Adrienne served 7 years as an Air Force Paramedic.
She waved goodbye to her military career and pursued a degree in Public Relations.
After getting laid-off from her PR and Advertising post, she managed to start a state-based parenting magazine to which she later sold.
Next thing she knows, she was working and playing with online marketing.
Today, she is the go-to person in creating Facebook converting ads.
Stephen Esketzis: Hey guys, Stephen Esketzis here from Marketing On The Move. I have here Adrienne Richardson.
Adrienne Richardson: Yes it is definitely Adrienne.
Stephen Esketzis: Adrienne, awesome. Welcome aboard. Welcome to Marketing On The Move. It is awesome to have you here and thank you for coming on a bit late at night your time as well. We appreciate it.
Adrienne Richardson: No problem, I am happy to be here.
Stephen Esketzis: Yes tell our audience a little about what you do. You are a bit of a Facebook ads expert. Do you want to share with us what you do, what clients do you work with, and how you got into Facebook ads.
Adrienne Richardson: Sure. I started about three years ago. My background was in public relations and marketing. I used to work for an advertising agency before I started my own business. I worked with Nascar, Palmer’s Chocolate, Subaru, and some large corporate companies when I was there. Then I left there, started my first business which was a parenting magazine, and sold that in 2011. Then three years ago I decided to start my own marketing agency. At first, I was like all things to everybody. I was doing press releases, copywriting, website building, and Facebook. I was doing everything. Anything anybody would pay me to do, I would do. That first year I really realized what I loved doing, and what I did not like doing so much. So I fine-tuned and started to eliminate services I did not enjoy doing. I found out I was loving Facebook ads more and more and more, so I just continued honing my skills there. By the end of my first year, I had gotten rid of everything and just focused on Facebook ads.
Stephen Esketzis: Have you been doing that ever since.
Adrienne Richardson: Yes for about two years I have done just Facebook ads.
Stephen Esketzis: Do you see yourself staying with Facebook ads for the foreseeable future until something more exciting comes along, or do you still have that sort of passion for it.
Adrienne Richardson: Yes that is a great question. My husband always says what happens when Facebook goes away because the truth of the matter is that, eventually a lot of — as we know, a lot of different platforms run their course. I am very aware of that. I am taking full advantage of the fact that Facebook is one of the most powerful lead generation tools right now, but knowing that it might not last forever, I am always learning a lot of other things and getting involved with them. I do not specialize in anything else. I do some Twitter ads right now, but I am making sure to stay on the cutting edge of what is going on, and knowing that I need to be ready to make a change if necessary.
Stephen Esketzis: We had a few people in here that we have interviewed with Facebook ads, and there are so many different parts of it. What is the one part that you see most people struggle with when they become your client. What is the biggest pitfall that you see when someone comes in and says I want Facebook ads done.
Adrienne Richardson: There is so many because it is so easy to mess up. I would say that — what are the biggest misconceptions people have, and this is a big picture, is that they do not realize that if they do not have proper sales funnel that they are running this traffic into, they are just wasting their money. So a lot of times I will not work with someone unless I have a really good conversation with them about what their sales funnel looks like and I want to make sure that people can convert the leads they are getting into sales because like I said otherwise they are just wasting their money. I think people do not put proper planning and strategy in place in terms of what am I going to do with these leads that I am getting. There is a lot of pitfalls, but I think that is what is the biggest — what people lack. They just do not think through all the way from the beginning of the funnel to the end.
Stephen Esketzis: I am really glad you brought that up because on my end I do a lot of sales funnel things. I am pretty much all on sales funnels. If I need help with the traffic, I will go to a traffic person. Like you said, the sales funnel is so important because that is where you are converting the person from lead to a customer. They work hand in hand so much like you will have your own little Facebook funnel which you will have to hit what you are targeting, you have to get your ad, be creative, the copy, you do all that, then you have the back essentially which is your funnel. If your landing page does not look good, does not load fast enough, does not take you to the right places, there is no social proof; there are a million things that could go wrong. All that coming together is really what will get you a solid top-performing funnel, so I am really glad you brought that up.
Adrienne Richardson: Yes, you know when people come to me and if they have been running ads, and they are like. My ads are not converting, or my ads are not working, then they think it is the ad. Then when I start looking at the data from all the way from the ad to the end of the funnel — the data does not lie. It tells you exactly where your problem is, and a lot of times the landing page is the problem. People do not realize that the job of the Facebook ad is to get the click. The job of the landing page is to convert them, to get them to that action you want. People I think give too much credit to the Facebook ad for their whole funnel, so if they are not getting what they want off the back, then they are like the problem is — the thing at the front is the problem. It is usually — the landing page is integral, is a super important part of getting the conversion from the ad.
Stephen Esketzis: That is a really good point. The ads are getting the click, the landing page getting the conversion. When you are doing the strategy session, that is where you have to sell them. It is like everything has its own little mechanics involved, everything has its own bits and pieces that you have to tinker with to get working to get the whole funnel moving as well, like as one big machine.
Adrienne Richardson: Yes.
Stephen Esketzis: Now that is a big one. With a Facebook ad campaign, each plan will be different. How long does it typically take you to start one. What is the quick process you go through and how long does it usually take you to get going.
Adrienne Richardson: I like to gather a lot of information on people’s target audience. Who the perfect client is for them and what is their offer. I am more than just a person who takes the information and then just goes and clicks the buttons and sets up the ad. I really work with the client to find out about their audience, their offer, and what the goal is. Once I have that information, then I get busy working on the copy, picking out the images and researching their audience. Usually, it takes me 3-5 days from the time that I get the information that I need from them until the time I get their ads live. For someone who is doing them on their own, it is going to take a little bit more than that because obviously when you are used to doing something you could do it a little quicker. It is a process, and I encourage people to take their time to do the proper research and preparation that they need because anybody can set up an ad. A lot of people are like, I am going to set up an ad, and they just throw something together. It is really necessary to do your research and plan.
Stephen Esketzis: That beginning step I think is massively under-utilized. What you just said there is like building your customer persona, building that audience and doing that targeting. I think people just rush into it so quickly and that is why probably 95 percent of ad sales — because they just quickly [they finally take advantage and] — let us go between the ages of 20 and 30, and then I will just let the ad go, then I will put a random image up that they will find on Google, and then I will put some random copy that came to them that moment. Do you go through building that persona? What is the process you go through when you want to build that persona when you really want to dig down into who you are going to target, and what really makes them tick.
Adrienne Richardson: I start with the superficial demographic-type thing like what is their age, where do they live, what gender are they, those types of things. Then I go a little bit deeper where I say where do these people hang out, what other people are they following that has already gathered an audience that I am trying to reach. In other words, who are my competitors. They have already — they are the experts, they are the big names in the industry, they have this audience following them that is my exact audience. I start making a list of who all those people are so I ask my clients first to give me some ideas. If they can give me five of them, then I can do further research. Google is a great place to do research on that. I will always research on say, top experts in whatever. If you are a salesperson so top sales expert, or top parenting experts if you are trying to reach moms. Do some research on Google, search for who those groovers and those experts are. Then I use a tool [unintelligible] called Audience Insights, where I can take those five to ten people that I know are already experts that they are following. I can put them into audience insights and find out what other pages people follow, who are following those people. I put it, so it expands my search. I will find out if they — and get them asking a lot of this information from my clients. I am asking them are there other professional organizations they belong to. If we are trying to reach a teacher, there is certain national association for teachers. So what organizations do they belong to, are there any trade expos or trade magazines that they might read, are there any tools that people in their industry use that the average consumer would not. For example, my husband is an electrician, and there are tools that you can get from Home Depot that the average homeowner uses, and there are things that only true electricians use to do their job. Then you find out what those things are. I spend a lot of time finding out everything I can about where these people hang out, what things they use, who do they follow, what offers do they read. I just make a list as long and as many as I possibly can. I like to find out what are their pain points. What are the things that their audience, their potential prospects are struggling with. What do they lay in bed at night and they cannot sleep, they are staring at the ceiling and that they are worried about? That is often copy I will use in the ad. It starts out with agitating the problem; there is that problem agitates all is a style of writing copy. I start out with that. What is this problem that they have and what are they so worried about, or what are they struggling with. I ask a lot of those questions from my clients about all the information I can get out of it. What is the outcome that you provide to these people we are trying to reach, that you want to work with you. That is what I do; I start with the superficial to where they are, what are the problems they have, what is the outcome they are looking for. Through all that information, it helps me with the targeting; it helps me with the copy. You really want to gather — to do that part of it because it will make the setup of your ad so much easier.
Stephen Esketzis: I love that. What you mapped out there pretty much anyone can take away now and just start implementing if they are looking for a new target audience which is [unintelligible] so that is awesome. Thank you for sharing that.
Split testing — when you launch campaigns, so it is not really split testing but how many ad sets do you launch with. Do you launch with just one, do you launch with one campaign, five ad sets, and three ads in each ad set. What a sort of structure do you have when you launch a campaign to being with.
Adrienne Richardson: There is a lot of different theories and styles and ways of doing this. There is not necessarily any that are wrong or right, but I spend about $250,000 a month on Facebook for all the clients that I do it. I do a lot of testing. What I have found works best is in the beginning when you are testing you keep things broader. Now I want to get specific about what I mean about more broad so that I do not lead people astray. That is, I do not do ten ad sets where there is the ad set if aged 18-24, this one is 24-30, and this ones 30-35, and these are women and these are men. I do not do all that because Facebook is going to tell you who is responding, so I do not need to create extra work for myself or make things more complicated than they need to be. I typically will setup a campaign I will put one ad set in it where I have — let us say that my perfect client is aged 30-35, but I have worked with people that are 28, and I have worked with people as high as 50. So I will put in an age range of 28-50, putting in men and women unless you know that my client works only with women. I put enough specific interest into where the audience size gets to be about half a million to about a million.
Stephen Esketzis: That is a good barrier, that half a million to a million. It is not too broad, but it is pretty broad.
Adrienne Richardson: Yes, then I will run that. Usually, I put about three ads in there, but the only difference in each of those ads is the pictures because the image is what grabs people’s attention first. When they are scrolling through their news feeds, they are going to see that picture, and that is what is going to stop them, and they are going to read the copy. What I typically do is I will set up three ads in there with the exact copy, but I use three different images.
Stephen Esketzis: That is really cool. You use how many campaigns when you start with initially when you start running with it.
Adrienne Richardson: It depends on my client’s budget, but I like to start with four campaigns. One campaign will be whatever the audience want. Let us say these are all associations that these people could belong to. Let us call it campaign one and ad set one has all these associations and I have three ads in there and that one runs just the desktop. Then in campaign two, everything is the same from the beginning until the end, except where I am just running it on mobile. A big mistake that people make is they think when they are setting up their ad, they can choose placement because there is five options and they should choose all five. That is not really how Facebook intended it to be used. You are supposed to pick one because what happens is if you put desktop and mobile together in the same ad set, Facebook is going to serve the ad where the majority of real estate is, and that is on mobile. While mobile is great for getting clicks, it often does not convert as well as desktop traffic. What I will do is campaign one, desktop, campaign two is mobile, then I will usually do two more campaigns where the only difference is the audience. Now maybe in that other audience, I am targeting experts in that field, and one is going to desktop and the other to mobile. So I will have four campaigns, and that is typically where I start. Then I will let that run for 7-10 days.
Stephen Esketzis: That is really interesting. So your biggest differences straight off the bat is your desktop versus mobile, and your two different audience taps whether its associations or experts or two big different audience categories.
Adrienne Richardson: Yes, I do not mix them together. I am not going to put, say a national teacher’s association and then some expert in that field together. I keep them separate.
Stephen Esketzis: That is a really good starting place for anyone doing their own ads or playing around with their initial — off the bat — like when I started doing Facebook ads, that was something I really struggled with. How do I do this, where I am going to get the best results, what am I going to do, and now as you mentioned, if you are spending $250,000 a month on client ads, you are going to get a pretty good view of what is working and what is not working. That is really exciting. From there, how do you optimize, because that is the next thing you will see. Some campaigns Facebook will pick it out, some of your ad sets will be doing better, others will do less. What is the next step for you?
Adrienne Richardson: Usually by day five is when I go in at the ad level, and I turn off two of the three.
Stephen Esketzis: So you will not touch anything until day five.
Adrienne Richardson: Right. It takes Facebook 3-5 days to optimize your ad fully. So you tell them to find these people, these are the people that I want to target. Their algorithm, their system, has to find those people, and then as people start to respond to your ad, Facebook goes to find more people like those people, and on and on and on. It takes their system 3-5 days to do that, and if you tinker with it in between, every time you tinker you are resetting that optimization time. So I tell people no matter how hard it is, I do not care what you have to do, but you do not touch that ad for at least 3-5 days. Five days is optimal.
Stephen Esketzis: That is something I definitely did all the time. I was playing around with it, and the whole thing would start again, and it would not make any difference.
Adrienne Richardson: Yes so be patient and let it do its job. Five days in, I go into the ad level, and I turn off two of the three ads. Whichever one is the winner that is doing the best that is performing the best; I just leave that one running. Then I let everything run for a few more days, so 7-10 days total. At that time, I go in and under — so there is an option in Facebook that says breakdown, and then you can break it down by age, gender, country and all those things. That is when I will go then and look and say based on this, people in the UK did not respond at all; I got hardly any conversions from there, so I am going to get rid of UK. I also see a couple of people click that are under aged 30, and a couple of people clicked over aged 55, then I will make a note of that, and say I am going to tighten up my age. Based on the data from those 7-10 days I am going to make adjustments — what countries, what ages, things like that, and then I am also looking to see how audience one performed against audience two. How did desktop convert compare to mobile? I am looking at all those things and deciding what works, what did not. I turn off what did not work, and I increase the budget on what did work.
Stephen Esketzis: That is really cool because, by day ten, you have four different specific ads that have to work for you in each of those ads sets, in each of those campaigns. That is really exciting because that way your mobile, your three other campaigns as well, are running, and you can compare that as well as everything you can do in the reporting within Facebook.
Adrienne Richardson: In the beginning, you do not need to break it up and create tons of work for yourself by having different ages and different genders and all these gazillion different ad sets. There are people out there who teach that, and I am not saying it does not work but for me it is completely unnecessary to create that much work for myself. Facebook is going to do the heavy lifting for me.
Stephen Esketzis: After you have those, do you go out and re-launch new ads or the same ads and you tinker with them based on what you have learned. Is that pretty much the next step.
Adrienne Richardson: Yes. If things are going great, I am not going to touch it. I am just going to leave it, and I will increase the budget a little bit. You have to be careful about how you increase your budget because if you increase it too much, it confuses Facebook’s algorithm and then it just starts going all wonky and starts charging you more per click instead of giving you more for your money. Be careful when you want to scale up. I always tell people to scale up gradually so I will increase my budget by $10-15, maybe $20, every 3 days. Let us say someone started their budget at $10 a day; you would never want to double your budget. You do not even want to increase it by more than 50 percent so if you start at $10 a day you are only going to increase it to $15, then wait 3 days before going up to $20, then wait 3 days to go up to $25. Now if you start at $50, you can now go up to $65 or $70 right away, then wait three or four days then go up to $85. It depends on your starting point, how much you are going to add on to it. Now if you started at $50 a day but you really want to be spending $300 a day, well it is going to take you forever to gradually increase that, so the best thing to do is duplicate that same campaign but start it at a higher price point so that Facebook optimizes it based on that daily budget right from the beginning.
Stephen Esketzis: Okay, that makes sense. So when you are bidding for all this — that growing up, I heard of it from a few people actually that if you double it or triple it too quickly, it can blow out your cost per click and things like that. What about when you are bidding because Facebook — they have gone pretty advanced since I first joined their platform. Then, they have cost per engagement; you can go bid for cost per click, cost per conversion. Which one do you recommend to start with, or do you just try them all and split test them.
Adrienne Richardson: I always, always, always start with the automatic bidding where you are allowing Facebook to bid for you. I know that there is people out there who teach the opposite and, I am not saying that it is wrong, but this is what I found works best for me. So I always start with the automatic bidding because what happens is Facebook is going to bid one penny higher than the highest bid so that you win, and your ad gets served the most. If you are first starting out with ads, if you choose manual bidding where you are bidding yourself, you have to stay on top of that. You have to check it all the time and see if your bid is still competitive. Do you need to change it, do you need to tweak it, and I find that again just to be really unnecessary work for myself. So I start it at automatic, and I would say 90 percent of the time I leave it as automatic actually. I very rarely use manual bidding and the reason I would use manual bidding, and this is something that my Facebook rep told me, if your audience size is 150,000 or less, you would want to be using manual bidding because the automatic bidding is too hard for Facebook’s algorithm to figure out how to optimize your ad for that small of an audience, and so you spend more than you need to. If your audience size is 150,000, if you are only marketing to people in your area, then you are not going to get an audience size of half a million to a million. That is small, so you would want to switch to the manual bidding, but otherwise, 90 percent of the time, I am using automatic.
Stephen Esketzis: When you say automatic, is that automatic on whether you are bidding for cost per conversion or cost per click.
Adrienne Richardson: I use it for both. So when you put it on automatic, and you are optimizing for conversions, it automatically sets it to where it is for impressions. That is how automatic in conversions, there is no other option you have to optimize for impressions. Now if you switch to where you are doing a website click ad then, you can optimize for link clicks. You can choose that option, so I do automatic bidding but what I want to optimize is for link clicks.
Stephen Esketzis: Got it. It is actually surprising that when you dig deep into Facebook ads, there is a lot of bits and pieces that can creep you out unless you have experience doing this for a while.
Adrienne Richardson: It is, and that is just the thing. You are sitting there, and you are like, which is better, automatic or manual. A lot of people will use the thought, well manual gives me more control over what I am paying so I am going to choose that option and I can certainly understand the theory behind that. I used to do a lot of manual bidding but once I understood how the automatic bidding works and why it is more beneficial to me — it is less work, it is allowing Facebook to get me the best cost that I can, and my goal is to get conversions — then that is the better option. There are so many options out there, and it can throw you off, and you start tinkering with things, and unless you are really spending your time doing it, often you are just guessing.
Stephen Esketzis: Facebook I have realized — you are better off going to professionals that know what they are doing and who does spend a lot of money like you do because you have those data, you have worked on so many campaigns, and you know the ins and outs of everything rather than trying to learn it yourself. That is what I have learned for myself after trying — I know it now quite well, definitely not at the level that you know it because of that experience, but yes it is just interesting. Would you agree that it is probably — you may be way better off doing this than someone else who do not have that data in front of them and the experience?
Adrienne Richardson: Yes I would say that for people who — when you first start running your business you are doing everything. You cannot even afford to outsource to people. But I would say one of the first things that you should outsource when you can is the Facebook ad because it is the thing that takes the most amount of time and energy to master. If that is not your gift and that is not what you do, then do not spend your time on it.
Stephen Esketzis: That is the thing that you cannot afford not to be doing as well because that leads essentially in any business.
Adrienne Richardson: Yes so you want to put your money there where it is very important because it is giving you leads and you need it to be done right, or you could waste a lot of money. So as soon as you can, you want to outsource that.
Stephen Esketzis: Yes, completely agree. That is awesome. Thank you for sharing some of these tips. I know that this process that you went through, I am sure people paying thousands of dollars in costs and things — that could literally just listen to this podcast and they should. The tips that you gave to us are an awesome toady, and I would have loved to have learned these when I was starting out and doing my Facebook ads. But alas, we are here anyway. Where can people reach you if they want to find out about your services and get a grip on their Facebook ads?
Adrienne Richardson: Sure. They can just go to my website. It is adriennerichardson.com. There is information — I do have a training class on there for those that are not ready to outsource, and then I have information on there about my [unintelligible] service.
Stephen Esketzis: Thank you very much, Adrienne, for jumping on with us today and we look forward to hearing about some more Facebook ad success you will have in the future.
Adrienne Richardson: Thank you so much for having me.