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!
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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.
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.
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?
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.
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?
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.
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?
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.
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.