8. Demystifying Facebook Ads & Understanding Your School’s ROI

Are you frustrated with Facebook ads? Do you wonder if your admissions funnel is converting? Michelle shares strategies for analyzing data and discusses what ROI looks like for Facebook ads. Whether you run your own ads, outsource to an agency, or are too overwhelmed to even start—this is the episode for you.

About Michelle Fernandez:

Michelle Fernandez is a Facebook & Instagram Ads Strategist, a Funnel Expert, and Speaker. For years, Michelle helped run the social media accounts of major influencers using strategic organic marketing strategies. But noticing the ever-evolving limitations of organic growth – she realized that her organic efforts would need to be amplified by highly converting ads!

Michelle poured countless hours into mastering the art of paid advertising and has now shifted her focus entirely to ad and funnel strategy for everyone from local small businesses to multiple 7-figure business owners – spending THOUSANDS of dollars on ads each month at her boutique marketing agency. She loves the strategizing process that takes place PRIOR to running ads and specializes in helping her clients get crystal clear on their brand identity, messaging, and funnel strategy – so they get the maximum ROI from their ad spend. She knows how to combine the most powerful organic strategies, funnel strategies, and ad strategies to get her clients 6 figure launch results without a 6-figure ad-spend.

Show Transcript

Tara: Welcome to Mindful School Marketing. I’m Tara Claeys,

Aubrey: and I’m Aubrey Bursch. Today we’re joined by Michelle Fernandez. Michelle is a Facebook Ads and funnel strategist. She creates strategic ad campaigns and highly converting funnels. For course, creators coaches and online experts So that they can fill their offers and build a business that they love. Welcome, Michelle we’re so excited to have you!

Michelle: Hey, I’m so excited to be here. Thank you for having me.

Tara: Thanks for joining us from Miami, right?

Michelle: Yes, sunny Miami.

Tara: All right. Well, can you tell us a little bit more about yourself, Michelle?

Michelle: Yes. So I started in the online world after being in the mortgage business for about, I would say for about 20 something years in the mortgage business. I started in the online world really in network marketing. And that’s where it opened the doors to this digital marketing space. And what I loved about it, not the network marketing side, what I loved about it was the whole digital marketing and attraction marketing, and really seeing the possibilities that are limitless in this space. And then, I shifted into a social media manager for six and seven figure CEOs. And today I am all about the most effective and cutting edge marketing strategies, taking the headache out of that lead generation, the pain out of the tech, because hello, we all have tech issues, right? And the struggle out of really getting a converting funnel. So our clients can get massive ROIs on every dollar that they spend in marketing.

Aubrey: Yes and yes, I love that you’ve mentioned the technology piece as I think a lot of us when they hear what you do, they absolutely are either struggling with themselves, trying to figure out how to do it, or they’re just overwhelmed. So you serve, you have a lot to offer to people, I think. So now, as we’re looking at our podcast, we talk about mindfulness, right? So as we’re looking at work and marketing life and also Facebook ads and funnel strategy, how would you define being mindful of that?

Michelle: Two ways: one is patience because patience is key, especially in Facebook advertising and not attaching meaning to the results. So to me, marketing is like science, right? Because you’re always testing and tweaking to optimize and scale. Now you’re constantly collecting data to find out what worked, what didn’t, and then what you might do differently next time. And a lot of people make the data, which are simply just facts, really mean something. If we really look at it, they make it mean something and really nothing has meaning, but the meaning that you give it. So when we get the results coming in and it wasn’t something that we’re expecting, and then you make that mean that you’re not good enough, or Facebook ads don’t work or whatever, you’ll never be successful. You’ll never have as many families in your school as possible, or your offers terrible. Like this school is better than ours or whatever, but what if you looked at the data, analyzed it, find the gaps or like where you might improve and then just simply try it again. So those are the kind of two things that I always look at mindset-wise.

Tara: Yeah. I wonder how you, I mean, having done some Facebook advertising with clients, it can be intimidating because you’re spending money. So it’s not that you’re just going out there and trying something and it’s not costing you anything. So it’s, it can be easy, I think for people to give up because they don’t want to keep spending money to not make any progress as they would determine it. So that’s part one of my question. And then part two of my question is the term ROI, which you use, which is always very tricky. I started in advertising back before the internet and we’d put ads on TV and in magazines and newspapers and there was really no way to measure, you know, how many of your sales were coming from that advertising. And there’s still some truth to that, but we have a higher expectation because there is so much more data that we can get from advertising. So. Those are two pretty big questions that I’m asking you. So whichever you want to start with, or however you want to approach it.

Michelle: Let’s start with the ROI because that’s the one I remember off the top of my head. We’ll go back to question one. So the ROI is interesting, I attended a live event and I’ve always thought of ROI, return on investment, as literally that, right? Whatever I put in and whatever revenue I get back out, that would be my return on investment. However, this gentleman was explaining that there’s so much more that goes into that ROI because it’s about your team and how much time did it take to prepare those campaigns and this and that. And as I was sitting there, I’m like, well, wait a minute. Are we ever really breaking even? Or are we always like, like the way he was making it sound. So I decided to kind of understand what he was saying, because it does, those are like the expenses to cost that run your business, right. To run your school or run your organization. However, what I focus on is like the return on the ad spend, right? So how much money am I putting out or putting into the slot machine that when I pull it out, how many dollars am I getting back? So that is definitely something that I’m always looking at with every campaign that I launch, especially if you’re doing a back to school, right? Or there’s certain seasons where you’re trying to get more students or fill up the roster. Right? Then I would be looking, okay, well, how much money did I put out? How much revenue did I generate? And then what was my earnings per lead? Because that is a big thing. When you look at your earnings per lead, because you’re most likely not going to close a hundred percent of the leads that you generate, but you did pay for those leads. So what was the earnings per lead based on the revenue that you generated as a whole campaign? So when I sit there and I focus on that and I look at the end, then I’m like, oh, wait for, I spent $2 or I got a hundred leads, but I really made $33 on each of those leads. Does that make sense? That kind of makes it, a little bit easier to swallow. But when I think your first question was like timeframe. So when you start out, that’s one of the biggest mistakes I see is people kind of pull the plug too soon instead of waiting, because all these things take time. At least a minimum of, I would say three months at times, sometimes longer, depending on your offer, to actually warm up the audience, let people know who you are and what you’re about. Get the data, see what’s working. What is your audience responding to both in messaging and offers or something like that to then be able to say, okay, now I got all this information. How do I now diagnose it to see if my marketing dollars are at work are working for me and not against me. Did that answer your questions?

Aubrey: Yes, I am loving this and immediately of course I have a follow-up question. So I know in the online space sometimes offers can range from like 47 to 2000 or something like that. Most of our schools have these really big price tags. So I’m wondering, as you’re talking about this and as we’re looking at ads. And looking at funnels, which I don’t know very many people know what a funnel is. But how does that big price tag change how you’re thinking about your funnel and your ads and everything like that?

Michelle: This is a very good point. And another thing goes back to what Tara was asking was basically when you’re looking at that, there’s a lot of things that you’re going to be doing, that you’re going to put out dollars, that you will not see a return on immediately. This is something that you have to put in your mind that, okay, we’re going to put out this and we’re going to allocate it in our budget, but we will see a return later down the line when you’re ready to open those doors and launch right? And I’m using the term launch. I don’t know what you all use it like back to school or something like that. Because both of my kids did go to private schools. And so I know exactly what you’re talking about. Like when there’s like those days where I forgot what it’s called, where you go to tour the school. Right. And then like you have these different things that’s your funnel that you’re bringing them through. So I know that that is when it was like all this like charming us and getting us in and getting the kids excited to want to attend this school. Right. And then when we got there, that’s when I would call the launch because now it’s like, you got us in the door and now you’re charming us, we’re seeing the school, we’re meeting some of the teachers and seeing like the classrooms and the kids are all excited. That is when you’re going to make your money. Because before we left, we gave a deposit. That’s right. Sign me up. Right. So, does that help with what you were saying?

Aubrey: Yes. What I’m hearing is it’s almost like it’s when I talk to clients, it’s you really have that longer funnel, like not going to see the return, you have to like plant the seeds and warm people up and then get them going. And then it’s later on that you’re seeing the return on investment. And also it’s just being mindful of that when you’re planning your budget, as you discussed, right. It’s not a quick. Quick snap. And you’ve got, you know, five families in the door from one Facebook app.

Michelle: Exactly. So you mentioned what is a funnel? So the way I always kind of, it’s a marketing funnel and then there’s a sales funnel. So if I can explain that. So a marketing funnel is really the entire journey of a person becoming aware of who you are and what you’re about to that person actually becoming a paying customer. Okay. So the marketing funnel includes like running paid advertising, sending followup emails, search engine optimization, like all, everything in between. Right. But then when you kind of micro and like get into it, the sales funnel. Is the path that a customer takes to purchase from your business, right. To actually become a family are part of your school. So it’s like, basically you’re getting them in with something that you’re collecting their information, like their name and their email, and then converting them into a customer.

Tara: Yeah. So let’s talk a little bit about the marketing funnel and going back to the top of that funnel, where we’re doing the paid advertising, which is your specialty. So what are some important things that anyone should do to prepare for that ad campaign? Choosing what that messaging offer is setting up your audience, all the things that you do, what are the, what is, what’s the preparation for that look like?

Michelle: The first thing I always do is definitely know what your end goal is and then reverse engineer from there. So what is your end goal? So you should know those numbers. So is it, do you want to grow your list? Do you want to get more people into your school for a tour? So you have to really be looking at, and obviously it’s the final number, right? What is your goal for number of families that you have in the school or. That type of thing. Then I always look to know your audience now with the school, you’re targeting a certain parameter around the school, right? That’s usually what they do within so many miles. However, you also need to know how far the families are willing to drive to get to your school. So for example, like I mentioned that my kids both went to private schools. I have twins, a girl and boy. So it was all girls, all boys like that. And like, it was, I would say far for me, it a little spoiled with driving. It was about five to seven miles, right. With traffic. It seems like forever. However, their friends live like super far, like I’m talking 10 to 20 miles, but the school was so good or they did a good job and saying why or the reasons why they’re going to be able to attend the school what’s going to happen in the future and the brotherhood and the sisterhood that will carry them through their whole career and all this good stuff. But these are important to know. So when you’re marketing, you’re not just limiting yourself to like a typical five mile radius, right? You need to really understand your people where they’re coming from and all that good stuff. And then the third thing I always do is to be on point with your messaging. Like, what is your ideal families pains? What are their struggles? What are their dreams and desires? And more importantly, what words are they using to describe them? Because your ultimate goal is for someone to read the messaging on your ad or in your advertising, on your website, and really resonate with them. The goal is for them to say like, wow, they’re talking to me. Like, I can picture my child going to school here. Right. This is exactly what I’m looking for in a school. That would be the top three things that I would be looking to focus on.

Aubrey: That’s so good. I think sometimes we forget to focus on one of those as we’re putting together things or rushed, let’s say someone says, oh, it’s time to run ads quick, go throw something together. And you forget to do those very important steps right? Now, speaking of steps, could you tell us a little bit about maybe like the top classic Facebook mistakes that you see. And, you know, I’m sure some of us, some of our schools out there might be doing those. So this would be incredibly helpful for them to hear.

Michelle: Yeah, well, obviously the first one is not to do those three things because you’re right. People are like, I’m going to run an ad. How much money have they focused so much on the budget that they’re not focusing on the quality of the ad that you’re putting out, right? Because you could spend money all day long. And if the messaging is out there, it’s not going to work. But the other thing is people don’t let their ad long run long enough to gather the data just like we were talking about just a bit ago, right. To really determine if it’s working. And the other mistake is that they blame the ads for not making the sale right, or not converting them into a customer. And what I like to remind is the role of the ad is to get the lead. And then the role of the school is to close the sale. So it’s important to make sure that there is some sort of a sales process or sales system in place on the backend that’s very strong. You need to know those numbers, like how many students or families are you getting in that you’re actually converting into an actual customer, right? And that’s being tracked and evaluated to really figure out where those gaps are to optimize and scale. So just for an example, I have a customer not having to do with schools, but they’re running a webinar and I got like 300 or 400 people to that webinar yet they did not close one sale. So I’m like, okay, when I look at all the data from the ads, we’re getting people in all those benchmarks and everything are on point. However, your process and your role is not to close those people on that webinar. So it’s the same thing as once they get into school, if you’re doing your marketing, department’s doing a great job, getting those families in the door, but something falls short when they’re on that tour or in the conversations or is there no follow-up to that’s where you’re going to say, oh, these ads aren’t working because I’m not getting a return on my investment where the whole time it could be a system that just needs to be tweaked a little bit on the backend.

Tara: Yeah, there’s a saying something like nothing will kill a great ad faster than a bad product, right? Like if you have a great ad that promises all these things and then people go in there, that’s not what they thought they were buying. So I think that’s a really good point that you can’t rely on the advertising to close the sale. For sure. Yeah. This is going to be a very basic rudimentary question, but I think it might be helpful for people who don’t know that much about Facebook ads, which is what’s the difference between running a Facebook ad and promoting a post on Facebook?

Michelle: There’s a big difference. And this is always something somebody said, oh, I heard so-and-so does it all day long. And I still don’t agree. So the promotion is like, they call it promote, they used to call it boosting a post. Right. So what happens is you’ll notice that come up because Facebook recognizes that post is getting, you know, a certain percentage higher than your other posts. So it’s telling you, Hey, people are liking this. Why don’t you put some money behind it? Right, which I’m not disagreeing with that. What I’m saying is instead of just clicking that blue button is to head on over to your ads manager and run that same post but in the ads manager, it gives you so much more flexibility or options in order to really hit the goal that you’re trying to achieve within your marketing dollars, within your ad campaign. So it gives you more availability of who you’re going to actually target. It gives you more people, more ability to track. It also gives you more optimization with your campaign objective, because most of the time in your feed, you can only do, let’s say a post engagement, but maybe you really want to send people back to your website, or to the page where they can book a tour. So you want to change that campaign objective to let’s say traffic rather than just for someone to comment on the post. So that’s why I always recommend head on over to ads manager to do that.

Tara: Yeah, which is not as easy as you might make it sound because setting up ads manager, I have spent many hours fighting with that thing cause they change it all the time. So I think that’s a barrier to entry for that. So it is like maybe like the most basic level is boosting the post, but you’re absolutely right. I think getting into that ads manager, there’s so much there that you can do to customize. Yeah. But the price is the same, right?

Michelle: Oh absolutely, it’s the same, everything ,it’s just I always spend my client’s money as if it’s my own. So every time I look at it and I’m like, how am I going to get the most out of my money? And like, cause I do want those marketing dollars to come back to you three times, four times, right? That’s the main goal. So as much as we want to say, oh, it’s just easier to press this promote button, you know, but where is that really going to get you? Is that going to get you to your goal and get the return on your investment?

Aubrey: That’s such a good answer. And I would say just the other day, I got an alert in my inbox. It was like, your client is running an ad and I’m like, are they, what are they running an ad? We didn’t talk about this. And I went and checked them, like, did you promote an ad or boost an ad? They’re like, yeah, it was super easy. I just clicked the button. And I was like, ah, you know, because you don’t want them to miss the opportunity of using the ads manager. Right. And to collecting all that data and being able to use it later and to really, you know, make it work for them. But I do agree with Tara, it is not the easiest thing to understand and it’s always changing. Right? Of course it is. So I’m wondering. You know, let’s we talked a little bit about this before, but how does one really, the measuring results is the outcome, right. But how do you measure their results? Like what should people be looking at when they’re looking at an ad to know it’s working? I think a lot of people ask me that when they’re stuck in ads manager and not understanding things.

Michelle: Right. So one of the things that I always look at is like, are you hitting your goals? Are you hitting the number of leads in sales or customers or prospects that you’re getting in that you actually wanted. So in regards to the ads, you want to make sure you’re hitting certain benchmarks to determine if it’s the ad not working or if it’s your funnel, right? Or possibly your backend. So there’s three ones that I always look at. One is your CTR link click-through rate. Which should be 1% or higher. And what that’s going to determine is if your messaging is resonating with your audience, then the second one that I look at is your landing page conversion. So I look at, okay, what are the number of links, meaning who is clicking on that ad that they see that they’re like, oh, I like this. Let me click on it. And then who is actually converting into that lead? So you want that to be anywhere between 20 and 30? I was like 30 because I try to get higher. And then the last one that I look at is, okay where is it going in reference to the results? Like how many results am I getting? How much is it costing me? Am I on budget? Like those types of things. And that’s where I pretty much stay basically without diving into all the super details. And that will tell me where my gap is just initially at initial view.

Tara: That’s a lot to absorb. It’s a lot of information. But I think it’s important for schools to know what you know, what kind of information they should be looking at and expecting, if they’re working with someone who’s doing ads for them, because I’ve seen also sometimes people get hired to do Facebook ads and they don’t provide that information. So all that the school is relying on is, you know, how much their engagement has grown in that type of thing. So I think it’s important to point out that you need to be looking at all of those all those data elements when you’re running Facebook ads. Yeah. Yeah.

Aubrey: And I would say that I’ve heard that it’s best to kind of get to know Ads Manager, just get to know it, even if you’re planning to give it to someone else, right? Yes. Just so you have a clue of what’s going on in the backend and feel a bit knowledgeable. So when you’re having the conversations, if you do hire an agency, right, you can understand what they’re saying and then ask, you know, questions to clarify. Okay. You know, the results and so on and so forth.

Michelle: Absolutely. Yeah, because you could be getting a cost per result of, I don’t know, $20 and that might seem like a lot to someone else, but what is that cost to acquire the customer? Right. So if you’re going to be getting $20,000 a year for one student, and it’s costing you $20 to get that student, that’s not that big of a deal, right. Because of the price point. So it’s important that you do know your numbers, especially if you’re going to outsource, so you can stay on top of it and make sure you know that it is going right. Not just put your total trust in someone.

Tara: Yeah, super helpful. I love how you boil everything down to just kind of really understandable language. So thank you for that. Unfortunately, we’re coming up on the end of our show, the last section of our show, where we ask our guests a couple of the same questions. So the first one is what are the most important things Michelle, that you do to grow professionally and personally?

Michelle: Keep my mental health on point. It’s so easy to fall into learning more. And trust me, things are always changing in my world. Like you guys were talking about like every day I log in, it’s like, wait, what’s going on here? Nobody asks me permission to make these changes. So I definitely want to stay in the know and attend workshops, live events to make sure I’m staying cutting edge. However, strategy is really only 20%. And 80% of success is psychology. So reading or listening to podcasts that keep your beliefs and thoughts in the abundance mindset. And know that really just everything is working in my favor and that everything with that I want, I have everything within me to succeed.

Aubrey: I love that. I feel like I need to put that on my computer screen because sometimes when you’re having a rough day, it’s good to remember that. Right. So important. Onto the second question, what is one of the most important things we can do to be more mindful?

Michelle: I think to become more self-aware like, notice your language, like is your mean girl doing or mean boy doing all the talking and you’re actually listening or are you kind of silence silencing her? And notice your action. Are you taking any, are you like just full of excuses? Right? Are you beating yourself up because of results? Like what are your expectations? I mean, we’re all human, so we’re all gonna naturally feel all the feels, but the question is. Is how quickly are you able to snap out of it? Like, how self-aware are you to say, Hey, wait, I’m pouting right now. I need to not pout and be happy. Right. And like I said before, nothing has meaning, but the meaning you give it. So what would life be look like if you were less judgy on yourself and just take what happens as the facts and trade those expectations for appreciation and really just be grateful that you had this experience, learn from it and choose to move on, being happy.

Tara: That’s great. That’s really great. Thank you for sharing that. Going to take that to heart as well. These are our rapid fire questions. Now these are quick ones. So if you could put one book as mandatory reading on the high school curriculum, a book that maybe has had an impact on you, what would it be?

Michelle: The one thing.

Aubrey: I love that book.

Tara: Every time I get another book recommendation!

Aubrey: That’s how you end up with a lot of these

Michelle: I just got this new one. Believe it. I think I might change that one. If your time at high school, I might even change it, by Jamie Kern Lima.

Aubrey: Okay. Ooh!

Michelle: You should see it it girlfriend. She grew up, she went three years trying to grow this company and she sold it for a billion dollars or like 3 billion, something crazy pants. And to hear her story is so inspiring too, for every single person, especially a young person to just see what’s possible. Like anything’s possible. I know I’m

Aubrey: Putting that on my list. I’m excited. I love those because I always get so, so motivated after I’m like, yeah, anyone could do it. We can all do it. So. Fantastic. Thank you. All right. So this one, I’m so curious of your answer at best. What is one app you couldn’t live without?

Tara: And it can’t be facebook.

Michelle: Oh, no. I don’t even look at Facebook. My moms always do see so-and-so posted. I’m like mom, I don’t look at it. Voxer.

Tara: Oh, that was Aubrey’s too.

Aubrey: I know! I listen to your Voxer messages all the time, Michelle! I love Voxer. It’s so great. You don’t have to write out a whole bunch of stuff. Like you can actually speak to a person and then they can hear it and speak back. So. Great. All right.

Tara: Check this out. I’m learning so much on this podcast already. Okay. Next rapid fire question. What are you reading right now? And you may have just told us that.

Michelle: Yes. Well, actually right now I’m reading Built To Sell. Oh, okay.

Tara: Yes. I read that one.

Aubrey: I have it on my shelf, but I keep giving, like I read it and then I’m like, oh, I’m a little overwhelmed, but I need it again. And then I’m like, oh, it’s so good. Good one. Yeah. I love it. Yep. Now to, you know, leave us all with, if you could leave us all with one great piece of advice. I mean, you’ve given us so many throughout the podcast, but if you have one that you want to share with the audience, that would be great.

Michelle: I learned this recently that failure is not a lack of resources. It’s a lack of resourcefulness. I know mind blowing, right? Because, I pride myself in being resourceful. But I think that sometimes we get in this thing where it’s like, I don’t know what to do, or I don’t have this. Well, especially nowadays you can like Google anything. Right. And just really getting in to be resourceful to how you can just improve it every single time.

Aubrey: Oh, that’s so great. Yeah, so many post-it notes all over my room. Now.

Tara: I know. Well, we’re so glad you joined us and I’m sorry we’re at that time. Cause we could keep talking for a long, more, a long time more. But where can people find you online?

Michelle: The Michelle Fernandez. That’s where I am everywhere. Or you can even check out my podcast, the Traffic and Conversion show.

Tara: Oh, excellent.

Aubrey: I highly recommend it. Great. Thank you. But again, Michelle, for coming and sharing so much about Facebook, I feel like after listening to you, it didn’t sound so scary anymore. And I think a lot of our audience will find that as well.

Michelle: Good. I hope so. Thank you so much for having me. It was fun.

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