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Unprepared Ep 6 - What's happening with Facebook & Instagram ads? With Kurt Bullock

Timestamps

  • [00:00] - Intro
  • [01:25] - Changes in running ads
  • [02:52] - Impact of the pandemic on businesses
  • [04:42] - Things to keep in mind

Resources:

Key Points:

  • Generally, clients are doing well during the pandemic. Things have at least held even or improved when it comes to paid traffic.
  • Some businesses have been rolling back their ad spends since things are going slow for them. 
  • It's important to switch campaigns suitable to what's happening now and speak to their customer differently. 
  • Customers’ lives are different than before so their wants and needs are different. 
  • Since preferences are changing, showcase products that are a better fit for this moment to keep your business well. 
  • Be meticulous and get a good grasp of your costs so you know if your business is actually successful or not. 
  • Even if you have a big SKU count, start with your bestsellers. Find out how your margins work with that and adjust your pricing if needed especially if you're getting into paid advertising.
  • If your margin isn't big enough for you to make money when you’re already paying for it, that channel won't work ever.
  • Use a top page banner or something similar to inform your customers about the changes in your operations. 
  • Businesses can also create another page that acknowledges the situation and speaks directly to customers' current concerns like lead times, returns policy, etc.

Transcript

Chase Clymer  

Alrighty, in another episode of the Unprepared series, I'm going to keep this going up until we can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I don't know. Or maybe it's just fun and we keep doing this stuff. 

Anyway, today, welcome to the show. It's hilarious that you're on the show today...and your podcast episode for Honest Ecommerce also came out today, and we recorded that so long ago.

Kurt Bullock  

Yeah, it was months ago.

Chase Clymer  

Yeah, so I guess, let people know who you are, Kurt. What you do. Maybe a quick...what our podcast is about. And then we can get a little more specific into how maybe those strategies are a bit different with what's going on?

Kurt Bullock  

Sure, sounds good. Yeah, I'm Kurt. I run an agency called the Produce Department and we specialize in paid traffic for Ecommerce brands, specifically, you know, those that are doing a million and out to serve who we like to work with.

Chase Clymer  

Awesome. And then so we did a super deep dive on Facebook and Instagram ads together on the podcast. Got a lot of praise from it, actually. It came out yesterday. We're doing this on Tuesday. 

So that one's a really great episode to go check out. It's a lot longer. I think we were going for almost 40 minutes talking about all sorts of strategies to kind of level up your ads. Since we recorded that the world's kind of changed a bit. So I guess, how is that affecting your business? How is that affecting how you're running ads?

Kurt Bullock  

Well, if I jump into how ads are changing...I mean, I guess I was affecting my business. Generally, clients are doing well, which was something that we were really uncertain about. When this first started, we didn't know which way things were going to go. In general, things have at least held even or improved when it comes to paid traffic. 

There have been some accounts that have struggled for sure, but I was pleased to see that in general, things are improving.

Chase Clymer  

That's great. I know that on our end of things, some of our clients actually are having some record months, especially going into March. March was a record month for one of our clients. Are you seeing anything similar?

Kurt Bullock  

Yeah, I mean, we actually...one of our clients broke his six-year, all-time, high sales day. Even beating all of his Black Friday's. So we're seeing some really crazy results in some cases. And in other cases, we're just seeing really strong results.

Chase Clymer  

Yeah. And then I mean, I guess we should still really be honest, though. On the other side of things, we have had some clients on our end, they've had to slow things down because they physically can't go fulfill those orders. So they've rolled back their ad spends and stuff like that. 

Do you think it's very, is it vertical, specific where you're seeing the bigger wins? Or is it kind of all over the place? Are there some that are winning more than others?

Kurt Bullock  

So it isn't falling along the lines that I thought it would fall along necessarily. So for instance, I have a brand. Lifestyle men's, lifestyle brand sells like t-shirts, hoodies, things like that have done really well. Those are non-essential items. I mean, clothing is essential, but you wouldn't necessarily guess that they would do particularly well. 

They've done well. I've seen, you know, I've got clients that are doing sort of supplements that are doing well like vitamins. But for clients that weren't doing well, and I think that...so we've had a number of clients that started off in the decline. Where what we were doing before, just wasn't working any longer. 

And one of the biggest switches that we've made, or in the campaign structure and the ads themselves is first, just messaging the moment. Acknowledging that your customers’ lives are different than they were just a couple [of] months ago, a couple [of] weeks ago, even their needs and wants are different. And so what that meant to some of our clients was that we needed to speak to them differently. 

And also, in some cases, we switched out the products that we were leading with. We might have had a particular product that sold really well, a month ago, that started tanking. We found in some cases, different products that fit this moment a little bit better. Put those in our prospecting campaigns, and in some cases that has made all the difference. It's gone from sinking to winning.

Chase Clymer  

Yeah, no, those are great things to keep in mind during this. Other than what you're doing on the ad side of things, is there anything else that you think people should be thinking of during this time? It definitely threw a lot of businesses for a loop. I know ours is changing up a few things. Just like things to keep in mind while they're at experiencing this, obviously, everyone's experiencing at the same time.

Kurt Bullock  

So this is still related to ads, but just business in general. And that is figuring out your costs, getting a really good grasp on your costs. That's something that we've been working through with our clients. You know, figuring out in the case of paid traffic, what is your break-even return on ad spend? 

So if you have a 60% margin, where your costs equal 40%. Right? 

Chase Clymer  

Hmm.

Kurt Bullock  

Then you can just take one divided by point six and that will give you 1.67. And that's going to be your breakeven row as. So that is a really good thing to keep in mind as you do this. You got to know if you're winning or not. And that goes for running paid traffic in general, but especially now. You're not trying to dig yourself in a hole.

Or with your...if you want to do with your cost track with your CPA, right? 

Chase Clymer  

Yeah.

Kurt Bullock  

Your acquisition. Yeah, take your average order value. Let's say it's 100 bucks, subtract your $40 worth of costs. And I like to include, you know, shipping merchant processing fees, get your number as close to reality as possible. And then you'll come out, you know, let's say it was 40 bucks with that $60 number, which is going to be your breakeven CPA. So knowing your costs is really important. So that you're not getting yourself in a hole of thinking that you're winning when maybe you're not.

Chase Clymer  

Yeah, that's a great piece of advice there. I know a lot of people love to this is going to come out shitty, but whatever. They love to play business, but not do the hard work. And if you're not really meticulous, and understand what it costs you to run your business and what things cost when you buy them to then resell them for more and there's your margin. If you're not figuring that out, you're not going to know if you're actually successful or not. There's a lot of bleed that happens. 

So this time, I'm sure everyone that watches this has more time on their hands than they used to. And even if you have a big SKU count, start with the bestsellers. Find out how your margins work with that and if you need to, change your pricing. You need to, especially if you're getting into paid advertising. If your margin isn't big enough for you to make money when you're putting paid dollars behind it, you've got a failing...that channel won't work ever.

Kurt Bullock  

Right. Just one other thing that just came to mind too is we were going through customer surveys, on-site surveys, for one of our clients. And it became pretty clear that there was a lot of confusion by customers as to whether the business was open and still sending things out if everything was in stock, are shipping times what they were before, or can we expect something different? And I think that's a big hurdle that customers are facing, and you can acknowledge that with an on-site, you know, bar on the top of your page or something like that. And that makes a big difference. 

Chase Clymer  

Yeah.

Kurt Bullock  

As well. So just acknowledging the situation and speaking directly to customers’ concerns about right now.

Chase Clymer  

Yeah, with most of our clients, we have encouraged them to have a banner at the top of the page with a...because you can't fit all the information on that banner. Make another page about it. Talk about your lead times and your return policy. Some people even want to know like, how are you doing as a business owner? You know what I mean? I've seen some people put some videos up kind of like this, like, hey, this is what's going on within our business right now. Because I'm sure you're curious. You should have some brand advocates out there that really love what you're doing, and I'm sure they're gonna want to know from a personal perspective how you're doing.

Kurt Bullock  

Absolutely. Yeah, I think that's a great way to set it up. 

Chase Clymer  

Awesome. Kurt, thank you so much for coming on today. I want to keep these under 10 minutes. I'll tell you why. We put them on LinkedIn. It's the first time I've been doing anything on LinkedIn. So hey.

Kurt Bullock  

Right on. Well, it's been fun. 

Chase Clymer  

Awesome. Thank you so much. 

Kurt Bullock  

Thanks, Chase.

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A few weeks ago the world changed forever. Every business, every entrepreneur, every single person was unprepared for the sudden change we'd all experience. I'm going to use this time to create content focused on what you can do right now to help your business grow. We're all in this together, we're all unprepared.