I had a conversation with local photographer James White on Friday just gone, that changed the way I think about Facebook Ads.
His enthusiasm, excitement and success stories were infectious. I wish I'd recorded the conversation but didn't have my recording gear with me.
Instead, I had to ask James to stop.
I got up and asked Fran, the coffee shop owner, for a notepad and pen.
Back with James… “Ok, take me through that again.”
He just launched a new FB ad last night… with a twist to what's covered in the course and he was pumped!
His first ad brought in around $20,000, no wonder he was excited. That was from weddings after photographing engaged couples from that first ad.
Last night's ad was for families. He's aiming for 30 bookings.
James recently moved from Sydney to the Central Coast, where I'm based. He told me it was a scary move in the sense his whole business was based on referrals, connections and relationships built where he was living, 2 hours away.
He doesn't know anyone on the Coast. Any other photographers that is. Except me, through the podcast. 🙂
James quit his day job. He and his wife Daniella moved to the Coast and he's basically starting from scratch – armed with his prior business knowledge.
Yes, he has time to focus on his business, he's got no clients yet. Still, James was hoping to spend less time qualifying his FB ad leads than last time.
The back and forth messages, followed by phone calls were a HUGE drain on him and his time.
You probably know this if you've put the FB ads course to use. Sorting the good clients from the freebie hunters is super important to the success of these campaigns where your hook is giving away FREE sessions.
In the course, I make a BIG point of pushing the importance of making the calls, asking the right questions and digging for the answers that signal YES, this client is awesome, let's get 'em booked in.
Or answers that signal WARNING, WARNING, FREEBIE HUNTER.
If you've been through this process, I don't need to tell you, these calls are time-consuming. And let's face it, a total bummer if the prospective client isn't a good one.
I don't mind making a call if the prospect is a good fit – I mean, who wouldn't! This is the beginning of a potentially great relationship with someone looking to pay you well for what you love to do.
Facebook made life a little easier for all of us when they allowed us to message people directly from the comments under our ad posts but it's still a ton of back-and-forth work looking to weed the good prospects from the crappy ones.
I asked James, “How much time did you spend on messaging and calls from your other ad?”
He looked to the sky in thought and I could see him doing some mental adding up in his head.
Then he says… “Over 7 days, I was working from 6-9am, during my lunch hour [he had a full-time job then] and at night between 5 and 11 pm. That was for replying to messages, making calls and getting conversations going with messenger.”
He went on, “About 40 hours of messages, email and phone calls.”
In fairness, James was quick to point out it was all worth it but it was a LOT of work.
Work he's not doing anymore. 🙂
All because of messenger bots and Iain Sim's “Messenger Marketing for Photographers” online course. Which is basically, a messenger bot course.
The really cool thing James was excited about WAS NOT the time being saved…
Ok, yeah – the time saving is a huge one – it now takes 7 minutes for a FB lead to respond to his ad, go through his bot sequence (man, that sounds bad doesn't it!) and either be tagged as a good or bad prospect.
BUT, THAT'S NOT ALL!
At the end of that 7 minutes, the good prospects are taken to a calendar booking link and THEY schedule a call at a time that suits them and James.
How cool is that!
The not so good prospects are filtered out and never shown the calendar link.
James is ONLY calling the pre-qualified best leads at a time they have selected.
This is HUGE.
Ok, so I was getting as excited as James when he was telling me this stuff.
We'd both finished our green teas – I'm normally a coffee guy but I'd already had 3 that morning.
I wanted to know more from James about this promo and this is 100% true… his phone buzzes, he looks down, looks back up and says while grinning at me… “another quality lead just scheduled a call.”
The other BIG thing that makes this so cool…
The emotion of choosing who are the best prospects have been taken out of the equation.
James doesn't need to go on a roller coaster ride of sorting the good from the bad via a series of messages, email and phone calls. His messenger bot does it all for him.
Once a prospective client enters his automated bot sequence, they are shown products, pricing, they are pre-qualified with questions about future purchases, their last professional photo shoot, availability and more.
The best prospects get through. On automatic.
Remember I mentioned James is new to the Central Coast. He has a brand new home that still needs some work to finish off. He was laying new turf right before our catch-up.
When he ran his last FB ad, it was head down, bum up and get to work engaging, messaging and calling.
I asked what about this time and he told me, “My ad went live yesterday, I went to cook dinner, spent some time watering my new garden and watched a movie with Daniella.”
I mentioned earlier, with James' current ad – he's aiming for 30 family bookings.
After less than 24 hours, he has 7 scheduled calls – these are with people who made it through his bot sequence (there's got to be a better term for this!) and booked calls. These are his top prospects.
He has another 8 calls or messages to send to people who made it to the end of his bot sequence (good prospects) but didn't schedule a call. James will chase these people up because they are great leads and just didn't schedule a call for whatever reason.
That's 15 great leads for family shoots following 35-40 people entering his bot sequence.
Which means, over 60% of people who responded to his ad have been tagged as “freebie hunters” or not so good leads and he no longer has to spend any time on them.
Now that is PRETTY DAMN COOL!
And all automated thanks to a messenger bot.
If you want to learn more about what James is doing and do this yourself, check out Iain Sim's course here: www.nicechatletsbook.com/andrew
Iain is bloody amazing at this stuff and the nicest, most helpful guy you will find on the subject.
He built the course after learning this stuff for his own business. He thought about creating a business setting this up for other photographers but it was going to be too difficult when he already has a successful and busy photography business himself.
Instead, he created a course so you can do this yourself.
NOTE: If you're a PBX Premium Member, email me for a link to Iain's course where you'll save $90.
Plus, Iain has built a sequence you can copy and paste right into your own messenger account.
There's another sequence I've worked on with Iain that's also available for you to swipe.
There's so much more from James I want to share but I've scheduled an interview with him instead. The guy is infectious with his enthusiasm for photography business. Look out for that one in early 2019.
One thing he did say…
“Outsourcing and automation has been the best thing I've done for my business. The best thing.”
If you go to Iain's site, click on “Try Now” in the main menu and you can see his messenger bot in action if you're unsure how all this works.
If you haven't experienced it, it will blow you away.
If you want to hear more from Iain on the topic of Messenger Bots, here's an interview I recorded with him recently. Skip to 9 minutes 30 seconds to jump straight to the interview.