Warm Market Selling | Isobel Burns

Today I speak with Isobel Burns. 

Isobel Burns is a little different to most agency owners; with 20+ years in business development and communications, her core skill is understanding what makes people buy and how to interpret the data to determine the highest converting customer journey.

Isobel has built and sold a London based 7 figure agency, and brings with her experience of running a growing business.

As a badged Facebook Marketing Partner, Isobel has access to cutting edge information and systems. A genuine interest in growth businesses, compliments her core skill of data-driven business development.

Since its inception in 2017, Digital Marketing Engine has facilitated a range of high-performing advertising campaigns for national brands, ecommerce stores, coaches & course creators and appointment led businesses.

Enjoy listening to this episode... and be sure to use what Isobel is talking about here!

You can always find more here at https://amybiddle.me, including training, blog posts, and all of the podcast episodes. Here on the website is the only place you'll find the full podcast transcripts. Make sure to opt-in for emails when you're here at the site so you get the exclusive content as it's released.

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Full transcript of the episode:

And then your job becomes to

confirm and strengthen that connection.

And through that connection you are

going to make the sale.

If you've got the connection right,

they will buy from you.

You're listening is a Traffic Handler podcast.

We're about getting new customers, making more

sales and growing your ecommerce retail business.

I'm your host, Amy Biddle.

Today's episode is a recent conversation I had

with Isobel Burns of Digital Marketing Engine.

Isobel is a little different from most

agency owners with over 20 years in

business development and communications experience.

Her core skill is understanding what makes people

buy and how to interpret the data to

determine the highest converting customer journey.

Since 2017, Isabelle and her agency have

created a range of high performing advertising

campaigns for national brands, ecommerce stores, coaches

and course creators and appointmentled businesses.

Isobel has built and sold a London

based seven-figure agency and brings with

her experience of running a growing business.

Please enjoy listening to our conversations today

about warming and selling to engaged customers.

Every business, I think needs to be doing

lead gen, not just coaches and selling.

So if the focus of the business is selling

products, obviously the ecom part has to be there

and Facebook is still, I think, the best acquisition

layer than any of the others.

Yeah, I mean, Facebook gets a rough ride, right?

It gets beaten up in the press quite

a lot and probably with good reason.

But I also think that it becomes in the marketing

world that it's also a bit of an easy target.

Is lead gen important to ecommerce?


If you look at the volume of sales that

people make from their email list and actually look

at the big ecommerce businesses, they're making so much

money from their email list that sleeping on lead gen

is cutting off a revenue supply and it's cutting

off a recurring revenue supply and it's cutting off

the opportunity to get people in their customer journey

who aren't completely ready to commit right now.

So I know from experience that I'll

look at something think, oh, that's good.

I could use this in XYZ or specifically at the moment,

because we're in a rental, we're looking for a house.

I see things pop up and I'm like, it's amazing.

I love that! I'll sign up to their newsletter

because I'm not ready to buy it yet because

I don't have the house to put it in.

So yeah, I think lead gen is integral to everything

because at the end of the day, it is the

only thing you own, even if people aren't opening them

with the same velocity and frequency as they were before.

But that might change, that might come back.

And if you haven't built your list, then you

are completely reliant on the whims of Facebook or

TikTok or wherever you're choosing to advertise.

It's completely out of your control.

You're just pouring money into a function and hoping

that it spits out the right result for you.

Whereas with email, at least you can sign up a lead

for a lot less money than you can sell a product.

Yes, exactly.

And it is so expensive to make cold sales.

So if you're anticipating the list building so that

you can make sales later, list building now is

like building an insurance policy in the business.

And so you really need to not just make

cold sales now engagement interest and build that.

And I think there's no such thing

as the perfect Facebook ads campaign.

You see these screenshots of people who

are like 100 times ROAS. 7x ROAS.

Guaranteed 6x ROAS.

And you're like on what are you guaranteeing

that it's a disappointing part of the industry.

I think you get that smoke and mirrors effect.

But then when you come down to the fundamentals of

good marketing, you would never just focus on one channel.

You would be omnipresent.

You would have the ecosystem, as I

like to describe it, wrapped around you.

You've got your brand, you've got the product,

you've got your super affiliates, you've got your

ambassadors for the brand, whether they're actual employees

or just the most loyal purchases out there.

All of these things are different

revenue channels, they're different engagement channels.

And they all need a little bit of love and attention.

Yes, absolutely.

But they've got to lead somewhere.

Right place to lead is your email list.

Right in the middle there. And continually making

sales, having those new customers integrated in with

the emails list segmenting, making sure that you're

saying the right things to the right people.

And that's kind of where we started

our conversation before the official podcast part

of this conversation, which is messaging.

And I can't say it enough, and

I couldn't agree with you more.

You want to talk about the messaging idea.

So I have to say I brought people

to tears with this, but it's so important.

We speak to so many clients and so many

people who are trying Facebook ads and trying to

kind of get the results and are frustrated.

And they're quite often when we peel back the

layers, spending all their time and energy focusing on

finding the right target interest, quite often you go

in to an audit account and there's like 1000 different

ad sets, each with one interest in it, but

they haven't checked the overlap.

And the mind is just like, I've got to get

the targeting right, and then the sales will come.

But actually the targeting, it just doesn't

work like that anymore, does it?

It's going broad.

I always say to people in a group

the things together that are similar and aim

for the ballpark, not the back room.

Getting people into the ballpark is

your goal with your targeting.

And then actually, it's the messaging, it's the ad copy,

it's the headline, it's the product description, it's all of

those things that make them read it, make them click

that little read more and then make them click the

button to shop now or to learn more, to sign

up or whatever the CTA is, it's relevant to what

you've put in there.

And I think once people wrap their head around the fact

that I reckon you get 80% of your targeting is actually

done in your copy, then that's a total game changer.

But in order to get there, it's that

customer journey they're finding you through to just

telling all of their mates about you.

And in order to discover that we have to build

that connection with people and then that loops back around

to like, why is it important to lead down?

Because then you've got them on your email list and you've

got lots of different opportunities to build that connection and you

can give them value and you can educate them and you

can take them on the journey with you.

And it's not just saying like, hey,

here's my thing, buy it now.

Hey, here's my other thing, buy this too,

which people get a bit, I think numb

too, especially now with the volume of people

advertising out there is just skyrocketed.

Oh, it's huge.

I mean, there are more people now on

Facebook than there were a year or two

ago, which is just mind boggling to me.

But I think in Q4 of last

year, it was two point 91 billion monthly

average users, which is insane. Isn't it insane?

It's crazy.

And even with the controversies of Facebook, at

the end of the day, it's the broad

audience and that's the top of the funnel.

And I like to rely on machine learning for that.

It's not AI, but machine learning is just the

law of large numbers and you have enough people

in the top of the funnel and you get

the right message so that people self identify just

like what you're talking about and you'll have success.

Yeah, absolutely.

And I think that's a really hard

concept to wrap your head around.

And I think then sometimes you get the kind of

like, well, you've got to be able to narrow the

field or you're paying to reach actually, absolutely everybody.

But it's that concept that actually the more data Facebook

can consume on your behalf and the faster it can

consume that, which is the ad spend element, then the

better a result they can find for you.

They go so fast that you can't see what's happening.

But actually when you look, it's just

like this massive, great big hole already

because they've processed so much so quickly.

And that's kind of the analogy

that you need with Facebook ads.

It's a bit of a random one, I'll grant you that.

But it needs to just chomp through really

fast to find the thing it's looking for.

And once it finds that thing, identifies that thing,

then it can go find more of them because

it knows what the markers are and I think

again, the testing piece which encapsulates all of that

is something that everybody knows they need to do.

But then they're kind of like, but I want to

make sales while I'm testing it's like you probably won't.

You just have to have that chunk of budget

to find the right ballpark for your game.

And then you can send people there.

And then you know what?

Next up, we're testing your messaging.

And for every dollar that you spend on testing

and messaging, I reckon if you get it right,

you probably win back thousands and thousands.

That is where your big ROAS is. I agree with that.

And the other thing about ROAS, you were talking earlier about

people bragging about their 6 X, 50 X, 100 X.

I've gotten 50 X.

It was in a new campaign after one

sale and it was an early sale.

And then you go over to the ROAS column, I wish,

I'd gotten a screenshot, I've got a 127 X.

Yes, exactly. Right.

And that was one early sale in the new campaign. Right.

And then after that, it evens out. It evens out.

And it's the same when people are signing up to

an email list, they're kind of like, I want to

pay a dollar a sign up being like, well, we

have the time machine back to 2010 or whatever.

But you get the same thing.

You'll get the first couple of sign ups might come

through like a dollar, maybe under a dollar even.

And then the next few really push

it out and then people are panicking.

It's not up to kind of three, four, $5.

But I still come back to the looking at the

front end metrics like that is pretty short sighted.

It's like you were talking about

going cold traffic to sale.

If you do make a sale, you're going

to pay through the nose for that sale.

Going cold traffic to lead magnets sign up is going

to be a lot less to your email to newsletter.

Whatever it is, it's going to be

a lot less than that sale.

But then you're going to look at right, okay, over time,

maybe 35% of sales are going to come from that list.

So it's kind of figuring out like

what is your cost per sale?

What is your cost per acquisition of a customer?

And now what is the lifetime value of a customer?

And figuring out, okay, this is now

my KPI for finding these people.

We're just working through a marketing strategy for a

subscription box here in the UK at the moment.

And we were talking about how long do people

subscribe for what is your average customer length?

What are they buying on top

of the standard subscription box?

Like, do you have an upgrade?

Do you have a bonus?

Do you have anything else they can do?

How do you plug in the referral methods?

Looking at all of these different things in order

to raise that lifetime value at the end so

that we know that we've got a decent budget

to acquire high value customers at the beginning. Yes.

And it's the same thing, isn't it?

Like, I would rather pay $10 a lead for 100

leads to convert than $1 a lead for 1000 leads who don't.


Oh, I'm so with you on that, because once you

have control, because once you have a lead, once you

have the SMS or the email or the postal address,

some way to get with them behind the initial payment,

you've paid for that lead, right?

Yeah, you've already paid for it.

So market using the other methods.

And I've talked to somebody recently.

She was in ecommerce.

She owns a brick and mortar store, and

she's online and she doesn't email at all.

And I'm like, that's scary. That's expensive.

That's a recipe for disaster.

And I would much rather see someone saying,

okay, the storefront, whether it's online or brick

and mortar, the storefront, that's my warehouse.

And the real business, the machine is the

thing is, how do I talk to people

over time until they unsubscribe or die trying?

The only way out.

Do sequences, do segmented sequences,

mail, postcards in between purchases.

How much longer can we make that lifetime value? Yeah.

And how many people make in there?

People like to communicate.

We are communicative beings. Right.

And if you can really find that emotional pull

for your brand, for your product, with the right

people, then you can create that connection.

And then your job becomes to

confirm and strengthen that connection.

And through that connection, you are

going to make the sales.

If you've got the connection right,

they will buy from you.

Maybe today, maybe tomorrow, maybe in

six months, maybe in six years.

But they're going to buy from you.

And in the meantime, they're going to

tell everybody else because they've got a

really good connection with you.

So that's what it has to come down to.

And it's all about the messaging.

And it's not your messaging.

It's understanding their customer journey, what it takes

for them to go from never having heard

of you to buying from you.

And like a flash sale, a discount, a sign

up bonus that might generate a sale, but it

won't generate the connection that generates the lifetime value.

So that's my soapbox. I love it.

That's a great soapbox.

I think we have the same soapbox.

There's room for two.

There's room for two.

Everyone seems to be saying that.

I'm a big fan of bringing more people onto the soapbox.

It's not something that you do want, and

it's not something that you get perfect.

It's probably the most ongoing piece

of learning that any business does.

And just when you think you nailed it, your market

shifts slightly because as you educate them, as they understand

what your products can do, you are in turn making

them a more sophisticated buyer, which means you've got to

up level a little bit more.

And I think that's the thing that people find really

challenging, or the people who are really good at this

go all out and they do it brilliantly.

And it's a bit like that five year business plan

that goes in the drawer and nothing gets updated.

Again, if I have to say anything about it,

I would say that it doesn't matter if you're

a one person Shopify store doing it in your

lunch break or before school or whatever.

It might be right the way through to Saks on Fifth.

You've got to keep reiterating this and you

have to keep updating it, and you have

to do it properly every time.

Yeah, that's true. It's not a one and done.

The thing that popped in for me when we started this

part of the conversation is a product is not a business.


How many people have you and I both talked

to who say, I have this great product?

It's killer.

I'm going to make a million dollars.

I'm going to make a million pounds.

No, it's not about the product.

There are more products than the

world knows what to do with.

Just look at China. Yes.

And that goes hand in hand, I think, with

the customer experience, the customer journey, the copy, the

emotional pain points and what draws somebody to a

product, because ultimately all of those things are actually

what we encapsulate when we say the word branding.

We've recently done a validation project with a business here

in the UK again, and they have a great product.

It's a groundbreaking product.

It's absolutely amazing.

Everybody should have it in their kitchen

cupboard and drink it every day.

It's brilliant.

But they can't get it to take off.

And the reason they can't get it to take

off is because there's no brand and they have

a real reluctance to become a brand.

And the reason for that is because it's a

side hustle that they want to take over, but

they're not willing to actually put anything into it.

So they don't have a face for this brand.

They don't even really have a

color palette for this brand yet.

So all of these things are discussions that

we're having as to how that's built up.

And that is an enormous job.

And I think it's something that you either have to throw a

lot of money at to get done properly and well, or you

become that brand and you kind of allow it to grow from

you, and then you can start to transition into less FaceTime less

about your life and all of those things.

But certainly in the beginning, I think when people

are DIYing, they have to become the brand.

Very hard to make people connect with an inanimate object

because they can buy it on Wish for less, right?

Exactly. Yeah.

Go to Wish, go to Alibaba and buy a

case and whatever there's 8 million products out there.

So even if it is brilliant and a brand

is so much more than just a logo and

the color that's just for recognition, that leads through.


But the mechanism has to be

the personality of the brand. The connection.

The connection. Yeah.

Because we live in this hashtag-me world.

Everybody has a supercomputer in their pocket.

Everybody could be online all the time with nearly

8 billion people on the planet and almost everybody

now, even in the furthest reaches of the poorest

countries, people have access to the Internet.


And I think people, they know that on one level.

But it kind of gets segmented away when they're doing

this research and looking at, okay, what do I actually

need to do in order to make this sale?

You'll see, a lot of people would say, okay, I'll

build a really good site that's optimized for speed.

And then I'll sell lots of products, I'll

run some ads and they'll go to the

site and I'll sell lots of products.

And well, yes, ultimately, but that

is the raw mechanics of it.

The rest of the things that need to be layered

on top of the things that do create that human

connection because we don't buy something incredibly practical.

You get the old kind of sell me the

pen, you're never going to be like, it's got

ink in it and it writes, right?

You're going to come up with it.

It feels good in my hand.

It's the right way and all of those things.

And that is ultimately what's creating a connection.

Anyone can pick up a pen that writes, but people are

going to pay hundreds of dollars for a cross pen. Why?

But then you look at what is a cross pen?

What does it say about you? What is a brand?

It's a status symbol.

It's got history.

It's something that people want to be

seen to have and to use. Like, it's nothing.

It's just a pen.

All of those things create that emotive connection

with that pen that by owning it, you're

going to emulate that brand, that thing.

You're not selling ink in a barrel.

You're selling who this says I am. Exactly.

And so you're drawing on

those emotions, on people's wants. Right.

On their needs and their desires.

They need a pen, but they desire the

status that having a cross pen brings.

Yes, perfect. Hopefully cross.

Like that analogy.

Hey, I'll get them to sponsor this.

I think we should.

It's good.

I'll have to go look at who to call.

So I do want to keep this short and consumable.

You've already dropped so many golden knowledge bombs.

People can listen to this podcast

and go make their emails better.

Sms messaging, email segmenting, pay attention to cold traffic,

but make sure their technology is in place and

then go attach their personality to their brand.

Just listening to the information that you

and I have talked about today.

So if someone wants to get a hold

of you for more, where do they go?

How do they get hold of you? Thank you.

That's kind and overcame on Facebook as Isabel

Burns but the company is digital marketing engine

and the website is digitalmarketingengine.com fantastic.

And that'll be in the show notes also so people

will be able to find you and hire you.

Pick your brain do something amazing.

Fantastic. Thank you.

Well, Isobel, thank you so much.

There were some powerful

takeaways in this conversation.

I hope you can put some of them to work in

your business. But reach out if you want a hand with it.

You've been listening to the Traffic Handler podcast.

We're about getting new customers, making more sales

and building your ecommerce retail business.

Until next time go sell more stuff.

Podcast music by Dan Lebowitz.