002: Why Most Artists Fail at Facebook Ads
Advertising on Facebook is so powerful for artists - so why do most fail at it, and how do you run a successful campaign?
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Hey guys, Patrick here with you. Welcome to the Art Marketing Podcast. We're all the way up to Episode Three, I guess. I guess technically it's Episode Two because we had Episode One, the Intro Episode, the Zero Episode. Welcome to Episode Two. Fired up to have you guys with us. On Episode One, thank you for all the incredible feedback, was absolutely blown away. If you guys have not had a chance to listen to episode one, highly recommend you do that. It was about some online and offline art selling tactics with artists Kim [Virgil 00:00:38]. We've really just been blown away by the feedback. Incredible amount of props to Kim because she just has some amazing techniques in there. Highly recommend you listen to that one.
We're motoring right along in this podcast. We're kind of searching at this point for what the blend of content is going to be that's going to be the most beneficial for you guys, our listeners, to help you on your journey to start selling more art online. What's that combination look like? Are they shorter episodes, longer episodes? Are they interviews or solo shows? What's going to be the most valuable? What's going to feel right? Is it going to be a combination of them all?
Today, I'm going to run with a solo show. I think I'm going to address on today's podcast what I know just from working at art store fronts is pretty much one of the biggest hot button items out there, the biggest ... the lightning rod of questions and conversations. I'm talking of course about Facebook ads and yes, by extension, Instagram ads.
Let me start by saying I am so incredibly fired up about this topic and so fired up to get into it. I've been running Facebook ads for years and years and years. I've spent well into the six figures on them on campaigns I've had under management and seen a great deal of success and also a tremendous amount of failure along the way and a tremendous amount of money wasted.
I've cut my teeth in this for a long period of time and I think I can really offer you guys some great insights into how you can potentially make it work. Let me tell you, I'm fired up for you guys. I think, not only is it in my opinion without question, the one area that most art sellers should be focusing on to generate traffic to their websites, Facebook and Instagram ads, when you go the paid route. I also think it lends itself so incredibly well to art sellers as a niche.
What are you guys selling? You're selling, by nature, an extremely visual product. Facebook and Instagram are platforms that are completely driven by photos, videos to a small extent, or to a large extent too, I should say. The images are key and that's what you guys have to offer. I think it is very fertile ground, you just need to be taught what to do, how to approach it, how best to look at it.
There is a tremendous amount to unpack here and a tremendous amount of questions that are going to arise. What are the questions? Should you be running those ads? Are they an effective source of traffic? What's a Facebook Pixel? How do I get started? You've heard this, that, or the others from your friends, but the whole dog gone thing is so confusing. What about Facebook Live or geo fencing or ad creatives, Carousel ads? There really is like a tremendous, tremendous amount to unpack in this topic.
I think my favorite question that we get all the time more often than not, which is the one that I really look forward to addressing ... I pulled one literally from a webinar we were running earlier this week. The question is, "Hey, I read about Facebook advertising on the ASF Forum. I tried it for a week, but pulled my ads because I felt like was throwing money away. I know there's a huge gap in my knowledge, I want to learn more." I am seeing various different iterations of that question so many times, I can't even begin to tell you.
The sad way to answer to it is, "I pulled my ads because I felt like I was throwing my money away. I gave it a shot, I spent some money, and it didn't work." Sadly, in most cases, that's just absolutely the case. That's absolutely the case. I think most people, most art sellers, most artists that are attempting to get into Facebook ads, you're really just at the beginning, you're just getting started, I'd like to start the podcast out there. Actually, the webinar that question came in is "Decent Foundational Content for Getting Started on Facebook Ads". I'll include a link to that webinar for those that want to see it in the show notes.
Let's really just get into it and address all of these questions. There's no way that we are going to even come close to addressing everything that you need to know in one episode of course. It's going to take quite a few podcasts to cover them all, but I think if we start by peeling the onion from the outside first and start with the conceptual, then we can start working ourselves further down the line in future episodes.
Facebook alone is such a complicated beast, I think an entire art marketing podcast just in Facebook ads could probably be created and be really successful. We've got a bunch of episodes to cover here. I'll try to do them sequentially, but we've got to start with the conceptual. You just can't get into them, and knowing most of you in your journey are just getting started, you're intrigued, you've heard good things about Facebook ads, all your friends keep telling you to get on Facebook and to get on Instagram, and maybe you've tried it. I think there's so many people that are in that group that if we jumped right into tactics or strategies and we didn't cover the conceptual portion, you're just not setting yourself up to succeed.
I want to do that today. I want to peel that onion back, cover a bunch of this stuff. I don't want to make the entire episode theoretical. I do want to add some actionable insights, steps that you can take in your digital business today the minute you get done listening to this episode. I will include some of that at the end. I'm just going to try and cover as much as I can and really kind of give you the conceptual bits, right?
I'm going to throw out my usual disclaimer here. If you've been listening to this podcast, or any of the webinars, or any of the content we put out at art storefronts, I always say this and I love it. There's a right way, a wrong way, and the way we do things. I'm not necessarily telling you to do everything that I say, but you can certainly as a proxy to inform the decisions that you make in your business. There's different strokes for different folks, but I've thought through this presentation here today, given it a decent amount of thought. I'm excited to present it.
Let's dive into it now and let's start why I think most artists fail and fail miserably at Facebook ads and what you need to understand before you get into them. I believe that most art sellers fail with their Facebook campaigns for two big reasons. Both of these reasons kind of build upon one another and they're intertwined with one another. Let me ask you if this is you. You went onto Facebook, made some ads. Perhaps you read a blog post or got a tutorial somewhere. Your ads had discounts, coupon codes. They had buy me language in them. You spent some money on the ads and likely nobody bought. Nobody did anything, you probably didn't even get an email.
You can't understand it, really. You thought it would be so easy, "It's just like turning on a light switch," they said. That's just not the way art sells. It's not the way art sells online. A few fringe examples on either side out of the picture, it's really not the way art sells. I've been covering this on pretty much all of my webinars, all of my blog posts. It bears repeating and I have no problem repeating it over, and over, and over again because I believe that strongly in it. There's two central concepts here to take away. My analogy central here, the one that I always use is your in a bar and you walk up to this beautiful gal or guy and you immediately say, "You know what would look good on you? Me. Come home and have sex with me."
That's the posture most take when running their ads. "Here's this ad that shows my artwork. It's 15% off. You've got 24 hours to exercise the coupon code. Buy it right now." Let me state it in another way. Let's say the same situation and let's just say Bob is in a backyard barbecue and Bob walks up to Mary and goes, "Hey, how are you doing? My name is Bob, so nice to meet you. What's your name?" Before Mary can even get her name out, get a word in edgewise, Bob yells, "Buy my photograph, Mary! It's right here!" Mary's like, "Wait? What? Bob, I just met you." Then again Bob cuts her off and goes, "It's 15% off, but you've got to buy it today!"
He pulls it out of his backpack and he shows it and slams this giant photograph on the table in front of her. That's the way most people run their Facebook ads. I think when you think about it through that lens and with that analogy, you're like, "Okay, yep. I get it. That does make sense." Most people roll their ads this way. Every once in a while you might get lucky, right? You might find a slut that likes to operate that way, but it's no way to build your business and it's no way you're going to see long-term positive ROI out of your Facebook ads. That's the first big reason, is just in how you're phrasing the ads and what traffic you're going after. More on that in a bit.
The second one is you are not prepared nor outfitted to make Facebook ads pay. This is a profound concept as well, so I'm going to of course need to offer up another analogy. You're simply not prepared and outfitted to make the ads pay with your website. Let me explain, give you an analogy. I went to college in San Diego. During my years down there, my roommate and I had this 18 foot fishing boat, right? We loved fishing. Right in front of La Jolla in San Diego is sort of an underwater geological phenomenon that just creates upwelling. It belongs on Planet Earth, right? It's just like a natural phenomemon that goes on there.
The end result of which is it's the best coastal fishing pretty much in Southern California and its available year round. When I say coastal, like a couple of miles off shore, not taking the boat going way the heck far out.
One of these fish that you can catch that everybody loves going after is called a yellow tail. If you've ever eaten sushi, it's called Hamachi.
It's absolutely an incredible fighting fish, such a pleasure to catch this thing, such a rush. It's also absolutely delicious to eat after the fact, whether you make sushi, whether you cook it, phenomenal, right? Everybody wants to go and catch this fish. It's really hard to do anywhere else in California, and especially almost impossible to do anywhere else in California year round. Finally, no question impossible anywhere that's not coastal, right? That's not like an island, or the Channel Islands, or like on your way to Mexico or whatever.
What would we do? My roommate and I would launch the boat, go to the bait receiver, get bait and go fishing for them. I think over a three year span of time, maybe we got lucky and caught like one or two. The place was such a geological phenomenon we caught some other fish, but maybe we really only caught one or the two of the ones that ... the yellowtails, that we really wanted. You can read from that situation even a broken clock is right two times a day, or even a blind squirrel now and again finds a nut. We got lucky, right? Right place, right time.
Fast forward a few years now. My roommate found a guide that actually did tours down there and so we booked him. Let me tell you, this dude was quite literally The Fish Whisperer. Let's just call him that, The Fish Whisperer. He was so confident in his abilities that ... let me tell you, the age old adage is it's called fishing, not catching, for a reason. The Fish Whisperer was so confident in his abilities, he guaranteed you your fish, a yellow tail. He guaranteed you one. If you didn't get it in one day, occasionally we'd have to go out two, but no matter what, he always paid off and got his clients, Yelp reviews through the roof, everything else.
We booked the dude and let me tell you, he did about 10 to 15 things differently than my roommate and I did when we were fishing back in the day. Now, granted it was a little different because the whole experience was on kayaks instead of a boat, but let's just talk about some of the things that he did differently. First, the fishing rods themselves, the way he rigged the rods and the reels and the hooks, and the weights, and these fluorocarbon leaders, and all of it. It was just a little bit better and a little bit more advanced than what my roommate and I had going.
For bait, he didn't just show up at the bait receiver and took whatever bait that he could get. He had to catch bait, so you make bait is what it's called, but you basically fish for the bait fish. He would only put the bait fish in the tank that were really robust and lively looking, none that were too small, only that were in great shape. He never put his hand in the bait tank. He was very, very rigorous about that. On, and on, and on it went like this. Where to fish, what speed to paddle the kayak, when to take the bait off and get a new one on so it was fresh and it was swimming quickly.
The moral of the story is there is a reason that this guy could guarantee his clients a sought after sport fishing experience. He was set up to win. On a quick side note, I'll include the photo of the fish in the show notes. The first one pulled me on the kayak like one and a half miles, it was a 45 minute battle. I could barely even move my arms afterwards. Unreal experience, unreal experience. At this point, I hope the fishing analogy has set in, right? Most art sellers that jump into Facebook and start advertising on Facebook are like my roommate and I fishing on our own, might get lucky occasionally and have some fun, but it's just not a recipe for success and sustained success as you grow your business.
In order to really win on Facebook, you've got to be like The Fish Whisperer and you have to understand number one, how art really sells online, like what we went over before. To pause for a second because I forgot to mention it, I have two follow up pieces of material to read on how art sells online versus how everyone else thinks it sells online. I'm going to put those in the show notes but let me keep rolling. You need to be like The Fish Whisperer. You need to understand how art really sells online. Also, you need to be set up to win. You're not set up to win. Let's go over what that looks like.
Most just show an ad to a piece that they have on their website with the buy now language, maybe a coupon code. What happens is, if they're lucky enough to have written a good ad, a good image, good copy, a person might click on the ad, they look on the ad and look at the product page, there's the buy now button and everything else. They decide to buy, maybe they do, otherwise they leave. You had one shot to sell to this person and when they're gone, they're gone. That's how most people do it. Where The Fish Whisperer comes in, he's a bit different.
Here's the difference between how this guy is set up and how you're likely set up. First of all, he has the Facebook Pixels set up. When that person comes to his website, looks at his piece, decides not to buy it and leaves, he's got a Pixel on them. I'll explain more about that in a second. He can now show ads to that person in the future and he's set up to show ads to that person in the future. Already, this person that came, saw his piece and left, he's now going to show ads to this person for maybe the next 30 or 60 days. Awesome, right? That's just one thing.
You don't have lead capture in place. You're not even trying to capture an email address. Did you have a pop-up on the intro that asked them for their email address to give them a discount? Did you have a pop-up on the exit intent when they were getting ready to leave the site that also might ask to get their email address? Let me tell you, The Fish Whisperer does. Not only does he do that, he's got an email auto-responder set up. When this person signs up with their email, day or night, 24/7, rain, shine, snow, sleet, hail, whatever, this auto-responder is going to fire off a sequence of emails that's going to educate this person about what kind of art this person is selling, what kind of art The Fish Whisperer is selling, how awesome it is, et cetera, et cetera.
He's also going to start sending romance emails to this person. He's going to educate this person further about what his artistic process is, why he does it, a little bit of history, what his dog's name is, whether or not he likes to go on windy walks on the beach, whatever the case may be. You're going to introduce yourself. You're going to romance this customer.
All of this is going to happen because it's part of your normal marketing, right? Not only that, you're going to be doing the same on your social sites. You're going to encourage this person to follow you on Facebook, you're going to encourage them to follow you on Twitter or on LinkedIn or on Facebook or wherever it may be, right?
You're going to be discounting that work during the holidays, after you've built up a little goodwill, after you've put some money in the piggy bank, i.e., goodwill in the piggy bank, then you're going to go for a hammer smash. If you're not doing all of those things, in my opinion, the chances are you're going to have a very difficult time making Facebook ads pay. It's just difficult to do. You've got to be The Fish Whisperer. You've got to get some of these basic, foundational things in place to know that once you drive these new people to your ads, or to your experience, you, your brand, your art, you have to have the ability, you have to have the basic set up to be able to market to them in the future, really is what it is, right?
The good news is, it's not that difficult to set all this stuff up. Once you do get it all set up, you're in a position to win where you can go back in and instead of just putting that money in Facebook, getting no action, no love, no sales, burning through it, you actually stand a fighting chance, right? You stand a fighting chance. Once you start to get really good at it, you start becoming more like The Fish Whisperer where you're guaranteeing sales and you're just pouring more money, and more money, and more money into advertising.
Let me tell you, that's where it gets really exciting. I think literally almost all of you guys could do this if you're willing to do the work and that little bit that's not in almost everybody is just not willing to believe that art sells online. Don't you guys do it and it be a waste of money. The next thing that I want to pivot to after that analogy ... and I hope that was all clear especially because if you don't really care or have never been fishing before. There's this concept of traffic types, right? As I was making my notes out for this particular podcast, I can tell already that I'm just going to make this the subject of the next podcast on this because it's worthy and it deserves its own episode.
There are different types of traffic. Not all traffic is created equally. The easiest way to think about it when you're running your ads is there is cold traffic that you can go after, right? Let's just think of the bar example again, I should say. Cold traffic are people that you've never met. They don't know you, they don't know a thing about you. They just don't know who you are, but they're in the bar. You like drinking, they like drinking. It's a good prospect, but they're cold, they don't know you.
There's warm traffic. Warm traffic has had some sort of interaction with you, they know who you are, they're starting to get to know you. Then, let's say there's hot traffic. Hot traffic is ... not to have a salacious podcast, but the hot traffic are the ones that are just about ready to jump into bed with you. It's almost there, the relationship's almost getting consummated, but it's not quite there yet, right? The biggest problem that people do, what most of you have done out there and most of what we see is you talk to cold traffic, to warm traffic, and to hot traffic with a hot message. A hot message that's really only going to work on hot traffic, which should be called a hot mess, right?
I think on the next podcast we'll define these different traffic types. Traffic types that are absolutely critical, and then we can get into the subject of how best to attack these folks. What is the takeaway? I told you the whole podcast wasn't just going to be theoretical. I was going to give you a takeaway, a takeaway for today anyway. I definitely have one. I think it's you need to install the Facebook Pixel. It's step one in this entire operation. What is it? I have a blog post on this. I'll mention it in a second. You start a Facebook Ads account, it's free. It doesn't cost any money. You have to put a credit card down, but it will not charge you anything.
You install the Facebook Pixel, which is a line of code. You have to place it in a certain portion of your website. What that's going to do is it's going to recognize the visitors that you have coming to your website and then match them to their Facebook profile. What that will allow you to do is basically place these people in a bucket, for lack of a better term, and you're going to be able to show ads to them later. Remember, like I mentioned with The Fish Whisperer, you're going to be able to show ads to person that came to your site before and left.
It takes time for this audience to build in a meaningful size. There's really no time to waste. In terms of like a best practice, anyone that's serious about digital marketing, the minute the site goes live, the minute the new entity goes live ... okay, you've been live for a while and you just never put it on, before you're even thinking about getting into Facebook advertising, before you're even thinking of thinking ... you would never get into it anyway because you haven't heard the rest of my pieces on this, right? Ha, ha, ha.
Before you even think about it, get the Pixel up and get it running because it's going to give you the best opportunity to succeed. Again, that audience takes a while to build. How do you do that? If you're an ASF customer, we make it insanely easy. I have a blog post that talks about it. Whether you are a customer or you're not, I've got a blog post that talks about it and how to do it, the steps you need to go through to get this all done. It's relatively easy to do. It's really easy if you're on ASF, but relatively easy to do regardless. Get it in, get it installed. Let it start gathering information and let that audience build. It's just going to be there waiting for you. It's going to be there waiting for you once you learn all the steps that you need to do before you start advertising on Facebook.
I really do encourage you to listen to the next few podcasts. Whatever bits and pieces of my advice you take, if you do go through this stuff you are going to be in a way better place, whether you're spending $2 a day, $10 a day, $100 a day, you're going to be in a way better place. By the way, you can do amazing things with $5 and $10 a day. You're going to be in a way better place to succeed and actually stand a shot to make it a sustainable part of your marketing.
The most important thing in here is please let me continue to educate you to keep you from jumping into Facebook and making Zuckerberg anymore damn money. He has enough. He does not need donations from you or your art business. Let's not donate any more money to that guy, despite the fact that he did build this incredible platform to advertise on. Not that I don't like him, he's just got enough money, doesn't need yours. There we go. A Facebook primer. Thanks for sticking with me. I hope I left you with some actionable intelligence.
Links for everything that I mentioned, all the fancy bells and whistles, will be in the show notes. A couple of different ways that you can get those. One, you can just go to the Art Marketing Podcast. It's artmarketingpodcast.com. On that site, we've got links to the episodes. This is going to be Episode Number Two, so you can just go right to number two. You can get in there and you can download the show notes if you like as a PDF, or they'll have all the links there and then you can continue to check out those materials.
For those of you that are mobile, want to get the link to the episode, the show notes, all that jazz, we've got a text in number that works pretty well. A bunch of you guys used it on the last episode, which was really cool. If you type in ... Just send a text message on your phone. The number that you send it to is 44222. Again, 44222. The message that you send is AMP, for the Art Marketing Podcast, ZZZ, Z as in zebra, so AMPZZZ.
You can send that to the number 44222. We'll send you an email back and then give you a link to a direct download to it so you can check it all out that way as well. I really want to thank you guys for listening. We'll see you on the next episode.
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We help artists & photographers open and run their own art gallery business online.
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Brought To You By Art Storefronts
We help artists & photographers open and run their own art gallery business online.