Episode 69: Facebook Advertising for Service-Based Businesses

Episode 69: Facebook Advertising for Service-Based Businesses

Through two in-depth case studies, a digital marketing consultant shares his insights into smart Facebook advertising for storefront, service-based businesses.


Nick Wolny is a Facebook strategist for entrepreneurs. He joins the podcast to share what he learned helping his local yoga studio generate $58,100 in revenue by leveraging Facebook ads and a Facebook Live event.
Listen in to hear two in-depth case studies and learn effective ad-targeting strategies for Facebook, how to communicate advertising performance to stakeholders, and more.
Find Nick at www.nickwolny.com, or connect with @nickwolny on Instagram.


Chris Davis: 00:24 Welcome to another episode of The ActiveCampaign Podcast. Today I have Nick Wolny with me, who is a digital consultant, digital marketing consultant, as well as an ActiveCampaign user for two years and counting. What Nick does is he specializes in serviced-based brick and mortar businesses. I am excited to have him on to talk about how can these traditional businesses who have a local or a physical location, how can they start leveraging digital marketing, specifically Facebook advertising? Nick is going to go through a couple case studies of some really, really good results that he was able to get for a couple local yoga studios, implementing Facebook marketing or Facebook advertising, as well as email marketing. You’ll see how he’s blended all of the strategies in one to achieve a nice desired outcome. Enjoy the episode. Nick, welcome to the podcast. How you doing?

Nick Wolny: 01:29 I am doing fantastic. How about you?

Chris Davis: 01:31 I’m great. I’m great, Nick. I’m excited to talk to you about some of the things the you’ve been able to accomplish because I think it’s going to be really useful for our listeners. First and foremost, give us a little bit of background about you, what you’ve been up to professionally, personally? You have the floor.

Nick Wolny: 01:49 Oh amazing. Thank you so much. Well, yeah. I’m Nick. I live in Houston, Texas. I’ve been in the brick and mortar fitness space in managing and marketing for a little over seven years. Kind of the backstory behind that was that I used to be really overweight. I’ve lost about 105 pounds, and I’ve kept it off this spring is 15 years. That’s cool.

Chris Davis: 02:13 Wow. Congratulations. Hold on. I’ve got to pause. I’ve got to pause. You didn’t tell me this before the interview.

Nick Wolny: 02:13 Give me back the floor.

Chris Davis: 02:20 Wait a minute. What did you do? I’m curious just real quick, was it just like a mindset commitment type thing or did you find a program? What was it?

Nick Wolny: 02:28 It was like a combination of things, but a lot of it was just small changes like okay, I’m going to go walk to the track and walk around the track a few times. I’m a big drown hunger fan. Anytime I go to a restaurant or anything like that, knock back a couple waters before anything get started. Yeah, I mean it was interesting just like little baby steps, but seeing the number come down. It was cool. Even though I had worked in some other industries, I studied classical music actually and did a couple of other things. I just always have had a penchant for health and wellness. As I got wrapped up in that industry in terms of management and stuff like that, it was cool to …

Nick Wolny: 03:16 Chris, it was cool to be a part of a business that’s in the business of making people feel good and making people happy. You know what I mean.

Chris Davis: 03:23 Yeah. Yeah, I get it.

Nick Wolny: 03:24 When I was doing classical music and I was teaching kids private lessons, I’m not knocking on music at all, but those kids would claw their eyes out in order to not be there at that private lesson each week. It was a really interesting shift and especially … I’ve taught fitness too for several years. It’s just an interesting shift when everyone in the room wants to be there. There’s almost this intangible energetic quality to it. Even though I’ve had clients in a few different industries, I’ll always have a penchant for health, wellness, and fitness and helping that grow.

Chris Davis: 03:58 Where did the digital marketing acumen come from?

Nick Wolny: 04:06 What I kept noticing is … I worked in kind of a COO capacity for a few multilocation fitness businesses down here in Texas. What I noticed both in that and then in just some private consulting that I was also doing is that these businesses have the … They have the product piece really dialed in, right? You don’t plunge your life savings into a Pilates studio unless you are really freaking excited about Pilates, right? In terms of that, kind of the psychographics of the fitness business owner is that they want to be on the product, about the product all the time.

Nick Wolny: 04:45 What I also noticed is that almost everyone was doing strictly a word of mouth strategy. I love word of mouth strategy and I’m a big fan of that. It was also interesting to see that these local businesses they would run promotions. They would run sales. They would maybe do marginally well or maybe not well. They’re just trying to solve for cash flow. Then two weeks later, constant complaint from owners is that two weeks later a client will come in and say, “Man, I wish I would have known about that sale that you had a couple weeks ago. I would have dropped 500 bucks in your lap. Dang it.”

Chris Davis: 05:20 Sure. Sure.

Nick Wolny: 05:23 It was interesting that even taking … Like I’ve been kind of studying like kind of heavy hitters in the digital marketing industry and personal entrepreneurs like [inaudible 00:05:33] and Charlie Hoehn and people like that. It was interesting to see even just taking a small sliver of marketing automation strategy and bringing it into the picture for that local business scene. It got way more people to know about about what’s actually going on in the business.

Chris Davis: 05:54 I love it. Nick, we could stop right now actually because what you said was so key. You said taking a small sliver, just a portion, and that is so important because what I often see is that people get overwhelmed with trying to learn everything and do everything. I understand that marketing automation is vast. ActiveCampaign as a platform, you can do pretty much anything with it, but to get success? You really don’t need everything.

Nick Wolny: 05:54 Right.

Chris Davis: 06:30 If people can just get used to that idea that okay, I’m just going to take this piece and this piece and execute like crazy on it, they’d be surprised at how far they’d be able to get.

Nick Wolny: 06:43 Yeah, absolutely. Totally agree.

Chris Davis: 06:45 All right. Let’s jump right in it. Nick, as I mentioned before, you’re doing a great job of marrying the traditional business, the brick and mortar, the physical location, I’ll say the physical location, with an online digital presence. I know when we were talking, you were using the example of a yoga studio that you recently worked with. I like to give you the floor again and just provide us some insight on exactly what you did for the yoga studio and how that entire process went.

Nick Wolny: 07:19 This is already one of the best podcasts I’ve ever done because you’re either giving me the floor or complimenting me. It’s just like, “Let me take back the floor just to compliment you. Okay. Here’s the floor back.” I wish everything could work like that. That’s great. Well, yeah. I’ll give results first. We did two case studies. One is that I worked with my local yoga studio to create a campaign that had a few weeks of build up. Almost like what you would do in a launch. Then what we did is we took a time that is normally totally dead at the studio. The studio is not even open. We picked 2 P.M. on a Wednesday.

Nick Wolny: 07:54 You would normally not host a group fitness class at that time because everyone’s at work. Instead, we curated a Facebook Live at that time. We live streamed a class and we layered on top of that a promotion, which was that you could get a package of 10 yoga classes for a reduced rate. It was about a 40% discount. How we did that is we put the coupon code into the Facebook Live status. Then in terms of our email marketing build up and even like announcements in studio and things like that, we spent weeks building that up, getting the preframing really tight, and getting some urgency going.

Nick Wolny: 08:33 We knew we were doing something right because people were kind of knocking on the door saying, “Oh my god. I might have this meeting at 2 P.M. I want to make sure I get one of these. Can I just buy it now?”

Chris Davis: 08:44 Oh, so let me get this right. The email build up, was it for them to attend the live or for the actual promotion?

Nick Wolny: 08:51 It was for the actual promotion.

Chris Davis: 08:53 Okay.

Nick Wolny: 08:53 Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Chris Davis: 08:53 Got you.

Nick Wolny: 08:54 Yup. The class itself, as mentioned before, a lot of people don’t have 2 P.M. free. Well, a lot of this audience has 2 P.M. free because there’s lots of consultants and things like that, right?

Chris Davis: 09:05 Right.

Nick Wolny: 09:09 I think we had eight people in the class. It was not a massive class by any means, but it’s almost like we weren’t necessarily using the Facebook Live to lay down some incredible content or anything like profoundly educational, right? The way that you would in like a webinar or something like that. Instead, it was just like, “Hey, this is something that’s happening. It’s live.” Since it was live, it kind of slices its way through the algorithm. I don’t know why I always think of like ninja movies where someone’s just like slicing through. That’s what flies to my head whenever I hear about Facebook Live or use that as a strategy.

Nick Wolny: 09:43 It really cut to the front of the line in terms of people’s news feeds during that time. Then the urgency piece we added is that if you were able to show up live, you could use that coupon code to buy up to three of those passes. If you ended up watching the replay, then you were only able to purchase one of those classes. Right after we were done, we went back into the CRM and we changed the max purchase amount to one.

Chris Davis: 10:06 Nice.

Nick Wolny: 10:08 That worked really, really well. We had people like saying, “Please. I’ll pay extra. Just let me buy it.” That was already a really cool win.

Chris Davis: 10:17 Great.

Nick Wolny: 10:20 Then on the backend we ran it as a Facebook ad for just about 24 hours. In one day, that yoga studio we made $15, 525. Our Facebook ad spend on the backend was 50 bucks. Just real, real simple. Good ROI. I like to be clear about that case study because don’t go telling people that you can spend $50 on Facebook ads and make back 15. Don’t say that I told you that. I didn’t tell you.

Chris Davis: 10:51 Right. Right.

Nick Wolny: 10:53 Right? There were many other things in the picture. Probably one of the most powerful things in the picture is that starting three weeks out, we began to frame the way that you would in a launch of some kind. We just were mentioning it. Our closest most fanatic customers, we actually told them about it in advance to get kind of some whispering going. That is just really exciting. We said, “Mark your calendars. There’s a Facebook Live coming in. We’re going to have a special offer during it. You want to mark your calendar for that.” I think for a lot of local businesses, people will do launches or promotions or sales. Maybe they’ll pull in a couple thousand bucks, something like that.

Nick Wolny: 11:34 What I want them to know is that by planning it out just as you would with a sophisticated marketing automation, you can turn that 2,000 into $20,000. It’s just from people knowing what the heck you’re doing, right? I had someone approach me, she’s now a client actually, and had said, “I like this. Do it with me.” We did a second case study and I knew that there were a few things that I wanted to tweak. One is that I wanted the cart to be open longer because really 24 hours for a Facebook ad is just not enough time to really optimize and land on the right audiences and stuff like that.

Nick Wolny: 12:14 I think there are also a few other cool email marketing opportunities that we had missed in that first case study. We didn’t reemail the unopens for example and that’s always a great strategy. Then also this list in general, it’s very unusual because these people are on a list because they’ve signed a waiver. They didn’t opt-in to receive some sort of bribe or opt-in magnet or anything like that.

Chris Davis: 12:39 Interesting.

Nick Wolny: 12:40 For a business like this, their list, they’re like, “Oh, this list is 8,000 people. Should I do something with it?” It just burst into tears, right? To have that many people, the open rate kind of rides on the low side. It’s usually 15, 18%, maybe 20% if you’ve got a sexy headline or whatever, subject line. We knew we wanted the cart to be open longer. Excuse me. The first case study, that 10 class pass, normally 125 bucks. It was on sale for $69 if you went through and bought it off that live. Then for this second case study, we decided to test out a little bit beefier offer. We tested a $350 offer which would essentially …

Nick Wolny: 13:29 We did it over the summer and it essentially was going to get you membership through the end of the year. This was last July. They were calling it Christmas in July. Basically if you paid 350, you had membership all the way through to December 31st, okay?

Chris Davis: 13:41 Got you. Got you.

Nick Wolny: 13:44 We did that. Pretty much the same build up. It was in a different timezone, right? I had to do a little bit more of okay, you have to put your phone in do not disturb. You have to do it while you’re doing the live, right?

Chris Davis: 13:44 Right.

Nick Wolny: 13:59 Just basics like that so they were set up for success. That case study was really incredible because we kept the cart open for six days. It allowed us to run really a full cart open email sequence and a full cart open Facebook ad sequence. 48 hours left, we were able to sub in a different Facebook ad and said, “Hey, the doors are closing,” to all our warm traffic. That was really successful. Some numbers from that. Just in the hour that that business was live, they sold 55 of those passes, which came out to just over $19,000. Overall they pulled in $58,100. They sold 166 of these passes. These are multilocation fitness businesses. I just wanted to point out.

Nick Wolny: 14:48 They’re beefy family operations. That’s how I like to think of it. Three, four, five locations. 

Chris Davis: 14:53 Yeah. Yeah. Oh, it’s so good because anybody who has a service-based business that has a physical location can glean from this experience, right? Tell me a little bit about the targeting. Was your targeting simplified specific to Facebook because it was location-based or did you do something else beyond just physical location?

Nick Wolny: 15:22 We did both to answer your question. We, I guess me. I strongly prefer starting with the warm audience. Just starting with those customs, the four customers. For anyone listening, it’s your email subscribers, your page likes, your site visitors and anyone who’s engaging with your business page’s posts. Those audiences are going to be less brutally offended that your Facebook ad is interrupting all their cat videos in their news feed, right? I like to always start there. In terms of the build-up, we’re just trying to solve for getting the word out when we knew that the open rate was 20% on the email list, right?

Chris Davis: 16:00 Right.

Nick Wolny: 16:00 For that second case study, the email list was 14,000 people. Yeah, that number is really sexy, but when you’ve got a 14% open rate, you got to kind of approach it in a little bit different way. Throughout that, we were running some ads on the backend while the cart was open. Even though we were slamming pretty hard on the email side, for the six days the cart was open, we did six emails, which is considerably more than your average fitness newsletter.

Chris Davis: 16:00 Right. Yeah. Yeah.

Nick Wolny: 16:30 Right? Like eat this piece of fruit this week. It’s like a little superficial. We decided to go deeper with that and then just to be running ads to those custom audiences in the backend. Then as a split test, something that’s nice for local if you’ve already got the resources for it is to run the Lookalike audience on the backend. We did a 1% Lookalike in a 10-mile radius.

Chris Davis: 16:55 Nice.

Nick Wolny: 16:55 That’s nice. Lookalikes are so good for local because you kind of want to hit everybody even if that particular person is not directly interested. They might be able to refer … Everyone knows someone who likes ice cream. If you’re an ice cream shop, then you might as well just let everyone in your zip code know that you’ve got an ice cream shop and it’s the cat’s pajamas. I love that. We did Lookalike also and they performed about the same. We do know that the Lookalike overtime it was people that they’d never been to the business before and then they started to check out the business as a result of that.

Nick Wolny: 17:33 The other thing that really surprised me was in this second case study, a lot of people … We targeted a lot of people that were inactive clients or they were on … They were actually on a Groupon. They were on a $20 Groupon to try the business out. I was managing expectations like a good consultant and I was saying, “Okay. 20 bucks to 350 bucks. That’s going to be a jump.”

Chris Davis: 17:58 Yeah. It’s a big jump.

Nick Wolny: 18:00 I know you’re really excited about the first case study and I just want to manage your expectations here that I don’t know how much of that Groupon/fairly new community is going to jump onto this heftier offer. For that second case study, of those 166 transactions, 57% of them were either inactive clients or clients that have been with the business for less than three weeks. The intro specials was like … It was 20 days for $20. I was flabbergasted because coming from a content marketing perspective, it’s like, “Oh, do they know my dog’s name yet?”

Chris Davis: 18:42 Yeah, right?

Nick Wolny: 18:42 “Oh, do they know my personal story? Oh, do they know about the trials and tribulations,” and all of that. These people they just snapped it up. They went from 20 to 350. It was actually the majority of the transactions were from these people that were in kind of almost like a noncommittal arrangement with the business. They just needed a reason to pull the trigger.

Chris Davis: 19:02 They just needed a reason. That’s a really good point because I’ve heard so many horror stories, man, of Groupon because it’s just like you get a tire kickers. People who are just like, “Oh, well, 10 bucks. I’ll try it,” and then they don’t commit. Then the business owner doesn’t know how to capitalize on that half in, half out individual.

Nick Wolny: 19:23 Yeah. Yeah. That’s why it was really surprising because that is probably the most noncommittal audience that they or most any business has. You’re getting butts in seats, don’t get me wrong. You’re growing a list so that you can continue to share content and keep people interested and engaged. I was just surprised that they went from the least committal offer to essentially the most committal offer that’s on the menu just through this experience. I think a lot of it has to do with … I love talking about ads. We could talk about ads all day. I think a lot of it really was about the setup strategy in the email marketing.

Nick Wolny: 20:05 Just making sure like if nothing else, obviously not everyone’s going to buy, but everyone and their mother is going to know that we’re doing this sale because that’s what just kept shooting these local businesses in the foot is that they would take all the time to do this promotion. I’ve lost track of how many times someone will email me and say or a business will email me and say, “Flash sale. Today only. Ends at 9 P.M. tonight.” It’s like great. What is it? What’s going on? Sometimes if I can’t get to my email until later in the day or even the end of the day, then it’s like by the time I heard about the sale, I missed it.

Nick Wolny: 20:42 Just so you know, just to get everything on our side in terms of getting as many people to be aware of it as possible, it was exciting. I thought it was pretty successful. Our total ad spend on that was about 330 bucks.

Chris Davis: 20:59 Nice.

Nick Wolny: 21:01 It’s cool. Again you can’t always spend 330 and get 58K back. Just in case someone’s listening and do a snippet of me.

Chris Davis: 21:08 Right. Well, that Nick said.

Nick Wolny: 21:13 Why? I can’t get a 5,000% return? WTF. What’s going on?

Chris Davis: 21:18 Right. Again too it’s the power of location. I don’t want to say location to make it specific, but I know we’re speaking specifically about location. When you’re approaching advertising, you want to be able to eliminate as many variables as possible. That’s what you were talking about when you said start off warm just in case listeners you were like, “Hey, what does that mean,” and you had your four factors. It’s essentially use what you know about them and start there, and then start adding more and more and more to it.

Chris Davis: 21:53 So often people go to like green pastures that they’ve never stepped foot in and be like, “Hey, I want to capture all of these people that know nothing about me because they need to know about me.” Where you have really highlighted the importance of not just putting the right offer in front of people who are already aware, but also people who are kind of like on the fence especially if you’re just getting started. When you were running your ads on Facebook, were you driving them to a landing page or were they going straight to like the checkout page with the coupon code?

Nick Wolny: 22:28 We split tested this and it was interesting. I love Leadpages. I wanted the landing page to like crush the direct to coupon, and so we made it really pretty and all this stuff. It’s because the CRM for this fitness business is not as aesthetically pleasing as some other and also not as mobile-friendly. We were like okay, you know what? We can’t decide on this whether it should go this amazing landing page or if it should just go direct to the purchase. We split tested it and the direct to purchase actually outperformed the landing page. To answer your question, it was just designed to be very quick.

Nick Wolny: 23:07 Also we knew that for the majority of these audiences, they already knew about what was happening. They could kind of read a couple sentences of the status and understand what was happening. We took that Facebook Live and that was the content of the ad. We did it like you would do with Boost, except we built it in the Ads Manager so that we could get those custom audiences done correctly. What was also great about that in terms of like ringing out every pennies worth from the ad is since we had essentially built up buzz for the Facebook Live organically and through email, they were loads of likes, comments, reactions, and shares on the video. Then we turned that into an ad, so-

Chris Davis: 23:52 Yes.

Nick Wolny: 23:53 … we were just at the high end of the reach.

Chris Davis: 23:57 I love it. I love it. Nick, I got to stop you because … This is the problem with everybody who comes on the podcast and is like really good at what they do, it’s just like a faucet. It just flows out. The second I say go, it’s just water. You just said something that … This is free. You don’t have to pay anything. When you said instead of boosting the post, I cannot tell you how … That button is so tempting because Facebook is like, “Hey, want more people to see it? Boost the post for $2.” They’re like, “Sure. $2,” and it’s money down the toilet.

Chris Davis: 24:35 It’s doing nothing because you don’t control who that goes in front of. Whereas what you said is say, “You know what? I’m going to take the same content and put it in the Ads Manager because now I can control who I put this in front of.” Since you had the live first, you had all the social engagement, not only am I putting something in front of people that I can control and who they … Let me say this right. Putting what I can control in front of people, it also has social proof on it.

Nick Wolny: 25:07 Yeah, exactly.

Chris Davis: 25:08 Warm audience with warm content. I love it. Okay. Continue Nick.

Nick Wolny: 25:13 Totally. Yes. Thank you. Oh, more compliments. I love it. No, I love this podcast. Oh my gosh. I think two things to land for anyone who’s not played with ads before is number one, in terms of audience selection. The biggest issue with boost post is that you just don’t have as robust of audience selection at first. If you saved custom audiences, then it may save and boost posts and you can still hit that custom audience later. With audiences, in a nutshell, there’s three audience types. There’s demographic-based, there’s interest-based, and there’s behavior-based. Let’s say you want to hit a demographic, age, gender, things like that.

Nick Wolny: 25:55 Then you get a little bit more sophisticated and you do an interest-based audience. Okay. I’m going to target people who like yoga or I’m going to target people that are … They like Lululemon. Something that kind of would imply an aligned culture, but then there’s another layer of depth and that’s a behavior-based audience, which is an audience that has proven through their user activity or by being on your list, something like that, you’re not putting them in a box of, “Oh, you’re a 40-year-old male that makes X number of dollars.”

Nick Wolny: 26:29 Rather than that box, it’s just going by, “Hey, here’s what happened. They watched your video for 10 seconds on Facebook, or hey, they went on your website and they visited the how to become a member page. Maybe you should spend a couple bucks and retarget that person with some interesting details.” With boost, you can’t really get into the behavior-based audiences as much or those custom audiences and those audiences are magic. They perform so much better. They put such a better taste in your mouth in terms of your ads experience.

Nick Wolny: 27:04 You don’t feel like you’re just being random and rude and interruptive. Then the other quick note is that when you create an ad, it’s Facebook job to make sure the news feed is as entertaining as possible for everyone. If your ad is garbage and it’s not hitting the mark … I shouldn’t say garbage. If your ad has a room for improvement.

Chris Davis: 27:26 Underperforming.

Nick Wolny: 27:29 Yeah. Then it will get kind of the lower end of reach. If you have engagement built on it or you’re really nailing it, then you’re going to be on the high end of reach for the same dollar. The way to stretch your dollar further is … One way to do that is to stack social proof. Another way to do is if you’re going to split test a bunch of ads, then on the backend in the Ads Manager, you want to set it up such that all those ads sets, all those audiences, they actually point to the same ad. That way all the social proof stacks on one ad.

Chris Davis: 28:05 Beautiful.

Nick Wolny: 28:06 I’ve seen that a lot where it’s like people will be like, “I’m going to split test eight audiences,” but they actually have eight different ads running. Yes, they got a hundred likes, but it’s spread across the eight ads. That seems like lukewarm. Whereas by funneling all of that into one ad, you get all of the conversation happening on the same thread.

Chris Davis: 28:26 You get a lot out of that because if you’ve got multiple audience going to the same ad, you can also see which audience is resonating the most with. Because again we eliminated a variable being the ad. The ad is the same for all [inaudible 00:28:40] Now we’ve one got less variable. We can start seeing exactly where the sweet spot is. Let’s say you did your eight and you find two audiences that are really hot, now you’ve got all of this engagement on this one piece that you can really double down on those two audiences.

Nick Wolny: 28:57 Absolutely. It’s the best approach. If you’re going to take the time and if you’ve got cart open long enough, just kind of learning what your audiences are, I mean that applies to local as well even though the total pool is smaller because you want the geography in the picture, but for anyone, the best … Probably the biggest question I get asked is what’s a good starting budget for Facebook ads? Do I have to start at a thousand bucks for them to be effective? What does that look like? I suggest to people that they kind of figure out the different audiences that they think might be winning audiences and start with the minimum amount of budget on each of those.

Nick Wolny: 29:34 Minimum daily budget. Then after a few days, you’re going to start to see in the data like wow, I get in front of twice as many people when I target this audience than when I target that audience. Okay, you know what? This audience is clicking and that audience is not and they’re looking at the exact same ad. This is interesting. Then after a few days, you cut the losers and you reinvest that budget into the winners. It’s science. It’s scientific.

Chris Davis: 30:03 You know what I’ll say too, what I’ve seen a lot of times is that … This is primarily with like service-based businesses. They’ll hire agencies or they’ll hire an entity to do like the advertising for them. If I’m asking them questions or they run into a consultant like yourself, you’re going to ask intelligent questions like, “Well, how much was your last ad spent and how much did you make off that? How many times did your phone ring,” blah, blah, blah.

Nick Wolny: 30:28 Right. Yeah.

Chris Davis: 30:29 What they’ll do is they’ll email the ads company or what not and they will provide the business owner with like an Excel sheet. Very technical jargon where they have no clue how to interpret it. Even if you were to give it to somebody like myself or yourself or anybody who knows how to manipulate numbers, it takes us time just to kind of like format the column, sort things, and XYZ. I say all that to say this. Nick, when you’re consulting, you’ve been a user for ActiveCampaign for a couple years now. When you’re consulting, you’re taking on new clients. How do you handle that?

Chris Davis: 31:06 How do you communicate how the performance of their advertising is going in a way where they’re aware and feel empowered that they’re making the right decision?

Nick Wolny: 31:18 That’s a terrific question. The biggest thing that I do in terms of working with a client initially, I actually will not bring them on in a longer commitment. We’ll first do like a trial session. Brennan Dunn calls it a roadmapping session. We’re essentially going to do a little bit of a roadmap because by design, I can’t possibly give someone a straight up quote if I don’t really understand what’s really going on with their business. You know what I mean? To just sit here and say like, “Oh, you’re listening to this podcast? I start at 2,000 a month.” I can’t say that. I don’t even know what your business is, right? 

Chris Davis: 31:53 Right.

Nick Wolny: 31:56 By doing like a roadmapping session or something that’s a little more short-term, right away I send the nondisclosure agreement over to them that has my signature already on it. They don’t have to worry about me doing something strange with their numbers. Just putting them at ease from day one. Then we spend a period of it could be 10 days, it could be four weeks, it’s whatever works, to really kind of dig in, look at all the numbers, decide on the best plan of attack, and then test that plan of attack. Because I might be off in terms of that initial okay, you know what? Here we are in Boise, Idaho. I live in Houston, Texas.

Nick Wolny: 32:34 Maybe no one in Boise likes ice cream. If that’s the case, I don’t ever want to move there. Upside that, it’s like okay, then we got to figure out a different strategy. It comes to a certain point whereas the consultant, I cannot possibly know everything. The only way to get to the next level is to be in partnership with the client. If I’ve done my job correctly, then moving me out of the roadmap and into some sort of retainer or some sort of package offer is a no-brainer. It’s kind of win-win in terms of what they’re really looking for. Okay, we’ve tried a couple of different things. Okay, very confident in saying that you should be targeting these behaviors and you should be targeting this.

Nick Wolny: 33:14 This is the kind of content that really resonated with people and XYZ. they just give them something like that that is … It goes back to the whole reason that the business owner went into small business is to get the hell away from spreadsheets full of numbers for the most part.

Chris Davis: 33:27 Yes. Right.

Nick Wolny: 33:29 To give them a spreadsheet full of numbers is kind of missing the mark in terms of who your client is I think. Analyzing what those numbers mean and then making strategic recommendations based on that.

Chris Davis: 33:41 Yes, which is key. I’m glad you mentioned or you went into depth with that because I want the listeners of this podcast to be able to hold these companies up to the sniff test, right? These are things that stink. If your ads agency is not giving you numbers or information in a way that you can comprehend and understand and they’re not giving you strategic guidance, strategic guidance is not, “Hey, we need to double our ad spend.”

Nick Wolny: 34:10 Oh, it’s not? Oh, I got to go. Bye.

Chris Davis: 34:17 Right? Inform the business owner of what you’re doing and how it performed in a way where they understand.

Nick Wolny: 34:26 The hallmark of a good road mapping session is that you work together a little bit and then you come up with a conclusion, and then the client can choose to do three things with that. Number one is they can just do it themselves. Like they can execute on that recommendation themselves. Number two is that they can hire you. Number three is that they can hire someone else with your recommendations. Sometimes people don’t even know what they should be focusing on more other than what they should be focusing on less of. I had someone who’s like, “Look, I need Snapchat ads right now. Right now.”

Nick Wolny: 35:00 Then after doing a little bit of work together, it was like, “Oh, you know what? Actually that does not make sense in terms of where your clients are hanging out.” Right? There needs to be space for a little bit of that. It’s also about trusting yourself enough as a consultant that you could give them the roadmap and empower the business owner to make the decision that makes the most sense for them. If you’ve done your job correctly, you better believe they’re going to hire you because for them to … You know what I mean? Because they’ve just gotten a good result with you, so it would be silly. Kind of taking that approach, it feels really good on both sides.

Nick Wolny: 35:38 It’s win-win on both sides. The business owners won’t feel like that they are getting stuck or that they don’t know what’s going on in their business. What drives me bonkers is when funnel marketers will say, “Keep them on. If they off board, yank the funnel.” That’s so gross. It’s so unethical. That’s their business, right?

Chris Davis: 36:03 No. It’s rough man.

Nick Wolny: 36:05 I’ve seen that before. It’s just figuring out what’s going to work best for their unique business. Then my value-add is that I keep up on all this mumbo jumbo so that you don’t have to.

Chris Davis: 36:17 Yup. There it is.

Nick Wolny: 36:18 You could focus on … Yeah.

Chris Davis: 36:20 Yup. Oh man. Nick, thank you so much for the time. Grateful to have you as a guest, as well as a user. Where can people find out more about you and get connected?

Nick Wolny: 36:32 Come hang out with me on my website, which is just my name, www.NickWolny.com. That’s N-I-C-K-W-O-L-N-Y.com. I’ve been like tinkering around on Instagram a lot lately.

Chris Davis: 36:48 All right.

Nick Wolny: 36:49 If you just need a break from reality and want to hang out on Instagram, that’s … I’m spending far more time that is not research-based on Instagram. Spending way too much time looking up cheesecake as a hashtag or something like that. It’s getting kind of dangerous.

Chris Davis: 37:05 It’s easy to get lost in it, man.

Nick Wolny: 37:07 Yeah, exactly. I’m in those two places a lot. You could choose your poison on that one.

Chris Davis: 37:11 All right. Great. Well, all of that will of course be in the show notes for everybody listening, so don’t worry if you didn’t write it down or got it misspelled. Nick, again thank you so much. Listen, we need more like you. The business owners may not be screaming for it with their mouths, but their actions are. We need more reputable consultants out there that are going to take the care and approach to helping businesses grow that you’ve taken, man. Hats off to you. I thank you sincerely from ActiveCampaign and the small businesses out there that need more folks like you, man.

Nick Wolny: 37:50 Oh, thank you so much. Thanks for having me. My self-esteem is through the roof right now. This is by far the best podcast I’ve ever been on. I’m just going to listen to the recording of it myself and just be like, “Yeah. I’m awesome. Yeah. You give me the floor again? Woo. Let’s do it.”

Chris Davis: 38:05 Nick, I recorded this just for your bad days. Anytime you have a bad day, just hit replay on this one. No, Nick, I appreciate it, man. Thank you again. I’ll see you online.

Nick Wolny: 38:18 Sounds good. See you there.

Chris Davis: 38:22 Thank you for listening to this episode. I hope it gave you insight on the process of running advertising as a business owner and a consultant. Consultants, you now know how you should be presenting data, information, and strategy to the CEO or the business owner. Business owners, you now know what light to hold up your current advertising or future advertising agency or digital marketer up to. They should be able to provide you insights that you can understand, as well as strategic guidance.

38:55 We should all be starting every business, it doesn’t matter if you’re a local, it doesn’t matter your geographical location, you should be starting with a warm audience. Start with what you know and grow from there. Start with what you know and grow from there. You do that, it really doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter where you’re at, what type of business. You will be able to make a positive ROI a lot faster. If you have not subscribed to the podcast, please do so. We’re in iTunes, Stitcher Radio, Google Play, SoundCloud. Anywhere where you could subscribe to a podcast. Type in ActiveCampaign. You’ll see The ActiveCampaign Podcast come up.

39:36 Do me a favor and leave a rating, leave a five-star rating, and a review. I want to thank all of you who have done so thus far. It looks amazing. I smile every time I see it. Not selfishly. Not because it strokes my ego. That is not why. It’s because I know that people will be able to read your genuine comment, subscribe and get value just like they did on this podcast. If you’re struggling with ActiveCampaign, we have users like Nick who have been around for awhile, but more so, we have people internal to the company to help you. ActiveCampaign.com/training.

40:13 You can get a one-on-one schedule with a member of our Success team and talk through the exact issues or hurdles that you’re facing in your business and getting started with ActiveCampaign. If you want to work at your own pace, if you think you’ve got a handle on it, you just need a few resources to help, the education center is here for you. ActiveCampaign.com/learn. That’s where you’ll find guides, manual, videos, webinars, every piece of content, help documentation, any content that you need to learn at your pace. It really doesn’t make sense to stay stuck as a user of ActiveCampaign because we have so many resources always available to you and for you.

40:57 This is The ActiveCampaign Podcast, a small business podcast to help you scale and propel your business with automation. I’ll see you on the next episode.

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