Do I need Facebook Ads in My Business?
Your Biggest Vision
Season 3, Ep. 45

If you are an online business owner grappling with the question of whether or not you need facebook ads in order for your business to succeed or not, this episode was made for you! With all of the recent changes and updates to Facebook, many of you have been asking important questions surrounding facebook ads and their place in your business. This episode seeks to provide my insight and perspective on if and when to use facebook ads and why to help scale the reach of your business,


Tune in to hear:


  • My two sense on facebook ads as an online business owner and what they have done for my business


  • Why facebook ads, specifically, have propelled and amplified my business 


  • Whether or not I think facebook ads are right for you in this season of your business 

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If you are an online business owner grappling with the question of whether or not you need facebook ads, this episode was made for you!

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Leah Gervais- Facebook ads
Leah Gervais- do you need facebook ads?

Episode Transcription

Leah Gervais: Hello, visionaries. How are you all doing? I hope that you are loving the fall, the incoming holiday season. And overall, this time of year, this episode was not originally planned. This is something that we kind of rearranged in order to put out, uh, at this time, because it is a question we’ve been getting a lot, both from our clients and from not to our clients, from people that are interested in starting a business or wanting to scale. 


I think that it’s something that has been needed to be addressed for a while, but has come more to the surface. Now that Facebook is so magnified in the media, and there’s just so much talk about the iOS updates and what the ads have done, or how would that send to ads, et cetera. So I wanted to kind of give my, my, my take on it, give my 2 cents on the question, the question being, do I need to run Facebook ads to find success in my business are Facebook ads worth it?


So this is kind of a question that I think stems from a few things. I think entrepreneurs hear about the power of Facebook ads and the power of the marketing that it can do. They understand that they probably shouldn’t take visibility on their entire own. It’s a huge undertaking for a person to organically do it all the time. And they probably know that, you know, like any business you need lead generation, you need to be seen, but then there are other tensions that come up that question, whether or not it’s worth doing on Facebook with Facebook ads, questions like aren’t Facebook ads really expensive right now. Isn’t this something that’s going to cost me a lot of money. Um, I’ve heard that the iOS updates have made Facebook ads, you know, 10 times more expensive than they have been in the past. Um, Facebook ads are also super not intuitive.


They’re very hard to figure out if you have never done them before, you basically have to teach them either to yourself, which doesn’t usually work very well. And even if it does, it doesn’t usually work right away. You’ll end up spending, you know, hundreds, if not thousands of dollars testing out these ads, um, to try to get a better feel for what does or doesn’t work, uh, because you’re teaching yourself. So then y’all your alternative is to hire someone to do it for you or to hire an agency. 


Agencies are very expensive, very effective, but very expensive. So I kind of leaves you in this paralysis situation where you’re like, okay, I’m hearing all these negative things about Facebook and Facebook ads in general. And simultaneously I don’t really know how I would even do it because I don’t know how to do them. And I don’t have enough money to afford an agency, or I don’t know if I should be hiring someone to teach me and it can just be kind of a sticky situation and you’re not even sure that they’re actually worth it worth your time or your money, et cetera.


So I wanted to kind of share what the w the way I think about this, and maybe some helpful tips for you to decide whether or not you should be investing in Facebook ads. Now, I want to start by saying that I have used Facebook ads basically every day for the past four years, Facebook ads run almost 365 days a year in our business. They have helped me generate my leads tremendously. They are the reason I was able to quit my nine to five job. They were the reason that we have tens of thousands of people on our email list at this point. And we have been able to leverage them to make sales over time. So I am a fan of Facebook ads. I want to be very transparent about that. Um, I do not believe that my business would be where it is if I didn’t use them.


I also believe that my team wouldn’t be where it is if I didn’t use them, because since I use them, I don’t need to hire a person to generate leads for us or to do, or a ton of organic outreach. I don’t need to have a hundred thousand followers on Instagram. I don’t need to have a Photoshop, Instagram husband to have a perfect Instagram because I have other means of lead generation. I have Facebook ads. I’ve always thought of Facebook ads as kind of my first hire. So I have always used them and, and I taught them to myself. 


So I would honestly, I don’t know if I would say that I’m totally a Facebook ads expert, but I am pretty fluent in the terminology. I run them myself at this point in business, we’ve had, we’ve had other people run them for us before, just depending on what our needs are, but, um, I can manage our ads for thousands of thousands of dollars per month on my own.


Um, and I taught that to myself. Um, well, I didn’t actually totally teach it to myself. I did a year of mentorship with Tara. Zocor, who’s incredible in her membership, successful ads club. And I’m actually part of that membership again right now, because, because as they’re changing so much, and I just like having her in my back pocket to help me with questions. And then I’ve also learned a ton from Emily Hirsch. Who’s also become a friend over time, um, with her podcast, as well as through her agency who we’ve worked with. So, um, I’ve, I’ve definitely invested in my own education of ads, as well as the testing of ads, um, and just the understanding of it. So it’s a huge part of my business. It’s something I’ve been doing for years. It is not something that is negotiable for me. It is something that always needs to be happening because I know the power of it.


And because I don’t want to put that pressure on myself or my team to do those things instead. So that is the stance I’ve taken. And if you’re listening to this and you’re thinking, well, you must’ve had money to invest in ads, or, you know, you must have just figured out how to do it and those things aren’t true. I remember putting, I think like my first thousand subscribers on a credit card, it was pretty expensive. Um, not as expensive as it is now. Uh, but I almost like charged those leads, but I just remember, I was about to quit my nine to five job. And I remember thinking I feel more, I feel more secure having these people on my email list and these leads in my audience than I do. Having money sitting in the bank, um, money sitting in the bank doesn’t necessarily know how to make more money.


Whereas I believed that if I had interested leads people that were already interested in what I was doing, that was a more reliable sales technique that could kind of get me in more financial moment in time. So that honestly felt safer to me at the time than just like having money sitting there that I didn’t actually know what to do with, or I didn’t know how to use it to make more. So that’s the stance I have taken. And it has served me well, I’m a big fan of ads. Now, all that said, do I believe that you have to run ads in order to have business success? Is it something you must do? Do I think it’s required? The short answer is no I don’t, but it’s a big, no, but so where I think people make mistakes is they think that Facebook ads feel like a nice way to amplify something that’s already


Basically they think, well, once my business is making enough money, then I’ll be willing to pay for ads. Cause I’ll have the money to pay for ads. And then I’ll just be able to make more sales because I already know that people like my stuff and they’re buying my stuff because I will have made money. And I believe that this is the hugely faulty mindset. If you are waiting to run ads until you have enough money coming in or enough leads coming in. Um, and you think that that is when it will be the right time, just when you can kind of amplify that, that I, that I don’t agree with now that isn’t to say that ads aren’t good at making at amplifying something that’s working. They are very, that’s. What they’re best at that is like their purpose is to kind of put a microphone up to something that’s already worked on a smaller level.


However, if you’re waiting for that and that’s not happening organically, then this is where the mindset gets wrong. This is what I would ask yourself about whether or not Facebook ads are right for you. If you want to, if you don’t want to run them, if you want the answer to be that, no, you don’t need them or no, your business doesn’t have them or use them. Then you need to have a very clear understanding and strategy for what you’re going to do instead of them in order to serve that same functionality in your business. In other words, what is your plan to get new leads? What is your plan to get visible? What is your plan to get it, to grow an audience? And is that a good plan, as good as it would be if you were running Facebook ads? I personally in my business don’t know a better way to do it.


That’s why we use ads because it is the most hands-off way for us. It is the easiest for me because I know how to do them so well at this point, it is the most reach for me. Um, I think that they’re really powerful. I feel like you can get really targeted around the type of people that you want to be reaching. Um, it’s the best way that I know how to do it. If you have a better way by all means don’t use ads, but have an answer to that question. Don’t fall and be one of those people. One of those entrepreneurs that just thinks, because I don’t want to use them or because I don’t have enough money or because I don’t want to learn them or because I don’t know how to hire someone to do them for me then I’m, I don’t need them.


And I’ll just kind of get through with my hustle. That’s not a plan. What is your plan for getting as many leads as you would with, with Facebook ads? So the reason I do, I can say no like that. I won’t just say a blanket. Yes, you need them or your businesses and going to work is because I have clients that have found success without them. 


So I want to talk a little bit about why I think that is and those situations in which that can happen. Um, we’ve talked about, or I’ve kind of mentioned here that if you don’t want to use them, you need to have a different plan for the things that they’re good for, like for lead generation and for visibility. So some other things, basically, if you feel like you can sell what you are doing enough to the people that either already know you, like you have a really strong current network, or you have a really strong, organic marketing strategy.


Like let’s say you have a really engaged Instagram audience, or you have a really great YouTube following, or you have a really loyal podcast following you. You might be able to sell it enough organically or sell whatever you do organically so that you don’t need ads to do that. Additionally, you might be able to do that. And I have seen my clients be able to do that. I do think that there’s a ceiling on that. I would say my guess would be that you could probably get to around 250,000 a year, a quarter of a million with, or with organic slash referral efforts. I do think you can do it. I think it’s possible. I think that you’re going to cap out at some point, right? Because there’s only so much hustle, you can do organically and with referrals, you’re going to eventually just need a bigger audience.


Just, just, that’s just the nature of business and the nature of, of capitalism, frankly. And that’s when you would need to either do either Facebook ads or some other form of ads like YouTube ads or Google ads or something like that. Marketing, you know, commercials on TV, like whatever. That’s, when you’re going to need to invest in your visibility so that you have a broader reach. That would just be my guess. However, I believe that in order to get to that quarter of a million, if you’re doing it without paid marketing, if you’re doing it without paid ads, one, it’s going to take you more hustle. It’s going to take you the CEO, the founder, more hustle, because you’re going to have to spend more of your time. Nurturing leads, finding leads, creating content to reach out to new leads, to appeal, to new leads, et cetera.


And that is time that is taken away from the actual work. Your business could be doing like the work you could be doing with clients or the product creation you could be doing, or the sales that you could be making the calls you could be on, et cetera, the things that truly only you can do. So you have to take that into consideration. Okay. So if I am choosing to not use lead generation, Facebook ads, paid marketing, et cetera, and I’m choosing to do this organically, what’s that also at the cost of, so it might feel like, well, okay, I’m not going to be spending on Facebook ads, but I’m not going to be able to sell as much. So it could take you longer to get to a quarter of a million, or it just could exhaust you more in order to get there.


So that’s a pretty important trade off to, you know, take into consideration is, is the fact that like, if you’re not using ads to do it, you need to kind of fill that role. Or if you’re not the one filling the role, you need to hire someone to fill a role, fill that role. You need to hire someone to either, um, be in charge of your marketing or to do organic outreach. Like I have a client, she, she has a seven figure business and she doesn’t run ads. So I guess I can take back what I said about having a quarter of a million, but she is a huge team and she has three people on her, in her department, uh, or she has a whole department, three people on her team, exclusively dedicated to outreach. Like that’s how they get leads is they do organic outreach, but she pays them way more than Facebook ads would cost.


That’s the thing is Facebook ads feel expensive, but they’re not expensive in comparison to a full-time employee with benefits, right? They’re not, they’re not expensive in comparison to, to actually human time and like talent. So all of this is to say, I know I’m kind of going on a little bit of a rant here, but all of this is to say that you need to just have an honest look at what it is that you’re doing and what your strategies are, and if they make sense, and that’s where you can make informed decisions. And I’m not seeing enough of this in online business right now, this is something that I’ve been thinking about all week. I’ve also been talking to my clients about it. I also did a little rant on Instagram, live about it. I even read downloaded Instagram and like went rogue to, um, to talk about this, which is that you can’t shortcut your way to a successful business.


An online business is not a shortcut to a successful business. And I think that there was this either kind of era or, um, marketing like phase. Um, I don’t really know kind of what happened, but I feel like a few years ago, kind of a little bit before I was starting out. So probably like six to eight years ago, maybe even before, but I didn’t know what online business was at the time. So I wasn’t part of it. There was kind of this sweep of conversation and marketing around how you could just start an online business from home. It could be like a hobby blog. You could do it with affiliate marketing. You could make some e-courses, you could quit your job. Um, you could make, you know, five figure months and you could have a six figure business, et cetera. And like that was kind of the progression that was being marketed.


And it was really marketed to like stay at home moms. I can think of several blogs I used to read. I dunno why I was like 23, but, um, the stay at home moms or like digital nomads, you know, people that just wanted to be able to work from their laptop and have a flexible lifestyle. And this was really marketed to them because it was really appealing to them, right. They didn’t have to have a lot of capital and they could start a business from their computer. 


They could have time independence, location, independence, et cetera, to be with their family, to travel, whatever it is that they wanted. And that’s not to say that that didn’t work for those people or that that still isn’t possible. But I think that that narrative got taken too far and got taken out of context and kind of washed over people in a way where it felt like there was this magical lever from the internet where you could start a business on the internet very easily, that kind of matched your lifestyle.


And then you’d be able to just be making money and the danger in this kind of narrative continuing on without actually looking into what people did to create those businesses or what it means to do it now or what it means for people individually. Right? Cause no two businesses are the same is that people have started to think that online businesses, blogs, coaching, um, influencers, you know, that they’re not that they are somehow easier and cheaper and uh, like a cop-out of what is required of a normal business to get started and to get profitable. What do I mean by that a normal business at, for as long as time, as long as we have had, you know, supply and demand. 


And as long as we have had an economy, it has required assets and capital to start, always can think back in the day, if someone started a little market or someone started a, I don’t know, bakery, um, or even if someone were to start those things, now you have to have money, capital assets, a combination of that all upfront in order to start that you have to buy the supplies you have to pay for the talent you have to pay for the staff.


You have to pay for the, uh, like location. If you’re doing it in an office or in a restaurant or something like that, like you have to pay for the actual infrastructure. Um, you have to pay for the supplies, like the actual thing that you’re selling the merchandise. Um, and then there’s marketing costs. You have to get the word out there. So there’s always been these costs with businesses. It’s nothing new. It’s nothing surprising. 


This is why entrepreneurship is thought to be risky because you have to, by definition, spend money or spend assets or, or, you know, create or spend capital before you have made money back on it. Now certain ways of doing it are riskier than others. Certain models are riskier than others. Sometimes you can be very sure before you start that you’re going to make money back. But all of it kind of comes down to the same core principle that you are putting something upfront there before you received anything in return, because you believe in it because you think you can do it because you think it’s going to work because you think it’s a good idea, whatever, you know, a combination of all of these things.


So then we have people here in the online business world where they’re seeing people transform their lives, live these fabulous laptop lifestyles live. These really like create these really glamorous businesses. And I’m sure I’m like part of this. I’m, I’m aware of that. I’ve talked a lot about how my life has changed because of my online business and in comparison to a normal brick and mortar business. I do feel relatively fortunate that I haven’t had to spend as much as I would if I were starting a clothing boutique, you know, here in Manhattan, I’m looking at my window right now in the streets of New York, where I live. Um, it pales in comparison what I had to spend to get my business up and running, um, in comparison to what someone would have to do in order to get that up and running like a storefront in New York city, you know, with actual merchandise and things like that.


But I still spent tens of thousands. I mean, if I really sat down and did the math, it would probably be upward of six figures to get started, like to invest in this. And I didn’t do it all at the beginning. I didn’t do it all in one lump sum. It wasn’t like I, you know, cough that all over before I had made a penny, but in the first few years I was constantly reinvesting back in my business. I definitely took a lot of risks on myself and I honestly still continue to have that mindset. And that mentality, even though my business is now pretty proven, I would say very proven. So what did I spend all that money on over the years? Well, I spent it on my own education. I spent it on coaching. I spent it on software. I spent it on team and I spent it on marketing. I spent it on Facebook ads. 


I have spent so, so much money on Facebook ads. So that is where I think this conversation matters right now. Um, it’s not about the iOS update. It’s not about the whistleblower. It’s not about the future of Facebook. Facebook is not going anywhere as frustrated as we all might be about that. And as much as Mark Zuckerberg might have, you know, a little bit of incompetency when it comes to everything that goes on on the platform, it’s just not going anywhere. Um, and, and honestly, you can even use some of what I’m talking about with Facebook interchangeably, with other social media platforms. I just talk specifically about Facebook because their app ads platform is the most relevant and, and it’s the one that I use. Um, but the point is this question that I’m hearing and that people are asking, do I need to run Facebook ads?


Are Facebook ads worth it? I believe the better question is what is my marketing plan? What are my marketing strategies? And am I treating them? And am I treating this all like an actual business? Or am I hoping for a shortcut? Am I hoping for, um, this to be easier for me than it is for others or than it should be for some reason, where is that coming from and how committed am I really to making this business happen the way are supposed to be created and the way that they’re supposed to run. It doesn’t mean that, you know, your journey will look the same as everyone else’s, and it’s not meant to be stressful. It’s just meant to be honest. And I think that because online business has become more saturated and because it’s become more competitive and frankly, because yes, the iOS updates have made Facebook more expensive.


They are, it’s weeding out more than ever. Those who aren’t actually serious about this or those who aren’t willing to treat it like a business or those who aren’t willing to really put into it, what they want to get out of it and then some, and see kind of the fruits of their labor come to pass. So I hope that this is helpful to you guys. Um, again, long story short, I don’t believe you necessarily need to be running Facebook ads, but you do need a marketing plan. 


I don’t know of a better paid ads platform than Facebook, uh, which I also use interchangeably with Instagram right now because Facebook owns Instagram, obviously. So you can run Instagram ads through the Facebook platform if you don’t know that already, um, that’s the best one we have found. Uh, and so, you know, that’s the one that we choose, but whatever it is, whatever your strategy is, just being honest about the amount of reach.


It can have the amount of income potential you have from it. And if that is in alignment with your goals and only you will know the answers to those questions, um, you know, that’s kind of the, the cool part about having your own business is that it’s going to be different than everyone else’s, but just don’t use the iOS updates or how expensive Facebook ads right now are, or how complicated they are right now, as an excuse to abandon yourself as an excuse to, you know, let yourself continue to be afraid of spending the money or of learning a new skill or of learning or of hiring someone, excuse me, that can help you because that will not serve your business. And I know that you want it more than that. I know that you have that in you. So, uh, let me know if you have any questions on this episode. I hope that this is helpful and I will talk to you guys soon.

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