Today I wanted to clear up one of the most frequently asked questions I get: 

“How do I know if I’m ready for ads?”

You can’t just throw an ad together and put it out there and expect it to work.

First you have to make sure you have the right foundation in place, because otherwise, your ads are only going to amplify what’s broken in your business.

Before you ever even think about running ads, you have to make sure you have these three conceptual keys nailed down:

  • A clear understanding of your ideal customer avatar
  • A clear offer and messaging around your offer
  • The ability to “invest” in your marketing and business growth

If you don’t then you’re definitely not ready for ads.

I’m walking you through each of these conceptual keys and breaking down the steps you need to take to ensure you’ve nailed each one in today’s episode.

Tune in, and join in the conversation over on my Instagram page (@emilyhirsh)! Leave a comment on my most recent post and let me know if you think you’re ready for ads and why.

If you want support with your ads or want to explore whether or not you’re ready to start running them, you can go to helpmystrategy.com to see if you qualify to work with Team Hirsh.

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Emily Hirsh: 

Hello everybody. Welcome back to the podcast. Welcome to my new listeners. How is your week going? It feels like I start the podcast the same every time, and if you also have a podcast, do you feel like that? Because I don’t know what else to say. I need to come up with some new catch phrases, but I really do hope that your week is going well and I mean that every time that I say it, and I like to give you guys a little update at the beginning of the episode of my own week. Right now we are actually in the middle, like as of recording this, we’re in the middle of launching our pop-up secret podcast series, which has been really fun. And I can’t wait to dissect that for you guys on the podcast, because we’re basically taking the concept of a webinar and a video series and putting it in the format of audio and podcasts through a private podcast feed.

So instead of doing, like normally every month I do a live webinar or I have been at least the last quarter. So instead of doing that in this month, we’re doing this private podcast feed. So I can’t wait to have all the numbers and dissect it for you guys. We’re in the middle of it right now and it’s going really, really well. And I’m excited cause I just have fun with like, these innovative things and so I love being kind of like the guinea pig so that then I can take it if it works for our clients and do it. And so I will be also dissecting it down and telling you guys all about it on my podcasts, because I think it’s a cool strategy and you might want to consider doing it. 

But today the topic that I’m diving into is how do I know if I’m ready for ads? How do I know if I should be running ads in my business right now? Or if I am running them, am I actually ready for them? And I get this question kind of often, and I really think that people wait, they often wait too long to run ads cause they don’t know the answer to this question. So they’ll just kind of like put it off, but what happens is they stay in the same place for months and months because they put this off. And so I want to give you the confidence that if you check the boxes, I’m going to tell you, you should be considering running ads because in my opinion, it’s a play it, you know, it’s a pay to play game on social media and marketing because, you know, if you post organically, nobody’s gonna see it really.

And so if you’re not running paid ads, it’s going to be very hard to actually grow your business at a fast pace. You can do things like guest blog on somebody’s site or get on a podcast or try, you know, those organic ways, which are great and you should actually be doing all of those when you have the bandwidth for it. But in my opinion, ads are the fastest way. When you have these three key things, I’m going to tell you and in place, when you have them in place, ads are the fastest way to really amplify what you’re doing and move at a faster pace to get eyes on your brand, on your funnel, on your offer. 

So the three key things that you have to have in place before you run ads are one, a clear understanding of your ideal customer avatar. So who are you trying to reach? And you cannot be successful with ads if you don’t know that because not only the basics of you won’t really know who to target like on Facebook and actual targeting, but also messaging. If you don’t know how to speak to the person that you want to attract, because you don’t even know who that person is, marketing is going to be really hard for you. And you should get clear on that before you actually think about running ads and have success with that. And if you are currently running ads and you feel like you’re not totally clear on this and you’re kind of wishy washy, like you’re not specific about who that person is and you’re like, it’s just moms, or it’s just any business owner, those are the hardest audiences to really optimize when you’re that broad.

And so the more specific and deep you can go with who your ideal customer avatar is and how you’re going to speak to them, how you’re going to connect to them, the details about who they are, the more specific about that you can be, the more successful your marketing’s going to be. So you need to have that in place before you read at a clear understanding of your ideal client or customer avatar.

The next thing you need to have in place before you run ads is a very clear offer and messaging around your offer. Now you can run ads just to like an opt in, or a lead magnet, or a video, and not actually sell something directly in those ads. And I think this is kind of where people confuse it as they’re like, well, if I don’t have an offer all the way done, like, can I run ads if I need to grow my list to then sell to them? Yes, but before you really want to run ads, you at least need to know what your offer’s going to be or have it, you know, starting to be created, or you’re very clear around it at the minimum. If not, you already have it and you’ve maybe sold a little bit of it, you could be in that boat too, but you can’t. 

The problem is if you don’t have any idea, if you just decide one day, which I don’t think you’re going to do this, but let’s say you decide, like, I think my audience that I want to grow a business and target and grow my following is going to be, you know, entrepreneurs, six figure entrepreneurs. Let’s say, let’s say you get specific with it. Who are coaches? Okay. That’s great. But if you don’t have the offer that you also know, at least you have it mapped out. You’re clear on it. You’re clear on the messaging around it. If you don’t have that piece, then you’re, you will be missing. You’ll have a gap because you might go to grow your list or put out a video or some form of content, but then there will be a disconnect in people understanding what it is that you do and what problem you solve for them. 

And remember the goal with a lot of your marketing, most of it is that you’re building trust around the problem that you solve with people so that you continually stay top of mind when they think of your name, or your brand’s name, or your company’s name. They think of the problem you solve. So for me, they think of Facebook ads and marketing, digital marketing. For some of our clients, they might think of health and wellness for business coaches. They think of exactly that, but what do they specialize in? Is it growing teams? Is it selling on a webinar? Is it, I don’t know, growing clients as a coach? Like who knows what it is, but if it’s yeah, any of those things you want to be associated with solving that problem through any of your content. So through your free engagement content, through your free, you know, opt-ins, lead magnets, your webinar, all of those things. 

So you need to have a clear offer at least either already created or mapped out what you’re going to create and you understand the messaging around it so you understand what the promise is of that offer. If somebody either takes that course, or signs up for your service, or hires you, what is the problem you are solving? And can you clearly state that in like one sentence? I will make you more money with Facebook ads. I will make you feel healthier and more energized through a healthy eating plan and working out. I will help you grow your business from six to seven figures. I will help you grow your team. I will help you make more money off of LinkedIn. Those are all like ideas that just came top of mind of just like some of our clients, but see I’m specific. 

But it doesn’t mean that my opt in has to directly say that, but I need to solve that problem on a micro level, in anything I do in my content. In my opt-ins lead magnets, webinars, videos, whatever it is, I need to be clear around the problem that I solve with my offers so that I’m attracting people and building trust with people around that problem and around that offer. Because you don’t want to spend money on ads and then have that go on for months and have a disconnect about, okay, I spent this money on ads and now I’m ready to sell something, but people aren’t buying because they’re completely confused. They don’t have the trust that I can solve that problem for them. And so you need to be clear with that. So clear understanding of your ideal customer, client avatar, and a clear offer already decided, maybe already created. Like, a lot of people already have it created to come to work with us, but if you’re not at that level yet, at least like you need to know what it is that you’re going to sell. Marketing can’t solve for you, what you should sell and the messaging around that offer. 

The third key thing that you have to have in place before running ads is the ability to invest in your marketing and your business growth. Initial marketing and running ads is not going to make you money within two to four weeks, even eight weeks. You have to have the ability to invest. So one of the things if we ever talk to a potential client and they say like, I will not be able to pay my team or pay my bills next month if I don’t make X of dollars through Facebook ads, and I’ve never run ads before, we say, okay, then you cannot work with us. Like we don’t that. That level of pressure and needing something to work that bad to stay in business, or pay your team, or eat, or any of those things, don’t turn to Facebook ads. There’s other things you should do in relationship building, or just like one-on-one hustling that would be better than actually putting an output of more money. So it’s not that you have to have tens of thousands of dollars willing to invest in your business, but you have to not be in a critical place where if you spend a thousand dollars, you’re out of business if you don’t make it back in a month, you don’t want to be in that mindset. 

So especially if you’ve never run ads before, you need to see the next 90 days as an investment. You need to choose an amount you’re comfortable with, ideally 500 to a thousand dollars a month minimum. You’re comfortable spending this knowing you may not make it back. It is an investment. You’re buying data. You’re trying to see if your strategy works. If your offer sells, if people respond to your messaging, what you can do to improve your messaging and learn all of those things. So you have to have that ability. You have to be in that place in your business where you at least have 500 to a thousand dollars a month to invest in your ad spend to grow your business. 

Now, obviously, if you can, you’d want to hire it out and get some support with it, but if you can’t, at least you have to have the money to invest in your ad spend. And if you’re not in that place, if you’re in a very high pressure “I got to try one more thing see if this works”, type of place, you should consider, like I said, something else – building relationships, going out and networking, trying to get a referral. Any of those things that you can do to try and drive business to get you to that place where you’re willing to invest. So those are the three main things that you should have in place before you run ads. 

Now I have some other points and notes that I want to mention that I kind of brainstormed for you guys around this, and one of them is I think some people wait way too long to run ads because they’re afraid to fail. And so I think more often than not, people find excuses of like, well, my funnel isn’t perfect yet. I haven’t sold enough of my offer yet to justify running ads. I haven’t, you know, made this much money – if they have a monetary amount in their head that they have to make. And so I would encourage you to ask yourself if you’re not currently running ads is what will I be doing instead to grow my business? Where will I be putting my money, time, my effort, my money into business growth, if it’s not ads? And if you have something else lined up, like you’re going to put all your time and effort into trying to get on guest podcasts so that you can grow that and get an audience that way and on your brand that way. Or maybe you’re going to go to an event and speak at an event, or you’re going to guest blog, or you’re going to network in Facebook groups.

You need to like, those are all good ideas, what I just said. But if you don’t actually have a plan of like, this is what I’m doing, I’m putting my time, my effort, and ideally some money into this business growth and therefore I don’t have time for ads, or I’m not ready for ads yet, that’s one thing. But if it’s just like, well, I’m just not ready for ads and I don’t have a plan to get myself there, then that’s where I’d say, don’t stop yourself from running ads cause you’re afraid to fail and you just put it off for months and months. Instead, create a plan. Make sure you have the three things I just talked about in place, and if that’s the first step for you is wanting to get more clear on my ideal customer, then I’m ready for ads, that’s one thing. But make sure you’re not at a standstill where in 90 days from now, you’re going to be in the same exact place you are today with your business, because you want to be always driving towards growth. You need to be. 

So if you have those points that I said earlier in place, then you really should be running ads because it will really slow you down if you’re not. Because what else are you going to be doing, unless you have a really great other strategy? Like ads will really increase the eyes on your brand, the eyes on your funnel, and hopefully the eyes on what you sell and your offer. 

The other like quick note, is sometimes people try to do it all. I see this a lot. A lot in our course, a lot in my audience of people, and I get it. They’re not quite at a place in their business where they can afford help for their ads, but they wait too long to hire help and they don’t prioritize it. Which actually actually massively slows them down in their progress, because for somebody to learn ads and do it all by themselves, you have to commit to that. And that’s okay if you’re in that place, but don’t let the fact that you’re trying to do it all slow you down so that in like 90 days – even like six months I see this, like people don’t make any forward progress – at least set goals. If you’re going to be doing your ads and mastering your Facebook ads and implementing that in your business, or scaling that in your business, or improving that in your business, set goals behind it so that you have something to hold yourself accountable. 

If you’re doing it yourself, and if you can hire help, obviously hire help, but I just see a lot of people doing it themselves. They’re so intimidated and bogged down by what they have to do that they don’t get the help, whether that’s a course, whether that is actually hiring an agency, whether that’s hiring a VA to help you with something else, to make time for you to do your ads. If you are doing your own ads, however, that looks for your business based on where you are today. A lot of times as entrepreneurs, we just say like, Oh, I’ll just do it. It’ll be easier. If I do, it’ll save me money. I can do it better than anybody else. And you’re afraid to let it go and have somebody else own that for you, but if you’re not an expert in it and you’re not either getting expert help through a course, or through some sort of learning, or hiring the expert to do it for you, depending on the level that you’re at, you might sit in the same place for the next 90 days plus and not make progress. And that’s what I don’t want you guys to do. And I seriously see it all the time because people feel so bogged down by it, but they’re also fighting and resisting and saying I’m going to do it and I’m not going to get any help.

Okay, the other point I wanted to bring up is don’t use ads to try and fix something that is foundationally broken, such as your messaging or your offer. Kind of like what I was saying in the third point that you have to be in a place where you can grow, you can and invest. But also don’t look at ads as like my whole business is not working, I’m not making money, I’m not making sales, my business like decreased over the last couple of months in how it was doing and so now I’m going to turn to ads because they can fix it for me. Maybe you just need new traffic and ads could improve it for you, but if something foundational is broken, such as your messaging or your actual offer, ads will not fix that. 

Ads will amplify what’s working and help you get to an end goal faster because you’ll be reaching more people. You’ll be getting more traction and just moving faster than you could organically, but the foundation still has to be functioning. And the foundation are the three things. What about at the beginning of this episode? You have to know your ideal customer avatar, have a good offer and know the messaging around your offer, and also be in a financial place where you’re not like not going to eat tomorrow if you don’t make your money back immediately. So ads… don’t use ads to be that like last effort fix for something that’s foundationally broken, cause it will never work and it will just waste your time and money. Instead, fix the foundational things. Which the foundational things, again, are those three things I said. And then allow ads to help you amplify what’s working and get to your end goal faster since you’ll be reaching a lot more people than you could organically just by hustling yourself.

And posting organically, and hoping that people see it and that you start getting some traction, it really doesn’t work anymore. You have… it’s a pay to play game. You have to somehow get your content in front of new people, whether that’s free valuable content, a webinar opt in, or your actual product. If you have a physical product or digital product that you’re, you know, sending people through a funnel to get to by using ad, you’re going to speed up the time and the results of getting those people and getting those eyes, and getting the data and the numbers to know if it’s working. But you can’t fix foundational stuff with ads. 

Ads really will continue to amplify what’s already working, which means you already know your audience, you have solid messaging and you have a killer offer that people really, really want. Sometimes we don’t know if the offer is perfect until we start running ads and that’s okay, but you just have to be clear about the offer. You have to be clear what problem does your offer sell and how is it going to, you know, solve a problem, a big problem. And a fear, or a struggle, or something for your audience. And how are you going to communicate that and get people to understand that, to then want to buy it in your marketing? That’s what you have to be clear on first. 

So all of those things will help you determine how do I know if I’m ready for ads? And as I said, more common than not, more common like that I see is people wait too long to run ads and they really waste a lot of time trying to do other things, and spreading themselves too thin, and trying to do everything themselves. And they don’t either get help or make the time to run their own ads and get over the fear of investing in their business. And so to say, I’m going to spend, you know, $500,000 a month on testing in my business, or maybe more. I mean, some of our clients come in with about a $3k to $4k testing budget a month, but they don’t get to that point. And then they find themselves in 90 days, they either haven’t grown at all or they’ve actually gone backwards a little bit. So you don’t want to do that. You don’t want to be in that place if you have those three foundational things in place. 

Thanks so much for listening today guys. If you want support with your ads, and you know me, you know where to find me, but those of you who are new or you’re thinking about this and you just want to explore it, you can go to helpmystrategy.com to see if you qualify to work with Team Hirsh. The way it works is we put you through an assessment and we tell you if you’re better for our done for you or our done with you option just based on where your business is today. And then you will qualify for, or see if you qualify for, a strategy audit with our team, where we go in much more depth on where you’re at in your business, and what would make sense for you in the next steps in getting support. And we can help a pretty wide variety of people who have these things in place already – they have a clear understanding of their ideal client avatar, clear offer and messaging around the offer, and they can invest at least a little bit in their marketing and business growth. So if you have those things, it might be time for you to do ads. It might be time for you to make that jump, and if you want support with it, go to helpmystrategy.com and see if Team Hirsh can support you.