When Your Ads Aren’t Working

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Everyone’s in a flurry about the impact of iOS14 changes on Facebook advertising.

While it seems to be taking many business owners and strategists by surprise, the signs were all there. After all, these privacy changes were announced months ago. And there’s likely to be another ripple in early 2022 when Google Chrome changes their cookie policies.

I’m not here to tell you what you need to do to get your Facebook Ads running better. I’ll let the Facebook Ad experts figure that out and tell us.

But if you’re tired of your marketing strategies and tactics getting turned on their head each time these other businesses make a big change, then it’s time to make sure you’ve got the right marketing foundation.

This isn't the first time...

This isn’t the first time that a third-party change has had major impacts on businesses. It’s talked about most often in SEO when you hear case studies of sites losing 99% of their organic traffic.

In 2018, Facebook wanted to prioritize “meaningful social interactions” – causing thousands of business leaders to open Facebook Groups with posts that showed up in the newsfeed more often than posts from pages. They updated this even more in 2019 to prioritize the content you engage with the most often. (That’s why you see posts from your Mom-meme group more often than your family reunion planning group!)

And it won’t be the last.

We can already see the signals that this isn’t last the big potential change to how Facebook ads reach highly targeted audiences. When Google changes their cookie policies for Chrome, we’re likely to see another big change.

And who knows – maybe another platform will come in and displace where you’re building. (Remember MySpace?)

That’s why it’s important to put your eggs in a few different marketing baskets.

So now what?

I’m definitely the kind of marketer who doesn’t mind a bit of excitement and change when I know there’s a solid foundation. I also like the roller coasters at a theme park better than one at a parking lot carnival!

The point is that you need your own home base.

In Minimum Viable Marketing, that home base is the combination of your own website and your email list.

How to recover when your ads stop workingIf you’re worried and struggling right now, know that it’s ok. We did marketing and built businesses before there were Facebook Ads. We’ll do marketing and build businesses long after this kerfluffle is over.

The best time to build your website and email list is when you start your business. The second best time is to get started now.

Of course, building your email list is a long-term investment. In the short term while you’re working out the kinks of Facebook ads you can also:

  1. Remarket to your existing customers with products or services they haven’t bought yet
  2. Test a new ad platform like Google Ads, Pinterest Ads, or YouTube.
  3. Work with an influencer or develop a partnership with a complimentary business to expand your reach
  4. Keep doing organic social posting to engage existing audiences
  5. Create a new program that will drive buzz like a challenge or a mini-course

While you’re doing these things, you’ll also want to be building your email list to help you weather any future storms.

Here are the four steps to get started with email marketing

Step 1: Pick an email service provider.

The main things to consider when choosing an email service provider are functionality, deliverability, and budget.

With MailerLite, you can start with a free plan (for up to 1000 subscribers and 12,000 total emails a month). You get all the most important functionality (like automatic email sending for welcome emails and funnels) as well as segmentation and a variety of sign-up forms. They also have a 90% deliverability rate according to EmailToolTester.com.

If you’re looking for something more powerful, consider ActiveCampaign, ConvertKit, and Ontraport. Each of these go beyond the basic functionality of MailerLite and include more advanced capabilities with deeper segmentations and even CMS-style capabilities. Of course, all of these capabilities come with price tags.

Step 2: Set up your email service provider and an opt-in form.

Remember, you can’t just add people to your mailing list without their permission. Whether you decide to offer a freebie or not – get a form added to your site, or even just create a landing page that you can share.

Customize the initial welcome emails just enough to make them sound like you. You can upgrade to a welcome sequence later.

Step 3: Start sharing!

All those places that you’ve been building an audience before this… go start promoting the heck out of your shiny new email list. You can offer a give-away for new subscribers, give sneak peeks of upcoming content or behind-the-scenes, and even give them early access to the freebie you’re likely to create to continue growing the list.

(After you’ve created a lead magnet, you can even choose to use ads to promote it!)

Step 4: Email them regularly.

Once you’ve got people on your email list, you’ve got to start emailing them regularly – even when there are only 5 people on your list. You’re building a habit, and those first 5 are likely to be some of your most loyal fans. Remember to promote your products and services to your email subscribers!

Once you’ve gotten that far, here are some additional resources that can help you make the most out of your email list: If you’ve been using Facebook Ads and are shifting your strategy, I’d love to hear what you’ve found that’s working!

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