PODCAST EP 97
How to style great Instagram grids for your business with Xenia Muntean
Simon chats with Xenia Muntean, CEO and Co-Founder of Planable, about styling great Instagram grids and building an effective content machine.Listen Now
Simon Dell: I welcome today to the Simon Dell Show somebody I’ve known for a long while, somebody I’ve seen stand up on stage and give a talk to lots of small businesses. He does a lot of that. He also writes for Smallville. You still write for Smallville, do you, Phil?
Phil McGregor: I haven’t lately but that’s just because I’m so busy doing Facebook ads.
Simon Dell: But his main business is www.AdChief.io. Phil is an absolute legend and know-it-all about Facebook ads. He’s pretty much the person that I now go to to ask stupid questions about Facebook ads, even though I really should know everything about them myself. So, we’re going to talk about that. We’re going to talk about his background, what he does now. So, welcome to the show, Phil McGregor.
Phil McGregor: Hey. Thanks, Simon. My mum always said I was special.
Simon Dell: Well, I think you’re special too as well. What we’ll do is we’ll just start off, because I just want to get an idea. There’s two things I want to get an idea from you. First is where you are sat right at this moment, because I think that’s quite interesting. So, just in case anybody here is a bird screeching in the background, I think it’s important that you tell them where you are. The second thing is, I just want to know: Just give us a quick two, three-minute history of how you got to where you got to and what you do at the moment.
Phil McGregor: Originally, I was a police officer of 12 years, Queensland. I specialized in intelligence and helping catch criminals. The funny thing about that was, I was analysing drug dealers’ telephone bills a lot. I found out I was pretty good at that sort of stuff and ended up inventing my own piece of software to analyse my own telephone bills to find the cheapest deal.
Long story short, a mate heard about it. He told a mate, who told a mate, who told a mate. The next thing you know, I was licensing the technology to Optus, Vodafone, Telstra around Australia. That ran for a few years, had to quit my job as a police officer, but it was the same process: catching clients for telcos. I basically did it the same way as I caught criminals. The cost of mobile phones just kept getting cheaper and cheaper until there was no point doing analysis. And then I found myself wandering around Australia with my family, taking some time off after 10 years of small business, i.e. no holidays.
And also, I own a Facebook group. In that Facebook group, a post kept coming up by a guy called Veritasium who said, “Facebook ads are a fraud.” I had a look at what he said, and 99% of what he said was true. His basic premise was that if you use the Boost Post, you’ll basically attract click farmers and you’re never going to make any money out of those, so waste of money. The problem was that the Boost Post was a shortcut, and I try my best to explain to people that if you do it the right way, you won’t have those problems. The post will get shared again, and I’d say it again, until it got to the point where I was sick repeating myself and created a little short course online and just directed people to that. That went nuts.
I basically recognized that there was something in this Facebook ad stuff, because I only just started at that point. I said it in my business group, “If anybody wants to have a chat about Facebook ads, come across to this other group so we don’t hijack the business thread.” And something like 300 people just came across within 24 hours. I just spent the rest of the next couple of months just helping people, all for free, doing my little webinars, and just basically being helpful. As a result of all of that, I got picked up by a digital agency to help with their clients. I had other clients come to me. The next thing you know, I’m managing accounts, spending $120,000 a month. I’m being flown all over Australia and New Zealand to speak about it, and that was a whopping three years ago. I feel like a veteran in the sport just because that’s only really been going for three or four years in its own right, Facebook advertising. So yeah, I find myself talking to you today.
Simon Dell: What’s AdChief do?
Phil McGregor: AdChief basically is a glorified boost button in a nutshell. The biggest problem with the boost button is that you have limited control, but you just want to get it out there. It’s not a digital agency as such, it’s just to help people get their message out into the world, a bit like a concierge service. You would come to us to say, “Hey, can you do this?” But we’re not into planning, or strategy, or anything like that. That’s a high-level service. But AdChief itself is for anybody who needs to get started in getting their message out there to the world.
Simon Dell: And that could be anybody from big business to small business, sole traders, that kind of thing.
Phil McGregor: Exactly. The bigger the business and the bigger the budget, the more thought and preparation has to go into it. It’s different levels of people, but AdChief, the product, is just pit start.
Simon Dell: Do you miss being a police officer?
Phil McGregor: Sometimes, I really badly do. I could be standing on the side of the road somewhere and a car would go past a thousand miles an hour. A little part of the ADHD boy inside me just kind of gets a bit squirmy that I’m not in the car doing the chasing. So, yeah, I got to tell you, that was pretty fun. It’s a massive comradeship in the police. From Melbourne Cup Days to here on a Friday afternoon. That’s a thing police do well. I miss the boys in that sense, going from there and just small business is quite isolating. You do tend to miss the friendship.
Simon Dell: You’ve never felt the urge to citizen’s arrest people in your time outside the police, yeah?
Phil McGregor: Can you repeat the question?
Simon Dell: I was going to say, you never had the urge to citizen’s arrest anybody in your time out of the police?
Phil McGregor: No, thankfully, I haven’t had to do that yet. But can I tell anybody out there: If anybody does enter your premises, you do have the right to detain them using equal measure of force. If you find somebody in your house, you are allowed to hold them down until the police get there, just so you know.
Simon Dell: I’m glad we’ve gone off on a tangent and learned that. That’s very important for me. The first question I want to get to you, is that when people come to you… Obviously, a lot of people come to you wanting to do Facebook ads and they already have it in their mind about the benefits and all those kind of things. But if you’re saying to someone who is a bit on the fence as to whether Facebook ads was the right thing for them to be doing for their business, what’s your top three pitches? What are the things that you sell it to them on?
Phil McGregor: Sure. Number one, those sorts of people don’t generally have their own Facebook presence. They’ve been unsure about it or they’ve never gotten into it and they don’t understand it terribly well. For them, I say that doesn’t matter because it’s not really about where their eyeballs are, it’s where their target market’s eyeballs are. Facebook has basically everybody as a user now using it for half an hour a day minimum. It doesn’t matter whether they use it or not; they just want to get in front of those eyeballs. Like, bite the bullet and jump head first. So, that’s to the unsure people.
The next ones know they should be on Facebook in their advertising plan but they don’t know, really, where to start or maybe the benefits of it. To that, I would almost exactly the same thing. All your target market is on Facebook. Facebook knows everything about everybody, and the intelligence officer inside me gets a bit funny about that. The story, for me, is that I was actually the last person I know to jump onto Facebook. I was actually late to the market. It wasn’t until I heard about the nature of the connectedness of people on Facebook.
Just to put that into perspective, do you remember the emails you used to get prior to social media? It would come from a mate. It would say something along the lines of, “I’ve got a mate. They’ve just started a business. If you could just share this email to you and your ten friends…” Nobody ever did, right? It only went till the first level and that was it. And then I found out that Facebook could do that concept without the permission of the friend to pass it along. You could basically get them to put their hand on it and say, “I like this.” Without them actually approving it. That’s the day I signed up to Facebook so that I could see that from a business perspective. It was quite powerful. To this day, it is still one of the best things you can do, is to get social proof without needing people to actually have to do anything.
Simon Dell: I think that point there that you make that literally everybody is on Facebook is probably the most important factor. I get a lot of people saying to me, “My target market might be CEOs, or high-level business owners, or senior managers in corporate businesses.” Are you still confident that those sort of people are using Facebook enough and that you can target them?
Phil McGregor: Do they have kids?
Simon Dell: Most of them would, yeah.
Phil McGregor: Then they’re on Facebook.
Simon Dell: Right.
Phil McGregor: They were dragged kicking and screaming by their kids because that’s where they share their photos now. If grandma and granddad want to see them, then they just had to come to the party. In fact, that demographic has been the fastest growing new user base on Facebook in the last six years. Everybody’s on it. And then of course, Instagram will come along or Snapchat. But once those oldies got that first one, that’s where they’re staying. And so, everybody just stays there now. It is the place for all people to share all things social. I think that’s the main key.
Simon Dell: You made another point a moment ago about Facebook know everything. There was a video going around about a week ago about somebody testing whether Facebook are actually listening to your conversations. They basically had a conversation about cat food or a cat. They didn’t have a cat. They didn’t have any pets, but they sat around the phone and they kept talking about cats deliberately. Two or three days later, adverts for cat food started appearing in their news stream. Do you think that’s a real thing? Do you think that’s actually happening? What’s the intelligence officer in you thinking about things like that?
Phil McGregor: I’ve been saying publicly for years that Facebook are listening to our phone calls. I’m glad somebody actually put it to the test. I should’ve done it myself. I believe it with certainty that they’re listening to everything.
Simon Dell: You don’t find that disturbing or do you find that disturbing but just think the pros perhaps outweigh the cons?
Phil McGregor: My big belief is also that a shark can only eat one person at a time. If you’re in there with a sea of 1.5 billion people, I don’t think Facebook gives a shit about me. That’s my personal belief. I mean, Mark Zuckerberg, if you ever look at any photos of him with his computer, there’s a piece of tape over the camera on his laptop. I mean, there’s plenty of evidence to suggest it, but honestly, I’m a no one to anyone in any way that would be interesting, unless they want to talk about cat food.
Simon Dell: That’s quite interesting when people sort of say, those sort of pro — people who don’t want their data shared or that kind of thing who feel very protective about their data. I always sit there and say, “Look, somebody knows everything about me anyway. The bank knows where I take money out. The mobile phone company knows where I am most of the time” and all those kind of things. And really, if people are that interested about me going back and forth to work five days a week, and then sitting on the sofa for the rest of the week, then let them have that information. It doesn’t really bother me.
Phil McGregor: Exactly. I’m exactly the same. The one thing people should do, however, this is the police officer coming in, is take your date of birth off Facebook. Make it either a different year or just a completely random date. The one thing you should be completely protective of is your identity. What’s the one question that you get asked when you ring the bank over the phone, or the insurance company, or anybody you need to identify yourself with?
Protect your date of birth. Identity fraud will become the scourge of this century because I can steal money without having to see anybody. It’s completely anonymous. There’s no risk of me being shot at while I’m trying to get money out of a till. Identity fraud is going to be the issue. Say what you like about yourself, but just don’t give people identifying stuff.
Simon Dell: Okay. So far, we’ve had two good pieces of information from the former police officer in you: hold people down when they break into your house, and get your date of birth off Facebook. We’re learning. I hope everyone’s writing all this down. My next question then: If people want to do Facebook ads themselves, what are the basic things that they’ve got to get right, or the mistakes that you see they’re making? What are the basics that people should get right?
Phil McGregor: First is to understand that Facebook is a liquid. It’s changing all the time. Nothing ever stays the same. It’s basically a full-time job just to keep up with it all. Even then, we’re finding that people are being really nichey within Facebook just to be really good at one particular aspect of it. If you’re going to get your head first into it, you’re going to need to educate yourself quite a lot. The second thing is that you will have to understand that it is a social media platform. What I find generally, people with too much cash do, is to say, “Buy my widget.” People don’t go onto Facebook to be sold to necessarily.
If you’re going out there saying, “Buy this.” People will probably glaze over it pretty quickly and it’ll cost you a lot of money to find that one person who does actually need it right there and then. That’s number one. Number two, number three is, be interesting. If there’s something about what you do: Can you solve a problem? Can you tell a story? People love stories and they love their problems being solved. That would be my top three. Definitely be interesting.
Simon Dell: Just on that last one, that be interesting idea, that’s obviously quite a challenge for a lot of people, isn’t it? Do you see that… I was joking in my last podcast about, or one of the previous podcasts, about accountants and their struggle to be interesting on social media. Once again, apologies to all the accountants out there who are interesting on social media. But do you find that as a general problem with a lot of businesses of all sizes?
Phil McGregor: It’s always harder to do it for yourself, the cobbler’s wife is always the worst-shod kind of concept. I actually recommend people do a lot of this sort of thing. Talk to people, even podcasting, or just be interviewed or something. Other people will find things interesting about you that you yourself don’t find interesting because it’s normal, and natural, and everyday for you.
Always talk to other people. Find out what they like and then talk about that. Don’t you pick it with that thing that you find interesting. There’s lots of tools. I don’t have time to get into them, but there’s some tools out there to help achieve that. Don’t rely on yourself to do it. Talk to other people. I think the one thing about entrepreneurs is they love to talk about their businesses but they’re hopeless at writing it down. So, get interviewed, talk to people, that’s the answer.
Simon Dell: I think that’s a fantastic piece of advice. A lot of people, certainly, if you’re in an industry that you find challenging to perhaps create content for, there are people out there who will help you do that. There’s a lot of people that can help talk stories out of you. You don’t have to bring these people on and pay them full-time. There’s a lot of people that will help you for short-term, whether it’s blogs, or whether it’s podcasts, or videos, or whatever it is. I think that’s a real key thing, is to not be completely relying on yourself. Go and ask people for help.
Phil McGregor: Yes, absolutely. There’s plenty of groups on Facebook where you can achieve that, too.
Simon Dell: One of the things that I’ve perhaps struggled with with Facebook ads in the last 18 months is, it’s very easy… And this is the lazy, shortcut person in me, that when I want to run a Facebook ad, I sit there and go, “Just find a picture. Let’s just shove any old image up there. Is it bright, and colourful, and meaningful? Yeah, let’s just shove that up there.” When I often then think, “Perhaps I should spend more time investing in video, or carousel images, or multiple images.” What’s your advice on that? Is it basically the more effort you put in, the bigger the reward?
Phil McGregor: In a sense, yes. I’ve done a heap of testing on this subject. On the image side of things, if you can imagine, getting an image is obviously the easiest thing to do. Producing a video is a bit tougher. But if you’re going to produce an image, try to include some red in there somewhere. It contrasts really beautifully with the Facebook blue. I find that whenever I have clients who submit a whole bunch of digital assets to me, I always try to predict, just as a personal game, which one I think is going to do the best. What I find now is it’s always the one with a bit of red in it is the common element.
Just to give you an example. I have a car driving company. One of the photos we used was a young fellow holding a license, sitting in the car with his arm on the window down, looking at the camera smiling. The car was red. So, the frame of the door became something of a frame of the picture, and it just did the best earning because the car was red. I don’t know if you remember, but you wrote a guest blog for me once. I put an image on it. It was about the fuel behind Facebook. I used a petrol nozzle. Do you remember what the colour of the petrol nozzle was?
Simon Dell: Red, yeah.
Phil McGregor: It was a red one, right? So if they ever get shared on Facebook, it’s the red of the nozzle that actually picks people’s attention, and then they concentrate on what the context of it is. I never talk to that, but that’s an example. So, that’s the nature of images. The whole thing doesn’t have to be fully red. Just have it in there. It just seems to do better. The next thing is have it consistent. Wherever the photo leads to, I always try to have the same photo in the ad as what they’re going to see when they get to the destination. They know they’re in the right place. They’re a bit more comfortable psychologically and they’re therefore more likely to go through the process.
But in terms of effort, the one you pick will always be worse than the random one that you don’t think you work but you drafted in anyway. Just guaranteed. Let the market decide. Don’t just put one in. Put a bunch. Facebook will lean towards the one that’s best, and then you’ve got your answer. But the problem with imagery is that all it can do is send people to your website. If you create a video and you put that on your post instead, Facebook uses that like a bucket under the dripping tap. Anybody who watches the video gets put into the bucket, i.e. your Facebook ad account, and you can click them there forevermore.
Even if they don’t go and do the thing you’re trying to get them to do, you’ve still got them in terms of the ability to remarket to them for up to a year. If you’re ever been followed around the internet, people who’ve touched something somewhere online, and they’ve been followed around with it for ages, that’s the sort of technology that’s behind a video now. It used to only be available to the big brands, but anybody can do it now. It’s free to collect people. It’s free to hold onto people. The only thing you’ll ever pay for is the follow-up post as a result of what you want to say to the people that actually clicked. There’s no excuse not to collect people.
Simon Dell: Do you find with video that the production level matters, or do you think it’s fine that someone who goes out there with their iPhone and does something a bit quirky or funky with an iPhone, and some kind of fairly average sound and uses that, or do you think it, once again, the investment delivers the return?
Phil McGregor: Most people watch a Facebook video with their sound off. They’ll only generally go into it if they really want to see it or hear it, but most of them just watch it with sound off. Captioning is a really big thing to do now. Certainly, even if it’s just to get people to click on it and open it, but make sure you got captions in any video you produce.
But in terms of video production value, definitely, the better you can achieve, the better the results. iPhone is fine. It does a great job, but everybody’s kind of at that point now where you kind of need to start standing out again. Once upon a time, you just had to be on there and doing it and you were standing out. But now, it’s getting to the point where you’ve just to keep that little bit step ahead. Any production value you can add to it will definitely help, and Facebook could earn some really funky things now with technology. So, the 360-degree videos, becoming posts now that people are having some fun with.
There’s photos that you can click and hold that turn into videos. It’s just insane. They’re just going crazy. When I was in Facebook HQ, just recently, I was talking with the boss of the Australia region and we were talking about the video nature of things. It’s where they want to be. It’s what they want. More videos are uploaded to Facebook now than YouTube. They’ve released Facebook TV now as well. So, you’ll be watching all your shows there shortly, video, video, video.
Simon Dell: That’s interesting. Again, it’s a challenge for a lot of businesses to produce video. I think the struggle that I always see is that the gap between producing a photo, which you could use a stock image, or whatever, or it could be a historical image that your company has taken, to then jumping up to producing a Facebook video, there’s a big gap in costs there. I find that a bit of a challenge for a lot of business. Is that what you see as well?
Phil McGregor: Definitely. The big thing is that you’ve also got to understand what the objective is as well. Most people can only think about selling on Facebook, and that’s basically it. But if your objective is to sell, sometimes, you’re better off collecting first, nurturing, and then selling, eight touches of the brand, all that sort of thing. Get started with imagery to collect people.
Send them to your website and collect them with your pixel. Once you’ve got that rolling, maybe produce a video which helps align people with your purpose. It doesn’t necessarily have to be as awesome because you’ve already collected them. You didn’t have to get their attention first; you’ve already done that. So, the video can just be about nurturing. Therefore, you don’t have to be as production value proficient as you maybe think you do.
Simon Dell: Just to repeat something that you said earlier: Definitely put subtitles on a video?
Phil McGregor: Without a doubt. It’s easy to do. Facebook used to have a caption making facility when you uploaded the video. It was actually quite good. It was easy to use, but I haven’t seen it for a while. I don’t know why they took it down.
Simon Dell: And only 15 seconds, is that the optimum time?
Phil McGregor: Yeah. Again, it depends on the objective and where the video sits within your cycle of marketing. Anything less than 75 seconds will automatically play. Anything over 75 seconds, they’ll actually have to press the play button so you don’t get their attention as much. Actually, that made enough change because Facebook’s liquid. The 15-second thing is I’d say more around collecting their attention and then getting them to do something. If that’s your original source of attraction, be as concise and to the point as possible.
Simon Dell: We’ve talked about the basics that people get right. When you go in and fix people’s Facebook ads like mine, for example, what are the common mistakes you see that people have made?
Phil McGregor: Generally speaking, they’re placing their ads everywhere. Facebook can put your ads on mobile phones, on desktops, to the right-hand side of things. They can put it in instant articles. They can put it in videos. They can put it on games, on phones. They can put it everywhere. Your ads can go far and wide. However, people don’t generally want to click on ad when they’re playing a game. “I want the game for free, so I’m just going to have that over there but I don’t really care about the ads” kind of thing. So, anybody who touches it is accidentally touching it, and therefore ruining your chances of being successful on Facebook because they’re just wasting your money.
What I find, generally, is that Facebook defaulting will always default to the thing that makes them the most money. You’ve got to be really specific about where your ads go. The ones that we find work the best on a mobile phone, and then on a desktop. Always include those two things, and I would say exclude all else. At this point, I’m still even on the wall about Instagram advertising. Some people are making a really good killing out of it, but they’re really specialized areas. Generally speaking, I’m not finding a great conversion rate from Instagram, either. But certainly, don’t stick with the defaults is what I’m trying to say.
Simon Dell: You taught me a trick three or four weeks ago, and you can feel free not to share this one because I thought this was a great piece of insider information. But you mentioned about adjusting the budgets, or having a big budget to start with and then adjusting the budget down. You explained it to me and I kind of nodded my head and went, “Okay, that makes sense.” I glazed over a little bit where I went, “I can’t remember all that information.” Can you explain what that was that you were trying to explain to me?
Phil McGregor: Let’s say, for example, your marketing budget is $5 a day. That’s $35 a week. What I was trying to say was, instead of spending $5 a day, spend that entire $35 in one day, then Facebook can really get going with your reaching of people. Let’s say it costs $5.50 to make a sale, then each day, you’re giving yourself almost impossible chance. Whereas by putting all the money into one day and then not advertising for the rest of the week, you’re getting a potential for maybe five sales in that one day. I hope that makes sense in an auditory form. So, it gives out the best chance for one day rather than hardly any chance every single day.
Simon Dell: I’m sure you’ve had a lot of successes with Facebook ads, and feel free to use this as an opportunity to plug a client, because I’m sure they’d like it as well. But I’d love to hear about a success that you’ve had with Facebook ads that’s actually, hopefully, transformed someone’s business.
Phil McGregor: I won’t mention my client’s details. The intelligence officer in me can’t do that. Let’s call it client events, where I can talk specifically to a type of objective people want to achieve. The last event I did was basically selling tickets to a thing, and the budget I was given was $10,000 to achieve that over a number of weeks. We ended up coming up with a revenue of $1.43 million from that $10,000 given to Facebook. That was actually really fun to watch. So, can I talk about the nature of why it was successful?
Simon Dell: Absolutely, go for it. That’s what we want to hear, yeah.
Phil McGregor: The big thing is that these guys were already successful. I know that sounds really obvious, but it’s really easy to advertise somebody who is already doing well. They may have advertising going on in other mediums, or whatever, where the people we’re talking to kind of already know about them, or they’re already got a heap of fans already. So, when we find their friends, it’s like 10 people like this that you know in your personal group, so therefore they’re more likely to see that and go, “Oh, I really should get to that event.” It’s a lot easier to advertise somebody who is already successful.
So, when a client comes to me and they’re struggling or whatever, I kind of have to say to them, “Look, we’re not going to be able to fix your situation overnight. But if we can make this sort of a bit more successful today and continue that, then eventually, you’ll start to see the same sort of results. But it’s definitely a l’oreal moment where it happen overnight. So, that’s events. So, when someone is already successful, I can amplify their success is the nature of that example.
Let me tell you about another one that isn’t successful. This is another event. They came to me and they’d spent $18,000 over the last three months and didn’t really have the results they’re achieving. So, I had a look at their account and said something along the lines of, “I think I can achieve the same results that you’ve gotten so far from your $18,000 in over three months. I’m pretty confident I can do the exact same result within three days and maybe $300. And they say, “Go for it.” Obviously.
So, I did. Can I tell you? I got the exact same results in a day for $100. I did the exact same result as $18,000 spent. That’s an example of Facebook being a liquid, i.e. the ocean, and a boat being a hole in the ocean you pour money into. That’s effectively what they were doing. They’ll find that happens quite a lot. That’s two examples.
Simon Dell: You’ve saved them $17,900 and three months’ work, pretty much.
Phil McGregor: In a sense, yes. If you want to look at it that way, yeah. I did end up spending the full $300 and I did actually get three times the result. I actually did the same thing with a house sale as well. A friend of mine came to me and said, “Look, my parents are trying to sell a house. The print people want them to pay $14,000 to sell it. I’m sure we can do better than that with Facebook ads. What do you reckon?”
So, for $300 for them, I got their house sold. She didn’t tell her parents and she didn’t tell the agent. We just did the ads kind of thing. The agent was saying to her later on, “I’ve never had a house like this before. We had three offers prior to auction. I’ve had people ringing me all day. I don’t know what happened. Your house is just going off.” And then she had to fess up because obviously… That ended up getting me into the bowels of News Limited, and putting bamboo under my fingernails to tell them what I was doing. It was pretty funny. It happens all the time.
Anyway, let’s talk about clients now. Here’s another one, cushion covers. $22 cushion covers, started them off at the markets and grew them up. They’re now turning over $1 million a year in $22 cushion covers. That’s just with a little Shopify store. It’s just going nuts. We’ve spent a fair bit of cash in order to achieve $1 million, but it comes back in terms of ROI.
Simon Dell: What is that ROI? I mean, ballpark it because you don’t know all the numbers. If they were spending $1, what do you think that’s returning to them?
Phil McGregor: At least $3 back. I don’t know about every single detail, but at least that. And I would suggest if your dollars aren’t getting three times return on investment, there’s room for improvement. That should be a minimum, in my opinion. I get some clients 10 times return on investment, and depending on the campaign.
I’ve got another one, a baby shop. These guys sell like prams and infant carriers and stuff like that. We get them 27 times return on investment just from one campaign. The $250 a month or whatever they pay me, this is one of the ones that came on the edge just as I was starting off kind of thing. So, the $250 these guys pay me, I’ve turned just one campaign that every business should have, and I think they’ve spent $300 on it so far. It has returned them $7,000 in revenue. Just this one campaign that every business should have. Like everyone should have it, do not pass go without it.
Simon Dell: You must be a popular guy with your clients, then.
Phil McGregor: You’d think so. Sometimes, I don’t even get a thank you for doing that sort of stuff. That’s for me to bare.
Simon Dell: It’s Christmas coming around, so hopefully, there’ll be some gift baskets on their way to you.
Phil McGregor: I wouldn’t hold my breath.
Simon Dell: I just want to touch on Facebook Messenger. Again, truth be told, I’ve read about it. I’ve watched videos. Ben Angel has this video that goes around about Facebook Messenger and things like that. Give us an understanding in the last 6 months, 12 months, how that’s evolved into an advertising platform, and perhaps just two of the three things that you think people could do on it, or whether you think it’s still early days and perhaps people should ignore it?
Phil McGregor: Don’t ignore anything is my belief. Give it a go. If it works for you, keep doing it. If it doesn’t, then ignore it. Messenger is just another platform now. Facebook spun it off a fair while ago, and it’s just another place eyeballs are hanging out for a fair 15 minutes of the day. It’s another awesome place to chuck a billboard. That’s number one. So, anybody can advertise into that space. So, as you’re scrolling through your messages, there’ll be an ad there now for something. The same principle still apply. It’s still got to be eye-catching. It’s still got to relevant to the people you’re sending it to.
What happens next is probably the more interesting part. What Facebook are really going hard for is a thing called a chat bot. They’ve opened up their platform for people to be able to create responses to input from people. If I went onto Simon Dell’s Facebook page right now and I said, “Hey, is anybody there?” What comes back to me? What’s the process that you lead me through? Chatbots can provide a button that says ‘sales query’ or ‘support query’ and then you can start leading people down a path. So that when they do finally get to you, you’ve got some sense of what they’re trying to achieve without having to muck around all day. That’s getting a lot of attention at the moment.
Having said that, my personal belief on the fadness of it all is that it shouldn’t be the entire process. I think people will find, in all my testing, it’s true that it’s the person that actually makes the conversion. I don’t think a chatbot will necessarily be the be-all and end-all forever. I think there’s novelty to it now, but I don’t think it’ll do that. But if you can get people to a person in a way that makes everyone’s life easier, that will always work. But yes, that’s where I’m finding the best conversions are coming from right now. If I can direct people to message me, call my client, and that’s then manned by an intelligent operator, they’d tell you that people are looking for information quickly, and a human will always outshine anything in that sense. Messenger is taking off at the moment.
Simon Dell: That’s fantastic. Three more questions as we come towards the end of the interview. Obviously, you’re quite immersed in Facebook. What are some of the other brands that you admire out there, that you not necessarily try and copy, but brands that you always sort of are attracted to that you might always purchase, that kind of thing?
Phil McGregor: I’ll talk about both. A brand I would never purchase but I admire is Michelle Bridges. If you’re a personal space kind of client and you want to be the authority in what you do and how you do it, I would thoroughly recommend following her. I think she’s doing quite well in terms of how she presents herself, giving great content, aligning people with her purpose, and then once they’re there, then it’s not really selling from that point on. You just know her and do it. She’s definitely a great one to watch.
I actually watched the Donald Trump Facebook advertising campaign. I was following what these guys were doing around this sort of stuff as well. There’s a lot to be said there for, too. I actually gave a pitch to a couple of politicians nearby to say, “Hey, I think you’re going to be close. If you want me to swing at an election, let me have a go and I’ll do a Donald Trump for you kind of thing.” Strangely, they didn’t take me up on it, and I really hope it’s close, and I really hope they miss by a little bit so I can go, “I told you so.”
Simon Dell: I might use that as a snapshot for the introduction for this show. “Do you want me to swing an election?”
Phil McGregor: Because it’s actually quite an easy thing to do. If you follow the right principles, anything, whether it’s product or political campaign, you can align people with your purpose. It’s a thing. I’d love to have a go with that this time around.
Simon Dell: Any other brands that you’re attracted to?
Phil McGregor: Yes. A brand that I really, really like is McDonald’s. What these guys are doing that I’m really loving following, is they’re really making use of the new technology that Facebook is bringing out. With a video, for example, they’ll create a really long thing video, where as everybody else is doing landscape, short and fat ones. But they’ll do a long one and then do something creative within that. Obviously, they’ve got the marketing budget to achieve all this sort of stuff. I get that. But what they’re doing with the edges of the capabilities should be just watched where they’re head towards. They’re a good one.
This one is for community. So, if you want to build a community within your business, check out the Woodford Folk Festival. These guys have an amazing community of people. Watch somebody else being a troll on their page, and you watch the community jump on them like a sack of potatoes. The community that has rallied around these guys is really, really interesting to watch. They’re inclusive. They’re putting out really nice content, really good stuff. If you want to look at how to build, go through their timeline. It’s quite a decent example.
Simon Dell: What’s next for you? What’s next for AdChief? Where do you go from here? Because you travel quite a bit, don’t you? You travel with the family.
Phil McGregor: Technically, I’m homeless, much to the dismay of all the grandparents, but the nature of it is that we decided about four years ago to be digital nomads, laptop lifestyle kind of stuff, took our three young children and sold everything, put the rest into storage, and just took off into the blue yonda as a way of experiencing the world, and at the same time, providing some sort of form of education. We’re thoroughly enjoying that, but I believe the next frontier, and they started today, is Amazon in Australia. One of the things I’ve been working on really hard in the background is the ability to marry Amazon with Facebook.
I don’t believe anybody else in the world has done this yet, but I have the tech now to create a catalogue inside Facebook based on a feed coming out of Amazon. Amazon synchronizes with Facebook’s shop, basically. And so, the nature of that is pretty cool. If there’s anybody out there that wants to make easy money on the side, I think Amazon is going to be the next big thing for Australia. They represent 5% of all retail sales in America, so I think they’re going to disrupt the Australian market in a big way and the clever marketer can get in front of them.
Simon Dell: Just to reinforce that, when you say 5% of retail sales in America, that’s 5% of all retail sales. That’s not just online, is it? That’s everything.
Phil McGregor: That’s right, everything.
Simon Dell: It’s something insane. I think it’s almost half or something of online sales, something ridiculous like that, isn’t it?
Phil McGregor: Ridiculous, yeah. Very trusted brand. So, if you’ve got a product, if you’re selling something right now, like my cushion covers client, or baby strolls, or whatever, seriously think about this. What Facebook can do in terms of the tech now, you might’ve already seen it. If, say, somebody writes a blog post about comparing one baby stroller to another, if you’ve ever seen the product tagged at the bottom of the blog post, like a little tile, you can kind of swap them left and right, like a suggested kind of thing, I can do that now automatically with an Amazon product.
Basically, you ship your product to Amazon, create a post, and then Amazon does the rest. It’s all handled. There’s a lot of merit to that, but there’s a little bit of set up that needs to happen in between. I’ve created a little system to make that easy, and I think that’s going to be the next big thing for AdChief.
Simon Dell: Another snippet there that if you want to make fast money, come and speak to Phil. That’s the outtake from that bit. Look, I really appreciate all the advice, everything that you’ve said today. Before I say where can people find you, I can’t stress enough that if you want to do something big on Facebook and you’ve got budget, then obviously they should come and talk to you. Where’s the best place for them to find you or get in contact with you?
Phil McGregor: AdChief.io. There’s a little pop-up widget that says, “Ask us anything.” That’s what I would suggest people do. That’s also an example of a chatbot. It’s also an example of Facebook Messenger, and it’s an example of what everybody should be doing on their websites, which is to add a human to the process now.
Simon Dell: What about Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn? Are you happy for them to come and see if they can find you there as well? If they just want to listen to what you’ve got to say.
Phil McGregor: Sure. I don’t do anything on Twitter, I’ll be honest. I think that’s an area that I’ve never really gotten into. Does anybody still use Twitter? Do you use Twitter?
Simon Dell: I do, actually. I quite enjoy it but it’s this seedy cesspool of humanity sometimes. If you follow people in a particular channel, I follow a lot of tech people, marketing people, finance people, that’s really interesting because they’re sharing interesting things. You can have direct conversations with them. But outside that, once you get into the whole politics and all that sort of thing, it becomes a less enjoyable place. That’s my thought about Twitter.
Phil McGregor: I believe you. For me, I guess I drink my own medicine, just Facebook and that’s it.
Simon Dell: Awesome. Thank you very much. I think if people haven’t found something interesting out of those last 45 minutes, then they’ve probably not been listening properly. I would stress to everybody out there, once again, that if you need help, or if you want to ask some advice, or you want Phil to get engaged with your business and help you with your Facebook ads, then please get in contact with him. If for some reason you’ve forgotten everything he’s just said and can’t remember how to get in contact with him, email me. I’ll do an introduction and so on. The final thing is just to say thank you very much. Enjoy the rainforest and whatever that is now that’s making the noise in the background. Thank you very much for your time today, Phil.
Phil McGregor: No worries.
For more transcriptions of the Simon Dell Show click here: Marketing Podcasts.
PODCAST EP 97
Simon chats with Xenia Muntean, CEO and Co-Founder of Planable, about styling great Instagram grids and building an effective content machine.Listen Now