I have a brand new guest interview for you with Jess Shipton, who is the most beautiful, bubbly and energetic person ever. You guys are going to love her!
Jess is a digital and social media marketer and she’s the business owner behind JES Solution Marketing. She specialises in Facebook, Instagram and Google ads. Jess has worked with over 60 business owners in paid ads management, consulting and coaching – AMAZING, right?
She’s incredibly passionate about helping small to medium business owners to further grow their online presence through investing in paid ads that actually convert so that they can generate more leads and more sales online.
Today, I talk with Jess about all things paid advertising, from social media marketing to Google ads, and how they’re different but complement each other so perfectly. Jess shares some fun and exciting tips on how to get some of the best discounts from your favourite brands, how to spy on your competitors with Facebook ads and all sorts of juicy goss!
In this episode, we talk about:
- Leveraging ads to level-up your business
- When should I use paid ads, and how do I start?
- Building your foundation fundamentals
- Finding the clients that work best with your business
Tune in to the episode here:
🎙 Listen on iTunes – elleymae.com/itunes
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🎙 Listen on iHeartRadio – elleymae.com/iheartradio
The episode breakdown:
Elley: I have the amazing Jess Shipton with me today! Jess, welcome to the podcast! I’m very excited to dive into this conversation. I feel like you’re such a ball of energy and I’m ready for it. Let’s start at the beginning. Can you do a little intro on who you are and what you do?
Jess: My name is Jess, I’m the owner of JES Solution Marketing. I’ve been running my business for the last three years now. I do digital social media marketing, Facebook ads, Instagram ads, Google ads, that kind of vibe. I started off doing pretty much everything in terms of marketing and quickly narrowed it down because I’m a one-girl show here! As I’m growing I decided I’d harness down on what I know is my zone of genius.
I did do some social media management in the past but I’m just doing the paid ad side of it now. I love it because you really get to see the return on the investment and grow with the client. You see them go from being scared about investing in their business to going “Oh my gosh, can I spend more?!” The sales side is really exciting, because I get to see how much money they put in, and then how much money they got out. On the lead generation side, it’s more about communicating with the client about which leads converted, and with higher-ticket leads this can be really exciting – when the leads do convert, it’s a massive win!
Elley: I love that! How long have you been in business for and what actually made you want to get started from back then to where you are now? What does that look like?
Jess: To be honest with you, I knew self-employment was a thing, as my entire family runs their own businesses but at school, I just didn’t even think about working for myself. I don’t think that’s something they really talk about. Just recently, I’ve gone back to my old school for their Careers Day and I spoke to them about what I do and that you can actually be your own boss and it’s so friggin’ cool! So I actually gave them information on that possibility because, at school, they focus on what industry do you want to work in? Who do you want to work *for*? You don’t get told that you can be your own boss at 24 or younger, which I think is really cool.
When I left school, I went to university and studied digital social media, and in my second year of that degree, I realised digital social media works really well with advertising, so I branched into that and did the two majors. When I graduated, I was working in a little grocery store and they asked if I wanted to do a Facebook page and create some content for them, and I thought, sure!
From there, it was that full journey of realising I’d started my own business, and just wanting to make it work. For 3-6 months, I was working with this one grocery store. Eventually, I had three clients through friends and family. I started building my website, actually making a brand and worked out what my business name was going to be. As soon as I put myself out there and started telling people who I was, what I did, and what I offered and people were interested. They knew who I was as soon as I started showing up and doing that consistently.
I’m now 3 years into business. I’ve worked with over 60 businesses and have just under 20 clients at the moment. I never thought I’d be doing this but at the same time, in hindsight, I fully know that this is where I’m meant to be.
Elley: You’re obviously so passionate about this. I know you said you work with Facebook, Instagram and Google ads. When does someone know that they’re ready to start investing in paid ads, is there a certain point in their business journey where they can’t grow anymore? Are they at a similar stage when they come to you?
Jess: It’s one of two stages. It’s either one, they’re a brand new startup, and they want to just get out there and do it quickly. Then the second stage, which I prefer, is when they feel like they’ve tapped out their organic reach and sales. They’ve got a product or service that’s proven to work, they’ve sold it in the past, they just feel like it’s now plateauing. That’s where I love to work with people, purely because they’ve got something that’s working organically already, so your ads are going to amplify that. Organic reach is great and getting followers is great, but it’s a slow process if you’re doing it the right way. Paid ads are a way to get in front of those people quicker and really invest in data that you can then leverage later to retarget people.
Facebook and Instagram ads have the social media aspect, versus Google ads, which is search engine marketing. They complement each other so well. With social media ads, it’s like fishing – you’ve got this net, you cast it out to people in your target market. You know that they’re a qualified audience, but you don’t necessarily know that they need you, and they don’t know that they need you either – you’re hoping to be in the right place at the right time. Whereas with Google ads people are literally searching for what you’re offering. They’re looking for a solution to their problem. When you’re bidding on those kinds of keywords and showing up in those spaces, you’re presenting yourself as that solution. I think that’s really cool because you’re driving qualified traffic to your website as a result.
Circling back to the question, you use paid ads when you’ve tapped out and you’ve got a product or service that sells, but you now want to scale that and for more people to see it. There are multiple ways of doing that in terms of DIY-ing it or investing in someone like myself to do it for you.
Elley: Hearing you talk about social ads being the net that you’re casting out – that’s such a great analogy! It’s like putting the feelers out there to say that what I’m offering could be a great fit for you, but with Google ads, those people are actually searching for what you’re offering.
Jess: Yeah, the search intent is so high. The aim of an ads manager is to get the client’s product or service out in front of the right people at the right time, and that can look different for different people. You might have to see an ad multiple times, which is where the Google Display Network is so great. You might be browsing a website and see an ad for a particular product you’ve looked at come up – how does that happen? That’s the Google Display Network. It allows you to track people looking at different products and follow them around the internet. I know it sounds crazy, but from a marketer’s point of view, it’s gold. You’re then targeting people that are interested, rather than an ad that makes no sense to someone.
That’s where both the social media and the search engine marketing side of it really complement one another and go hand in hand because they can leverage each other and retarget people. There’s a thing in Facebook ads called lookalike audiences, which are wild! They basically use what’s called your custom audience, which is the warm remarketing audience (from your website, traffic, email list) and you leverage that and find people who look similar to your customers. That opens up an amazing opportunity for finding people you may not have ever thought of targeting before.
There are so many things that you can do, it’s such an exciting way to scale for businesses, but I also understand how scary it is. In marketing, nothing is guaranteed. You can only do what you can do.
Elley: There’s so much really great information in there. For someone that’s looking at DIY-ing it, how does that person get started on doing it themselves? Where do they start, so it’s not overwhelming?
Jess: Everyone has seen the boost button before, right? You have a post that’s doing really well, and for $5 you can reach this many people. If you’re just wanting likes, comments and shares, go for it, that’s what you’ll get. But you’re not going to be able to leverage all those things we spoke about before. You can’t retarget using the boost button, or optimise your ad, or choose a specific objective in terms of sales. It’s purely just likes, comments and shares and while that is good for social validity and proof, at the end of the day, you’re not actually doing it in a strategic way. That’s where it can be overwhelming because the boost buttons simplifies it so much. But most people want to do it the right way and invest in ads that will generate a return.
With all my clients, I actually talk them through the top and bottom of the funnel, what the process is, and why I do it that way. They’re educated in terms of our strategy and what we’re doing. I think when you’re DIY-ing it, even if you’re thinking of outsourcing later down the track, having that foundation will not only set you up for success at the start, but it will also teach you so much about your business. To get started, the first thing would be to really hone in on who your target market is, who is your ideal customer or client, what kind of messaging can you actually use to show them that you’re the solution to their problem? You really have to stand out from the crowd, because every man and his dog are on Facebook these days. Literally, dogs have Facebook accounts! What makes you different?
There’s an awesome tool on Facebook called the Facebook Ads Library. You can type in any Facebook page or Instagram that exists and you can look at any ads that they’re running, even if you’re not targeted in them. Check out your other competitors, have a look and see what they’re doing. There’s only a couple of ways you can say the same message, so what can you do that will stand out? One of the biggest things you can do here is making your ad creatives look native – meaning, you don’t want to see an ad that looks like an ad, right? Don’t think that you have to be this beautiful polished thing, because people actually buy into the authenticity. It’s a weird oxymoron, you’re standing out because you’re not standing out – you don’t feel like an ad to people. People feel a bit weird when they’re getting targeted, so the best way to do it is by actually just showing up as a person rather than a business or a brand, and showcasing how you can help them in that way.
Side note – Facebook Ads Library is also great for sales! If you’ve got shopping you want to do, look it up here first, see if they’ve got discount codes, and use that to your advantage.
Another thing when you DIY your ads is knowing your numbers. That’s so important. What’s your conversion rate on your website? How much traffic do you get per month organically? At the end of the day, ads just amplify what’s already happened. If you’ve got a shitty website, you’re just driving traffic to a shitty website. You have to make sure all that stuff is working well so that you’re setting yourself up for success when you eventually invest in ads.
You also need to create a business manager account. Set up your Facebook page and Instagram account, and link it all into this hub of business manager. Setting up your Facebook pixel is also a huge one. I know I’m listing off so much stuff, but there’s a lot here that you do right at the start, so that you’re setting yourself up from the get-go.
Elley: You need to get really solid in who you are, what you do, who you work with, what your message is, and build those really solid foundations because it’s like you said – paid ads aren’t there as the solution, they’re there to amplify what you’ve already got. You can’t rely on it as the only way to grow your business if you aren’t showing up consistently, creating content, speaking to the right person. And the shitty website thing is so true!
Jess: Totally. You’ll see that the ads are getting a great click-through rate or driving a lot of traffic but there’s no Add To Cart, there are no purchases. There are so many different things you can look at for this. Google Analytics is a free tool, and you can see the user behaviour and the journey that they’re taking on the website. If they’re just going to the homepage and bouncing, they’re obviously not interested, you’re not capturing their attention.
Another thing I’ve seen is people asking me to do lead generation campaigns and build their email list, but they don’t have an email marketing funnel. So we’re getting hundreds of people onto your email list, but how are you nurturing them? Are you actually selling to them in there, are you building that trust? If not, then they’re just an extra person that you’re paying for through your email provider!
Elley: We talk about get-rich-quick schemes, and sometimes think paid ads = money. But it’s not that, it’s a long-term, in-depth strategy. That’s clearly what you’re a genius at because my mind is blown! From A-Z, you’ve got to put the work in with the website, the socials, emails, whether it’s lead gen or sales. It’s not just a quick band-aid fix, it’s much more thought out.
Jess: Exactly right. Yes, it’s quicker than growing organically, and yes, you get your stuff in front of the right people quicker, but there’s so much strategy and thought that has to go behind it. Otherwise, it’s not as effective as it could be and you’re burning money. You can spend as much as you want on paid ads, but if you’re not generating a return or getting any valuable data from it, it’s a waste of your money.
Elley: I’m curious, do you have a program or step-by-step on this? As you said, it’s a lot and it’s one of those things where there has to be a strategy behind it. I’m sure there are probably people listening now thinking, how do I do all this?
Jess: I do have a self-paced course called Stop Boosting, Start Converting. It’s a 6-module course that goes through the A-Z of how to set up the strategic marketing funnel and actually make a profitable ad pipeline for yourself. I have free guides on my website as well, such as Make My Marketing Funnel, that basically helps you to work out what you want your funnel to look like. It’s part of the course as well, where I go much more in-depth, but it’s a great little workbook where you can go through and work out what you want to do at each stage of your funnel.
Elley: That’s amazing. It’s one of those things that’s so helpful, but can be so overwhelming if you allow it to be.
I want to pick your brain on something that is related to ads, but more on the mindset side of it. You said in the very beginning that what you do with paid advertising is very reliant on the return on investment. When what you do is very heavily reliant on the end results, what’s it like for you mindset-wise? Is there a level of pressure that comes with that, that if I don’t get the result, the client won’t be happy or I’ll feel not good enough? Has that been a journey for you?
Jess: Yes to all of the above! It’s so easy to do, particularly in the world of marketing. Not only are you comparing yourself to competitors and how they’re generating, but your clients are doing that as well. 100% there’s pressure there. A lot of my long-term clients totally see the value in what I do, and they’ve been on that journey with me. But when I’m starting out with a new client, I have a 3-month trial period because we need to actually invest in working out what strategy works, because you’ve never invested in paid ads before and you don’t know what works and what doesn’t.
At the end of the day, I know I’m damn good at what I do. But heck, I’m not a magical fairy that can whip out an ideal client or customer’s credit card details! I can’t do that. I make that very, very clear with my clients from the get-go – my job is to put your product or service in front of the right eyeballs at the right time, and nurture those people as much as I can so that we’re not wasting money on ineffective advertising. Making sure that you’re super transparent with the client at the start is what’s made me detach myself from that part of the responsibility. My responsibility is not to run your business or to make sure your business is a success. I want to play a part in that, but it’s not my entire role. I think recognising that made me feel less like it was this huge pressure that if their business wasn’t profitable one month, it wasn’t all my fault.
The other thing I realised was that if the website, the product or service isn’t up to scratch, and if they’re not selling it already, the ads amplify that.
You really have to make sure that you have a great website and a great product that people love, and you genuinely have people in your corner loving your product and service before you go and invest in ads.
Elley: I think no matter what industry you’re in, whether you’re a service provider, in e-commerce or Facebook ads or coaching, what you just said is absolutely relevant, because it’s about detaching from the result and understanding that if you don’t get the result, it’s not necessarily on you. If you’re doing the best that you can, then the work you’ve done is enough.
Jess: I think *that’s* the message that needs to be communicated more. For example, I recently added my client criteria to my website, which lists what you need to tick off before you work with me. I want to make sure you’re ready for ads, you need to set yourself up for success so that you’re not just wasting money. There comes a point when you realise you need to work with people you know you can generate results for. They’re ready and they’re on my wavelength as to how long this could take.
My most profitable clients have a great website and a great product. You have to be transparent about that, particularly as an ads manager, so that you give people a realistic expectation. I think again it goes across different industries as well – you’re telling people that these are the ducks my profitable clients had in a row before they worked with me, and these are the results.
Elley: Communication is key. I feel like you’ve just filled my brain with so many ideas, I’m very intrigued right now. I do have a question that I love asking all of my guests on the podcast – what do you believe would be 1-2 personality traits or habits of an empowered CEO?
Jess: The first one would be knowing how to prioritise. Dedicating time to work on yourself and your business is so important. When you’re a service-based business, particularly when you don’t have recurring passive income, then your clients are the people who pay your bills. So all of a sudden that is your priority, because if the work doesn’t get done, then you don’t get paid. What I have found is that if you just keep churning without actually prioritising yourself in the process, you will constantly have this financial ceiling that you cannot grow because you’re not making time to invest in growing. That classic saying that you can’t pour from an empty cup – that’s 100% right. Entrepreneurs have that creative flair in them, and to be able to spend time to prioritise your own creativity and do what fills your cup is so important. Otherwise, you’re pouring from an empty cup, and your clients can see that.
The second thing for me would be around comparison, and just knowing that there’s room at the table for everyone. It’s so easy to fall into that trap of comparison. I’ve just had to learn that feeling confident with staying in your own lane is just so important. Their success doesn’t lessen mine. I think that’s my biggest takeaway. They can be successful, and so can I.
Elley: Both of those things are so true. You’ve got to make space for yourself, grow your business and take care of yourself as a human being, but also there is room at the table for everyone. Instead of looking at people succeeding in a negative way, I like to look at it as a great example – she is succeeding, so that means I get to succeed too!
Jess: Exactly. It’s about empowering one another and not seeing each other as competition. I’ve got a Facebook ad chat group with amazing women that are all Facebook ads managers. People normally would see that as your competitors, but it’s so not the case. I love that I have somewhere where I can hang out with other like-minded women because it can get lonely being a self-employed person.
Elley: I’m honestly so grateful for you sharing so much knowledge with us today. Thank you so much for coming on!
You can follow Jess here:
WEBSITE – https://jessolutionmarketing.com.au
INSTAGRAM – https://instagram.com/jessolutionmarketing
Hope you loved the episode and reach out to me on IG if you want to chat about the episode.
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