Hey everyone, today’s interview is with Rick Mulready, the mastermind behind the creation of The FB Advantage course. He’s got a long history in corporate online advertising, and he’s a genius when it comes to using Facebook ads and automated webinars to accomplish your goals for lead generation and sign ups. I’ve used his advice to help me out, and I’d definitely suggest implementing his tips to see how they work for you.
Internet Advertising in AOL’s Wild West Days
Rick started getting his feet wet with internet advertising in 2000 for AOL, back in the days when AOL was the main player in the online space.
After five years there, he went to work for Yahoo selling online ads to some of the biggest companies in the world, specializing in ads (text links & banners) that were contextually relevant to the content people were reading online.
After a couple of years at Yahoo, he started working for Will Ferrell’s company, Funny or Die, selling ads for them. With these three companies, he got to experience what it was like to sell all types of online ads, especially to larger businesses.
But in 2010, he started to see the writing on the wall where small businesses weren’t getting the same advertising opportunities online as bigger brands were for budgeting reasons.
He noted that big brands have huge minimum ad spends that are often so far out of the ballpark for small businesses, that they feel it’s hard for them to compete.
He noticed small businesses were creating Facebook communities to form relationships with their fans and using the platform to advertise. Since Facebook had such great access to user data, it was a better use of their money.
At the end of 2012, he left the corporate world to focus full-time on his own business.
The FB Advantage & Other Offerings – Where His Money Comes From
In addition to offering The FB advantage course, which runs for a hefty $997 price tag, Rick also offers a FB Ads for Newbies course and does some consulting and coaching.
He says that the FB Ads for Newbies course is for people who really don’t have much traffic or email list to speak of, and its $97 or $197 price tag (depending on whether someone buys in cold or via one of his webinar incentives) is an easier pill to swallow for people who are interested in his teachings.
His primary revenue though, referring to the 80/20 principle, comes from The FB Advantage course.
On Getting People to Fork Over Almost $1,000 For an Online Course
Rick says that even though FB Advantage customers come to him from a lot of different ways, many of them have been on his email list for a really long time, so the know and trust his content.
He also says that running his podcast has been a great way to build a relationship and trust with his audience, noting that when people take time to listen to your voice on a regular basis, it’s a very personal thing.
And, practicing what he preaches, he runs Facebook ads all the time.
He doesn’t run the ads for his $997 course directly, but instead directs the traffic to a signup for a free automated webinar for his FB Ads for Newbies course.
Doing automated webinars (rather than live ones) is more scalable, and lets people access the webinar at days and times that are good for them. He uses the webinar to get signups and to bring people in at the $97 level, giving them the choice to move up to the bigger and better course if they want to.
What to Do if Your Facebook Ads & Webinar Campaign Falls Flat
Sometimes, especially when you’re new to a Facebook ad and webinar campaign, you can have a situation where 100 people sign up, but only 25 show up and no one buys.
For this, Rick suggests looking at your lead-up sequence from the time the person signs up for your webinar and the emails you send them between that and the actual time of the webinar.
A good lead-up sequence does two things: it reminds people that they’ve registered for a certain day and time, and it gives them great content to develop a good relationship.
Rick notes that traffic from ads tends to be cold, and people don’t really know who you are. They’re more likely to show up to your webinar if you take the time to develop a relationship with them via content.
He also says to watch where people start dropping off once they’ve joined the webinar, and says GoToWebinar gives great data for live webinars. If you start noticing a trend, you can make some assumptions about your webinar content and make some changes.
And if people just aren’t buying at all, don’t be afraid to ask them why. Create a survey to send out after the webinar to people who didn’t opt-in to the purchase to find out why they weren’t interested and make some adjustments.
Rick’s First Launch: He Sold a Course He Didn’t Even Have Yet
Rather than having a product fully developed and ready to go before he started attracting traffic and selling, Rick sold seats into his FB Advantage course before he had anything created.
He sold the seats on a Thursday and had promised the course to open the following Monday – giving himself just 3 days to develop the first module for the first week.
Fortunately, he didn’t promise everything at once, and just had to develop one module each week until the course was fully fleshed out.
But still, in his first launch, he made $30,000 in just 4 weeks.
What’s New in Facebook Ads Today
Rick says that Facebook’s been getting a bad rap lately because they’ve been sticklers about compliance to their rules, which wasn’t always they case. They’re going through a major cleanup to improve the user experience, much like Google did 5-6 years ago by tightening restrictions.
But Rick doesn’t think it’s that huge of a deal or worth getting frustrated at Facebook about.
“Facebook flat out works,” he says. “And so I’m going to play by their rules because it works.”
Some of the ‘rules’ Rick mentions that people now have to pay more attention to include:
Facebook Targeting: How to Do It Like a Pro
According to Rick, this is the year of the pixel (or retargeting) on Facebook.
To retarget on Facebook, all you need is to place the retargeting pixel on your site, and you can start having an additional touchpoint with people who visit your site or opt-in pages, but choose not to opt-in at that moment.
You can also upload your email list to Facebook, and Facebook will match as many people as possible from that list for you to advertise to.
Facebook also lets you create a lookalike audience based on the demographic data and interests of your current audience. If you have a small audience on Facebook but want to expand to other potential customers who fit the bill, this is a nice option.
Additionally, you can target people with specific interests. So if you can list out people or businesses who are similar to you in your space, you can target those fans to hopefully glean some quality traffic from there.
Dividing the Ad Spend
If you’re just starting with Facebook ads, there’s no need to go all-in and divide your spending by every option available.
If your website already has traffic coming in, you can start with retargeting and/or advertising to your email list.
If you don’t have much of an email list or incoming traffic to speak of, you can put your budget towards interest-based targeting, sort of borrowing audiences of people who are similar to you.
Keeping Track of the Data
Before you start a Facebook ad campaign, says Rick, you need to be very clear on what you’re measuring for in the first place. Identify the main goal of the campaign you’re running, and measure those things.
But he says that Facebook has great data tracking and there’s really no need to use a third party tool – you can even track both registrations for a webinar from a campaign, and the number of sales from it – all you have to do is install both pixels.
Staying on Top of it All
With a thriving online course business and a podcast, Rick does admit that he has a hard time shutting down at night, mostly because he really likes the work he does and there’s always something to be done.
He does have a support team to help him: a UK-based virtual assistant and a US-based project manager; and they’re all constantly trying to update and streamline the process to make things easier.
Advice to His 25-Year-Old Self
“Don’t go into so much debt when you’re 25 because that’s going to make it harder and take you longer to become an entrepreneur.”
He says that debt is the thing that set him back a number of years from leaving the corporate world because he needed to get rid of the debt and get himself into a financial position where he could make the leap.
One Productivity Hack
“Boomerang with Gmail is a God-send.”
Boomerang lets him zip though his email a lot faster and lets him make decisions a lot faster as well. He either deals with the email at the moment or Boomerangs it back to himself do deal with when he’s in a better position to do so.
One Must-Read Book
Rick suggests 80/20 Sales and Marketing by Perry Marshall.
He says he’s always thinking about the 80/20 principle and how to get better results with less effort, and this applies the entire thought process of it to sales and marketing.
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Eric Siu (@ericosiu) is the CEO at Single Grain, a digital marketing agency that focuses on paid advertising and content marketing. He contributes regularly to Entrepreneur Magazine, Fast Company, Forbes and more.