S01 Episode 4: Why You Need Paid Ads in Your Mix with Kev Kaye

By Brennan Dunn

Kev Kaye, founder of GrowthBOKs.com got into paid advertising when Facebook ads were still new.  He saw untapped potential and started applying old methods to new media. In the decade since, Kev’s methods and the industry have both changed.  He has sharpened his skills and built a rock solid funnel using paid acquisition, on demand webinars, and his customers’ freedom of choice. He has helped countless other independent creatives optimize their ads and in this episode of DYF Podcast, he gives insight into why you need paid ads in your marketing mix.

Kev Kaye’s first exposure to a growth engine was in 2008 when his roommate’s dad came to visit them in Florida and described his business as a hair salon marketing consultant.  With such a specific niche, he was able to make a killing and showed Kev, with mathematical precision, how he helped salons acquire three to four new clients a week using AdWords, paid advertising, direct response strategies and more.  Kev was hooked! He left Florida and the golf business where he’d been working, and moved to Rochester to launch himself, full force, into a career as a freelance marketing consultant. A decade later Kev, has revolutionized the traditional techniques he learned from his roommate’s dad using modern tools.  He has seen what paid ads can do, and he knows their limitations. As a result, Kev has developed strategies that he thinks are essential to just about every successful business and he shared some of them with Brennan here.

In his first few years as a paid advertising consultant, Kev worked hard and saw moderate results.  The big shift in his business came when he began to think about how to build trust online. He did some academic research and found that “computer mediated communication,” as it is called in the business, is a difficult platform for developing a customer’s trust.  “Online, we’re all skeptical,” says Kev. So Kev studied the specific signals that someone needs to get in order to feel they can trust the source enough to transact. Kev thoughtfully integrated the understanding that a surplus of trust is required into his paid ad list and growth engine, which allowed him to drastically improve his conversions.

From Ad to Sales Funnel

With this focus on developing trust, one might wonder why Kev stuck with paid acquisition?  Ads cost money and may not immediately foster a trust-rich relationship with customers. To be honest, it didn’t exactly work at first.  Kev spotted an opportunity in his friend’s dad’s salon marketing business. Kev thought they should try using Facebook ads which were still new at the time.   Kev convinced the man to cut him an affiliate deal on his program in exchange for a few Facebook ads. Luckily, it did work in that Kev made a sale and got him a client, but this initial success was not a recurring phenomenon.  Kev knew paid ads could be profitable so he went back to work trying to discern the necessary components between the ad and the sale.

Kev tried several new approaches and eventually landed on his current funnel.  In his funnel, Kev’s clients click an ad taking them to a landing page featuring a webinar registration.  The challenge is then to get leads to watch the webinar. This requires several behind the scenes systems to ensure they actually show up and consume the content.  From there, the call to action is setting up a call to have a conversation about the next steps.  In this model, the webinar serves two major purposes.  It is a qualifying tool, that also builds trust. It sets the tone, allowing customers to hear and see him, and it helps them become familiar with his outlook on paid marketing.  Kev calls the webinar a humanizing exercise since it features many stories explaining how the brand was built and showing who built it.

Another way Kev’s webinars build trust is by delivering useful value to viewers.  They introduce four or five ideas that the client can bring to their own marketing.  Redirecting the customer’s thought sequence has a two-way bonus in that it also provides the dopamine rush of a new opportunity.  That new opportunity is tied to Kev’s solution which inspires a huge amount of trust very quickly. As Brennan points out, this moment is a key point of qualification and filtration.  He describes the post-webinar conversation: “if [paid advertising] is something that you’re excited about, is this something that you really wanna implement in your business and you’re committed to using these pieces we’d love to talk to you. If you’re not, we’re happy to have shared some really good information with you, but the next step isn’t a good fit for you.”  The lead leaves with some added knowledge and may come back to the idea at a later date.

Kev’s webinars are not live per se, but by making them hourly, Kev has created the exclusivity and importance of a live event, but without him needing to be up at 9 PM on a Friday night to make it direct.  “On demand is a strong part of our lives today,” Kev points out. With many ways to make a recorded webinar seem live, webinar hosts have a lot of options. Tools exist that can even aggregate existing chat data and populate responses with it — almost like a ghost of previous webinars.  Or some people staff a VA to answer questions live. Kev finds these methods pretty transparent and doesn’t like to use them. Conversely, starting with a live webinar has benefits that can’t be simulated including live energy (although if you’re starting out and only able to get one or two attendees, that can have an inverse effect on the energy and hurt the image you’re trying to project as an expert).  Kev recommends starting with on demand because you can get amped up for the recording and control more of the content. Kev has found that viewers are also more likely to get the content if it is on demand. To solve the tired energy problem, Kev genuinely does jumping jacks and push ups before a webinar to charge himself and ensure he brings organic energy to the recording. Again, although, webinar hosts can add different buffer beginnings denoting the day of the week and make it seem live, Brennan says “just be honest.”  Viewers just want the content and may lose some trust in you if you appear to be trying to hoodwink them.

Let Facebook Work For You

Currently, all of Kev’s webinar opt-ins come from various points he has set up on Facebook.  Leads find the GrowthBOKs profile or group which will show them how to sign up for and pick a webinar.  For targeting, Kev suggests “Let Facebook’s technology work for you.” If you can provide Facebook with some data, their algorithm will help you optimize the delivery of your ad.  Facebook offers custom audiences where you can upload your own email database. Facebook will look at that database, and will create a lookalike database which can give you two million other people on the network who fit the profile of those people on your email list.  This is also the starting point for any new campaign that Kev’s agency creates. Just seeing information from people who have opted in, allows Facebook to look at what other things your audience members like and they can use that information to find crossover audiences and where to re-target.  Facebook allows you to target pages, interests, income level, education level, marital status, and you can layer them on top of each other for maximum specificity. Another plus is that if someone clicks the ad but doesn’t opt in, there are additional re-targeting options that you can bake in.  Kev suggests you have as many different inputs and parameters as possible so this works best with bigger lists. He recommends making the switch to “custom audience” once you have about 100 email addresses.

The Value of a Lead

Brennan believes this long-term outlook is important.  He says people focus too much on the hard sell and don’t give people choice when they click through to a services page or landing page.  There have to be options for what visitors can do, and you must have strategies in place for making the sale down the line. The other mistake he sees is people not quantifying the value of each funnel and therefore not knowing what to spend for each.  Brennan urges listeners to break down exactly how much each lead is worth, how many opt-ins are needed for a sale, how many sales are needed to hit your target etc). He then recommends that you price out each step of your funnel. Kev agrees but adds that the ability to make these calculations is WHY paid advertising should be in your mix.

Of course, Kev says that rather than just throwing money at advertising, it is important to try to understand the thought process for people at each point in the funnel and optimize for the “thought sequence.”  He says to start simple with appropriate, relevant topics and get more complex as you go on. He describes it as building a machine that can then give you leads, but also, insight into optimization opportunities that you might have missed before.

Is it Working?

Kev’s agency uses a method called SIPS.  The acronym stands for: Simplicity, potential Impact, Probability, and Speed of implementation.  They then score each idea they have for their next move in optimizing and go with whatever improvement scores the highest.

Brennan points out this kind of funnel requires active management.  A campaign might work great at first but a few weeks later, things may have shifted and adjustments might need to be made. Kev says he has to find the right cadence for follow up on each project.  If a budget is smaller, he can let it go for longer without making adjustments since it may pay for itself more easily. For a larger budget, he’ll need to change tacks pretty quickly if there isn’t a difference in sales.  However, Kev considers paid advertising a long term strategy. The ad gets an agency in the door with an audience, but it is then up to the marketer to nurture those leads. For Kev, every ad he runs, he’ll get about 7 to 14 days of webinar performance.  During that window, he has an opportunity to nurture those leads, add value, and build the brand. Additionally, people may be finding his service now but may not have the budget or time to work on the project they need him for. Six months down the line, they might be back with $5000 to put towards consulting just because they clicked on that ad.

Paid acquisition across types of business can vary a great deal due to different product costs, turnaround times and payment schedules.  Targets and KPIs have to vary too and these are all elements you should have mapped out going in to a paid ad campaign. You then need to be willing to make adjustments once you see how people respond.

Supporting Ads With Content

Kev has created a funnel that works, but what would Kev do differently if starting over?  “The path to getting the paid advertising has nothing to do with paid advertising at the start,” he says.  Instead, it is all about building the content (in his case the webinar) that the ad directs traffic to, and it’s about building the call to action, sales call, landing page, and everything else along the funnel that the lead will see.  Kev recognizes that Facebook, provides opportunity to reach people organically like never before. Starting over, he would validate the sales call with a Messenger conversation, prove his grown engine, and then move into paid ads. “Paid ads don’t scale your business,” says Kev.  “Paid ads leverage the scale you’ve already designed in your business.” On its own, a paid ad is ineffective. Brennan says the ad requires the webinar or intermediary to build trust. Sharing your authority in this way, exchanges your time for an email address or whatever your opt-in looks like.

Kev’s funnel starts with the ad, which leads to a webinar, then an application, and finally a free 45 minute consultation (not unlike a sales call).  With automation to glue it all together, Kev is able to focus his energy on getting more leads to the top of the funnel. Having leads and sales flowing in, helps him think like a CEO or business owner and allows him to look at growing his team.

Kev is passionate about paid ads because they force him to know the value of his leads, they can have an effect that lasts much longer than the initial ad, and they can reach very specific target audiences.  Every step of the funnel allows for quantification that can help him determine what changes to make and when. Best of all, this quantifiability and control creates the comfort to grow. He discovered his formula through research, and applying newer tools to classic marketing techniques.  Kev believes paid advertising done right can help just about every business, and he backs that up by having shown it time and time again.



Easy Webinar — The software Kev uses to create his webinars

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