Finding success with Facebook™ or Adwords marketing or some other channel is not just about running some ads or boosting some FB posts. Digital requires a different process than traditional marketing.

Finding success with Facebook™ or Adwords marketing or some other channel also is not about the "deal" you get from the ad agency either, it's about the results and ROI.

If you've not had success with PPC Facebook™ ads or another channel, you've got plenty company. While your plight is common, the solutions to your plight are even more common.

What this is NOT:

  1. A guide on how to get started with organic marketing on PPC, Facebook™ or otherwise. There are 10,000 other blogs on that. Here’s one from Mashable.
  2. This is not a DIY manual on how to create your own FB ads campaign. Can do, but it would need to be customized for your business. Again, there are 10,000 blogs out there if you want to DIY. Here’s one of many beginners’ guides.


If you’re tired of DIY, or not finding success, or you have spent thousands on courses or freelancers, there are issues with your digital marketing foundation—unless you simply have a product no one wants.

For PPC, there are more than enough helps on the Internet (and even from FB) but sometimes all the help can become waaay too much TMI, as in this image:what-question-do-you-want-to-answer-FBWhether you DIY or hire an agency, the move from traditional marketing (cold calling, trade shows, referral leads) to digital marketing, requires that you lay a new, digital foundation before you can have amazing success. 

While generalized to fit any business, this article is a functional primer on how to set yourself up for success with digital marketing—with a significant focus on the most successful channel, Facebook™ ads.


  • You have an established company and have found success.
  • Your success has come from traditional / conventional marketing, e.g., referral leads, cold calling, trade shows, speaking engagements, maybe some radio or cable T.V.
  • But you're tapped out; you have not been able to scale with the tactics you've been using, so you have or are now turning toward digital (FB ads, Adwords ads).
  • You've tried some ads or hired some freelancers, but have not seen the best results. 
  • This has been confusing and frustrating to you because you know you have the capability to have success.

Solution: You don't need "better ads." You have bottlenecks in one or more important areas in your digital marketing program. While you may have a great product or service, you are not connecting with your audience and thus will sell very little or nothing at all. 

A functional sales funnel 

When your business model is established and you're getting tons of sales, it's because your funnel will look something like this:


Okay, let's begin. Notice the first three keys below have little to do with digital marketing, not to mention nothing to do with Facebook™ or any other PPC channel. FB and any digital marketing channel are just media delivery systems. 

Key #1) Product to Market

This is a science unto itself. When you think, “product to market,” think sales: “What do I produce and whom would want it?” Just because you’re excited about it, doesn’t mean your potential customers will be.

If you’re launching a new product line, the game gets a little more involved. Why? Because nobody knows you exist—and you must do a little work to make sure they find out.

Product to market will include a sales process, knowing your target market, knowing your target persona or avatar, and being patient.

Especially at first, it’s important to niche down as much as possible. You don’t want to look like “the other guy,” you want to look better.

Be careful with promotions, FB or otherwise. Again, there is a science to this. If you hit your audience too hard, they make balk and you’ll get no sales. If you run top-of-funnel awareness campaigns for too long, your audience may become impatient or disinterested.

Lastly, don't be "vanilla." Royalty-free images like the "yippee girl" below have been floating around the Internet for over 10 years. Avoid stock images that look like stock images.Banner ad with overused royalty-free image

Key #2) Branding

This is your business culture – your identity. According to Forbes, your branding needs to be relatable. This means people easily need to remember your branding even before they remember your company name.

Your branding sets the expectation you are trying to achieve. This can be difficult. At Cohort Marketing, we have been somewhat successful in communicating a core branding message that, “we don’t just run ads – we build your business.”

Your branding needs to set you apart from everyone else and support a value proposition that no one else can deliver, or deliver as well.

And avoid cliché stuff everyone else uses. Like don’t say, “we offer the best customer service” unless you are living in the 1940’s. If you have the best customer service, then don’t say it, prove it: Have a live person answer the phone, have chat, have apps, have bots. Be careful sending emails from a "no-reply" mailbox. Make each customer feel valued.

Key #3) USP (Unique Selling Proposition) 

This is what you’re going to do for your target avatar. If you can distance yourself from money, this process will be easier.

You are going for a solution to pain. People should not be going for your product or service because they *only* want to save money. Who wants that? If you can target deep-seated needs, like having a better life, better living conditions, or even better retirement, you stand a better chance of developing a killer USP.

Think Walmart. For 19 years Walmart ran with this USP as their motto: “Always Low Prices (Always).” Their new motto that you see everywhere, even on their trucks, is, “Save Money. Live Better.”

Get that? What’s the psychosocial ploy here? It’s this: “If I shop at Walmart, I’ve going to have a better life.”

Your USP needs to give something to your audience to help them at core of their needs. This is not a new idea: “Coke adds life.” Circa 1976.

Key #4) Website

Your website (still is) the foundation of all digital marketing. Your website converts, not your advertising. Have a crummy website and you can do all the advertising you want to and kill your results.

That’s because a significant percentage of your customers (100% of them for e-comm) will see an ad, and then loop back to your website to check you out.

We still see a severe number of websites that display horribly on mobile. This not only a viewport issue, it’s an SEO issue. Page loading speed is even more of an SEO issue.

Here’s an abbreviated check list of what makes a market-ready website:

  • Great UX. The design and “look” of the website is stunning.
  • Mobile-ready.
  • Good navigation.
  • Passes the “blink test.” Users should be able to understand what you’re selling in 5 seconds or less.
  • Clear branding, not cluttered.
  • CTA on home page is above the fold.
  • Social proof—testimonials, reviews.
  • Flawless content 

No excuses here because you can buy a WordPress theme for $50. However, all the Lorum Ipsum on the stock theme won’t cut it for you; you need to work hard on your own branding identity.

Tip: Once you launch a really nice website, you’re not done. You should be continually editing, tweaking content, adding pages, replacing images if you need to, adding to your social proofing, and much, much more.

Key#5) Current Promos / Hooks

This is really simple: If there is some promo that’s worked for traditional marketing, it could work for digital.

Discounts, BOGOs, free shipping, free whatever, all can work very well for digital.

Assuming you’re planning to run some ads, don’t overlook multi-media. That’s because video, slide shows, static video with audio, slide decks—you have access to all these things that will not work with most traditional marketing like cold-calling and print media, including direct mail.

Key#6) SEO

This topic could be a book, if not a library. SEO is the most over-used and abused term in the entire digital world. There are more SEO scams than in any other digital channel: meaning promoting false promises.

In 2007 I built a companion website for an .edu group that, in six months, outranked the main website of an Ivy League college. It was a stunning win. But you can’t do that today, not in six months.

SEO is the long, long game. It’s like brushing your teeth every day to insure you'll have healthy teeth and gums 10 years from now.

Here’s a quick read on some current SEO basics: SEO Checklist courtesy of MOZ.

We think there are two top SEO factors for today:

Achieving both metrics are involved. Often, to get better page loading time, especially on mobile where it’s vital, you need either a new website or a complete reworking of your current website.

And you may have heard the expression, “content is king.” Yes, it still is. There is no substitute for great content writing and you will pay for it dearly—just a heads up on that. But then the results over time, are stunning: SEO leads are free leads. Your greatest asset are people finding your website and wanting to buy. The ROI factor of that is so high it’s nearly unmeasurable.

Key #7) Inbound Marketing

Hubspot coined the term in roughly 2007. (We are a Hubspot agency.) Think of Inbound Marketing as the PPC of organic reach.

The rage is on for quick wins using PPC, but the long-terms wins always will be through organic. Consider this blog article—the one you're now reading. This blog is not a  “free” piece of content since my time is valuable. But this blog will have enormous reach. Two years from now it still will be viable.

If, in two years, 10,000 people read this article and only 1% convert, we win. If, for example, we paid $1,000 for a copy writer to create this article, 1% convert, that’s a CPA of $10—think of this as “buying” one customer for $10. Who would not do that?

If you’re going to have success, you need to think in LTV mindset. What’s a customer worth to you? If you’re selling a $500 service and you can, in a sense, “buy” a new client for $10, would you do that? This is not buying an annoying list of “junk” leads, we’re talking CPA here.

Thus, Inbound Marketing is the insane path to growing your company for the cheap. BUT there is a trade-off: Inbound will take longer to achieve results than PPC will.

So, if you want to grow and grow fast, but sustain that growth, you need BOTH Inbound and PPC. This is where so many business owners are making huge mistakes by saying, “I want the quick wins” while ignoring channels like your website, content, or Inbound.

There are enormous cross-targeting opportunities, for example:

  • Promote organic content through PPC (FB, Adwords).
  • Retarget leads from your website or blog, on PPC. Thus, someone reads your blog, then sees an ad on Facebook™.
  • Cross-target views and clicks across various channels.

Lastly, Inbound needs to have a conversion path, a way for potential customers to convert from a visitor to a paying customer.

Every blog you write should include a CTA to redirect to some offer on a landing page. This is Inbound is its purest form. It’s not just content, it’s offering a way to produce leads from that content.

Key #8) Email Marketing

Email still is one of the most effective marketing tools available. Email is free. But copywriting fees for high quality email templates are not. You can spend upwards of $1,000 per custom email template for a high value campaign—and it would well be worth it.

For verticals like e-comm or coaching, having top quality email templates for your marketing automation software is imperative. Without email in those verticals, you’ll lose an amazing amount of business.

The keys to email marketing are, the trigger event and assessing customer intent.

If a visitor clicks on something, or even clicks out of something, an email can be triggered. The key though is intent. You need to assess the end result of what your potential customer wanted to achieve and help them to achieve it.

Those who add to cart and then don’t buy are ripe for email marketing (remarketing). It’s possible, through both email and PPC, to recover abandoned cart loses at the rate of about 60%. So out of 100 adds-to-cart but who abandon that cart, you could make 60 sales—but not if you have no abandoned cart marketing plan.

Email marketing is tricky. A bad or mis-targeted email (sending to the wrong list) or having a bad template, will result not only in poor open rates, but in opt-outs—ever click, “unsubscribe?” You don’t want that, or too much of that.

Key #9) Advertising Channels – Facebook™, etc.

While FB is the #1 demand generation digital channel, everything above (sans Inbound Marketing) needs to be addressed before you spend a dime on one ad.

Before you say, “wait a minute…” You’re correct: RIGHT NOW there are some verticals where the online competition is so low you can get away with being a little sloppy, but those verticals are few, and in a year or two there will be none.

Every horror story about business people wasting thousands of dollars in PPC ad spend results in one or more of the following factors:

  • Bad foundation, e.g., website, product to market, branding, etc.
  • DIY campaigns or hiring a FB marketer who doesn’t even know what a FB Pixel is.
  • Expecting massive and immediate results for a competitive industry and quitting before your funnel cracks.

Mess up more than one of the above and you may as well donate your money to charity. This is a real problem in the marketing industry.

Let’s not spend the next 100,000 words addressing how to run a good PPC campaign. But in short, a good campaign begins with audiences and ends with stunning creatives and top copywriting. And there’s a whole lot in the middle.

I don’t want to elaborate, but if you address everything you should, you WILL have great results.

Key #10) Retargeting

I mentioned retargeting under “Inbound” above.

Retargeting can function a number of ways:

  • A visitor finds your website, then is retargeted on FB or Instagram.
  • A visitor Googles your website then is retargeted on FB or Instagram.
  • A visitor clicks on an Adwords ad and then is retargeted on some other digital channel.
  • A visitor returns to your website and is enrolled in an email sequence.
  • A visitor adds to cart but does not buy. He or she then is retargeted via FB or email.

In PPC, retargeting campaigns are almost always more cost-effective with much lower CPC rates.

Deduping and audience issues are are the most common issues with newbie FB marketers. Deduping simply means you are competing against yourself, thus incurring ad spend when you don’t have to, or annoying customers with improperly targeted ads.

Key #11) Lead Capture Lander

Landing pages assist in the digital conversion process. They also form additional website assets—in other words, more pages equaling a bigger website, and more SEO juice.

Landers often enhance or add to the copy shown in an ad or in a blog post. Thus, they give a visitor more information leading to a higher chance they will convert.

Landing pages are not magic. Just because you have a series of landing pages or have downloaded a fancy template, doesn’t mean your sequence will convert. In fact, a bad landing page can become a huge bottleneck to conversions.

Fortunately, in digital marketing, everything can be measured. So, if a lander or any other step in a complex funnel is not achieving benchmarks, something needs to be changed. This then is the science of marketing—knowing what to change.

Key #12) Sales Process

Last but not least. One of the biggest issues clients new to digital marketing face is going from not enough leads to too many. Wouldn’t you love to have this problem? Be careful what you wish for.

Make sure you are geared up for this!

You should have a solid, SOP for your sales process. Not everyone is going to buy and you should have the ability to qualify leads early in your sales process and not wasting time.


“How much is all this going to cost?” If you’re asking that question, you’ve shot yourself in the foot already and have set yourself up for failure.

I’ve personally spoken to thousands of leads. It’s only those who have a gutsy attitude about finding great success in the digital era who actually do find that success.

Moving from traditional to digital is not easy but is very rewarding.

I’m one of the weird ones: I started in newspaper and radio advertising in the 80’s. But when the Internet came alive in the mid-90s’s I jumped in with both feet, without any hesitation.

And you can too. Just ride the current wave and scale your business today.

Click below to book a call to discuss FB ads and any other asset you need to grow your business today!


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