Something in the world of floating have you stumped?
Welcome back to Social Media Week!
After talking so much about the fundamentals of social media and its impact on float center marketing, we’re finally able to answer some of the more complex questions that float centers ask. If you haven’t listened to the rest of the Social Media posts from this week, it is strongly recommended you check those out first.
In this episode, Derek provides practical advice for how much to spend on ads for your center, and while each location is going to be different, there are some tried and true tips to follow to help each center find their ideal advertising system.
Listen to Just the Audio
Transcription of this episode… (in case you prefer reading)
Graham: Howdy everybody.
Ashkahn: Hey welcome. Hey. How’s it going out there?
Graham: Alright. Cool. I’m Graham.
Ashkahn: I’m Ashkahn, and we got a special guest with us today: Mr. Derek Wyatt. The crowd goes wild.
Derek: Thank you. Thank you, everyone. Please contain yourselves.
Ashkahn: If you’ve been living under a rock for the last week, and not listening to the other episodes, we are in the middle of a little week of social media. We’ve had some social media questions that we kind of held onto to do a little series of episodes here.
Derek Wyatt does the social media for Float On, and the Float conference, and Float Tank Solutions, and helps with our other marketing as well. And yeah, I would recommend listening to the other episodes first. They kind of build on each other. So just, you know, if you are actually serious about learning something, then you should start with episode one.
Graham: Or just go find a different podcast, obviously this is not the place for you.
Ashkahn: You’ve come to the wrong place.
Derek: Or just play the intros and move on.
Graham: So, today’s question-
Ashkahn: What’s our question for today?
Graham: “How much money is reasonable, I repeat, reasonable, to spend on Facebook ads a month? Fifty? Five hundred? Five thousand?” They didn’t say it, but I’m just gonna go ahead and extend that to fifty thousand dollars a month.
Ashkahn: Five million.
Graham: You skipped five hundred thousand there.
Ashkahn: No one pays five hundred thousand.
Derek: You go big or go home.
Graham: You just go straight from fifty thousand to five million. Alright, so there it is, what’s reasonable to spend on Facebook ads a month?
Derek: I feel like every single episode is me referencing old episodes. It’s the ones that produce results, and actual results that you’re trying to accomplish, and I’ve talked about, you know, you should spend money that makes you make money, but sometimes you do a Facebook ad and maybe a sale isn’t your first goal.
Ashkahn: Now, let me pause for a second here.
Graham: Nothing simple, is it? You can’t just give a straight answer? Two hundred.
Ashkahn: Just for people to kind of have the fundamentals right. Like, what do you get when you pay for a Facebook ad? You know, we talked in previous episodes about Facebook limits the reach of your post, even if you have five thousand people who like your page. If you just make a post, it’s not gonna go to those five thousand people.
Derek: So you’re gonna reach more people, the more money you spend. Now that is sometimes a great thing, and sometimes not a great thing, because again, it’s about the targeting. So you could reach two million people in a city of Portland for, I don’t know, let me do some quick math, probably a hundred thousand dollars or something ridiculous like that. But are all those people gonna come running to your center? Probably not. In fact, it could probably create some backlash and some negative publicity, because then you run ads to people who have no idea what it is, or thinks it’s a scam, and they’re be, “Oh, yeah, it is, I saw that thing on Altered States, turn you into a drugged up monkey.” And you know, sometimes you don’t need that end right away. You don’t need to have that mixed in with all the people talking about how great it is. So-
Ashkahn: And there’s a difference between ads. Like, you can pay to actually have ads that don’t look like normal content in people’s streams, right? Like there’s actually ads on the sides of Facebook.
Derek: Right. You can do the sidebar ad, you can do ads within Messenger now, you can do ads actually in the marketplace.
Ashkahn: And you can pay to expand the reach of a post, like an actual post that you made to try to reach more of your own audience.
Graham: Little boost post buttons, yeah.
Derek: So you can boost a post to get more reach. Whatever’s in your budget, and that’s a hard number to say, but everybody’s got a different number. So, twenty dollars, fifty. Oh, we did fives, right, so it’s five, fifty, fifty thousand. No, let’s go fifty dollars. Fifty dollars. Is that enough? Probably not. And there’s a lot of reasons behind that. So, there’s the cost per thousand people to reach on Facebook, and so fifty dollars might reach you, depending on the cost per thousand, five thousand people to one thousand people. It’s a very wide range of what you can produce based on your targeting.
So it’s really hard to say what’s the right number. I would say, again, what’s within your budget, what’s getting you a return. I would split almost your budget up into a couple of categories. You have “the ads I want to produce actual sales on should have x number of return on ad spend”. I want to put in a dollar, and I want to get four dollars back. But then there’s some just general awareness ads, where maybe it’s too far down the realness of actually getting into a float tank, and you’re just kind of warming people up to the idea of floating. You might want to budget a couple hundred of bucks just to kind of boost posts that talk about the benefits of floating and stuff like that. And then, once those people are warmed up, and call back, you’ve got that Facebook Pixel, you can re-target them, then you can show them a different kind of ad that gets them closer towards a sale.
So, splitting your budget up and again, going through the life cycle of a customer. Getting the people aware of floating, then getting them closer to buy, then actually asking for a sale, whether it be gift cards, or just book a float, or introductory packs, or whatever you’re really wanting to actually make a call to action to give money. With the ones that actually are for giving money, definitely be conscious of your return on ad spend.
Graham: And for the ones that aren’t just directly related to a sale or something like that, how do you measure how effective they are? Or whether or not you’re tossing too much money into something if it’s not like you’re actually directing them towards a discount or something like that?
Derek: I like to do enough ads to get a baseline what I feel like is good results for me. So, I mean, do a couple hundred dollars and smaller tests, do a lot smaller tests to see actually what gets you a decent amount of results, and then shoot for that. And then try to always be improving. And so, how much money should you put at the things aren’t necessarily gonna give you a result, and gonna give you more awareness, what gets you the right responses, and reach, and engagement that you’re looking for.
So, if you’re getting, you know, if a post is “going viral” that you boosted, and just tons of people are piling on, they’re tagging their friends, “You should check this out,” and it’s going great, keep putting more money on it. Because you’re actually planting the seed that floating is this popular thing validated by your friends, and I would put more money behind ads you know are doing well, and kind of fuel the fire, than just put a blanket fifty dollars per boost.
I usually do smaller tests, ten, twenty dollars, to kind of get the response factor, “is it a good post?”, and then I put more money on it, or I just let it die. Or I turn it off. Sometimes posts are really bad, and I can throw ten dollars at a post, and twenty people more have seen it, and got one more like, and I was just like, “What happened here?” I just turn the ad off.
Graham: And so do you always do it that way, like start with the small amount to see what traction it’s gaining, and then decide whether to just cut it off or add more? Is that a good general practice?
Derek: Yeah, and I even do that for organics. And I know we’re talking about paid, but I talked about in the past where some kind of fringe content test out on Twitter and Instagram first before I put it on Facebook. Well, the same thing goes if I feel like things are doing well organically, I’ll fuel the fire, and if they’re doing really well, I’ll put more fuel on the fire. And so, I do these little boosts, and these little tests initially, and I watch it within the first two to three hours after I boosted it to see if I want to put more money behind it.
Also, when you’re doing ads, the length, how long you want to run an ad, I usually don’t run ads for more than three days, because again, I want things to seem fresh and relevant. I don’t want to be showing an ad from January 17th today, you know. There’s a lot of factors that kind of go into how much I put behind each post. But always, I usually just start small, and then work my way up, depending on feedback.
Ashkahn: And how often are you spending money on things that it’s not boosting a post?
Derek: That’s not boosting a post? You mean-
Ashkahn: Yeah, like the other form, like an actual sidebar ad.
Graham: And, after that, how often are you spending money on boosting a post, as well?
Derek: Okay, so interesting thing with Float On is we don’t run very many sales, and so the ones when I put a lot of money behind paid ads looking for a return on ad spend is when we run our holiday sales.
Derek: And outside of that, I’m not necessarily using Facebook to actually acquire paid customers. I’m using it as more of an awareness platform, because I think the biggest competitor to floating, we always say, is awareness. I’m using it as what it’s meant for, a social platform to get people to have a conversation instead of always trying the “every minute I put in, I’ve got to keep track of, because I gotta make sure this is worth my time.” Like Facebook is around, it’s here to stay. I’m long-term game. I’m very contrarian when it comes to a lot of my Facebook practices, because I’m not always trying to boost everything, get it in front of a lot of people, do memes that get knee-jerk reactions. I’m like, whatever shows people that floating is something that’s going to help them, I’m in it for that.
So that’s kind of like the long answer to get to the question.
Graham: Yeah, and this is a good place to interject, too, which is that. Derek, being a contrarian is very true, not just in Facebook ad spend either, he’s just a very contrary person in general. And when we’re teaching our apprenticeship class in Portland, I usually give this disclaimer for the marketing section which is Float On does some different things with its marketing. And one of those things is we’ve purposefully tried to not have very much of an ad spend. And I know people like centers, and we’re one of them who often don’t spend more than fifty or a hundred dollars on ads per month.
Derek: We’ve gone months without spending money on Facebook ads.
Graham: Yeah, zero is even an option on there. Well, it wasn’t, but I’m putting it on there as zero is what we do. And I know people who spend five hundred, and I have talked to at least two centers who spend around five thousand dollars per month on Facebook ads. So, all of those are ranges that people spend, and beyond there being a return on investment, you know, if you’re spending five thousand and that’s making you twenty-five thousand dollars, great. I’d call that a successful ad as long as you’re not taking into floats that would have already been filled.
And if you’re spending fifty dollars, and you’re just trying to build awareness and it brings you only ten dollars back in, that can still be a successful ad as well, because you’re spending money to get more awareness out there, and like Derek said, playing a longer game. So both results-wise, and amount of money spent-wise, there’s not one correct answer, is kind of what I’d say.
Ashkahn: And some of this definitely ties into, again, like stuff in previous episodes, too. I think the vanity metrics one is really interesting thing to think about when you start thinking about paying for ads, because the more you’ve kind of artificially boosted the people liking your page, all of a sudden you have to start spending a lot more ad spend to reach those people. Because you’re naturally only reaching a smaller percentage of people that actually would probably like your page. So, these things kind of tie into each other. The amount of having your ad spend be more effective is another benefit of not artificially boosting your numbers up.
Derek: So I’m gonna be a contrarian for a second, because apparently that’s my thing now. And, you know, social media, this is social media week. And it’s important because it’s what everybody’s talking about when it comes to building a business.
Graham: Sorry, for a second, I thought you actually meant it was National Social Media Week. I’m like, “Oh, really? We’re launching these at the exact right time then.”
Derek: We nailed it.
Graham: Oh, wait a second, no, it’s our social media week.
Derek: And you say I break the fourth wall, what are you talking-
Graham: It’s funny.
Derek: It is. So it’s National Float Tank Solutions Social Media Week. And, you know, social media is just one channel in a multi-channel approach for Float On. So when we talk about we spend zero dollars some months, it doesn’t mean we’re not doing any marketing. We might have a community program going on, we might be doing actual outreach to people in Crossfit gyms, or MMA gyms that we want to offer floats to, and are giving away free floats. And so if you’re doing a lot of community involvement, you could probably get away with not that much in Facebook ads.
But if you’re doing no radio, no television, no community outreach, no whatever else is out there-
Derek: Door-to-door. Then I guess the only thing you have left is Facebook ads, and maybe you should put five thousand a month on a very strategic plan. But if you could save yourself that money with a little bit more legwork, door-to-door, elbow grease, and every other, you know, term out there, and build your business without somebody else’s platform. Right? So we’re talking about social media, and Facebook, and doing Facebook ads. If Facebook went away, how would we market?
If Facebook ads got twice as expensive because the inventory of Facebook ads reduced, or everybody decided to do Facebook ads. Facebook only has so many placements. They only want to show an ad every three posts. It used to be every six posts. So they doubled their ad inventory. But guess what? What if three posts got backlash, and now Facebook’s gonna go down back to once every six posts, show you an ad, and now the ads are now three times as expensive.
So, when you’re building your marketing strategy completely around one platform, or even three platforms, and you’re putting all your money behind it, and then that platform changes rules or goes away, whatcha gonna do?
Graham: Yeah, I’ve heard the expression “building under a bulldozer”. Like building on someone else’s platform is a little bit like constructing a house just right by a bulldozer that’s ready to move forward at any moment and can wipe out the work that you’ve done.
Ashkahn: Yeah, and in a sense, you used to be able to get things out of Facebook for free that you now have to pay for.
Derek: Right, and I said-
Ashkahn: You didn’t have to spend this much money before to even reach the same amount of people you could reach before for free.
Derek: And I said a very similar thing at the marketing forum last year at the conference, which plug our episodes on the Float Conference podcast that you can go back and listen to. We did seven hours of the marketing forum, and I said towards the end that social media’s great, and it’s important, it’s what gets us some leverage for not that much money, but if it goes away, what are you gonna do?
So the most important thing is actually being a person in your community, being out there, getting involved in yoga studios, Crossfit gyms, whatever the case may be, doctors’ offices, massage therapists, and be a member of your community and you’ll have stronger bonds and longer term success than just throwing money at Facebook. So, there is no right answer as how much money you should spend, but if you’re doing nothing, I guess spend as much as you can on Facebook.
Graham: And the more you spend, I think the more important it is to watch that return on investment. Like this idea of not caring about our results as much for fifty dollars per month, that kind of makes sense. Fifty dollars, you can throw that and you’re building some awareness, it’s less than the cost of a float. But if you’re spending five thousand dollars per month, and you’re like, “Oh, it’s just building awareness.” That would make me very nervous, you know, the second you start getting high enough in spend, and it’s like, that better have a return on investment. You better at least be breaking even on that money you’re tossing in there, in terms of people coming and then paying you for floats based on your advertising. Otherwise, you’re bringing in an audience and you’re pretty much paying people to come float at that point.
Derek: It’s kind of like the investment strategy of only be willing to invest what you’re willing to lose. Like the Crypto market or even tech investment, you hear that adage, where it’s like, if you’re gonna put in a lot of money, be willing to lose that money. Don’t bet on that it’s gonna give you a return. So, again, I always go back to start small tests, get the return on ad spend, keep tweaking those numbers, keep tweaking your content, and try to get some good ads, and then you’ll know what amount you can spend.
Graham: Yeah. Yeah, oh yeah, go.
Ashkahn: You may not know the answer to this, but how much do you think a company like Red Bull or something like that spends on a monthly basis on Facebook ads?
Derek: So I have a friend that does a consulting business. And he is kind of in that whole info product sphere, really similar to Float Tank Solutions, that where he’s doing courses and products and so forth. He spends about two million a month on Facebook ads.
Ashkahn: Two million a month?
Derek: Two million a month on Facebook ads, and he’s one dude with three contractors and four employees. So like seven people in his company. He spends two million a month on Facebook ads. But guess what? They’re super good at numbers, and they know exactly that that two million’s gonna garner them twelve million in return. And so they can spend it.
But if you’re looking at a company like Red Bull, and I think Graham might be looking it up, if we’re playing the game, I would say in the monthly Facebook ad budget, twenty million a month.
Graham: Yeah, I don’t know. I tried to do some quick Google stats on that. I mean, a lot of their content for video isn’t photo shoots and stuff like that. They’re spending millions just for the content.
Graham: Plus the advertising budget going in, but that’s what Red Bull does. They recognize they make an essentially cheap product, which is an energy drink that costs them probably cents per drink, plus the can, to manufacture. And then that’s it, then their cost goes into advertising. I mean, they’re famous for so much-
Derek: They might not be spending much on ads because they put so much into production of such high-quality content that gets shared, and that-
Graham: It’s natural, organic sharing.
Derek: -is natural, organic. It’s sky-diving videos, and people are just going YouTube that all day. And guess what, you know? People are gonna share that post on Facebook.
Graham: And it makes sense because it’s a nationally distributed product. You just can’t as a local service-based business-
Derek: You can’t rely on that.
Graham: -we don’t have that ability, or that luxury. If you were starting to think, maybe I should go for that five million dollar number, I know we said there might not be an upper limit, but I’m just gonna go out on a limb and say don’t spend five million dollars a month on Facebook ads for your center.
Ashkahn: Yeah, I mean part of it, there’s just no way to make six million dollars of income through floats in your float center in a month. You have a natural limit to how many possible floats you can do.
Graham: Other than like extortion, or something like that. But it’s really getting … That’s getting into at least grey hat tactics.
Derek: Laundering, maybe?
Graham: Cool. I feel good about that.
Graham: There is no right answer. That always makes me feel comfortable. It means we can’t have stumbled across a wrong one, necessarily.
Derek: Oh, I’m sure we’ve done that too.
Ashkahn: More than anything, pay attention. Don’t just artificially spend huge amounts of money and sit back and be like, “Good. I did my advertising.”
Graham: It’s why coupons exist in the first place. I mean now we have the Facebook Pixel, so we can monitor things more precisely. But when it was just ads in paper, they’re not giving coupons because they think that twenty cents off Coca-Cola is going to spur on that many more people to buy. They do twenty cents off so they know if people are reading that paper and they’re getting a return on investment.
Derek: Coupon code in the bottom corner.
Graham: Nothing new, people have been tracking this for over a hundred years of what they’re actually getting back for ad spends, and Facebook makes it so easy now, there’s no excuse for not actually seeing what the result of putting your ads out there. Otherwise, again, you’re just kind of throwing money into a black hole and crossing your fingers, which is-
Derek: And be patient, it’s a long-term game, even for ads. You know, there is warming an audience up to the concept of buying, and if you’re the first month in, and you spent two hundred dollars on Facebook ads, you didn’t get a single float, but you got some fans, you got some more engagement, keep at it. Very much well test different content, test different audiences. But don’t give up after the first two hundred dollars fails.
Graham: So what would you say is a good timeline for that? For kind of buttering up your audience, or getting them even after three months, you’re still releasing ads and getting no results, is that dump the ad at that point?
Derek: I would say after three months. I mean, so, gosh, I mean, we could get into a whole strategic plan, right? If we wanted to plan … If you wanted to plan a three-month-
Graham: Take out your pencils and paper, everyone.
Derek: And if you wanted to plan a three-month ad strategy, hopefully you’re doing Facebook ads before you open. But let’s say you’re opening tomorrow, and you’re just listening to this podcast.
Graham: Good luck.
Derek: Yeah, so start with just warming people up to the idea of what floating is, and don’t worry about that you’re making money off of this. Because it’s about just getting the awareness that maybe you’re the first float center in town, and nobody knows what it is, you have a lot harder work to get people to understand what floating is.
Graham: A lot of education, yeah.
Derek: A lot of education. Maybe you’re the fourth float center in town, and some of that groundwork’s already been laid down, but you still have to let people know you exist. So, you have to get through that maybe Month One. Then Month Two could be testing out some, maybe some promotions after you’ve built an audience up, because you want an audience to put out a promotion to kind of have something, somebody to say something to. And then maybe after that, you go for the hardcore, you know, straight price sale.
So, you warm, you get them educated, you warm them up, and when they’re hot leads, they don’t need a discount, they’re already gonna wanna come back and buy.
Ashkahn: And I think part of the nice thing of having some longer term strategies and playing with things is finding your own baseline, too. You know, it’s hard to look at other centers. There’s so many variables when people their own content, and their own audiences, and their own brand styles, and the way they communicate and all that stuff, that you almost need to build up some of your own numbers to be able to reference against those numbers as you go into the future.
Derek: It’s very hard to see from the outside looking in what works for somebody’s marketing, and so you might see that post and go, “Wow, they got a lot of comments on that post.” You don’t know if they boosted it or not. Just test. Start small.
Graham: Maybe they, yeah, invested five million dollars.
Derek: Work through the life cycle. Cold leads to warm them up, to they’re hot, all you have to do is just say you exist, and they’re willing to come.
Ashkahn: Cool. Alright, well, we got one more day of social media goodness for you guys tomorrow, so stay tuned for that.
Graham: And in the meantime, if you have your own marketing questions or any questions at all about floating, anything, life preferences, astrological signs, go to-
Ashkahn: Probably not astro, we won’t know very much about-
Derek: Ashkahn’s beards strategy.
Graham: Go to FloatTankSolutions.com. Hang out there for a little bit, you know, check it out, and when you’re ready, go to /podcast and shoot us some questions.
Ashkahn: And we’ll talk to you tomorrow.
Graham: We love you.
Recent Podcast Episodes
https://youtu.be/JpDzbMd5In0 Something in the world of floating have you stumped? Show HighlightsWell, it's been over a year since the COVID-19 pandemic and we know what you've been thinking: What have those Float On...
https://youtu.be/HpsUSzirUPMSomething in the world of floating have you stumped? Show HighlightsThe ol' Graham and Ashkahn podcast duo is back at it to announce the exciting new updates to the 2021 Float Conference!...
Grashkahmn are back to talk about the latest product they’ve been putting together during quarantine: The Buoy Project, a social media toolkit designed specifically for float centers.
Beyond just a shameless plug, the boys use the episode to explain the nature of the project and what they hope it can turn into in the future with the help of the industry.
Graham and Ashkahn kick off the New Year by discussing the things to consider when adding a float tank to an existing business. This is a fantastic episode to start with if you’ve already got a service-based business or are a practitioner looking to start up on your own and looking for ideas.
The boys talk about logistical considerations, the built-in advantages to adding on to an existing practice, as well as how nice it is to have a meatball sandwich after chilling out in a sensory reduced environment for an hour (Ashkahn has a serious one-track mind).
Graham and Ashkahn round out the end of the year by talking about all the naughty and nice things about having business partners.
It’s a shorter compilation today, which gives you plenty of time to talk to your own business partners about what you think about them!
Latest Blog Posts
As we come together again as a community to celebrate the tenth year of the Float Conference, we are overwhelmed with joy from all the hugs, laughs, and excitement about the future. This is a live blog that will be updated as the Conference progresses. We will be...
Greetings Float Fam! It’s that time again. We’re gathering responses for the 2021 Float Industry Report through the end of July, and we once again need your help! Please take a brief moment to answer a few questions about your float center (or future float center)...
Even before experiencing a global crisis, float centers have had a hard time navigating social media, marketing, and just generally keeping their customers engaged. That struggle is even more real in the wake of the COVID pandemic. We’ve spent the last two months (in...
As our communities begin reopening amidst this pandemic, float centers are straddling a line between wanting to run floats and making sure they’re keeping their customers and staff safe. The collective social fatigue and stress are palpable, and it’s apparent to many...