I just love success stories, don’t you? But there’s more to a good success story than just a happy ending and a glowing testimonial. The very best success stories tell you not only what they achieved but also HOW they did it.
That’s exactly what I’ve got in store for you today.
Meet Dreama-Destiny, a lash extension artist and owner of Dreamy Days Beauty in Leonardtown, Maryland.
Dreamy Days Beauty launched in 2019 and Dreama-Destiny quickly built up a small regular client base.
The problem? She just wasn’t bringing in enough cash to pay herself a proper salary.
And what’s the point of working your ass off to run your own business if you’re not getting paid?
So, Dreama-Destiny reached out to me to help her launch an online marketing campaign and bring in a steady stream of new bookings.
We did the math and, based on her revenue goals, we worked out that she would need to bring on 24 new clients within a year (and retain them, of course).
And then we got to work!
Now, before I tell you what we did and how we did it, why don’t I tell you the results?
In just 3 weeks, Dreama-Destiny has booked 7 new clients! Not only is she on track to reach her goal, she’s ahead of schedule!
And there’s an added bonus as well — 2 former clients have returned after seeing Dreama-Destiny’s ads.
Here’s what she said when we went through her first campaign report together:
“I’ve been so busy! Obviously, I knew that I’d get some new bookings but the results have just been way beyond my expectations. I’m really excited.”
Ok, are you ready to see exactly what went into this campaign?
I’m sharing everything, including how we set her goal, how we set up her ads, how much we spent and how we tracked success.
Setting the Goal
You might be wondering how we came up with a target of 24 new clients within a year. Realistic goal setting is one of the most important steps when planning an online marketing campaign. Let’s touch on that quickly.
Simply put, it all comes down to revenue goals and the average value of a client.
Dreama-Destiny wanted to be able to pay herself a salary of $3,000 per month. Her owner’s pay is typically 50% of her gross revenue (after taxes and expenses have been paid), so that gave us a revenue goal of $72,000 per year.
To figure out how many clients she would need in order to achieve that, we looked at the average value of a customer over one year.
Eyelash extensions are a repeat service. Some clients may only return once or twice. Some may come in every 3 weeks without fail. But between lash refills and add-ons like hand massages, most clients spend approximately $1,500 in 12 months.
Let’s do the math…
$72,000 (revenue goal) ÷ $1,500 (value of a client) = 48 clients need
As I mentioned earlier, Dreama-Destiny had already built up a small client base of about 24 regular or semi-regular customers. So, to achieve her annual revenue goal, we needed to bring on an additional 24 new clients.
And that’s what we set out to do with her online marketing campaign.
Setting the Marketing Budget
One of the most common questions I get asked about online marketing is, “How much will I need to spend?”
Most small business owners start out by spending the smallest amount that they *think* they can afford without any clear idea of what they can expect to get out of it.
But setting a marketing budget is just like setting a campaign objective. It all depends on your revenue goal and how close you are to achieving it.
For a business just looking to maintain market share, i.e. just keep on bringing in the same steady revenue, a marketing budget of around 8% of gross revenue is totally acceptable.
For a business in major growth mode, i.e. looking to bring on as many new clients as possible, a marketing budget of up to 15% of your annual goal is more realistic.
Dreama-Destiny wants to double her client base in 2021. That’s a pretty aggressive goal! But since she’s a small business owner in a rural county, we decided to stick with 10% as a more affordable option.
$72,000 (revenue goal) x 10% (marketing budget) = $7,200
So, Dreama-Destiny can afford to spend up to $7,200 in a year to acquire 24 new clients and remain profitable. Keep in mind, this is the maximum. If we can bring on those new clients for less, that would be a fantastic bonus!
Planning the Campaign
Google Ads are my jam and usually make up the bulk of all my online marketing campaigns. They’re so so so awesome for local, service-based business owners but they’re just one tool in my marketing toolbox.
When planning an online marketing campaign, I always keep the entire Customer Journey in mind.
You see, most people don’t just see an ad, click it and buy the thing all in one go (advertising would be WAY easier if that were the case). Making the decision to buy a product or service is actually a multi-step process.
Those steps (usually) are:
How long it takes a person to go through this process (the Customer Journey) will vary depending on what you sell, how much it costs and the level of commitment required.
But when you’re selling a service that requires a time commitment from the customer, it can take up to 27 exposures to your brand for that person to make a buying decision.
This is why I typically use a combination of Display, Search and Remarketing Ads to reach the right people at the right time and help guide them through that Customer Journey.
Step 1: Build Awareness and Generate Interest with Google Display Ads
Why Google Display Ads? Because the impression volume is vast and the clicks are cheap! GDN ads are just such an amazing way to get your name out there, and that’s exactly what we did.
We created a beautiful set of display banners focused on the Dreamy Days Beauty brand and targeted local women interested in beauty treatments and salon services. We started with a budget of $2/day.
These gorgeous banners were served up all across the web on news sites, blogs and much more. That’s what’s so fantastic about the Google Display Network… it reaches like 98% of the internet!
The campaign was optimized for clicks through to the Dreamy Days Beauty website but, to be honest, I didn’t really care if people clicked on these ads. My primary goal here was to start building awareness and recognition of the brand — cheap clicks were just an added bonus!
Here’s what happened…
In 3 weeks, the Google Display Network campaign generated 3,981 Viewable Impressions.
We don’t know exactly how many individual people saw these ads (Google no longer reports on reach and frequency), but we do know they were shown to local women interested in beauty services nearly 4,000 times! That’s pretty impressive visibility for a low-budget campaign.
The campaign also generated 87 clicks through to the website from 62 unique visitors.
So what’s the verdict? We can’t actually measure awareness from a Display Network campaign, but I think it’s safe to say that at least 62 new women in the local county (probably way more) are now aware of Dreamy Days Beauty and will hopefully remember the brand.
Word to the wise, though…
Display Network campaigns don’t usually result in highly engaged traffic but that’s ok. I didn’t expect to book any new clients from these banner ads; the goal was simply to build awareness and get people started on their Customer Journey.
Step 2: Drive Consideration with Google Search Ads
Ahhhhh! Google Search Ads! My favourite!
Our Google Display campaign was all about building awareness and generating interest in eyelash extensions and the Dreamy Days Beauty Brand.
But what I love about Google Search Ads is the fact that you’re able to reach people who are already interested in your service and get them considering your brand over any other.
How? By targeting the actual keywords that people are typing into their Google search bar and serving text ads directly within their search results.
We created a list of keywords and phrases closely related to eyelash extensions. Keywords that signalled some type of intent to actually GET eyelash extensions, such as:
“eyelash extensions near me”
“how much do eyelash extensions cost”
“get eyelash extensions”
“where can i get my lashes done”
Anyone searching these keywords within the local county would then be shown a link to Dreamy Days Beauty in real-time. The campaign was optimized for clicks with the goal of capturing engaged traffic and driving consideration. We started with a budget of $10/day.
Here’s what happened…
The Google Search campaign captured 61 clicks from highly qualified visitors.
It’s important to remember that most people won’t just click on an ad and immediately book an appointment with a business they haven’t heard of before, so we measured success by tracking a “micro-conversion” — a valuable action that indicates a visitor is interested and engaged.
In this case, we decided that valuable action would be website visits lasting longer than 60 seconds.
Why? The longer you can keep someone on your site and engaged, the more likely they are to book an appointment in the future.
And if a visitor spends more than 60 seconds browsing, it means two things:
1) They didn’t bounce (i.e. leave the site without taking any other action) and
2) They visited multiple pages and are more likely to remember Dreamy Days
So what’s the verdict? The visitors from our Google Search campaign browsed 2.84 pages on average and 36% of them stayed on site for more than a minute. This means they are highly qualified, highly engaged and considering Dreamy Days as the place to get their lashes done.
Step 3: Inspire Action with Facebook Remarketing Ads
Ok, remember how I said that people don’t just whip out their wallets after clicking on an ad? And how it can take up to 27 brand exposures for a person to make a buying decision?
That’s why Remarketing is so important!
Once you’ve done the hard work of attracting interested visitors to your website, you’ve got to follow up with them. My favourite way to inspire action is through Facebook and Instagram Ads.
But I didn’t want to create some boring old display ad… I want to try something a little more interactive!
Dreama-Destiny had mentioned earlier that she tends to book a lot of appointments through her Messenger DMs.
I decided to use that to our advantage by creating a Facebook (and Instagram) Messenger Ad that people could actually interact with and retargeted everyone who had recently engaged with Dreamy Days Beauty.
Instead of optimizing these ads for link clicks back to the website, we used the “Send Message” call-to-action.
Anyone who clicks or taps that call-to-action button is then directed to Facebook Messenger, where they’re greeted personally by Dreamy Days Beauty and asked what service they’re interested in.
The person is then sent an instant response with pricing details for that service and a link to book directly online.
Here’s what that looks like:
The response is totally automated, so Dreama-Destiny doesn’t need to stay glued to her phone. But if the person does have further questions, she can continue the conversation with them manually.
Here’s what happened…
So far, the Facebook Messenger Ad campaign has reached 195 people (remember, we’re only retargeting website visitors) and started 8 new conversations.
Even if people don’t book instantly through Facebook Messenger, this is still a fantastic way to continue building relationships with potential clients and inspire people to take action!
Ok, Let’s Talk About Money!
A lot of case studies talk about results, but they don’t go into detail about how much money was actually spent. I want to be transparent about it because many small business owners feel like paid ads just aren’t “meant” for them. But that simply isn’t true.
So let’s talk about how much money it takes to get results like these!
Here are the numbers for the first 3 weeks of this campaign:
- Total Ad Spend: $345.01
- New Clients: 7
- Returning Clients: 2
- Immediate Revenue: $1,175
- Immediate ROAS: 340%
- Projected Revenue: $13,500 (after 12 months)
- Projected ROAS: 3913%
WHHHHHHHAAAATTTT! For a service-based business, that’s an incredible Return on Ad Spend after just 3 weeks.
But wait a sec! Let’s talk about that projected revenue…
We already worked out that the average value of a customer over 12 months is approximately $1,500.
Remember, eyelash extensions are a repeat service and Dreamy Days Beauty has an excellent customer retention rate. Those 9 clients will be back every 3-4 weeks to get their lashes filled.
So even though Dreama-Destiny’s immediate Return on Ad Spend was just a few hundred dollars, she’ll be making THOUSANDS in recurring revenue over the next year.
And that is SO IMPORTANT to keep in mind when you’re thinking about the cost of running paid ads. As scary as it is to invest your hard-earned money in a “risky” campaign, you’ve got to keep the big picture in mind.
What Happens Next?
Dreamy Days Beauty has booked 7 new clients in just 3 weeks… you better believe we’re going to continue running these campaigns!
But there is a problem that needs to be addressed…
I noticed that the website conversion rate is quite low with only 1.39% of visitors completing an appointment booking.
This really surprised me because Dreama-Destiny’s website is fairly simple to navigate with very clear call-to-action buttons. I had expected her conversion rate to be at least 3% if not higher.
I did a bit of digging through Google Analytics and found out that people actually are clicking through to the appointment calendar, but they’re abandoning it before completing their booking.
Abandoned shopping carts are totally normal with e-commerce transactions, but in this case the abandoned cart rate is abnormally high.
I can’t be 100% sure what’s causing this, but my best guess? The 50% deposit required to reserve an appointment. My gut feeling is that this is just too much to be asking from people who don’t really know you.
As an experiment, I’ve advised Dreama-Destiny to reduce the required deposit to just 15% so we can track how that affects the overall booking rate.
I’ll update this post with the results in a few weeks!
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Til next time!