you win the game. Period. Being unforgettable.
Ryan Cramer: crosstalk. I have a question, maybe philosophically again, I want to think high level. When I go to a website, I'm always aware of when they ask me for my personal information. When are they going to, I call it attack, not attack... This is the transaction, right? There's two different kinds of transaction that a website or any sort of marketplace is going to ask from me. Wither my information, which is a great win for them, or they're going to ask for my money because they're offering a good. When someone asks you for your personal information, I feel like that's almost the sacred thing that you can give away. When would be a good time for if a direct- to- consumer company has their website, we directed them to our website, when should I request that information?
Shelby Fowler: Okay, so-
Ryan Cramer: For when they land on your website and you're like, " Hey, welcome. For 15% off, give us your email." You see that as a call to action or do you wait until the end when they're in your cart?
Shelby Fowler: Both. You see a lot of the big... Here's my thing, look at what the big companies are doing, and just emulate that, you won't fall short if you see that Target and... I'm just going to use Target for an example. I think I was talking about Target earlier with somebody else. So think about what the other big stores are using and look at their websites. And if they're all doing something similar, you can pretty much bet that it works. That's why they're doing it. Because they don't just try things, businesses like that aren't just like, " Let's try this and see if it works." No, they have a lot of KPIs, a lot of data that goes into it, a lot of testing to see what's working. And one of the things that they do is that pop up, when you join, " Hey, you want 50% off? Put your email in," right? It's immediate, because it works. And a lot of businesses are doing that. So I recommend doing that. But also having a two- step checkout, right? When in the checkout process, they have to put their name and email in, and then the next little bit is their payment information. And that way you now collect that information, and you can see if they purchase or not. If they didn't complete their purchase, now you have that data. So I think data is king or queen. And having that information, especially with e- commerce businesses, having that information will allow you to make really empowered, juicy decisions in your business. Without them, it's just a guess game, and that's not going to be... that's not going to help you build a legacy or a lasting brand.
Ryan Cramer: Well, that's kind of the win too, right? You can see this as a two pronged win. The first part is you're collecting customer acquisition, right? It starts with the lead, and then you can convert them over slowly, if they're not ready to purchase now, they're in your funnel, they have newsletters, they have coupons, they have deals, whatever you're throwing at them, they are now ready when they are going to purchase for gift or themselves or someone, other entity, that they're ready to purchase. So you have that constant win back, and then you can kind of keep them in that loop. But that's the first part, and that's the win. I think a lot of people, especially in this space, whether it's on Amazon, where they build their own brand and have your goods being purchased on another platform, you want to make sure that that data... I say data, it's not like we're going to know your social security number, it's as simple as a email address, your customer avatar, if you will, of knowing who you're targeting. But also, you might be surprised with that data. I've seen so many times on the brands that I've worked with, or worked and asked questions about is, they didn't understand that all these people were opting in and they were either male, and they were really focusing on the female demographic. They ended up coming back and saying, " Well, there's men buying gifts for their partner or their wife or girlfriend," or whatever. And that was something that they didn't look at. So they started running ads towards that, and then the conversion started trickling in. So it's things like that where you can always be surprised, and that's why it's super important to understand your avatar and always just ask them. They can say no, they can say not right now, they can opt out to it. People are almost curated to do that now, right? I would expect you to think the same thing, right, Shelby? They can just say no. But if you're not asking, you're not going to get it.
Shelby Fowler: I go on websites all the time, and it'll pop up, " Hey, you want 15% off, you want 10% off, you want 20% off?" Whatever. And I exit out of it. A lot of people are using text marketing right now, a lot of big companies are as well. So when you put in-
Ryan Cramer: SMS. Yeah.
Shelby Fowler: Yeah, you're putting in your email and... Your name, email and your phone number, and then they text you the code for checkout. I did this with a brand recently. So I bought these little, I don't know, these water cups, okay? Like water bottles. I joined the text list to get 20% off. Then I forgot to use the code at checkout, but that's a whole nother story. But then I get in, they're text marketing. Now they text me like, I swear, at least once a day now, and I am a little over that. So now I know that and I know the marketing game. So I'm like, " Okay, if that bothers me, though, if I don't want to get texts every day or every other day, then I just will exit out of it." It's not worth saving 10 bucks.
Ryan Cramer: Exactly. Yeah, well, and that's what they're trying to do, get that repeat business. I think I get one Monday through Friday from one person, and I just swipe it away, it's not a big deal. But once it becomes a nuisance then... Why would I say no when I do want to opt into it, I can just click on my text real quick and get a code and there it is, it's just free money that I'm saving in that regards too. I'll preface this question with my favorite thing that I've been asked for for information is, " See if you qualify for free shipping." And they made me put in my zip code, my phone number, and then I think something else. I was like, from a marketing standpoint, I was like, " That's super smart," because they're probably offering free shipping almost to everything. But they want the person to think if they qualify, of like, " Uh- oh, I may not qualify." Of course, you're going to. If you're in the continental United States, you're probably going to qualify for free shipping. But they asked for my information that way, it didn't feel intrusive. So I was able to give it over pretty quickly. And it was super smart, I thought. I think it was from YETI actually, believe it or not. So if we're talking brands, I think it was YEIT, see if you qualify for free shipping. Is there a phrase or is there a way to go about asking for information without feeling intrusive?
Shelby Fowler: That's a great way. That's the best one I've heard. I would be like, " Yeah, I want to see. I want to see if I qualify for free shipping."
Ryan Cramer: Yeah, who doesn't?
Shelby Fowler: Yeah, right? Because that's where they get you, the shipping is 10 bucks easily, most times. So you're like... My thing here is that you have to provide value, right? People want something in return for giving you their email. So yeah, I think the free shipping is great. I think if you give them a coupon code. And in regards to, I have my phone right here, but this text list that I joined for a company that I bought those water bottles on, on Sunday they texted me, " Hey, here's a flash sale now. Here's 25% off of XYZ." Then I was like, " Man, I think I'm going to stay on the text list for a little bit longer in case I want to buy more stuff." But they're sending me coupons for stuff all the time. So again, people, I think as buyers, we're all buyers of stuff, right? I think we all are a little bit frustrated at times with businesses who just bombard you with marketing stuff, and without giving you anything of value. And I think we're getting smarter as buyers. So we know the game, we know what it means when you sign up for free shipping, we know what it means when we sign up for a coupon code, right? We know that. So I think if you just keep your customer in mind always and think what would they want? How can I delight them today? I think you're going to always win. If you just think about them, right? And obviously, you have to think about your bottom line in your business. But think about them, because why would they want to join your email list? Why would they want to join your SMS marketing? Why would they want to be on your website? Why would they want to finish checkout process? Give them something, an incentive, to go through the process, and I think that you'll always win.
Ryan Cramer: Yeah, I like that. You obviously, want to think about the customer, you want to think about the journey, but you don't want to be taking without receiving, there's too many transactions in that process that don't help out both sides. So that being said, is there... So going back to the ads and what you do. Obviously, the job is to build up funnels, to build leads, hopefully customer retention. If I'm a small business and now I'm an entrepreneur of me, I don't have the bandwidth and time and wherewithal to kind of fill the void in marketing. How do you help people conceptualize, this is the brand inaudible, this is what I'm going to go for. Where do people start? Are you putting them on a platform and then they start to diversify? Because if you're everywhere, it's really hard to really put in the time, money and effort if you don't have that. Where do you suggest people start? Is it on Instagram? Is it on LinkedIn? Or is it Facebook? Or where are we starting, building a brand?
Shelby Fowler: If you're e- commerce, I recommend starting on Facebook and Instagram. My mindset is, we tend to... Okay, as entrepreneurs, business owners, we're wearing many, many hats, right? And we tend to spread ourselves thin. And if you're anything like me, I do, right? So I have learned that focusing on one to two platforms is best. And once I have that nailed down, and I know it like the back of my hand, I know what works, what doesn't, I'm seeing a return on it, then I can expand, right? Then I can repurpose content for other platforms and tap into those and learn how those work. Because every platform, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, they're all different, they all work differently, they all have different algorithms, different nuances, if you will. So start and focus on one, you don't have to do all the things at once, you can eat the elephant one bite at a time, right? Start with one to two things, get comfortable with that. And you also then can, as your business grows, you can then also hire people that are experts at those platforms to grow those for you. Again, going back to thinking about who your ideal customer is, because if your ideal customer is somebody on LinkedIn, then yeah, go for that, focus on that area. If your ideal customer is somebody who's on YouTube all the time, then focus on that platform, right? I would say, focus on where your customer is, I wouldn't walk into... Okay, I use this example all the time, you know who your ideal client or customer is, and you know that they always eat lunch at this one restaurant every single day, all of the people in your kind of... at your dream list, all these different types of people that you would love to work with, they all eat lunch at the same spot every single day. And you're like, " You know what, I'm going to..." It would be stupid to eat lunch at a different place. It'd be stupid. So if your ideal clients and customers are all on Facebook, why are you spending so much time on YouTube? Why? Or Pinterest, Why? You know that they're all here, so then spend time here, go to where they're at, because you're going to have a lot better results.
Ryan Cramer: What are you seeing as like... So starting out, and I'm building my brand, if I'm an SMB or small, medium business, what are these go- to campaigns that I have to have established? Whether working with an agency like yourself, or doing it on my own. What are those go- to, you have to have these just to be baseline effective, building your brand and marketing for your business?
Shelby Fowler: Yeah, that's a great question. So for those that are e- commerce businesses, I would say you have to have... My recommendation is to have some top of funnel ads, meaning have some brand awareness ads just to get in front of people, because then if they're looking at your content, you can retarget them later, and the cost per customer acquisition will be a lot lower. So I always look at things long term, not necessarily what's a quick fix or a bandaid to a problem. I want to know what's going to create lasting success for you. So you have to have things that are going to pull people in and know about your brand. I like to do video ads a lot for these types of ads, even for my service providers, because we work with a lot of high- ticket coaches and service providers. So even if you were that type of business, I would use the same method, and that's to run a video view ad talking about your brand or a product and target an audience that you think would do well. I like to borrow other people's audiences. So think about other brands that are similar to yours.
Ryan Cramer: inaudible, yeah.
Shelby Fowler: Yeah. And you're going to target their following, because why wouldn't you... It's really not smart to target people that aren't already interested in what you sell. So for instance, if you sell iPhone cases, why aren't you targeting people who like Apple? Why would you target people who like Walmart? I mean, you could do that and it might work and definitely test it. But why wouldn't you target people who are already interested in what you sell? It's a lot more difficult to educate people about what you do and what you sell and what you're about, and talk them into buying your product, versus finding the people who are already needing and wanting something that you offer. So that's why I thin, figuring out who your... And this is going off a tangent of targeting, but figuring out who your ideal customer... What other brands that sell something similar, what are those brands? And then see if you can target their audience. So target people who follow them. And that's what I would do.
Ryan Cramer: Right. As I say, a good way to test that is liking a different page on either Instagram or Facebook, and you'll find a lot more different ads than you thought. It happens pretty instantaneously of... Gosh, one of the brands that kind of made an impact on me, I think like Solo Stove, for example. It's a very backyard campfire, kind of like containment system of inaudible everywhere, it burns quicker. Also, all these other benefits and whatnot. And once you click on that, and like their page, instantaneously, I swear, it was 10 different brands and companies that were something similar concept of a product that helped customers who like those kinds of brands, were a competitor. So those are definitely ways to win over audiences. When you like it, you're pretty close to either opting into that service or that solution, or you're just aware of that mentality of that product or service as well. So I think that'd be really cool. So you said video ads. For clarification, how long are we creating ads? Is it quick hitters, is it 60 second? How long are we creating these?
Shelby Fowler: Under two minutes is my rule of thumb. And if you can make it under two minutes, then you can run it on both Instagram and Facebook, and I would just target your ideal customer. And then you're building the audience. The goal isn't necessarily for you to get an immediate ROI off of this, like for people to click and buy something. inaudible they can click on it and go to your website maybe, but it's really to gather brand awareness. I want you to be seen as the go- to in your field and in your market, I want you to be the go- to. So doing something like that. Then what you can do is once you've been running... I would run that ad all the time, and it's not something you have to spend a ton of money on. But then you can retarget people who have watched that video, and you can run ads to a paid product. So now it also reduces your cost per acquisition, customer acquisition, because now they already are familiar with your brand. So it's not like they're super cold, they've never heard of you before, they've maybe watched a video on how to use your product, or if you're maybe like... I don't know, whatever you're selling, how to use it, or maybe featuring your products or featuring how you started your business. That's always a good one, people connect with other people. So if you can share your journey, " Oh, I started my company in 2018, and this is what we do, and we'd love to have you take a look at us, join us, click below to check out our store," whatever. Sharing your story, that could be powerful as well, get creative. But again, you can retarget the people who watched that video, and it's going to cost you a lot less money to get people to buy your products. So that's a trick-
Ryan Cramer: Yeah, I like that, I like that incentive. So Facebook has up to you how much time before you have to either click into it, or does it... On your phone, I'm trying to think if it stops at a certain point. For example, on reels or on... if you're on Instagram, and you're flipping through stories, and then there's an ad, you have to click watch more or keep watching at a certain threshold. Facebook has similar concepts, right? It's at a certain timeframe before you have to click into it or watch more. Is that true or no?
Shelby Fowler: Not with newsfeed ads. I mean, we've run them for like 30 minutes, we've had videos that we've run on Facebook newsfeed that are like 30 minutes. Now that's really long, though.
Ryan Cramer: It's very long. Wow, you did a good job if you captured somebody for 30 minutes crosstalk
Shelby Fowler: Yeah, it's very few people. However, I would definitely recommend keeping it under two minutes, because that will save you... First of all, people's attention spans, again, are not very long. So if you're able to get your point across quicker and more effectively, then you're going to... it's just going to be a lot more beneficial. And also, that keeps you from overthinking, because what happens a lot of times with entrepreneurs, right, you're like, " Oh, I want to..." And I find this with clients too, they're like, " Well, what should I say in my video?" And I'm like, " Honestly, the ads that do the best in this instance are not the super overproduced ones. It's a lot of times just like really organic looking ads." We've tested the ones that look... they're very well produced, they're beautiful, professionally done. And then we've tested ads that were just like somebody literally walking, talking on their phone, " Hey, this is blah, blah, blah, blah," showing stuff. And honestly, those ads that look more organic, they tend to do better. So test it for yourself. But I say that because we tend to overthink things like they have to be perfect. It doesn't have to be perfect. So if you just keep it under two minutes, get to the point. And then always end your video with a call to action, tell them what you want them to do. So don't leave them hanging, they watched your video and they're like, " Wow, that was great. Well, okay, I guess I'll keep scrolling." Right? Tell them what to do. So, " Hey, thanks for watching. Click below to like us on Facebook or click below to visit our store," whatever you want them to do. Give them some direction.
Ryan Cramer: Yeah. Tell you inaudible follow, like, share or whatever inaudible. I have seen that a lot where you have influencers or micro influencers doing an unboxing video where it's really an ad for a different type of product, and really tapping into that community, if you will, if you're trying to start to build on that brand, do an unboxing, do a, " Oh, I like the look and feel and texture," that natural interaction, because I think you're right, people like it when they're watching other organic... I'm going to go through that same process, potentially, see what they're actually doing, and I can replicate that in my mind. It's all subconscious. But that's really cool. As advertising has also changed, too. We mentioned Instagram became part of Facebook, there's always constantly new news or terms of service and what you can do as a brand. I have a lot of listeners who are always asking the question of, " How do I constantly stay up to date of what's changed? What can I highlight?" What are the different changes between years past and moving forward in terms of call to actions? Is it easier, harder, indifferent, in your opinion?
Shelby Fowler: Are we talking about the Facebook rule?
Ryan Cramer: Yeah, I would say like Facebook rules, and just advertising in general. Do you think it's become easier, in your opinion, to advertise on Facebook? Or is it harder?
Shelby Fowler: It's definitely become harder. When I started running ads, it was magical. I feel like during that time, and this must have been, gosh, 2016 or so, costs were just phenomenal.
Ryan Cramer: Super cheap, yeah.
Shelby Fowler: There was a lot less competition, right? And you could get away with a lot more. I think the more people that join in... Just like anything, right, then they have to regulate things more, because more people equals more people breaking rules and things like that. And I think also times have changed. I will tell you that it's definitely more difficult to run ads now. And I get this a lot with clients and people in my program, because I also teach ads in a 12- month program. A lot of those people, they joined because they were running their own ads several years ago, and they're like, " Wow..." They did so well. They tried to run ads in the last year, and they're like, " Totally different ballgame." So I think my advice to you on how to keep up with it is to get help. Unless you want to spend all day, every day researching it, find an expert to help you that can look at your stuff for you, make sure that you're following rules. You can always go google Facebook ad policies, because it'll pop up, Facebook has a lot of documentation on it. But again, they always update, there's constantly updates to things. I'll tell you the biggest ones, are especially those of you in health and fitness, being very careful about using weight loss terms and things, that will get you flagged and that could get your ad account shut down. Using-
Ryan Cramer: Yeah, guaranteed results.
Shelby Fowler: Yeah, you cannot guarantee results. You see this a lot with my business coaches. I have a lot of clients who are business coaches, and gosh, that's a big one, right? $ 100,000 in six months, you cannot say that. Another one, and I haven't used this in a long time or seen it used. But last year, I had someone reach out to me, they were creating their own ad and they put COVID and quarantine in their ad copy, in the written portion of their ad, and they got flagged and their ad account got shut down. So it can be a real pain in the butt, so you really got to make sure that you know what's triggering to Facebook at the time. And it may change because, I mean, this was right when quarantine started. So you have to be careful about using those types of terms. I mean, read Facebook's ad policies. But I would recommend finding somebody, you can always follow me, finding somebody who can help you and update you on things too, that you trust, right? Somebody who's not trying to necessarily... Somebody who's just going to update you on like, " Here's what's working, here's what's not," and that you can kind of ask questions too. Because there are people, experts that, like myself, my team, on a lot of other ad agencies out there, this is what we do, we spend the bulk of our time every day looking at this stuff. So of course, we're going to know it like the back of our hand, because it's the amount of hours we put in. It's a lot more difficult for those of you who are doing 100 other things in your business, right? Again, we go back to all the hats you wear. So you'd have to spend a lot of time to really know the nuances. So find somebody who knows it, that way you can just kind of pick their brain and see what's working.
Ryan Cramer: crosstalk, yeah. Without offending anyone, is there a way that entrepreneurs can approach an agency like yours? And how would they be able to gauge if they know what they're talking about? Because crosstalk
Shelby Fowler: Ooh, that's a great question.
Ryan Cramer: So yeah, you can spin it in any way. But how do I look for people who might just be, " Oh, yeah, come on board?" Is it policies that they're going to be trying to enforce that they're bringing you on as a client? Or is it creative works? Or what should a customer look for, potentially, before jumping in with an agency?
Shelby Fowler: This is a great question. If I were to hire an ad agency, this is what I would look for. I want to know, are they asking me questions about my revenue? If they're not asking you about how much money you make, then they're not a good agency? Here's why. And sometimes what I find is, when I talk to people, I always ask like, " Okay, on average, what is your monthly revenue in your website?" Or, " What ads are we... What offers do we want to run ads to? What products do you want to run out to? What are you currently doing?" I'm going to get inside of your business. What I find is that new entrepreneurs get very uncomfortable when I start asking those questions, because they don't know the answers. And that's when I know it's not a good fit, they're not ready for ads yet. So it's just as much an interview for you as it is for them, and even more for them to interview you. So if they're not asking you questions about your revenue, and what your products are doing, then I would say don't hire them. Because what I do is when I get on a call with somebody, and they're asking me about ads, like, " Hey, I want to run ads to XYZ," I'm going to ask them questions that, " Hey, what's your revenue on this?" I'm right here, I have a pen and paper. I'm doing math while they're talking. And I'm figuring out, are we going to be profitable with ads? Because-
Ryan Cramer: Because you need to factor in spend, you need to factor in what it would take if... Where they're at now, growth expectations, and all this stuff. You have to protect yourself as an agency. But people are on the same page with expectations. I'm assuming one person is going to be unhappy, if not both sides will be unhappy at the end.
Shelby Fowler: I like to always run numbers with people, because I think a lot of people... That's the biggest thing, is you get on a call with an agency or an ads manager and you want to know how much do I need to spend? What's my expected return? What does this even look like, right? And I would say like, " You have to go into advertising as it's a long game." So don't just like try it out for a month, you really want to commit to at least three months of it, and really more. When you're ready, you need to be ready, but it's going to be an investment. And again, it's not an expense, it's an investment. Building that brand awareness, but also reaching people that you would never have had access to with your company, right? So that's why I always say, especially for e- commerce businesses, make sure your ducks are in a row before you hire somebody too, make sure that you're getting organic reach and that you're getting sales coming in and you know your numbers, you know your average order value, your average cart value, you know your lifetime value of a customer, you know, " Okay, people normally spend about$ 63 on average with me, but my lifetime value of a customer is like 200 something dollars." So that tells me with advertising, we can spend a little bit more maybe to acquire a customer, because you're going to get that on the back end, right? Because maybe you have a product that is... They're going to have to rebuy, right? So I want you to know those things before you run ads. And you need to hire somebody who's asking you those important questions. Because if they're asking you those questions, that means that they're strategizing, they're thinking if it's going to be profitable, and a good ad agency will tell you like, " Hey, we're not going to take you on because you're not ready." And they should tell you how much you would need to pay in ads. And a lot of you that means you're going to, at minimum, spend like 1, 000 bucks a month, that's at the least end of things. So going into it with that. Then I always like... When I hire anybody, I like to see testimonials and case studies. So if they can give you some stories. I always like when I get on sales calls with any type of service provider, I like to know when I'm talking to them, if they use examples of other clients when they're talking to me, and that gives me kind of a gauge if they have worked with clients like me. So for instance, if you say, " Oh, I'm having trouble with XYZ. And we've really tapped out on our organic marketing, and we're making about... We've hit this much in revenue for the last four months. So I know we're doing really well, but I know, it's time to really run ads, because I don't want to bring another employee on to do XYZ, I'd rather run ads, so we can free up some of our time, blah, blah, blah, blah." Oh, my gosh, yeah, I totally agree. We had a client that did that before, and they were hitting this too, and blah, blah, blah. If somebody is giving you an example of a client that they'd worked with, that's a good indication that they know what they're talking about. So yeah, don't be embarrassed or shy or uncomfortable if they're asking you questions. That's an important indication that they know what they're talking about, and they're thinking through what you're telling them.
Ryan Cramer: Absolutely. I would say that another example to kind of see that play out, for people who have trouble thinking why that would make sense, it's for like investors, right? Look at Shark Tank, they always ask those hard hitting questions. You're giving us these numbers, we need to know specifics of have you thought through these processes, what are you going to spend the money on? So on and so forth. So that's why, when you're entering the... I consider working with agencies partnerships, right?
Shelby Fowler: Yeah, it is.
Ryan Cramer: Growth partners of, you want to see them grow, so that they invest more into their business, into you, and your own business, so that's why everyone has to be on the same page. When you don't have all of the answers, all the questions you need to be successful, that's where people get hung up, they fire agencies, they fire clients, people are just upset in general, like, " Oh, they were just terrible." That might not be the case, it might just be you all weren't on the basic communication page that needs to be successful. So that's really cool. I mean, that's great, those are great tips. Real quick before the top of the hour, you mentioned you have a course and there's other things with Fempire Media and other things that you're helping other people kind of empower them, get their business to grow. What is that, Shelby? What are we inaudible to work with you or even just to learn more about your insights and your expertise? How can they tap into that?
Shelby Fowler: Absolutely. So I have done for you services, obviously, we have an agency done for you ads. But what I found, and this was kind of really from, I guess, summer of last year, is that people were asking me questions about their ads all the time. I am of the belief like you cannot create more... There's no such thing as too much free content, I just have so much free content, and I believe in creating a lot of value. But what I found was people were asking me tons and tons and tons of questions. My DMs were loaded with people like, " Hey, I need help with this. I need help with running ads. Do you know I cannot afford to hire an agency right now inside a three or six month contract, plus run ads on top of that, that's just not where I'm at right now." Now, some of you, you're like, " Yes, I don't want to touch this at all. I just want someone to do it for me, and I'm ready for that." In which case, I say go hire an expert to do it for you. But a lot of people were saying, " Shelby, I want to learn how to do it myself, but where do I go?" The thing about ads is this, there's no one size fits all, there's really not. Every business is a little bit different. Your numbers are going to be different than Joe Schmo's over here. Everyone's business is slightly different. And I looked at tons of courses, some of the courses I had bought and gone through their process just to see how it had laid out and everything. But they were all missing components. And so what I... I just really couldn't put my integrity at line and recommend something that I just knew had gaps. So I would give them like, " Okay, if you're wanting to learn this, go here, but if you're wanting to learn this, you go here." So it's like piecemealing things together, right? There was such a gap in the market. And like I said, I just don't think that a course... It's the one size fits all method, and that just doesn't work with ads, because your ad strategy is going to be different than somebody else's. So I created Fempire Ads Academy out of that. So my team and I really sat down and were like, " Here's the gap," people are asking us for ads... They're wanting to pay us, essentially, because people would be like, " Shelby, do you have something available?" And I inaudible, "No, I don't. You can either hire us or watch my free stuff."
Ryan Cramer: Right. No in between.
Shelby Fowler: Yeah, there was no in between. And so that's why we created Fempire ads Academy. I rarely create anything in my business without a lot of people asking me to do it. And then I'm like, "All right, fine, I'll do it."
Ryan Cramer: The demand is there.
Shelby Fowler: Yeah, there's a demand. So this is really... It's a passion project, really. But it's very fulfilling, because it's helped so many people that have enrolled in the program. It is a 12- month program, because I think it takes... it's going to take you a good year of getting that support. And instead of just providing a course material, which we do, we have tons of videos you can go through that walk you through everything, every type of ad you can imagine, but it's the support, right? So it's having somebody, an ads coach who runs ads for a living inside that checks in with you weekly, and that you get a one on one with every month. So it's really that done with you ads, right? So it's somebody who, when you're like, " Shelby, I'm running ads. And I don't know if this is... Does this look okay, is it working?" You have somebody, you have calls every single week, we have three live calls that you can hop on and get help with an expert, looking at your account and seeing what's happening. We have a copywriter in the program who looks at your sales page and landing page and website copy, so we can see... Because it's not just about your ads, maybe your website sucks. And so you need somebody to look at your website and be like, " Hey, we need to change this copy or this design, so that your ads are actually bringing you sales and you're not losing them." So that's basically how we've created this program, is it's a ton of support. Because I just don't think courses in this particular industry are that effective, because you can go through courses, and people tell me all the time they buy courses, and they still have tons of questions. So that is Fempire Ads Academy. So for people who are wanting to learn how to do it, or they have an assistant who wants to go through it for them, like they want to keep it in house, they don't want to hire somebody outside of their business, they can run their assistant through the program and have their ads set up for them and get that support.
Ryan Cramer: That's amazing. Yeah, and it's all there on your website fempiremedia.com. So for more information, obviously go and check that out in the comment section, everyone, if you're watching this. If you happen to be listening this, this will also be in the show notes, as well. Shelby, thank you so much for hopping on Crossover Commerce today. I would talk strategy and philosophical ads and media all day long with you-
Shelby Fowler: Same.
Ryan Cramer: ...but I know you have other people to talk about... talk with, I should say. And like you said, that's really cool that you put that together to kind of like really help people understand it's not just a quick fix, it's a long- term strategy, and what you need to do to help build your brand your business, really invest in yourself. I like the term investment, when people usually inaudible, I always get giddy instead of spend, it's investing into yourself or your business. Thank you so much for hopping on today, now friend of the show. Thank you so much. And people, if they want to learn inaudible connected to you, they can do that through the website. Correct?
Shelby Fowler: Yes, absolutely.
Ryan Cramer: Awesome. Awesome. Well, thank you so much for hopping on Crossover Commerce today, it was lovely having you here and thanks for giving us the insights on Facebook ad strategies and just building out a brand in general.
Shelby Fowler: Thank you so much, Ryan. I hope you have a wonderful day.
Ryan Cramer: Yeah, you too, Shelby, thank you so much.
Shelby Fowler: Thank you.
Ryan Cramer: Awesome. Oh, I'm going to pull that out there. Look at this, producing and trying to go all in one, can't do it sometimes. It's a Monday, give me a break people. If you're watching that, I apologize for that quick turnover. But that was super fascinating to talk with Shelby and kind of go through philosophy on when you should start implementing ad strategies and different marketing strategies to help build your brand and business and grow inaudible. Tell us what you think in the comment section if you're watching this live. Let us know if you have other strategies that you think are good to invest in. Is it Facebook? Is it Instagram? We didn't even talk through TikTok or any other social media strategies in order to start building business and growth and buzz about your business. Where's that lasting branding going to come from? Is it those platforms? Or is it just through simple, media digital ads, through Google, Facebook, shopping ads, let us know what you think. But my name is Ryan Cramer. This is Crossover Commerce. Thanks so much for hopping in episode 131 of Crossover Commerce. We'll catch you guys next time. Take care.
Ryan Cramer of Crossover Commerce talks with Shelby Fowler of Fempire Media about Facebook Ad strategies for e-commerce businesses.
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