This guest, a self-proclaimed math nerd, has an interesting beginning. After reading a Tim Ferris blog decided there must be a better way and shifted his career path. Listen as Jason describes his journey to become a social media expert and founder of Agency J.
Within this episode, Andy and Jason discuss the origin story behind how he created Agency J, an agency that today focuses on helping coaches, course creators and education business owners.
To be successful using Facebook ads, you must first define your parameters and then create your marketing system. In addition, it is important to know who your customers is and to clarify your message. Discover why.
Through Jason's experience discover how Facebook advertising has changed including what the new iOS14.5 change may mean for your Facebook advertising.
Episode Action Items:
To learn more about Jason How or to connect with his agency that specializes in helping coaches, course creators and education business owners, visit - https://agencyj.co or visit his blog at jasonhjh.com.
ABOUT THE HOST:
Andy Splichal is the World's Foremost Expert on Ecommerce Growth Strategies. He is the acclaimed author of the Make Each Click Count Book Series, the Founder & Managing Partner of True Online Presence and the Founder of Make Each Click Count University. Andy was named to The Best of Los Angeles Award's Most Fascinating 100 List in both 2020 and 2021.
New episodes of the Make Each Click Count Podcast, are released each Friday and can be found on Apple Podcast, iHeart Radio, iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Amazon Music, Google Podcasts and www.makeeachclickcount.com.
Andy Splichal 0:02
Welcome to the Make Each Click Count Podcast. This is your host Andy Splichal. And today we are happy to welcome our next guest to discuss the topic of Where Is The Best Place To Run Your Ads. This guest after reading a post on Tim Ferriss blog realized he had no passion for the career he was in and made a change. The self proclaimed math nerd he focused on writing technical articles about Facebook, which eventually led him to running social ads for customers. here representing Agency J, say hello to Jason How. Hi, Jason.
Jason How 1:26
Hey, Andy. It's good to be here. Thanks for having me.
Andy Splichal 1:29
Thanks for joining us. Now, before we dive into today's topic, which is where's the best place to run your ads? Let's first hear your backstory and what ultimately led you to do what you were doing now?
Jason How 1:45
Yeah, well, just for me, I was stuck in a place where I was actually in the first year of university. And I was on a Fulbright scholarship from the government. And here in Singapore, basically, how it works is we would study for four years. And upon graduation, we would go back to a government agency and work for two years, kind of in exchange for the sponsorship. So to me back then I was caught in a competitive sphere and the environment where everyone was hustling. And everyone was looking to get in touch at a top paying careers like consulting, banking and finance. And I was there wondering, like, what exactly do I want to do after I graduate. And I knew, in my mind that I had like a six year run away compared to most people, which is why I really wanted to find or spend the time in university really exploring my interest, what I don't like what I want to do. So that's basically how I really got started in one day, I, you know, just came across Tim Ferriss article. And it really kind of brought me back to a couple of years, just like one to two years before that, where I was actually interning at a startup incubator, called for the Founder Institute And I was helping out at the Institute as an intern, doing some of the administrative stuff. But what it allowed me to do was to see how a lot of these entrepreneurs actually pitched their startups and built their business. So it got me kind of interested in to the whole idea of building a business. However, back then I was trying to build kind of like a text that I've just like, every cool kid all day, I ended up just coming up with kind of like an application in terms of like helping you to track your finances and your expenses. I think in America, there's a really big one called mint at a time. And I think it was acquired by Intuit in abiding 2012-2013. And back then I basically came I have a similar idea, I drew the mock up, I went to conferences, and you know, just Startup Weekends and just spoke to people. And I realized that at the end of it, at the end of like one or two years, I wasn't getting very far with the idea. But what I realized was that I really liked coming up with the idea talking to customers asking them for their feedback, and it just enjoyed the whole business development process. So when I read the Tim Ferriss article, in the article, I think it's something like eight steps of hacking credentials and any feel the first step was just you know what, pick a topic pick something that you just want to dive deep into. So back then I was like, Hey, maybe I should pick a social media marketing, because back then Twitter was new. And Facebook was new, and like Facebook just IPO in that same year. And I was like, You know what, I'm gonna just dive into social media marketing. Now, of course, nine years on, I recognize how foolish it was because social media marketing is such a huge topic. And like, you know, you have to go into the deep ends if you really want to understand everything, and it's just impossible. So that's really how I got started.
Andy Splichal 4:54
Okay, now, Tim Ferriss, for those that might not know he is the author of The 4-Hour Workweek had you read his books? Were you following his blog? Was it a random blog? What What led you down that path?
Jason How 5:06
Yes. So interestingly, I knew about him, but I had this kind of like, what he called that alergy to overhyped stuff. So when I, you know, heard about Tim Ferriss everywhere, and everyone was talking like great about him, and like to be fair, he is really good. But it's just at a time I was so close minded, I just wanted to stay away from any gurus or assault. However, I did come across this article one day, I think it was on Google or something, or one of those blogs or websites, and I ended up just coming across that article. So I didn't read any of his book, or even watch or listen to any of his podcast. But I just ended up reading the article. And that, in fact, was actually the first and the last article I read from Tim Ferriss.
Andy Splichal 5:48
That's amazing. That's amazing. That shows for content creators like him like me, that will just one blog post can can change somebody's directory, then I'm sure they'd be very rewarding if he heard that. Now. You started writing Facebook ads, your 2012 Social media is going crazy. They're both IPOs. Had, did you know anything about social media or marketing or social media at the time?
Jason How 6:16
No, I don't. So the first thing I picked up was I remember I picked up a book and it picked up a couple of different blogs and articles. I started reading them, I think a couple of the first people will Mari Smith were writing and you had Jon Loomer, who is still very popular today. So that's really how I got started. And what happened was at one of the startup conferences that I still continued going to, I met a career coach who happens to be coaching a startup founder, and you know, their startup founder needed someone to run their Twitter marketing or their Twitter channel, or handle. So you know, I just got the first gig as an intern, writing tweets everyday trying to drive traffic to their publication. And that's really how I got started.
Andy Splichal 7:00
And then you branched out into full out Facebook ads and became an expert and took on clients or how did that work?
Jason How 7:09
Yeah, so it was actually a little longer than that it was being in school, I actually dedicated quite a lot of time to study initially, because I still had to maintain a certain kind of a GPA and results in order to stay on a scholarship program. So apart from that, what I did was I continue to write a lot of articles. So everything I read, I went through the Tim Ferriss article is exactly as it prescribes, read about a topic write blog posts, I wrote about 100 blog posts in a space of a year. And that was when I kind of changed upon Facebook marketing and Facebook metrics and a numbers I started writing things down, but more technical. And then basically a block another block, the software founder, I think it's pretty famous today is called Agorapulse, one of the largest social media management tool. So the funnel Emmerich actually picked up on my article, and he reached out to me, so he said, Jason, I really love the way you write, you write about technical stuff that no one else is writing, because everyone is writing about fluffy type of general marketing advice, but you're diving deep into numbers. And he was telling me, my writing is very technical is good. But I mean, of course, I have a couple of things I need to touch up on, because it can be very boring. However, Emmerich just gave me the chance to say why don't you come over and read for our blog, just write it all. So I ended up writing dozens of articles for him and his website. And you know, he's software took off, and a lot of people started noticing or read my articles. And he started reaching out to me and ask me, credit consult for them. And I started from consulting to eventually taking up a couple of gigs. And that's really how I got started with Facebook ads.
Andy Splichal 8:46
And so today, you are running just Facebook ads? Are you running other marketing channels? What do you specialize in?
Jason How 8:55
Yeah, so I have a team, we actually have an agency team of 10 people. And today we actually for for paid traffic, we actually focus on mainly Facebook and Instagram. However, we do do a bit of Google and YouTube ads only for existing clients. So we add, we offer those as an add on service for clients who we have figured out the paid marketing messages, the emails and funnels for.
Andy Splichal 9:19
Okay, and what about ecommerce clients? Most of the listeners to this podcast or our Ecommerce will be curious, have you had any experience running Facebook ads for Ecommerce clients?
Jason How 9:32
Yeah, interestingly, I mean, as a freelancer, initially, you would usually just take on any business that comes along. So I have worked with I would say about a dozen ecommerce businesses even though I do not work with any econ businesses today. Our agency space is actually in the course creation and also in the high technique coaching space. But interestingly, I have a really funny story to talk about a couple of years ago, being a Singapore We are multilingual over here. Which means that for me, I speak both English and Mandarin. And what happened was a Chinese company actually approached me and asked me to say it and asked me if I could run the ads in America for them, because the hair on the factory to produce clothes, and he wanted to drop ship over to the United States. They had a warehouse over there, but he just needed someone who understood the market who wrote who can write English and run ads. So I ended up working with them. They were not my first ecommerce client, but they were one of the biggest because the first thing I asked him and I was like, okay, cool, let's let's talk about that. What products do you have? How much do you want to spend on ads? And like stood up, they told me, I'm looking to start at $100,000 a month, looking to scale to a million dollars a month, I was just like, wow, like,
Andy Splichal 9:36
Wow. on Facebook ads alone?
Jason How 9:47
Facebook ads, yeah. So what happened was that the budget, they had a budget of $300,000 a month to spend, and they ended up getting their internal marketers, media buyers to run alongside me. So we have three accounts, and each account spent about $100,000 a month on ads. So it was just crazy, but also really eye opening.
Andy Splichal 11:11
Now, did you charge a percentage of spin?
Jason How 11:16
I wish I could. But at a time, because they were considered a startup, I think they were funded by some investors. So they needed to make a lot of money back out of whatever they invested. So I just simply took a retainer of that. It was a pretty sizable retainer, but it was definitely not as much as what a lot of economy uses charge today as a percentage of ad spend.
Andy Splichal 11:36
So I read one of your articles, where you said that success in Facebook ads comes down to three things that an irresistible offer, converting funnel, and a high quality traffic. Let's talk about each of these as different pieces. So starting with an irresistible offer. How do you define that?
Jason How 11:57
Yeah, so I learned this from Todd Brown, who is really the Guru's of all the marketing gurus and like he's, he's really a great guy. So when it comes to an irresistible offer, it needs to fulfill a couple of criteria. The first one is it needs to really explain the benefits of whatever product or service you're selling. So well, that people look at me like, Hey, this is exactly what I need, it also needs to be of the no brainer, which means to say that, when someone looks at a price and an entire package of the offer, they would be like, You know what, I will be stupid if I didn't take this up. And the final criteria that Todd also mentioned was to make it superior. So not only does it have to espouse really great benefits, not only does it need to be a no brainer, it also needs to be superior to competitors and similar offerings out there. So with ecomm, I think a lot of it comes down to the way you position the product, especially let's say if you're in a space, where you're selling supplements, you can sell a weight loss supplement to pregnant moms, you can sell weight loss supplements to menopausal women, or you can sell weight loss supplements to just general, the female or the male population. Well, depending on how you position the product, there are different pricing mechanisms, you can use the different ways you can say that, hey, this is actually a subscription model. They're really like dozens and dozens of ways that you can package your offer. And you have to make a irresistible to the people that you're marketing to. So that really is the part of the irresistible offer.
Andy Splichal 13:38
Okay, so then the next step, you got your irresistible offer they've clicked. And the next step you put down is a converting funnel. You're talking about that?
Jason How 13:50
Yes. So just before I jump into that, the one thing that ties together all three, the irresistible offer a converting funnel and a high quality traffic comes down to the message. So the message is what ties everything together as the backbone, you have need to have a consistent message that you're sharing or showing across all of the three, the offer if you know if you go through what Todd Brown teaches, E5 Methodology is that the offer is only a part of the message. So when it comes to the converting funnel, what I really mean is when someone goes through the experience that you're designing for them, whether it is a funnel page, or going to the page where they buy a product, they need to be convinced to buy and it needs to convert at the at a rate that is actually at least minimally breakeven, if not profitable. So that is really what I mean by a converting funnel.
Andy Splichal 14:45
Okay, so congruency with the funnel and the offer, and then the high quality traffic. That's just the audience that you identify or how do you how do you get to that one high quality traffic with using audiences and Facebook?
Jason How 15:03
Yes. So first of all, I think every business owner needs to get to a point where they understand who their customers are. And from there, we start defining what are some of the targeting parameters on Facebook, and to easily reached this group of people. However, that is just casting a wide net, the most important thing is that if your offer and your funnel and your message are on point that actually serves as the second targeting layer, so the wide net just allows you to reach them, but what pulls people in ultimately either ads or your copy on both your ads, as well as the landing page, as well as your sales page, as well as your emails and everything that you have going on, in every part of your sales marketing system. So again, back down to the message, the targeting, at the end of the day is it's a two step process. The first part is defining the targeting parameters on Facebook. And secondly, the entire marketing system that pulls the right prospects into your system.
Andy Splichal 16:04
What have you found to be some of the challenges with running Facebook ads?
Jason How 16:10
Well, I think when it comes to challenges, there are two kinds. One is the kind that I would say is man made. Whereas he made me I will literally mean, for example, as an agency where we don't qualify a client Well, or where we try to take on every client in every single niche, or we take on clients that are just not a good fit for us. That can be a huge challenge, where the client, let's say, does not have a funnel that is working with paid traffic, and they expect results within 30 days, that's going to be really hard, because it creates a lot of mental stress and emotional labor for the entire team. Now, the second thing is really on Facebook side of things, and you must have heard of iOS 14.5 and the impact yes, on ads. So I know a lot of people in the Ecommerce space, fortunately, have not really been impacted that badly. But from what I understand, in the info space that we operate in, we literally have seen drastic decreases in performance. And we are only just starting to see, you know, 60 or 70% of our accounts come back to where it was previously. And we just had to do so much work. I think a lot of the challenges come down to dealing with the instability of the platform, even before iOS 14 every quarter, we have at least one or two big things that happened on Facebook, that just completely disrupted performance, that require you to change things up. They just basically just create a lot of work for you and your team. So that I would say is like, as one of the biggest challenge that I mean, simply it is out of your control. But what is within your control is your ability to choose the kind of clients you work with the kind of campaigns you work with. Or even for you guys, if you guys are ecommerce business owners, you guys would be choosing agency to work with, you want to make sure that you work with someone we've experienced with the right heart, you know, with the right fit in terms of culture, and understanding of the expectations.
Andy Splichal 17:58
You know, I mean, you made a great point if for those that are looking to outsource their social marketing is to make sure you're working with with an agency that has experience in your vertical and also you you fit well with now you had mentioned the new iOS 14 update as far as I understand it, that iOS 14 update just has to do with lookalike audiences, is it is it more than that?
Jason How 18:22
So actually, it is more than that. So first of all, it doesn't really affect look alike audiences and explain that in a bit. So there are really two parts to the whole puzzle here. The first part is that people have to first update and you know, kind of get the iOS system updated to 14.5. And the minute they do, they are actually opted out of the system. However, this updating process typically takes about two to six months for every iOS update. Personally, even for myself, I have not updated my iPhone to the latest iOS. However, for those people will update it, there is a huge difference in the opt in rates between different countries from what I know for us is among one of the least because a lot of people do not trust Facebook, generally in public, but for a lot of the other countries outside of the United States, an opt in rate apparently seems to be rather high. So again, that's the first part of it is is Apple rolling out the update and users updating their system to iOS 14.5. The second thing is that Facebook itself has made a lot of defensive and reactive changes with its algorithm and system in order to accommodate and tackle the iOS 14.5 changes or the anticipated impact of it. And that change has been what we have faced recently and it's really I guess the embedded impact is coming from because a huge update. We were seeing missing data we are seeing like the whole middle of funnel ads completely not working in many accounts. And basically, middle funnel is like retargeting all your warm audiences wall mmm, yeah, warm traffic, we are looking at your website visitors to your Facebook, Instagram engaged audiences and all these people. So this is where we're currently seeing the most impact. Now in terms of the kind of impact you mentioned, look alike audiences earlier to actually three kinds of impact that we would normally get for iOS 14.5. The first one is at the tracking level. So with iOS 14.5, and the new ATT standards, basically Facebook is only allowed to report on events. Or rather, a Facebook is only allowed to report on up to eight events for every single one of our ad accounts. Now, if you optimize that, say, for a purchase for a typical ecommerce audience,
Andy Splichal 20:42
Is is it I'm sorry, is that ad account or I thought it was by pixel?
Jason How 20:47
Yeah. So at the ad account, you would optimize and select, you want to optimize for the purchase event on the Facebook pixel, but the pixel is basically attached to the ad account. So when you optimize for a purchase event, you usually have intermediate events that you're also tracking. So you're tracking things like add to cart, you're tracking things like initiate checkout, you're tracking things like add payment methods as well. In the past, all of those data would be populated. However, if a user opts out of iOS, sorry, outside of the tracking by Facebook, Facebook is only allowed to report the event that you're optimizing for, in this case that will be purchased. So you might end up in a situation where you have more purchases for then add to cart, and you might have more purchases than checkouts initiated. If you were a Facebook advertiser, how would you actually optimize because in some cases, if you don't see purchases, and you don't see add to carts, you might be thinking, these audience must be really low quality, because they are not converting. Or you might be getting a lot of purchases, but none of your credit cards or checkouts initiated are really working. And you're, you're looking at it and you're wondering to yourself, are these purchase numbers really accurate. So it really puts you in a kind of situation where you're quite unsure. And you know, like, you no longer can really look at data in at the kind of granular level. So you really got to really focus on just the key metrics and just, you know, make bigger changes and just be a bit bolder with the kind of changes you make this benefit.
Andy Splichal 22:22
I'm sorry, so so that's the solution is to look at the bigger picture, then?
Jason How 22:26
Yeah, the definitely solution is to look at the bigger picture. But also, this definitely benefits a lot of the more experienced advertisers as well as established ecommerce stores, if you're just starting out today is going to be really difficult because you're not going to see much in terms of the add to cart. So checkout initiated, however, some possible workarounds is to just simply set up campaigns to you know, optimize for add to cart or optimize for checkouts initiated until you get some purchase activity going on. So that could be one possible workaround. But it just simply means that you just got to work a lot harder as a new advertising this space.
Andy Splichal 22:59
Interesting. Now, when you take over a ad account, somebody is already advertising on Facebook, and you're reviewing their account. What are some of the biggest money wasters that you've seen, common when, when people are on Facebook?
Jason How 23:18
Yeah, I've seen a lot. And a lot of times, you know, it's funny, because even when some people run ads badly, they can still get results with a really great offer and converting funnel that really points teaches how important having a great offer and a converting funnel is. But on the point of some of the mistakes or some of the pitfalls that are often see, you know, money wasters, it's just people running, losing ads for way too long. I've seen and step in left running too for like 1000s of dollars, when they didn't generate as either a single sale or a single call or a single important metric. And some of these people just you know, set and forget. And what happens is they often take over from agencies that just have been too overwhelmed with too much work, or they just haven't really cared too much about the account. So a lot of the I would say the money wasters are left in just not paying enough attention to the ads itself.
Andy Splichal 24:16
So we talked about Tim Ferriss a bit. Are there any books or business mentors that have inspired you on your journey other than Tim Ferriss?
Jason How 24:26
I would there were actually a lot of business books that I've read, but I would say among the most memorable one was The Third Door by Alex Banayan. And the reason for that is because it really just made me feel energized and inspired. I finished the book in two days, which was literally just something I never do such an easy read, but it just puts so many ideas in your mind that you're like, hey, actually, there are so many other ways you could go about building a business. And you could really, I would say, use it as a way to kind of inspire yourself if you're, if you've ever find yourself in, you know, a fixed or in a position where you just don't know what to do. So I would definitely recommend picking up the book is The Third Door by Alex Banayan.
Andy Splichal 25:13
Great. Thank you. Now let's switch for a minute and talk about agency. Jay, what are the problems state view is your agency I'm referring to you, but what kind of problems are you guys solving for your clients?
Jason How 25:25
Yeah, so we primarily solve the problem of taking their business from doing about half a million dollars a year to over a million and up to five $10 million a year. So we basically take businesses, we're doing about 50k a month on average. And we basically scale them to multiples experiments. And we often do that by addressing a couple of key fundamental loopholes in the business from a paid traffic or from a scaling perspective. So very similar to ecommerce thinking, where we are looking at things like average order value, customer lifetime value, we also look at packaging your offers, in order to increase the average order value, we also create back end offers in order to increase the customer lifetime value. We primarily also run a lot of ads, a lot of our clients sometimes come to us without a working funnel. So we honestly much prefer working with clients with already kind of like some sort of a paid, working paid funnel, paid traffic funnel, because it's just so much work trying to test things and convert them. And we always want to deliver results quickly. So if clients come to us without like a paid or working funnel, we always tell them that, you know, we have to manage expectations, it will take a lot of testing and a lot of patience, and just a lot of just diving into the deep ends and working with us to figure this out for them. And it usually takes about 60 to 90 days to crack it. But for clients who pay traffic funnels are working, they're working and delivering profits, we can easily scale and it can see results within weeks. And typically we would generate between three to 5x ROAS at a six figure revenue mark every month.
Andy Splichal 26:58
And who is your perfect customer who's your perfect client?
Jason How 27:02
Yes, so the perfect customers would be either high ticket coaches are cost creative, doing at least half a million dollars a year in sales, and they have working paid funnels, and they deliver great results for assisting students. So we primarily really select our clients, because we only want to work with clients that are making an impact positive impact on their customers. And so we like what we're doing, we're basically multiplying their efforts and multiplying that impact. So like those are the key indicators of what a perfect customer looks like.
Andy Splichal 27:36
And if somebody's listening, if that fits their bill, how can they reach you?
Jason How 27:41
Yeah, so the easiest way to reach me would be Jason at agencyj.co. That's .co at the end, they can also visit our website agencyj.co. Again, it's .co not .com I, personally I've started rewriting a blog, you know, back then I have a blog started my career. Just last week, I decided to hop back on and restart writing my blog, I really put out three blog posts, looking to chronicle a share things that we are using and doing to help our coaching clients grow. We're also doing, you know, kind of doing some internal or some private sharing in terms of the kind of issues that we face in our agency and how we navigate around these issues. So yeah, so feel free to subscribe, go to jasonhjh.com. And you can subscribe to my blog, or you can just go to agencyj.co If you want to find out more about work.
Andy Splichal 28:32
And finally, what would you say to someone who is a bit hesitant about advertising using Facebook?
Jason How 28:39
I would say that like they don't have to make up their mind right now they can actually just take it one step at a time just figure a lil about about it just figure it out a little at a time, read up on blogs, and just open up the ads manager, come up with a copy, come up with a creative, come up with an offer, come up with a page and just run some traffic to it. You know, spend $10-20 a day, get a feel for it and try to understand the numbers on your own. And once you have some bit of familiarity, where you know enough to be dangerous, you know enough to speak to potential agencies and freelancers to run your ads. I think that's where you can really get started. You don't have to really call it to it. It's not like you need to whip up like $1,000 right now to commit to spending $1,000 on Facebook, you can easily start with $10-20 even if you end up not finding these will work for you. You can still use Facebook to kind of find the messages that best resonate with your audience. You know, you will see interesting that tweets and stuff.
Andy Splichal 29:36
So you would suggest that business owners begin to learn it themselves before even thinking about hiring an agency?
Jason How 29:44
Andy Splichal 29:46
And how how can they start? How can they how can they learn how how can they learn enough to be dangerous as you said?
Jason How 29:53
Yeah, so the I will say the best places to jump right into Facebook groups. If you guys an ecommerce space, I'd recommend checking out Depeche Medallia is actually a British marketer who is now migrated to Canada. And he, he does really great stuff. I think he has a Facebook group called the Facebook Experts Academy or Facebook Ads Express Academy. Definitely go in, check it out. And he shares really good stuff regarding ecommerce, he runs trainings all the time. So that would be the first place I will recommend checking out. I don't find YouTube to be a great resource to be very to be very clear, because I find that a lot of people just tend to share what they know, and what they know might not be what works universally. And I find that the most comprehensive training to have come from the past as compared to a lot of other marketing gurus out there.
Andy Splichal 30:43
Great. Well, thank you. Now before we wrap it up, is there anything else that I would be amiss if I forgot to ask you today?
Jason How 30:51
No, not really. Thank you so much, Andy. It's been a great time.
Andy Splichal 30:53
Great. Well, that's it for today. Remember, if you liked this episode, please go to Apple podcast and leave us an honest review. And if you're looking for more information regarding Jason or Agency J, I will put those links in the show notes. In addition, if you're looking for more information on growing your business using Google paid ads, requests to join the Make Each Click Count Facebook group I'll be releasing some all new free live training some more will be happening soon. In the meantime, remember to stay safe, keep healthy and happy marketing and I will talk to you in the next episode.