Category: Internet Marketing

What We Learned from $1 Million in Ad Spend in One Month!

We spent over $1 Million in January…here’s what we learned.

In January we spent over $1 Million on Facebook ads in one of our businesses…

But don’t worry… I don’t expect you to believe me without proof…

Here’s the Amex statement for January…

And if you still don’t believe me or think I made this image up, then feel free to close the page, never return, and forget we exist…no offense taken.

I mean seriously, if you had told me one year ago, I wouldn’t have believed I’d be doing $1 Million in advertising in one month!

But advertising, marketing and sales is really what makes a business grow. So if you aren’t willing to spend time and money on marketing, you aren’t really expecting to grow your business.

(Visit www.AngelInvestorsNetwork.com/evaluation to get your free business evaluation today)

Now, I’ve run multi-million dollar organizations before, but they were all someone else’s, so I wasn’t involved in every aspect of the business.

With this business I’ve been very involved in everything.

Now, in full disclosure, this is an eCommerce business selling products online all over the world…

Not a coaching business, info business, or service business, but real products to real people.

During that time we did over $2.4 Million in sales, so our marketing cost was about 42% of sales.

Again, I don’t expect you to believe me (and honestly don’t care if you do), but here’s the Shopify dashboard just in case:

Okay, so I’m assuming if you’re still reading then you are at least somewhat curious what we did, how we did it, and what we learned, right?

Well what we did was simple:

  1. Find great products people really want
  2. Create engaging advertising that will entice people to buy
  3. Follow up, follow up, follow up!
  4. Sell the product
  5. Deliver our product to the customer and keep them happy!

How we did it is simple as well:

  1. We ran video ads on Facebook
  2. Retargeted customers who went to our site
  3. Created email follow up campaigns
  4. Optimized everything
  5. Rinsed and repeated…

Now, the important part you need to know are the lessons learned. If you are looking to scale a business, then these lessons will serve you very well.

I’ve run everything from a one-man shop, to a small healthcare practice, to a large division in a billion dollar company, and I can tell you these lessons serve well for all different size businesses.

(Want a free business evaluation? Head over to www.AngelInvestorsNetwork.com/evaluation)

Major Lessons Learned

  1. Communicate with Your Customers!
    I can’t stress this one enough. No matter how great your product is, how loveable you might be, or how incredibly popular your brand, poor communication can kill your chances of success at any stage!Have you ever placed an order at a restaurant and the food came out all wrong? How did you feel when you got your order? Like they didn’t care and didn’t listen, right?Well it doesn’t matter if you’re a solo-operator or a billion-dollar brand…If your customers don’t feel they are being heard, they will turn on you. This means checking in on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, LinkedIn, google reviews, Yelp, your website – anywhere and everywhere your customers are looking for answers! We even had someone report our business to the Better Business Bureau because they thought we were a fraud…turns out that our email was in their spam box, so even when you do try to communicate it can backfire. Luckily we did follow up and communicated even more after receiving the notice, so the dispute was dropped.
  2. Never Rely on One Avenue for Customers
    This is not a new lesson, and one that you wouldn’t think needs to be stated, but it’s true:If you are relying on one media source for your customers to find you, you are dooming yourself from the start!We relied heavily on Facebook, and at one point we were doing over $50k per day in ad spend on that site. Well, one of our ads was deemed in violation of their guidelines, and as a result the entire business manager was shut down! 😡😡😡Imagine having a blazing fire keeping you warm in the midst of a blizzard and all of a sudden your fuel supply is stolen! Not a good place to be.This brings me to number three…
  3. Always Have a Backup Plan
    We knew that this was a possibility, so we had several business managers with several logins, and several credit cards just in case one of these was shut down. We ended up needing all of them, and we kept having to resolve disputes and errors to ensure that the business stayed open.We call these redundancies, and you need them for your advertising, your fulfillment, your databases, computer systems, suppliers…anything and everything that you rely on to run a business. If you have just one of anything that is critical to running your business, you are asking for problems.
  4. Build a Strong Foundation Before You Build the Walls!
    Ever seen a house built? Did they start with the ceiling first, or the foundation?Stupid question, right? Well unfortunately most people build their businesses using the wrong sequence. There’s a fine line you have to walk when building a business, and there’s always a Catch-22 you need to be aware of:Your business can only scale as fast as you can deliver on your sales promises!When you sell something, you are under a legal, ethical, and moral obligation to provide that thing or service to your customer in the way they expect to receive it! This is critical…If you aren’t ready to fulfill on your promises (i.e. deliver the product, complete the service, etc.), then you should not be selling it! This is different than “sell it before it’s ready”, which is what we coach entrepreneurs to do…I mean that if you can’t feasibly fulfill your orders in a reasonable time, or have no way to catch up if you catch a massive wave, then you shouldn’t be selling it!The foundation of a business is the ability to deliver to the customer what you promised. This is the operations-end of the business. Not sexy or fun, but vital to lasting success and continued growth.
  5. Know Your Numbers!
    It’s very easy to get caught up in the excitement of selling your products or services, but don’t ever take your eye off the bottom line!For example, we were selling thousands of products daily around the world (God bless the internet!), and we had to know which products we could buy, sell, and ship profitably…Not on a quarterly, monthly, or even weekly basis, but ON A DAILY BASIS!Imagine spending $50k per day on ads, another $50k per day on products and fulfillment, and then only making $75k per day in sales…How long would it take to go out of business? Maybe a day or two for some, a week or two for others, right?Don’t be fooled by big businesses with billion-dollar top line revenues, wishing you could be like them…Many of them are losing money by the fistful day in and day out because they aren’t accounting for their business properly.If you run a business, you need to know both the static fixed costs, as well as the variable costs that eat away at your profit. And anything is better than nothing…we had to estimate shipping, merchant fees, chargebacks, and refunds until we had a track record we could rely upon…

    And we simply used a Google Sheet to track it! You don’t need to be overly sophisticated to know your numbers, but you must know your numbers! We had to shut off ads and products within hours of turning them on, but wouldn’t have been able to without knowing our numbers.

Shoring Up Your Business

Running a business is hard enough, but scaling a business significantly is a real challenge. There are so many little things that can go wrong and eat your lunch.

We don’t want that to happen to you, and if you’d like to someday be doing over $1 Million per month in sales (let alone advertising), then you need to really focus on shoring up your business.

This is the SSOS of running and growing a business…

  • Structure your business properly with the right tools, technology, and people.
  • Systemize your business using automation where possible and standard operating procedures everywhere!
  • Optimize everything from your sales and marketing, to your people and processes on a regular basis.
  • Scale your business only after you know the wheels won’t fall off the bus as you speed up.

If you want to learn how you can build and scale your business the right way, then head over to www.AngelInvestorsNetwork.com/evaluation to receive a free business evaluation and determine the red flags in your business!

How To Market To Investors Online ~ How To Market YOUR Crowdfunding Campaign

We have cracked the code to helping companies raising capital via “equity crowdfunding” using our direct response marketing strategies.  Companies are always asking “how do we market to investors online”?  Or “how do we market our crowdfunding campaign online”?  We can get the job done!

Watch this short testimonial from Steve Sadler (CEO of Allegiancy) and if you need help marketing your crowdfunding campaign, or any marketing needs please fill out the form below.

Fill out my online form.

‘Shark Tank’ Star Robert Herjavec’s Top 5 Small-Business Marketing Tips

When Robert Herjavec wanted to start his own company, people discouraged him. They said he couldn’t do it. He had zero experience, he didn’t have a business degree and he knew nothing about running a business.

The headstrong Shark Tank star investor steamrolled ahead anyway. In 1990, he launched his first company, BRAK Systems, which he later sold to AT&T.

“I only knew that I loved what I do and how to work hard,” Herjavec told Entrepreneur. Today, Herjavec Group, his Toronto-based Internet security firm, has grown from three workers in 2003 to 220 employees strong, and it’s on pace to bank $150 million in revenue this year, according to the company.

Herjavec’s commitment to taking the risky entrepreneurial leap — despite the naysayers, and he had plenty of them — has more than paid off. So what if he didn’t have formal training? He also didn’t possess the needed marketing know-how, at least not at first and not all on his own. But that was fine by him.

“Like many entrepreneurs, we didn’t really know what to do at first,” he says. “As a startup, it’s almost overwhelming. I learned that’s where a third party comes in to help you. They take the marketing pressure off so you can do more of what you love to do — your business.”

Countless marketing agencies the world over aim to do just that. One such company is Deluxe Corporation. Herjavec announced a new partnership with the Shoreview, Minn.-based firm last week. Together, they unveiled a series of small-business marketing videos. The short “Behind the Business” vignettes feature the multi-millionaire celebrity entrepreneur alongside a few of the companies he’s invested in on Shark Tank.

The videos share tips on how to best market your startup. We picked Herjavec’s brain for a few, too. Here are his top five:

1. Target your customers where they hang out on social media.  

Simply having several social-media accounts for your company isn’t enough. To fully leverage the potential for acquiring new customers on social media, you must also market to them where they live online.

“With Facebook and other social platforms, you can have highly targeted marketing campaigns to attract customers who are interested in the product or service that you have,” Herjavec says. “Find the user groups they meet up in on social and win them over there.”

As an example, he points to The Natural Grip, a fitness product startup he invests in. The company makes special gloves for people who do Crossfit, gymnastics or lift weights. “That community, athletes, really likes to hang out in certain places on Facebook and we went there to find and engage them,” he says.

Marketing direct to potential customers on active fan pages and buzzy user groups within the popular social-media mecca turned out to be a smart move. It gained the sporty startup a grip of new customers, according to Herjavec.

2. Don’t be afraid to sell direct online.

Even as the ecommerce economy continues to surge, many small businesses old and new still don’t have shopping carts on their websites. Herjavec says failing to sell directly online is “foolishly leaving money on the table.” He believes that if your customers trust and believe in your brand, they’ll buy what you sell on the Internet.

Of those that do offer online shopping, the feature is often set up so poorly that it frustrates and confuses customers. The result: Potential buyers end up abandoning their shopping carts altogether and the sale is dead on arrival. “It quickly becomes such a hassle to go through with the transaction that they say ‘forget it,’” he says. “Don’t let that happen.”

If you don’t know how to set up an online shopping cart, Herjavec suggests leaving it to the pros. “There are lots of great companies that can handle it for you.”

3. Use stunning imagery to grab customers’ attention.

“People are very busy and the first thing that hits them in any marketing communication is a really pretty picture, not words,” he says, “and I know that sounds really trivial but that engages people and gets them to look at more of your outreach.”

Herjavec’s onto something here. Visual imagery is often more immediately engaging than monotonous walls of text, as the brain is widely believed to processes visuals thousands of times faster than text. Images transmit messages in an instant, not only making your marketing messages pop, but also rendering them more memorable, too.

4. Market to your customers how they like to be marketed to.

“Your customers have a certain amount of information they’re willing to absorb about your brand and certain ways they like to receive that information in over a certain amount of time,” he says. It’s your job to pay attention and learn how they are best marketed to.

How much information can they handle with each outreach? How do they prefer to be communicated with (via social-media updates, e-newsletter, text notifications, etc.)? How much communication is too much and how much is not enough? If  marketing email subscribers start dropping off, find out why and adjust accordingly.

When it comes to Herjavec’s own contact preferences as a consumer, he feels being marketed to by email once every couple of weeks is more than enough. “I’m a big car guy, so a lot of the car companies market to me, but they’ve learned when enough information is enough for me and that’s once or twice a month,” he says. “Once a day is too much.”

5. Hire a marketing agency so you can do more of what you love.

Outsourcing your marketing needs to an agency dedicated to taking your brand awareness to the next level frees you up to get back to business. If you don’t have the budget to hire a marketing firm, Herjavec suggests partnering with someone you trust who has successfully marketed their own business.

Whatever you do, he says, don’t take the whole job on yourself, not if you don’t have the experience to back it up.

“I always say, if you’re not a marketing person, you didn’t start the businesses to do marketing, so don’t do it,” he says. It’s crucial that you focus your energy as a small-business owner on the core reason you started up in the first place.

“You wanted to take on the world with the product or service you had, that did something better than anybody else. And that was what you were passionate about, that that’s what caused you to quit your job, get a second mortgage or whatever the reason was.”

The Formula To Double Your Revenues In The Next 12 Months

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Here is the formula for doubling YOUR revenues in the next 12 months…

L x C x M x F = Growth Potential

Here’s the legend…

  • L = leads
  • C = customers
  • M = margin
  • F = frequency of purchase

It looks like this…

Leads x Customers x Margin x Frequency = Growth Potential

Doubling any of the variables above (leads, customers, margin, frequency of purchase) will double your revenues.

Double them all and you will 16X your business.  Can you double them all?  Doubtful.

Can you double one of them?  Two of them?  Even 3 of them?

Absolutely.

In other words, there are 4 levers you have available to double your revenues in 12 months…

  • Increase the number of leads
  • Increase the number of customers
  • Increase the margin
  • Increase the frequency of purchase

Work on optimization of everyone one of these areas and you are virtually guaranteed to double your revenues.  To get more info on marketing please check out Angel Money Marketing LIVE

Angel Money Marketing LIVE

Nine Lies of Sales and Marketing

Perry MarshallLie #1: ‘Make more phone calls today than you did yesterday.’

If making phone calls really, actually works for you, then I suppose you should make more of them. But most of the time, as I explain in ‘Guerilla Marketing for Hi-Tech Sales People,’ the phone calls aren’t really working that well in the first place. And doing more of what already isn’t working is just dumb. Plus, unsolicited phone calls just annoy people.

Today when you hear a motivational speaker getting sales people all revved up to go make phone calls and endure rejection, picture this in your mind: 1000 soldiers with sticks and rocks in hand charge valiantly onto a battlefield, where they are cut down with machine guns, tanks and artillery fire – dying in droves.
Actually a tiny handful of extraordinary, talented warriors will survive by strength, testosterone and wit. But the odds are heavily tilted against them. Only the very, very best even survive, much less prosper.

If your only weapon in sales is your telephone and your ability to withstand rejection, you’re fighting tanks with sticks. And as the 21st century unfolds, the problem’s going to get worse, not better.

Think about this: about 30 years ago, factory workers began to be displaced by machines and cheap foreign labor. The worker cost $12 per hour but the robot only cost $2.50 per hour.

Anyone willing to work for $2.50 per hour?

Lots of sales people are doing just that.

Today, sales people are being displaced by websites and media. Imagine for a moment that you were a door to door book salesman today (they were quite common 100 years ago) — how would you ever compete with Amazon, or a bookstore like Borders or Barnes & Noble?

Impossible. You’d starve to death. And you couldn’t possibly provide your customers a similar level of service or selection.

A person selling books door to door is only slightly different from somebody who sells insurance or telecommunications or any number of other products and services today.
But here’s the TRUTH: IF you carve out a niche for yourself (I’ll cover that in installment #3 and #9) and IF you use automated tools like your website and direct mail, you CAN increase the efficiency of your business and you CAN compete.

And you won’t antagonize your customers in the process and you won’t need those big doses of motivation.

Listen up: You MUST carve out a niche, and you MUST use your communication tools shrewdly.

Most companies don’t. Most websites are designed with no particular purpose in mind. Most companies don’t have any idea how to create a direct mail piece that makes the phone ring. (That’s why they think direct mail doesn’t work.)

BOTTOM LINE: 1) You MUST have marketing tools that do the grunt work for you. 2) You must tweak those tools until they’re effective.
Often you’ll try something and it doesn’t work the first time.

But… the good news is, once it works, it will usually work for YEARS.

That’s why time spent on marketing is absolutely the best time investment you can make – IF you’re educated about what really works and what doesn’t.

In the next issue I’ll attack Lie #2: ‘You’ve just got to get in front of more people.’

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