Retargeting ads are a sexy topic in the digital marketing world – and honestly, they work incredibly well (when done right)!

But let’s back up for a minute: What’s a retargeting ad, and when can you implement it?

Quite simply, a retargeting ad “retargets” your leads based on specific actions they’ve taken or not taken.

So, for example, you might produce one ad for people who watched your webinar live and another (very different) ad for people who didn’t.

This creates incredibly effective advertising, because you’re speaking directly to the “obstacle” each person might face, right?


Retargeting ads only work if you have leads to retarget!

Meaning, if you’re still working hard to get leads into your funnel, let that be your focus! Let retargeting ads do their magic… after you’ve got a solid foundation in place.

So in this episode, I’ll go deeper into this question about WHEN to use retargeting ads + HOW, plus…

  • The average # of leads you should have coming into a funnel, before retargeting ads are really necessary
  • And what to prioritize first, if you’re a solopreneur

Tune into this 20-minute lesson in marketing, and then come on over to Instagram (@emilyhirsh) to share your thoughts!

Ready to learn The Hirsh Process? Go to HMFreeTraining.com to get access to my hour-long training about the marketing mistakes to avoid + the ad strategies that will work for you!

Key Points:
[4:03] First, what are “retargeting ads”?
[6:14] Here’s a common mistake you might make as a solopreneur….
[8:00] Yes, retargeting ads might double your ROI – but *only if* you do this first
[10:21] Don’t let this hold you back from launching
[12:20] Remember, this won’t work if you don’t have an audience already
[15:09] Here’s what to do if you don’t yet have ads in place…

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Episode Transcripts:

Emily Hirsh: Hello, and welcome back to the podcast. I hope you guys are all doing amazing, having an amazing week, crushing those 2020 goals. I am recording this well in advance, because I will have a newborn when this comes out, which I said on the last [episode]. I won’t say it every time, I promise. But it’s just very fresh in my mind right now, that I have a couple of weeks until I have a baby, the third [child], and we’re going to be outnumbered.

There’s so much about this one that feels super unknown, because it’s like… when you have one kid, you know you can handle it, because it’s just one kid. And then two, each parent can take a kid. And then three, there’s so many unknowns. How are we going to do bedtime? Are we going to all fit in the car okay?

So we are excited, but I’m definitely nervous. I also have natural births. My daughter was born at home, my son was born in a birthing center, and this one will be born at home. And so, I love that experience, and would not have it any other way. And I’m just so grateful for my body to be able to go through that. But also, I know what’s coming. So just, the anxiety, a little bit, around that is there, because you’re ready to be done being pregnant, but, I also don’t know if I want to go through with this… but I will, and I will make it, and it will be amazing, just like the last two were!

So today I’m diving into… I’m super excited about this episode you guys, because this actually came… inspiration from my IGNITE students. And if you don’t know what that is, that is our students that are in our live coaching and training program, basically for people who want to learn all of our strategies for Facebook ads and marketing and things that we do for clients, but aren’t quite ready to hire us yet, or maybe they have an in-house team… And so, we have students who get access to live coaching calls every week, as well as monthly trainings. If you do want to check that out, you can go to HMFreeTraining.com and kind of go through our funnel to find out more about that program.

But anyways, I was teaching the monthly class, and we were doing a deep dive into The Hirsh Process. So one thing I’m passionate about in my delivery for my students is making sure I don’t just torch them with information, that then they’re just overwhelmed. So we spend part of our time going back to the basics, making sure you have your foundation set up, and kind of revisiting those things. Because I think a lot of times, people get overloaded in a course, and it’s all great information, but it doesn’t matter if you don’t implement it. Right?

And so we did a deep dive on The Hirsh Process and kind of brought it back to, not the basics but the foundation, because it’s not necessarily basic information, but it’s foundational work that even I have to come back to in my business. And I think this is one of the most important things that I talked about, which was retargeting ads. Because I realized… When I teach retargeting ads, this is step four of The Hirsh Process. And this is where you are, if you don’t know what retargeting is, you’re showing ads to a group of people who have already taken an action.

So maybe they’ve watched your webinar, maybe they’ve signed up for your webinar, maybe they visited your sales page, maybe they have visited your cart, maybe they’re on your email list… they’ve already had contact with you somehow, and you’re retargeting them to get them to buy.

And this is something we do for all of our clients. It’s a huge part of our strategy. It’s a very effective part of our strategy. Some of our coolest stats come from these. So we have that one ad that made $1.2 million dollars with $1,100 ad spend. That was a retargeting ad. And the reason they’re so great is, you’re targeting a small audience of people, and [it’s such] hot traffic that they will take action, and you’ll make a lot of money from them.

So I love retargeting ads, and I think that they should be very specific to actions people have taken in your funnel. So like, specific ads for people who didn’t watch the webinar and [then] did watch the webinar. And I think that they should speak to those people, and that will make them very effective.

However, I realized in my teaching for, especially, the IGNITE student crowd, it was causing some overwhelm. And so here’s some mistakes with retargeting that I want to throw out there, that I’ve actually never talked about before, because people love the retargeting piece, and I think it’s so essential, I haven’t looked at it this way before.

So here’s the one thing… when I speak about retargeting, when I share it with anybody, like The Hirsh Process, and I talk about it, I would say retargeting is what gets people the most excited. They’re like, “That’s so cool. I can do all these segmented ads.” And they start seeing visions for these videos they could make. Every single time, when I speak at an event, when I teach a training on The Hirsh Process, when I have a conversation with somebody, retargeting ads is very much… I don’t want to say shiny object syndrome, because it’s not necessarily a bad thing at all to have in your strategy. It’s a very, very effective thing to have in your strategy… you’re like, “Where is she going with this?”

But, here’s where I found there to be an issue. So, if you are launching a new funnel, new business, new to ads, or a new funnel… so let’s say you’ve got a funnel that’s converting, but this is a new one and you’re starting from the ground up. Where I see people make a mistake is, they put a lot of emphasis into the retargeting ads, because they’re so cool, and, “I want to have all these ads kind of built out.”

And what I watched my students do, as I was teaching retargeting ads, obviously, we give templates to retargeting ads and… we’re big on [retargeting ads]! But what I watched my students do was… a lot of these people don’t have teams, so it’s them building their ads, which is a lot of work.

And they were really creating these complex retargeting ads, following our process. So they were creating an ad for people who didn’t watch the webinar, for people who did watch the webinar, for people who went to the sales page, for people who watched the webinar and in the next 48 hours there’s a bonus… And they were segmenting all of these ads, which is an amazing strategy, but they didn’t have enough traffic for it to actually work yet.

So retargeting ads will only work if you have enough traffic coming in the top of the funnel. So my webinar retargeting ads are only going to work if I have enough people signing up for my webinar to retarget. Right? There isn’t an exact magical number, but if you don’t have a consistent 1,000 people (about) coming into the top of your funnel every month, I don’t think that you really have to put a massive emphasis on retargeting ads yet.

And so I want to shift everyone’s perspective. I talked to my students about this, and I want to say it here, because I don’t think people are talking about this, because it’s so sexy, retargeting ads. But retargeting ads should be seen as like, icing on the cake. They are extra, they are going to work, they’re going to improve your results, absolutely. And sometimes they double our clients’ ROI, just by being really strategic with retargeting ads, but only if the foundation is working, only if that top of the funnel is working.

And so you should never see retargeting ads as like, “These are going to save my funnel, or push me over the edge to positive ROI, or help me meet my goals.” These are just going to improve what’s already working. And so I told my students, “Until you’re at a place, where you’re getting 1,000 leads a month into your funnel, and then those leads are converting… at least a percentage of them are coming to your webinar, buying from your webinar, and your funnel is converting… you really don’t have to stress that much about retargeting ads.”

Maybe you could have one, for everybody who signed up for your webinar, one general retargeting ad, if you really want that. It’s just, you’re not going to have that much of an audience to retarget. And if the webinar itself isn’t converting just by getting people to sign up and buy on the webinar, retargeting ads are not going to save it.

There’s a messaging problem there or an offer problem there, or something else foundationally broken, that retargeting ads are not the answer for. So does that make sense, you guys? I’ve never said this in this way before, but I realized, my students… it was almost holding them back [from launching] their ads and launching their funnel, because they were trying to get all these retargeting ads set up.

And so it was absolutely my fault as a course creator, and what I wanted to clarify for them is, those things are all part of the strategy, and I can’t not teach them, obviously. You need to have them, but you need to get the foundation in place first, and you need to get the foundation working in a well-oiled machine. Then you add in the retargeting ads. And it’s the same for anything else that you add to your funnel. So get that foundation working, you get the leads in the top of the funnel, and you get those sales… then you can do things like add in the retargeting ads, add in the 90-day nurture campaign, add in the upsells or the down-sells, or connect funnels.

But what people, where they make the mistake is, they think they have to do everything before they can even launch. And this was the inspiration behind our Performance Package that we created for clients, too. It was, “Let’s lower our price just a little bit, our standard price, and give everybody the bare minimum of ads.” So we don’t really do retargeting ads for Performance clients, to cut back on cost of ad creative, to be able to charge a little bit less, because all we’re trying to do is get that funnel to convert, get that funnel to start making money, get that funnel to prove that the messaging and the offer and the targeting and the audiences are correct, so that we can add in all the other stuff.

But if you have that foundational issue, a problem with your offer, or your messaging isn’t just nailing it, or your webinar pitch is not nailing it, retargeting ads and nurture sequences and even sales email sequences, all of those things are not going to fix that foundational problem. We have to go back and fix the foundational problem, before we can add all that stuff in.

And so, when you think about retargeting ads, it might overwhelm you. And that’s what I found with my students is, they’re like, “I need five ads, and I have to do this, because it also sounds cool, and of course it’s going to work!” It just clicks for people, retargeting ads. And it’s one of the coolest things about Facebook and Instagram targeting, how you can make an abandoned cart video and target people who have abandoned your cart, and it just works so well. But not if nobody’s going to your cart, it’s not going to work! And so don’t put the time and the effort and the money into it until you have that.

The other thing here is, actually on Facebook, it’s going to be really hard to even spend money on the ads, until you have an audience. So when you set up retargeting ads and you have 20 people to retarget, Facebook is not really going to even spend your budget to reach those people, because it’s just too small of an audience.

Even 100 people is a pretty small audience. So if you have that small audience, you’re better just putting your money into getting the quality leads into the top of the funnel, proving that top of the funnel where you’re proving that webinar, you’re proving your offer and the sale of that offer, and all of those things, so that then we can add in the bells and the whistles and the retargeting and all of that.

And so what I want you to take away from this episode is, change your perspective to, “Retargeting ads are amazing, [yes],” and dream about them, and the segmentation, and all that cool stuff you can do, and what you can do in the future, “But they are icing on the cake. They are going to add to what’s already working. They’re not going to fix anything.”

And so your priority, if this is not your current reality, is get that funnel converting, the top of the funnel. Get the webinar, get the challenge, get the opt-in, get the application, get that converting on the basic level where you’re getting leads, and then those leads are converting, at least on a percentage of them…

Then we add in the retargeting, and the hope is, “Okay, if we add in retargeting, does that increase our sales conversion half a percent? If we add in a 90-day nurture sequence, does that increase our sales conversion half a percent?” And that’s why you also focus on one funnel, because there’s so much you can do to continually improve a funnel once it’s just starting to work. Once it’s just starting to work, that’s just the beginning. How do we keep it working? How do we scale it? How do we improve it even more? How do we get even better sales conversion, even better cost per lead?

So that’s why, also, focus on one funnel. But start to see all of those things… retargeting, nurture sequences, downsells, upsells, all those bells and whistles that you add into a funnel… as something that you do after the foundation is already working.

What I want for all of you right now, who don’t have a funnel live on Facebook, you don’t have ads going, you don’t have a marketing plan in place where you’re constantly getting leads… is to make that your only priority, “I need to get ads going, I need to get a funnel working and the foundations of it converting. And once I do that, then I can add everything else.”

So that’s my takeaway for you guys on retargeting ads. I hope it was helpful. I felt it was my responsibility to also do this, because I saw my students get overwhelmed and actually not launch ads, because of this piece. And I realized that was a gap with my own teaching, because of course, we’re teaching retargeting ads. They should be a part of your strategy, but you have to get that foundation working first, and almost ignore everything else.

So I threw out the “1,000 people in your funnel a month” being the metric. That’s going to vary, obviously. If you have an application funnel, 1,000 applications would be crazy. So it might be more like 50 applications a month or I don’t know your number. But until it’s where it’s working…

If it’s a webinar funnel, where it’s leads, though, I do think 1,000 is a good number to shoot for, 1,000 leads a month that are converting, at least on a basic level, that you can then retarget. You can play with that number a little bit, but still, the foundation of your funnel has to be working. You have to be getting leads and getting sales. And then everything else will add to that, instead of fix it.

Hopefully, you guys, this was helpful for you. If you want to work with Team Hirsh and have this done for you and get you to those 1,000+ leads a month, you can go to HelpMyStrategy.com and apply to work with our team. And I’ll see you all on the next episode.