How to Become the Recognized Industry Authority with Facebook Ads - with Brandon Smits

Do you know how to use your ad dollars the RIGHT way? eyes 
Companies are spending thousands of dollars on paid social—but they’re often tracking the wrong metrics or launching the wrong campaignsresulting in low conversions and even low brand awareness. grimacing face
You don’t have to shoot in the dark every time—there is a science to paid social and you can learn it in our latest episode. gem stone 
studio microphone We sat down with Brandon Smits, Partner at 8Loop and Solar Cheat Code, who shared with us his incredible knowledge on paid social and how B2B companies can use it the right way for guaranteed sales. 
If you’re tired of throwing away ad dollars or feeling like Facebook algorithms are too complicated to master, then THIS is the episode for you. 
Main Takeaways:
gem stone Learn how to maximize your ad dollars for your company
gem stone Make a successful retargeting campaign for your audience
gem stone Learn to differentiate between the different ways you can structure your ads
gem stone Find the best way to structure your content for your audience
alarm clock 00:00 - 09:11 | Learn how to leverage ads to make your company look bigger than it is
alarm clock 09:11 - 18:37 | Maximize the cost of each individual conversion with your ad spending
alarm clock 18:37 - 31:03 | Make sure your company is tracking the right metrics for your ads
alarm clock 31:03 - 43:58 | The different stages of ad funnels you can create for your business
speech balloon “The power of advertising is oftentimes about perception.” - Brandon Smits, Partner at 8Loop and Solar Cheat Code
speech balloon “What we’ve found is if we invest 20-30% of our budget into video views, we actually see a net DECREASE in cost per sales opportunity generated.” - Brandon Smits, Partner at 8Loop and Solar Cheat Code
speech balloon “My philosophy is always start with making sure the conversion mechanism works, then build a library of content around it.” - Brandon Smits, Partner at 8Loop and Solar Cheat Code
speech balloon “When I’m setting up to run ads, I start with my bottom-of-funnel content that will generate appointments, and I test that to a cold audience.” - Brandon Smits, Partner at 8Loop and Solar Cheat Code
Connect with Brandon Smits:
Follow Brandon on LinkedIn:
Solar Cheat Code Website:
Reach out to Rveal:
Rveal’s website:
Rveal’s LinkedIn:
Rveal’s YouTube channel:
210501_RM_B2BP_Ep_ How to Become the Recognized Industry Authority with Facebook Ads - with Brandon Smits_QG1

Full Transcription: 

“The following text was generated using a transcription service and may contain errors.”

Kap Chatfield  00:20

Hey gang, welcome back to B2b Podcasting, the official show for B2B CEOs, brand leaders, sales leaders, and marketing leaders to help them skip ads, and be the show. You guys know this, the heartbeat behind the show is to help these different companies and different job titles, learn how to create content that doesn't repel audiences, but builds them so that they can then convert them into customers. But that tagline is a little misleading because we do actually believe in the power of ads. And today, I have a good friend Brandon Smits, he's going to help us talk through, we're gonna get strategic, we're gonna get tactical, specifically in the world of paid media. Brandon is a partner of two pretty significant companies. One is called Solar Cheat code and the other is called 8Loop. So without further ado, Brandon, thank you so much for joining us on the show today.


Brandon Smits  01:07

It's a it's an honor to be here, Kap. I'm so glad I can make it. 


Kap Chatfield  01:10

Why don't you break down for us a little bit about your, because you're basically like you're a serial entrepreneur. We were talking before the pre show in the pre show like what is your exact job title. And I think what we had to land on is your, you got a lot of things going on, you have a lot of irons in the fire. And so but let's focus on these two companies real quick, can you please explain what each of these companies does for your customers?


Brandon Smits  01:34

So Solar Cheat Code started as a consulting company, a coaching company, we taught people how to run ads in the residential solar space. So since then, we've added a done for you components, so we actually run their advertising campaigns for them across a couple different social media channels. And 8Loop is also a training company and we teach digital marketers how to get better at running ads. And we also have a program for agency owners to scale up their agencies, their ad agencies basically. So that's why I kind of have my hands in both directions, because I'm actually also an agency owner doing that run ads, less these days but that's kind of how I got my hands stuck in all of those pots.


Kap Chatfield  02:29

So basically, if I'm hearing you correctly, what you're doing for Solar Cheat Code, you're working directly with people that are selling solar. And I'm sure that a lot of the data and the insights you get from building that business, is what you can, you can kind of give away in this this group, this community with 8Loop for other agency owners so that they can get the same results, basically.


Brandon Smits  02:50

Yeah, that's correct. So I was actually a client before I invested in the company. I just really believed in the community in particular and the audience surrounding it. And my business partner, Kat Howell, who founded and started it she has impacted 1000s of lives, we've trained 15,000 people on how to run ads and 1,000 agencies on how to grow. So it's, it's a very storied past, and I'm just tickled to be able to kind of help grow the company that helped me grow, if that makes sense.


Kap Chatfield  03:28

That's amazing. One thing that I'd love for you to unpack for our audience real quick, is this the Solar Cheat Code model. I think that one, it's, it seems like a feeder into the the 8Loop conversation. And so explain to us real quick, I mean, you said you went from going from consultancy route to actually providing almost like a off the shelf product, this this kind of add solution for these solar companies or solar distributors that are going to market. So how does that how does that product work exactly?


Brandon Smits  03:59

There, there are some options, right? So for a lot of people, if they have time, you know, they can learn the skill that can you know, they can learn to fish as the as the saying goes, and they can learn how to build pipeline from from ads, we show them how and we do that with proven creative, pre built funnels that they can come, stand up and then, you know, sales process to nurture and sell those things. And part of the reason that it works so well in solar is just because like if you're a homeowner, oftentimes it makes a lot of sense for you to do it. So we've been able to help a lot of salespeople kind of get into advertising to generate bigger commissions. And then along the way, the most popular request was I don't really have the time to do this. Could you do it for us? And for years, we said no, and then one day, we decided that it was probably the biggest opportunity that we had to grow into something else and said, Yes. And so that's been amazing. We've spent 20-$30 million in solar ads, we've learned a ton. And on the back of that, our clients kept coming to us with challenges surrounding the geographic area where we were advertising. And so now we actually have built a network of installation partners. So we can also basically help our clients find new vendors with which to work and get the solar systems installed. And when they do that, they typically make 20 to 30% more commission. So it's one of those businesses that has really sort of had these pivots along the way, where we just got ourselves into a position where we could listen to the industrial demand, like what does the industry actually need? What did these reps need? What do the sales organizations or dealers need? What do the installers need? What are the banks and the financers need? All of these people had come to us at at certain points, to express different pain points that they've had. And so we keep finding ways to help the industry. And it's been an incredible thing. And it's great to be a part of something that that has this green impact to it. Something I've always been attracted to, but I didn't know very much about so getting in there and using the marketing skills I've developed and then some the entrepreneurial skills to basically help renewable energy get more traction in this country has been just such a blessing for me.

210501_RM_B2BP_Ep_ How to Become the Recognized Industry Authority with Facebook Ads - with Brandon Smits_QG2

Kap Chatfield  06:37

That's amazing. It's really remarkable to see to just how much how much success you guys have been able to generate because of this. I'd love for you to share this, I know that we didn't get to talk about this, I hope that you're okay you're okay saying this. But one thing that you shared with me in a previous call was how much you guys are investing in your own ads. Because I feel like it's good for people to know that you're, you're not just selling this as like, here's a solution for you. But you're actually eating what you cook, too. So can you explain to us a little bit about how your own ad strategy is a huge component of your own business development?


Brandon Smits  07:12

Sure. So we spend between 30 and $50,000 a month on our ads. For perspective, I'd say it's a it's our only source of leads, actually. I mean, we have a list now that we've built from that paid advertising. And really, our strategy has been to become known through Facebook advertising, we rent a lot of video views campaigns, and we try to just stay in front of everybody forever. So we're actually a very small company. But from the perspective of people who have been in our retargeting net, they're like, You guys must be massive, because I've seen your ads running for like three years, constantly in my face. And so we hear that all the time and it's, it's, it's really helped cement us even industrially. We've gotten reached out to by I mentioned, banks, like banks who fund solar loans have reached out to us as industry experts. And my business partner and I are looking at each other, like, Do you guys realize how small we are compared to you? You guys financed a billion dollars in solar last year and we, you know, we've helped we've had maybe 2,000 clients. But comparatively, like, we're just totally different businesses. I mean, those guys have, they're basically like, privately funded, huge, huge funds. But it goes to show you the power of advertising is oftentimes about the perception. And we've managed to create enough resonance in our advertising, that a lot of the people just accept us as an industry leader in, in the marketing space in particular, I mean, there are others who we know and who we're friendly with, but I can't overstate enough the power of being in front of your prospects for a long enough amount of time, you know? 


Kap Chatfield  09:11

Golly, there's, there's some there's a really powerful principle in that whole in that whole story. Because first, you said, perception is really everything. What's amazing is you're having this, you're having these people reach out to you, dare I say this, you know, don't take this the wrong way. But you're leveraging ads in a way that makes you look 10 times bigger than you actually are. Because now you're staying in front of these people and when you're top of mind, they're thinking like, oh my gosh, like I'm seeing them everywhere. And it's that's a very strategic use of ads. And you're using, specifically you mentioned this, video views campaigns. Now, I would love for you to explain a little bit about that strategy, because for those who are kind of new to the ad world or those who are in the ad world, you'll understand this. The video views objective when you're running an ad it's not A it's not a bottom of the funnel approach. It's not a let's capture, let's capture emails, let's let's generate leads. It's more so a top of funnel if maybe a middle of funnel approach to ads. But that seems to have been a really core component to your whole strategy. Can you unpack why that is for us?


Brandon Smits  10:21

So really, there's a there's a few pieces of it, I think it's most important to start in, like when you're buying ads from an online platform like Facebook, and we're talking social ads, specifically here, right? So I'm not not talking exactly like Google Ad keywords. If you're using interruptive marketing in a social feed like this is pretty much true across the board. The the vehicle with which you buy, the ad is through CPM, right? Cost per 1000 views of that ad, rather than cost per click, and like a Google model. From the platform perspective, whether it's Facebook, tick tock, Google, you know, their goal, as a business, as a platform is to keep people engaged on the site, which is a divert there, the business model that they use to fund this is divergent away from that actual goal of keeping people on the platform, right? Because they're letting you put the link in and taking people off site. And so on most platforms, we've found a very effective strategy to invest in non link oriented, objective buying. So on Facebook, we use video views. And the the idea there is that we're using the we're using that consumption to build an audience internally to Facebook, and then we just continuously serve ads to that audience that we have. And if you're familiar with the Facebook strategy, you know, there's like we were talking video views campaigns, there's also conversion campaigns, that's where we spend the bulk of our money, we're trying to trying to generate sales opportunities for our team. But what we found is that if we invest about 20 to 30% of our budget into the video views, we actually see a net decrease in cost per sales opportunity generated. So so it actually, it actually helps. And part of the reason why is because as as an advertiser, it's an auction model. And one of the variables in the price that you're going to pay, or how often you win auctions of these 1000s of impressions, is how well you are rated as an advertiser by the platform itself. And one of the easiest ways that I think you could see you might be rated, as an advertiser is like, what type of engagement metrics does the site see from your ads in particular? So when you're using video views, like video consumption is a very platform native platform friendly type of activity, that oftentimes will run a 10, 20, 15, 20 minute video, and it'll cost us about $1 or $1.50 to get somebody to watch the entire thing, which is, which is actually crazy. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Try it is all I have to say you'd be surprised how, how, how inexpensive it is to use that metric, because oftentimes, the CPM will be like, 20 to 30% of what it would cost to run a conversion ad to that same audience.


Kap Chatfield  13:20

What, uh, I'm curious, the 20 minute video ad really kind of raised my eyebrow because I've, you know, I would assume that shorter videos would probably be the way to go. What's your what's your philosophy on shorter video ads, let's say you're just trying to get the message out as quickly as five seconds versus a 20 minute video?


Brandon Smits  13:39

So I think the way that I fundamentally view our advertising strategy on Facebook is, it's the body of our ads, it's not any one ad, it's not any one format. It's everything that we have, we want, we want to let Facebook determine the right type of content to show the right person at the right time. So we set up our campaigns to allow Facebook to determine that because let's be honest, that machine learning is going to be way smarter than what I think might work or what I view is the top, middle or bottom of the funnel and where people may be at what time, you can control these things to an extent. I just find it number one a lot easier and my results have been a lot better when I just say okay, Facebook, here's the new people I'm going after and then here's the people who've already seen my stuff, you figure out which video, which ad, which thing to do. And I'm not saying you don't measure it at smaller levels to look at the actual performance of these things. But in general, what we do is we give Facebook the options and a lot of times with with ads I know because I've helped coach 15,000 media buyers like you get great results out the gate and then it stops working the ads burnout, we call it fatigue in the industry, right? So one of the best things that you can do to combat this fatigue is just have options for Facebook to use. And if you set it up in such a way that you make sure you're not sort of spewing budget out the other end, Facebook will always have a pool of creative to draw from. And oftentimes we're finding that even our ads that get quite fatigued, they'll work in like 30 days, again. So we just sort of recycle the content over and over. As far as the 20 minute video, I'll explain where that one came from. We didn't make it as a Facebook ad. In fact, it was a webinar, right? So we just took our webinar and put it in as a Facebook ad, which sounds like a really dumb idea. Like, that sounds like an idea that somebody who knows nothing about ads would tell you to do, like, why don't you just take what you're trying to get people to and put it in the ad itself, right? Like, and oh, but then you can't email the person or whatever. The point isn't that a 20 minute video is going to work. I think this mindset is actually a big detriment to advertising holistically. It's really like, what is the impact of them seeing 45 different pieces of content from me over like a month or three or six months? So oftentimes, our frequency, which is a metric that takes it's basically how many times any individual person on average saw your ads, oftentimes, our frequency, especially in our remarketing will exceed 15, or 20. But we have 50 pieces of ads. It's not, they're not seeing exactly the same ads, necessarily. They're seeing an entire body of advertising. And it's one of those things, especially in the social world that we live in, if you use social media, oftentimes, like you don't really consume the content that people post, but you notice it. And over time enough of noticing it, like when they hit you with the right hook for where you are in that moment, suddenly, like you already have authority in the mind of the person, because they've seen enough of you, they've heard of you before. It's familiar, right? But now, that hook isn't met with the same type of skepticism, as when you just see this random stranger who's like, you know, are you a solar company? Are you looking to generate more leads, like that message, it does work, actually. And we find that it works all the time. But we also know that our close rate on somebody who's says something like, I've been watching your ads, for years, I've seen the success, my buddies have used you, you're successful. I mean, it's just it's obvious, right? That you get a very different quality of person there. And I think that my philosophy is always start with making sure the conversion mechanism works. So I'm starting with getting booked calls with my clients. And then from there, I am building an absolute library of content surrounding it, to which I stay in front of these people over time, and this really helps. What it helps people who are very, very skeptical over time, just realize, well, I've seen like 50 different guys who are saying that this works for them. So even if it doesn't work for some people, it has definitely worked for some. And I think it's been a very effective overall way to both minimize the cost of each individual conversion that we're getting, and maximize the warmth of these sales conversations. 

210501_RM_B2BP_Ep_ How to Become the Recognized Industry Authority with Facebook Ads - with Brandon Smits_QG3

Kap Chatfield  18:37

Golly, this is really fascinating. So one thing that you said that just really stuck out to me was like the the approach that you guys deploy with your ad strategy is, obviously you're doing it to get some sort of return. But you're looking more holistically. I love how you said like the body of the body of the message with all of the ads. It's like, when we talk about being the show, that's really what you're doing is like you're putting the message out in front of people enough so that it builds this narrative with them over time. So that in that right moment when they're ready and it's like the pain point is high enough where they're ready to make a decision. You guys are top of mind or your your conversion focused ad it gets dished up in front of them. And then they're like, Yeah, I've already basically, I've already made the emotional decision in my mind. It's so it's already done versus, Yeah, I'll entertain it a little bit, and then we'll see where it goes.


Brandon Smits  19:30

Yeah, I think the phrase I like to use about this is like, I want it to be aspirational, that they work with us in advance. Like this is one of the goals of my marketing. I want them to think like when I get there, I'm gonna hire these guys, right? And some people will hop on a call with us and not buy for like a year or two years is very common, right? But but at some point, they've already like made up their mind that this is the type of person like this is the type of company and they seem reputable enough or they don't like what however they're making this decision for themselves, people make decisions differently. The goal, again, is to be like aspirationally somebody wants to work with us, based on the content that we produce. And a lot of our content isn't direct sales content, it'll be humorous stuff. It'll be, we'll interview people and the stories that they've had working with us. It's a pretty basic strategy from like, what content we actually create. But we are looking to generate emotional responses from that content. And what we found is that the more emotional, like humor is a really good one, if you can make your prospects laugh, and if you can show them that you understand who they are, like kind of culturally, how how they are, that goes a very long way at making very shareable ads. And that's, that's almost the holy grail of ads is having an ad that's so good that other people will actually share it with other people, right? It's not, not easy to do.


Kap Chatfield  21:00

It's not, but it's that is those types of ads are the most memorable, they provide value. And that's how you begin building trust. And, and I love how you're you're really looking at, I don't want to take the I don't want to put these words in your mouth. But what it's, it's interesting is like you're looking at ad strategy as a way of just ensuring that your message is getting amplified in front of the right people more than anything. And with that, I do have this question. I'm curious of your thoughts on this. Clearly, your team is investing a lot of resources into this for your own company month to month for your own customers, it's probably a significant investment for them to work with you guys and to leverage your model. And so people want results, people want to be able to measure how effective this thing is. However, I'm wondering for you, how much of how much of what you're looking at is like, you got to be able to measure the results very closely and and be able to put it very neatly in a spreadsheet. How much of that is like is true versus, you know, some of its like, you got to trust the process and you have to look at indicators and see like, what do these, what picture do these indicators, paint of the whole thing that's happening here? Because I think for some people, you look too closely to the metrics, it can kind of keep you from actually deploying a meaningful strategy, because there's a lot of stuff that just can't be tracked. What's your thoughts on that?


Brandon Smits  22:22

Okay, so I think it's quite different for like our company and our marketing as it is for like, what we do for clients and how we do that. And one of the main reasons why is that, for a lot of these guys, they don't really have brand, right? And nor do I believe that most of them, like imagine you're a salesperson at a company, right? These guys will invest their own dollars to try to generate more opportunities, or they'll have a team of five or six guys, but oftentimes, this is a dealer model. And they work remotely, sometimes. I can promise you that about 5% of this audience cares about building their brand surrounding selling solar power, versus give me sales opportunities that are that I can talk to, like I need the contact information, I need their address, I need their email, I need these things. That's all I care about. And that's most of them. So for them, it is very trackable. It is very much like this is very exact, the the tracking itself in this, I hear people calling it the post security world, or post iOS 14.5 world. You can still track how many leads are generated, it's very easy to do, right? And we can track how much we invested in ads, also very easy to do. We can track how many of those people ended up having a conversation with the company. Well the company can track it, we can they can track it, though. And then how many of those people were sold. So it's actually quite simple from a pipeline perspective, in it's relatively short velocity or wait, low velocity, where a lot of people will make a decision quite quickly. Some people will always take longer, but for our company on the other hand, I think it's a lot more. It's a lot more difficult for us to keep track of, say market sentiment towards our brand and things like this. It's a it's a smaller community. There's about according to the census bureau, there's about quarter million people who work in solar power period. So it's harder for us to keep track of that because it's a fairly quiet space or most a lot of the communication is in small groups. I think a lot of other brands are very much looking at like what are people saying about us on say Twitter, or what are people saying about us on Facebook or in our ads or whatever, and we don't get as much of that because of the industry size, I think and the scale that we're at. However, when we are looking at our own marketing, we're primarily pre focused on like, Okay, how many opportunities are we driving? Is the sentiment that we're pushing people through? Like, are people showing up to the call? Like, how, you know, what is the, what is the quality that we're sensing? What is our close rate? These types of things. That piece of it's similar, but we have this other layer of where we're building brand at the same time as advertising on this front. So we will measure things like, how much of this video are people actually watching? Like, is this going to, does this seem like having a net impact? And I'm, by the way, totally fine to run a video views campaign that nobody watches, because I want them to see that we're doing it. You know, I want them to see that we have this content out there. It lends itself to the sales argument we have, which is that, you know, some of your efforts of marketing should go into online ads versus say street teams knocking on doors, which is the primary method of sales for the industry.


Kap Chatfield  26:06

I'm curious, you mentioned about the iOS 14 deal. One thing that I've seen, it's almost like all of these ad managers, because I've seen it on YouTube ads, I've seen it with Facebook ads, seeing it with Twitter ads, it's like the whole ad management software is changing now, where you can't get as detailed as you could before, like even with YouTube, almost like, gosh, this is almost as impossible compared to what it used to be. In your experience, how, what's the best way to ensure that you're not wasting ad spend by taking a video and trying to get in front of that target audience now that you can't use this third party data? What does that look like?


Brandon Smits  26:46

Yeah, so the way that we do it, I think there's it sort of depends on like what your acquisition model looks like, right? So if you're you, if you have like a sales call at some point in the lifecycle, there are various stages that you can that you can track with your own systems. And I think a lot of this is getting overblown, in particular by advertisers. Because yes, a lot of their data has become less reliable than it was previously. But anytime somebody actually does something on your site, like you should be tracking it. And I also think, like, I have a pretty controversial view on this. But I'm of the mindset like, hey, marketers, like you should have seen this coming a mile away. And you should have been using mechanisms in your or your clients sites to track things that you have the right to track, because a lot of this is about third party tracking, like Facebook, tracking visitors on your site and then using that data. They're not trying to stop you from using the data that you've basically invested in, you got people to your website, you like, that's not really in the same way being impacted. I think it's a it's mostly about ensuring that what data that you do have on your site that you can get it back into the algorithm so that the machine learning can see what is working and what isn't working. And you basically don't have that much control over, over whether they accept this data or at what frequency and how well it performs for you. But what I will say about the entire topic is that, you know, fundamentally, it did not change the way that the work is done. I think for very few people, I do think in particular ecommerce was hit pretty hard by this because you have a more transactional, a more transactional and higher volume of traffic. So the lost data in that process impacted worse the, the optimization for those types of stores. But I'm friends with a lot of Ecommerce agency owners who are have become quite good at dealing with this problem. And it's become a competitive advantage for them. So I think and I'll go a little further on this and just say you're begging for me to talk about how do we measure our marketing total? Anyway, like what is the methodology that we should use to measure our marketing performance? And so my favorite one at this point that I like to measure the most and this is not brand marketing, by the way. So like, if you're doing brand marketing, that this is a different game, right? You're going to be measuring things differently, you're going to look at impressions a lot more, you're going to be looking at engagement type of metrics, and you're going to be measuring sentiment a lot more often. You know, I live in I live in a world where if my marketing isn't at some point generating a sales opportunity then like it's not working. So or at least that would be kind of where we're at for the company size. So when we are doing it, we're just looking at, you know, cash in or appointments, appointments and versus like the investment in marketing. We're just looking cash in cash out. And Agora Publishing, which is, I believe the world's largest coaching and training company, and they invest a fortune on ads, they're a multi billion dollar company every year. You can go very deep in terms of like tracking and like looking at down to the ad down to the last thing, but at the end of the day, like, the accountant only cares about how much you spent and how much how much it generated. And I don't even think that you need to look at it as like, is there a direct attribution to this number of sales calls? Because there will be no way to with 100% certainty understand what influenced the decision of people to come through and there will be a way for the tracking to break along the way. That said, you still have how many customers did you get in the door? How many sales calls did you have schedule a call? You'll still have these types of things that are very grounded and concrete, and then you have how many dollars left our business. So those things will always be there to measure, I think.


Kap Chatfield  31:03

That's, I think that is such an important way of looking at it. Because if you're so caught up in everything being measured, I mean, even in your own example, when you talked about this bank that reached out to you, it wasn't like a single ad was the reason why they they clicked and got in contact with you. It was a narrative that was being put in front of them over time. And probably that with also seeing maybe from referrals from other people who are starting their own solar company or their or whatever, who are asking for loans. They're kind of getting this validation from some of these other people, you can't track that either. So it's hard to say, man, 


Brandon Smits  31:47

They said, our clients, who are solar companies, right? They're telling us that your stuff works the best. So we know that you're legit. That's basically how it happens. And I think I mean, this is it's kind of the legacy way that marketing was cracked in the first place, right? Which is like, Hey, how did you hear of us? Asking that question. And I think it's more nuanced than that. And I think it's important to recognize that you know, you can, you can determine, you can set up a very complex buyers journey, where you expect them to go through different levels of understanding of different products, services, whatever that you may offer. I actually think that we should be looking at it, like, each buyer will sort of have this "choose your own adventure" process that they go through. When we need to look at, like the measurement of these things, like yeah, looking at the cohorts of what some of the people do will always give the marketer better, like understanding of that process. So if you can implement that type of tracking, great. But the, the scale at which you need to be for that type of cohort analysis to really matter is pretty big. Right? If you're smaller, you know, if your team is doing less than a couple 100 sales calls a month, a lot of this type of cohort tracking, like it's you don't even have enough data for it to be significant. So it's most important, I think, to start with, how would we measure this cash in cash out or like, or cash out and like pipeline created? Right? These are the types of things that that matter the most. And I think that most startups and younger companies now are thinking about this better than they did previously. And there's this whole trend of, especially in the startup world, from demand generation, or from lead generation to demand generation and having like a more nuanced view of, of how people become aware. And rather than just trying to slam people down a demo call trying to get like a warmer or a hotter transaction with the the salespeople, where you're actually giving more value in the sales process. And I think that that is the way that all customer journeys are going to look over time because the customer wants that. The customer wants more value in the process, not less.


Kap Chatfield  34:03

Do you have any insights that you can share with us about when you're breaking up an ad funnel what types of content, not just like something as generic as videos here, images here. But like even psycho psychologically, what type of what should be the narrative be or the message be at the different stages in your ad funnel?


Brandon Smits  34:24

I remember having this conversation with you a little bit when we were when we were on a call, how about I walk you guys through what I do when I'm setting up when I'm setting up to run ads and generate appointments for my sales team? Like the process through which I do it and I will, hopefully my tech will work here today. A lot of people think in these terms in they're marketing the top of funnel, the middle of funnel and the bottom of funnel. You know, at each stage, it's like, oh, we want to build brand awareness over here. We want to build you know, we want to stay in front of them longer over here and then we want here is where we get the actual sales call. Now, so this is like the theoretical way that this, this buyers journey works. So the way that I start, and this is counter to what a lot of people do, is actually start with that bottom of funnel, I start with the bottom of the funnel. And I get that to work, because some percentage of your audience is actually already at a stage of awareness of the market and the solutions that are out there that they will actually respond to you directly saying, hey, come book a call with my team, this is what we can do for you. And if it doesn't work on that percentage of the audience, it's a good sign, it's not going to work even after people go through the other pieces, because you're just not pulling them psychologically strong enough. So I actually start with my my bottom of funnel content that will generate appointments. And I test that to a cold audience, like to to brand new people who've never heard of me before. So if that works, I'm gonna put it here, like, cold audience. And for those of you unfamiliar, cold just means like, you know, they're, they're not somebody on my list, they're just, I'm putting it out there, to the masses of people who have like heard of, or people who are interested in, say, solar power, in my case, right? So you've got the bottom of funnel cold audience and I start here first. On Facebook, I use conversion campaigns and I would on YouTube too. What I'm what I'm trying to do is I'm trying to actually vet that my conversion mechanism is persuasive enough to get people to invest time with a stranger, they don't know, from booking a call on the calendar. Does that make sense? 

210501_RM_B2BP_Ep_ How to Become the Recognized Industry Authority with Facebook Ads - with Brandon Smits_QG4Kap Chatfield  36:27



Brandon Smits  36:27

Okay. So that's like, that's phase one of how I do this, right? And then phase two, phase two looks like okay, now that I have that, I'm looking to drive more value with the content. So these are where I start to run like video views campaigns. Right? And what I'm doing is I'm running them to this cold audience that I've now validated, is an audience that has people that has my prospect in it, right? And so I'm adding this, I usually do this, I will do this at the top of the funnel. And then also, we'll talk about my retargeting in a minute of, of how I do that. But creating, setting up frameworks, like understanding what content should be here, there's kind of an art to it. One thing that I will say is, you could, you could just hire Kap, run your own show, and then you're gonna have endless amounts of this content available to you, right? You're going to be talking with other people, like it'll be engaging, interesting. And you're going to have tons of this content. This can be demos, it can be testimonial videos, like there's actually we can go through some of the things. So like, I like to show in this content, I like to show social proof. So social proof, I'm just going to call it SP social proof, entertaining stuff, you know, make fun of the industry in a in a way that the industry would also identify with, right? Call out the buyers who are like, of your target prospect and why like what their mindset is. Show people that you understand the industry, the market like and the problems that they face, because it's a high indicator that you're likely going to know something about how to solve that problem, especially if you have the social proof over here. So I start with a cold audience, I make sure I can get appointments from that cold audience. And then I'm looking at, okay, let's use this content to begin to augment this. And also, I know that Facebook serves even though I pointed it at the exact same audience, it'll serve my ads to a different slice of that audience. Right? And I don't set up exclusions here. So I'm going to write this write this big, I say no exclusions. And what that means is that I tell Facebook, hey, if you want to show my bottom of funnel ads, first fine. If you want to show these to the same person, fine. What order I don't care, you figure it out. Right? And then finally my retargeting strategy, which I'll make a new slide for here. So for retargeting, I really make this simple. Again, this is controversial in the industry. But you know, at most we can do about 300 sales calls a month in my company. So you know, I don't I probably can drive about 100 to 150 for my retargeting at the most. So there's not a ton of experimentation I can do with the volume of ads that we have running because that the data is lower, it's like longer term. So as a result, what I do is I just retarget every way I can on the platform. All website viewers, page engagement, video viewers, I break out you have to manually do it too. I set up, I select each video that we ever have. And I'm targeting that audience and I'll set this up. I've done it in 14, 27 what I would recommend in general is like 30 days. So that means like, if they did any of those things of every way you can retarget somebody, if they did any of those in the last 30 days, I want them to be in this audience, and I just keep that thing running forever. And typically my cheapest appointments come here at the, at the bottom of the funnel. And then let's talk about the content that I put in the bottom of the funnel. So if you remember on the previous page, like I start with my bottom of funnel content, I think this is important, this is what people don't think about, it's like, just because you have bottom of funnel content, doesn't mean that you can only serve it at the bottom of your funnel. And it's, I'm looking at you digital marketers, you're the ones making this mistake, not brands, like not internal teams. It's you guys who are thinking, well, this is more bottom of funnel, sales oriented and those kinds of things. Just watch, try to put that stuff to your cold audiences. And if it's not working, there's a good chance it's not going to work, when when the other people go through. And if you can get it to work with people who've never heard of you before now, you know, you have something persuasive, right? So this is like the, the framework that I use, I retarget everybody every way I can for 30 days. And then we also don't even exclude like sales or things like that further, I want my clients to see my ads. I want to be in front of them for longer. It's a relational game anyway, we want them to refer people, I want them to comment and say that it worked for them. I even want the shot of people who weren't that happy commenting, so that we can reach out and do something about it. So this is kind of my core philosophy on how to like how to launch this body of marketing in front of these people, you know? And then a lot of the I didn't mention this part, but a lot of the content from the video views and those things, I begin to put that stuff in my top of funnel campaign to cold audiences in the conversion side, and just see how it does. And then the best performing content in each objective type, like I just shuffle the content around all over the place, I see how it performs and then I reapply the budget from there. And I preserve about 10 to 15% for testing brand new audiences I've never tried before. And then I we split up the engagement oriented, objective types, we spend about 20% of our budget on that. And then the rest of the 80% we invest on the conversions mechanisms, because those are the ones that drive the biggest numbers of sales calls as you would probably expect. Hopefully, your audience like thinks about ads to some extent, because I think if you've if you don't really know how to run ads, if you haven't run many ads, it's not going to be super helpful. But it does give you an idea of what your marketing should look like, in front of people. It should be generating new sales calls pretty much right away. Or that should be the main thing that whoever you're hiring to do your ads should be focused on getting that piece right. If you don't have that piece, right, like the rest of what you do probably won't work for a long time.


Kap Chatfield  42:46

Bro, I want to just give you a standing ovation. That was epic, it was super helpful. Thank you for kind of opening up the hood of the vehicle to show us what what what you guys do. I was taking notes myself, just you know, thinking about how we can apply that for our own customers. So thank you so much. Brandon, we're coming to the end of our episode here, I want to give your I want to give our audience an opportunity to be able to connect with you. What's the most meaningful way that our our audience could connect with you and your business?


Brandon Smits  43:17

I think the best way to reach out to me is probably LinkedIn. And I think that you guys will give them a link to that.


Kap Chatfield  43:24

We will. 


Brandon Smits  43:25



Kap Chatfield  43:25

We got you. Yeah, we'll add a link to your LinkedIn profile in the show notes. We'll also add a link to Solar Cheat Code and to 8Loop so people can check those out as well. Brandon, you're a gangster man. We'll have to have you back for sure down the road. So thank you so much for for for jumping on today appreciate it.  


Brandon Smits  43:43

Yeah thanks, it was fun.


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