Should Philip buy ads to promote his workshop?

Liston likes to tilt at windmills. One of his favorites is trying to get Philip to seriously consider using paid advertising to gain visibility for his workshop offerings. Today, Liston tries again, this time tempting Philip with a 30-minute walkthrough of how Philip might use paid Facebook advertising to connect with buyers for his Specialization workshop.

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This transcript was made by robots, so it's far from perfect.

Philip Morgan
Philip Morgan listen with a real slide folks who maybe are seeing this on YouTube can see I'm like, slouching down in my chair.

Philip Morgan
Like, getting towards the end of the day here. You know, I've been talking about all kinds of fun stuff

Liston Witherill
for a while. All kinds of fun stuff.

Philip Morgan
So I'll pretend to be like super excited to see you for for a podcast audience listening. It's so great to see you, man. How was how was your holiday? My god, it's

Liston Witherill
good to be seen. It was good. Didn't do a lot. As you know, I got my much wanted minivan. So coveted, coveted? minivan coveted minivan, I did adult things like replace the wiper blades on the minivan. rains a lot here in Portland. So you got to have some good windshield wipers, as you know, leads on that thing. Yeah,

Unknown Speaker
yeah.

Liston Witherill
So yeah, I didn't do a lot over the holidays actually pretty chill spent a lot of time walking the dog starting to get in shape, trying to lose a few pounds here. More than a few Actually, my goal is to lose 40 pounds. So I'm on my way.

Philip Morgan
Where do you Where do you keep them when you lose them? Where do they go?

Liston Witherill
Where do they go off into the ether late? Right? That's a good question. Yeah, what happened? What happened? So all those atoms and molecules that were once a part of me? I don't know.

Philip Morgan
All right, today, you're going to you said try to talk me into using advertising for something in 2021.

Liston Witherill
I am going to this, this is our requisite quarterly discussion of direct response versus brand marketing. But before we get to that, I do want to mention, Philip Morgan is at Philip Morgan consulting.com. If you want to learn how to better position your business, or go from a provider to an advisor, you can go check out his stuff, Phil at Morgan consulting.com. And also, can we talk about the new microsite you've been working on?

Philip Morgan
I mean, sure, it's going to be a pretty what's the word? Like when you get built up about something and then you go there? And it's like, oh, it's gonna be a letdown for folks. Yeah, I start I started, I bought a domain name, one that I thought I had owned, and then realize that to not have this domain name in the indie experts.io ind, ie experts.io. Know what, no letter Y in there? Because why would you do that? Why would you molest that? That word by putting the letter Y in it anyway, in the experts.io. There's the beginnings of a new site there, which maybe in addition to all the other stuff, I'm doing a half assed job of accomplishing I will do some kind of rebrand this year, and start consolidating there. Right now it's just a WordPress site and some words,

Liston Witherill
and is there a community or something people can join? Why would they go to indie experts.io

Philip Morgan
just to see the beginning of something great

Liston Witherill
Phil a few terrible marketer onyx day? Come on. You could do better than that.

Philip Morgan
I could, but I wouldn't want to oversell any.

Liston Witherill
Tory you're not.

Philip Morgan
It's an embryo right now. Let's just call it this. Okay, what is Yeah,

Liston Witherill
so indie experts.io. And, of course, I'm Liston Witherill, founder and creator of serve don't sell.com where you can go learn how to sell your expertise as well as you deliver it. So something we've been talking about trends. As the new year starts today, it's Monday, January 4. So the new year is now upon us. And of course, this is a time where every content creator worth their salt has to talk about trends for the year. And, you know, I've been planning out my year and figuring out what it's going to take to achieve the goals in my business this year. And one of my conclusions is that the only way I could possibly hit my goals for the year is to do paid advertising. And so I have a plan for how I'm going to do that. Of course, paid advertising works best. Not if you're selling a completely custom service, but it works best if you have a specific offer. By offer. I mean something like an E book, training a event that you want to draw people to or in your case Philip a workshop, and so I thought it would be fun if we could sketch out what a paid advertising campaign may look like for you. Are you on board with this?

Philip Morgan
I am 87% on board with this. Okay. Just our attempts to dissect the trends that we're seeing in the world of marketing have been thwarted by technology. Maybe that's a message from the universe, that we should be careful. Maybe someone is trying to send us a message, but I think we're kind of taking a break from that for a moment. We'll come back to it. We've got a few more trends I think we're going to talk about in an episode, we're going to rerecord. Anyway. Yes, I'm 87% on board with this attempt to walk through. What would it look like? Like I think of paid advertising as a way of scaling outreach, right. And I have these two workshops. One of them is on point of view. And one of them is on specialization. The specialization one, by the way, I'm running in February. And, you know, if you get back to me in time, dear listener, and want to join that workshop, you can obtain a depends on the timing 30, or 20%, early bird discount. So anyway, let's let's imagine that I had time that I don't have, I'm trying to work on finishing a book. So I don't have this time. But let's imagine I had the time to spin up a paid advertising campaign for the workshop that is going to start the first or second week of February.

Liston Witherill
Okay, so as with all things paid advertising, you got to start with who? Who was it for? Who do you want to be there, and I think it's probably helpful to go a little bit deeper on who, in terms of, you know, if you're going to advertise on Facebook, which seems to be the place to get the best, the best and most traffic, typically, you're going to target either a look alike audience, so people who Facebook thinks are similar to the people who are already on your list. So that would be one way to target and I think you probably should do that. But the other way is to target people based on their interests or other pages they follow. So who would be a good person for you to target? Based on that? What else do they like?

Philip Morgan
Alright, tell me if this is cheating, people who have thought about specializing, and are wanting to take action, have and have not, they're wanting support in that. So I feel like I'm describing this psychographic. You are is that cheating? Will that work? Will that map to what you're talking about?

Liston Witherill
What's a good starting place? But how what behavior would someone exhibit if they've thought about specializing? Who else might they be following or interested in?

Philip Morgan
Okay, so maybe they're following, you know, some of the folks who are quote unquote, competitors, kind of in the same market as me folks like, Blair hands or David Baker? Yep. And I don't know, like, what following exactly would mean in this context,

Liston Witherill
I think following their Facebook page,

Philip Morgan
okay. And is it problematic that these folks may not have Facebook pages or may not have tried to build up a following of those pages?

Liston Witherill
Well, if you're only going to do so, Okay, so first of all, obviously, we can't breach everybody in the market on any single channel. And if we're going to pay for Facebook ads, we can only reach people who are on Facebook, or on one of the properties where Facebook has some sort of arrangement where they show ads to people. So they also have third party sites, where they can advertise and they have tons of information about probably pretty much everybody at this point. So they don't necessarily have to be on Facebook. But certainly, they're going to know more about people who are Facebook users.

Philip Morgan
Gotcha. Okay, so they have creepy ways of knowing if someone is like, quote, unquote, interested in let's say, David Baker Blair ends? Yeah. Let's pick Christo, who has a little bit more of a kind of conventional mainstream social media presence for the audience based business, right, let's pick him because he's probably closer. Yeah, maybe bigger and less sort of concentrated. Yeah. In the sort of audience, the relevance of the audience less targeted.

Liston Witherill
Yeah, just because by virtue of the size of his audience, so that's who I was gonna say, is Christo seems like a good one for me to write because we're basically trying to reach very similar people. So that's where you would start is like, how do we find these people?

Philip Morgan
And then the next thing is to be clear, what's that called in Facebook terminology having this like, emotional crisis, that I even just said, that you know, so in the advertising money on Facebook anyway, what's that audience like where I want to advertise to Christos audience

Liston Witherill
you just called you would just define your audience and so you put in Christo are the future and then would come up with the, you know, follows this business page. And you can select that. And then that'll you'll be able to advertise to those people. Okay? There are also interest categories, I just find that for business, they're not specific enough. So an interest may be like, entrepreneurship or technology. But like, what does that mean? I mean, for your clients, an interest in technology may be like, advanced open AI, or, you know, containerization, and DevOps, but they don't care about the latest iPhone, which is probably more what Facebook's talking about.

Philip Morgan
So are Am I missing? Anybody? Can you think of other people who have audiences that might be relevant to me? And this an advertising this workshop?

Liston Witherill
Who do your clients follow? Or what where do they get information?

Philip Morgan
Me and only me, they're only allowed?

Liston Witherill
Oh, it's a bargain with the devil? No, I'm

Philip Morgan
kidding. I, you know, that's a great question. And I think asking it in a pretty straightforward way is, you know, I'm thinking of one client who introduced me to Simon wardley, who I'm currently fascinated with, and just really admire what he's doing. Simon wardley is not I think the kind of person who has like a big Facebook following. Yeah. But like I could, I could sit down and ask myself that question and come up with certainly a half dozen names. I have surveyed my audience in the past, not too distant past year and a half ago, maybe? And asked, you know, who's in authority? Do you have a list from that includes those folks like Seth Godin? Blair ends? Of course, yeah. David Baker, Newsome, obvious sort of names on there. Jonathan Stark, so I could answer that question. So

Liston Witherill
I think you're hitting on something, which is, people, what I find is, a lot of people who buy courses from me buy courses from other people. So they're sort of like they have a habit of buying information, which means they're likely to be following other business influencers who are way bigger than me, right, like orders of magnitude bigger. So I think you're right, like, you know, targeting Seth Godin, and maybe a subset of Seth Godin audience who's like, interested in Seth Godin, but is also interested in computer programming or something like that, that might be a good way to start to narrow it down.

Philip Morgan
How? How crazy. Do I go with this? How many? You know, how? How far do I try to slice up a giant audience of a big authority like Seth Godin or Christo to a smaller point.

Liston Witherill
So I'm definitely not the Facebook ads expert. My thought is, I want the, I want the set to be around a million people. And then I want to write the ad specific enough so that the only people who click on the ad would be genuinely interested in the offer that's on the other side of it, which is going to be the next part that we get to.

Philip Morgan
I'm taking notes here on this thing. Okay, our YouTube, our massive YouTube audience will get to see this. This is so cool. The client recommend this to me. So it sits over your keyboard. It's a whiteboard to metal.

Liston Witherill
Oh, how funny.

Philip Morgan
Uh huh. And it's got a little, you know, felt on the bottom, so it's on the desk, but it you can take notes on a whiteboard, just barely covers my keyboard. And I love it. You know, continue,

Liston Witherill
I have this really advanced technology. It's called a legal pad. And then you buy what's called a pen. And then you write on that. It's pretty cool down.

Philip Morgan
You're kind of overwhelming.

Liston Witherill
You better take notes on your whiteboard. So yeah, now the offer right. Okay. Before we get to that, my question is, what do people need to believe in order to buy the workshop from you? What do they need to believe about you about themselves and about the offer? Okay.

Philip Morgan
I'll take a crack at that. I mean, obviously, this is not something I've thought about. So they need to believe that specialization is worthwhile. They need to believe that the right kind of experience would be this tipping point for them that would unlock the value of specialization. They need to believe that that I have put together a way of having that sort of tipping point experience. They need to believe that it's going to be worth far more than 12 $100 which is the cost of the workshop. That's a starting point list. Maybe there's more. And probably all of that is wrong in some way. But that's the starting point list.

Liston Witherill
What do they need to believe about you being the right person

Philip Morgan
to buy into this workshop? Honestly, they need to believe that easier ways will not work, which I believe is true myself. Well, actually, it's more nuanced than that. I believe that first, a certain group of people doing a live market test, which is what the workshop is about, is the best way, there are other folks who can try different approaches that will work for them. So there is a little bit of a filtering there. This is not like a universally best approach, this is a best approach for folks for whom easier approaches have not worked.

Liston Witherill
So tell me about this live market test idea.

Philip Morgan
It is very simple. You mean, like, you want to know what it is? Yeah, we're okay.

Unknown Speaker
What it is,

Philip Morgan
what why do I do it? What is it, you do it because what you what is lacking in you deciding to specialize is a feeling that it's going to work out, okay? For a group of people, for a subset of those out there who face this decision. That feeling is best created through conversations where someone responds to a little piece of content that you've created. And they respond in a way that gives you confidence that you can specialize in a way that maps to that piece of content. In other words, the content represents an idea you have about specializing, you think that there, you list and think that the market is receptive to a different idea about selling, we're services the main priority, and then that generates a second order consequence of sales, just you know, information that helps you sell better yada, yada, right? Like that's, that's, that's a hypothesis you have. So if you were in this workshop, you would put together a little two page PDF, that is, you know, the basics of the serve, don't sell philosophy or something like that. And he would send it to people directly. And you would ask them for their feedback. And if if people kind of ignored you, and the response was sort of tepid, the feeling that you would have almost certainly is he I don't know about this, this way of specializing doesn't sound that great to me. If the response was, thank you for sending this. This gave me a lot to think about, or, wow, this is a fresh approach. I wonder if our you know, I sent this along to a few people on our team to see what they think about it, the feeling you would have after that? Is there something here I can move to the next step with this? That's what the workshop is.

Liston Witherill
So, okay, so the reason I asked what people need to believe is because you're essentially the way in add functions as and I'm, you already know this, but just for the benefit of our listeners, basically, you see something that catches your attention, it could be a video, it could be plain text. And in that piece of content, there's an offer a call to action, or as we talked about on this show, direct response advertising, I want you to go do something, right, it's not enough for you just to see it, I want you to go do something in the way that fill up your live market test. solicits direct feedback, our direct feedback on the ad is did people engage with it? Did they click? And then once they clicked, right, so they there's the ad, they click it, and they go somewhere else? And now they have to do something else. And typically, that's opt in for something. And so that's kind of what we need now is like, here's my guess my hypothesis would be anybody who opts in to learn. What are the basics of a live market test? Like how, what do I even need to do? And why is that so beneficial? To me? That is someone who looks like a very real lead for your workshop. Is that fair to say?

Philip Morgan
Okay, let me Forgive me if this is tedious, but just want to repeat what I heard you say, okay, make sure I get it. So someone who opts in for a piece of content or something that describes fleshes out teaches what a live market test is. I think you're saying there's some alignment between their interests, and what the workshop would offer them.

Liston Witherill
Yeah. So everything needs to be perfectly aligned, right. So a couple ways we can message on this. So the ad could message the problem, right? So the problem is You look the same as everybody else, they're asking you to reduce your price, and you're not sure how to be different than the other 500 developers out there, right? And then once they get there, so maybe the the ad is something around how to overcome the problem. Maybe it's, you know, reasons why typical solution x doesn't work, right? Something like that, where you're, you're sort of differentiating yourself, but also solving their problem. But you're going to need to have a sort of a problem solution kind of setup. Right? So is

Philip Morgan
that something you would say is like, generally true with advertising is that's what works better? Or that's, that's the sensible starting point is a kind of a problem solution focused to the offer?

Liston Witherill
Well, it doesn't. I mean, I talked to our mutual friend, Mark Butler, and I was asking him about coaching business models. And he's like, just know that everything I'm about to say, I could find one example that runs counter to this. But this is like, generally what's true? Sure. So generally, yes, there's kind of a problem solution orientation to advertising. There can also be just an aspirational aspect, and you see this with consumer products a lot, right? Because you don't need to know what a car is or how a car works. Lexus just wants to sell you on, like having the best car on the block. And like how great it's gonna feel later. Right. So that's purely an aspirational appeal.

Philip Morgan
I think for business that is for a commodity that the market understands.

Liston Witherill
Right. And for me, I think I'd rather make a little bit. Obviously, there's got to be some emotion, like you got to foreshadow how great it'll feel if you solve this. But I want to make a little bit more of a rational appeal. Right? You have this problem, there's an explanation opt in to to start to learn what the solution is.

Philip Morgan
What would that be? What's so for? Yes, you know, for the your sales sprint, what's the problem solution that you think is the right starting point.

Liston Witherill
So I don't know for sure the messaging that I've been using. And and so I'm saying all of this in the context of like, the month of January, for me, we'll be getting starting to get an evergreen engine up and running for my course. The messaging I have been using has been around, learn the sales fundamentals that every business owner needs to know. Right? So that it hints at the problem, the problem is implied, which is like, business owners don't have the same fundamental sales skills. And if you've ever felt like you may not have them, then you don't. That's the implied problem. Another sort of message I've been using has been deliver your expertise, or sell your expertise as well as you deliver it. Right. So it says something about who it's for. It also says something about the outcome. But again, the problem is implied. Yeah, so those are a couple examples. The way that I want to get people into into this is, you know, I was talking to one of your recent clients, my mike, in the last couple of weeks, and I said, You know, I want to lead with the webinar. So essentially, it would be See, see the ad, and then they go to a landing page, and it's like, opt in to get this free video training. The problem with video training is that it's a big commitment. It is not like I'm like, you know, opt into this two hour training, right. And I think a lot of people are gonna be like, well, I don't have time for that shit. I was just like, looking at my friend's baby. And now you're asking me to opt into this two hour training? So his advice was, well, that's gonna it's gonna cost a lot more in order to run that offer. And so he was like, What if we ask them to opt into a PDF? And of course, my retort to that is, well, I'm sure I can get people to opt into a one page PDF for less, less money per opt in, but those people are going to be way less qualified, which he acknowledged. Right. So I think that's, that's sort of the nature of the trade off is like, your for your specialization workshop. And, you know, I think the answer is, let's try a couple things. So like, for instance, one thing that I could try, is maybe the the sort of core Stone process that I use called pain goals value for determining what your sales story should be. I could walk people through that get the one page, you know, sales exercise that will help you start to understand how to really dramatically improve your approach. And if they buy into this Oh, shit, I don't know the answer to these questions, but this seems like a really great way to approach it. That person is now much more ready to engage with me.

Philip Morgan
It's making sense. There's several stages along this process. Yeah. Where do you do you try? Are you testing simultaneously at all these stages? Or do you just say, we're going to make our best assumptions for stages one into, you know, audience and and some of these other, you know, assumptions? And then we'll just test different offers, or how do you think about testing this over time?

Liston Witherill
That's a great question. So this is what I'm going to do. I'm going to put together one funnel, where it's like, add video training, offer to buy the course. Simple, right? I know that those leads are going to cost me more. So if my primary goal was building a big email list, this is not the best way to do it. Right. But my primary goal is to have sales, staff revenue. So I'm going to try that. And then I'm going to try a second version, where it's like, opt in to quick fix asset, right? Download this PDF, opt in exercise, something that's fast. Maybe it's even like an initial call checklist, which I have a million of those already created. And then on the thank you page, it's like, hey, while you're here, I also have this free training, click this button to start watching now. And then that puts them essentially right into the other funnel. Right? Right. So I want to try those two and see, what is the difference between the cost of of a lead, which for the purpose of this is just an email address, someone opting in? That's going to be the first thing is to see, essentially, what is it costing to get a lead into the business? And then I'll start to optimize? How do I get more people to buy the offer? So each stage is like, how do I reach the right people? And by the right people, we know we're getting opt ins at an increasingly, essentially lower rate, we can continue to drive more value for more people, which means lower cost of lead acquisition. And then on the back end, how do I actually convert them through the webinar? Do I need to introduce a sales call, which I really don't want to do? at the price point? Maybe it's like, maybe I need to play with the price. Right? That could be an option, too.

Philip Morgan
It's all I can take right now.

Liston Witherill
your brains gonna explode?

Philip Morgan
It is. I mean, not really. But it's given me some stuff to think about.

Liston Witherill
Here's the recap, targeting Who do you want to reach? Right? And we may have to start to think of like, if we have a psychographic definition, which most people do, or actually, as you know, most people are like, yeah, people who have the budget and believe in my work, and I'm like, Oh, yeah, let me go find two of those for you right now. So defining who you want to reach, and then what behaviors they may exhibit or other people in the market, they may follow who you can sort of write on their coattails. If you have a newsletter already, or an email list, uploading that I think you need 1000 email addresses or maybe 500 email addresses to run a look alike audience. So if you have that, that's another thing that you can do. And then you want to start to test some offers to them. So add creative problem or solution messaging, to an offer, typically, an offer will look like a free training, maybe you're gonna I don't know, if you're gonna host a webinar or training that leads into this. Maybe you're gonna, I'm pretty sure you'll have like an email sequence that'll lead into this could be lots of things, right? webinars, downloads, articles, you can even show people an article first and then target them to an offer. And then you need a conversion event, which is like the thing you want to sell, just for anybody listening to this, excuse me, who sells really high end things, as some of my clients do. What you're going to want to do is get people to opt in to something smaller, so that they believe you're the person or the firm that's qualified to deliver that high end offer. Typically, that looks like some sort of workshop. Book, something that's longer for more investment to get into it, but would show them why you're uniquely qualified to handle their problem without asking them to transact quite yet. That's it.

Philip Morgan
I'm going to take a nap. And that's that's the context here is like, I'm already feeling full with everything that I'm doing. So I'm like thinking about all those little pieces, all those moving parts. Yeah, go together. And I'm like, wow, maybe maybe q2,

Liston Witherill
it's a significant project. Yeah.

Philip Morgan
It's Yeah, it's a big deal. So I think this is thank you for that. Because that this helps me start to think about, you know, what wouldn't an experiment with this look like? It's not going to happen for the February workshop. But it's going to give me the context. I need to pick your brain better about this as you start to implement this in January, which I think you said you are doing

Liston Witherill
I am doing it's the second thing on my list for this month.

Philip Morgan
That was the first thing

Liston Witherill
to make sure I build out this funnel correctly. I got to get all the pieces in place. Good talking to you, my man. All right, man. I'll see you soon.

Liston Witherill