170: A Blog From Scratch + 30k in eBook Sales

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By Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio streamed directly from their servers.

As I’m sure you’ve noticed, we’ve been talking all about Facebook ads and their potential to help you grow your business this month on the podcast. If there’s anything I’m ridiculously passionate about, it’s using Facebook ads to explode your business growth. I’m on a mission to help as many brilliant mamas realize their potential as possible!

I’ve got another amazing case study for you today from LJ Johnson. What I love about her story is that a year ago she didn’t even have a website! She just had an idea in her head. She was passionate about planning trips to Disney on a budget and wanted to help other moms do the same.

In January of 2017 LJ started her website, Smart Moms Plan Disney, and in March she launched her first product with a presale. LJ has done more than $30,000 in eBook sales since then. I think that’s pretty crazy for someone who didn’t even have a website a year ago!

It’s not often you’ll find someone who starts a blog, and less than six months later brings in five-figure sales stats, but that’s the power of Facebook ads! You can really amplify your business growth.

If you’re out there just thinking about a business idea, I think you’ll be completely inspired by LJ’s story. You’ll feel empowered that you can do this, too!

Exciting News!

The other thing I wanted to mention is that LJ talks about going through my Scholarship Program for FB Brilliance. And I wanted to let you know I’m hosting the Scholarship Program again this year! 5 brilliant, amazing ladies will get to enroll in FB Brilliance for free.

And I’m not talking limited access or limited stuff. Nope, they get the whole sh’bang! They get lifetime access to the course + all updates. Access to my weekly coaching calls that happen for the first 8 weeks of the program. Access to the private Facebook group to connect with other amazing Mamapreneurs. Access to my mastermind pairing bonus (yep… everyone will get matched up into an 8-person mastermind this year!). My scholarship students get everything!

To be considered for a scholarship, make sure you request to join my private Facebook Group right here. Every day, for 5 days in a row (from September 12-16th) I’ll share a lesson. At the end of the lesson, there will be a simple assignment. Each woman who completes all 5 assignments will be considered for the scholarship. We will pick those 5 winners based on who has done the best job on each assignment. Plus, each lesson and assignment will set you up to be more successful with your own Facebook ads, so it’s a win-win!

Last year we had 3 winners. These ladies have been totally motivated, and totally rocking and rolling in their businesses. I loved having the chance to gift this course!

(Something else fun...and I don’t even know if I should mention this! But I actually gave everyone who submitted a scholarship application a special discount code for FB Brilliance last year! So if you’re on the fence, you should give the Scholarship Program a shot! It’ll give you a sense of my teaching style and steps you can take to set you up for success.)

Ladies, I just can't wait to see you in those lessons!

And one more note before we get into the interview. I wanted to say that LJ gives FB Brilliance a pretty rave review. That is totally unsolicited! She just started sharing how much she loves FB Brilliance and how it’s changed her business. I just want you to know I did not try to pull that out of her! She just started sharing, which was so, so sweet. I love that she’s enjoyed the course so much. And I honestly think you will, too. Make sure you’re on our list so you get all the updates about FB Brilliance!

7:05 - Meet LJ

LJ Johnson is the founder of SmartMomsPlanDisney.com. She lives in Kentucky with her husband and 4 kids. Her business is not even 1 year old yet, and she’s already done amazing things!

I am just so excited at how she’s grown a blog and created a product from scratch this year and you won't believe her sales numbers for that brand new eBook!

LJ achieved her insane growth primarily using Facebook ads and I can't wait for you to hear her story.

8:26 - A Business Is Born from a Personal Passion

LJ’s business idea was brewing for a while. She knew she wanted to do something Disney-related because her knowledge around doing Disney on a budget was seriously ridiculous! (As in, she and her family had been going to Disney every month, and sometimes twice a month for several years!) LJ was eager to bring friends along for the ride.

She discovered Brilliant Business Moms in the Fall of 2016 -- the last time the doors to FB Brilliance were open. In fact, she stumbled upon our 5-Day scholarship program ON Day 5! She watched the entire series after the fact, but almost wrote the scholarship off as she didn’t think she would have time to complete the assignment.

LJ’s super amazing husband agreed to wrangle their kids for two days while she worked through the assignments so she could be considered for a scholarship.

And that was literally the beginning of her business! When we asked you all to start a business Facebook page so you could run ads, that was the moment LJ had to think of a name for her business!

“My business was born in FB Brilliance,” LJ says.

10:25 - Faith, Trust, and Ebook Pixie Dust

Those initial business tasks took LJ until the first of the year, which is when she officially launched her business.

At first, she was considering becoming a Disney travel agent, but it wasn’t a great fit for her passions. LJ felt the real pressure to make a profit, especially since she was spending a lot of her own money on Facebook ads to build her email list.

The idea of writing an eBook came to her in March of 2017. She realized that two of her areas of expertise were managing money and going to Disney World, and her ebook was born: Disney World Within Reach: Meeting The Mouse Without Breaking the Bank.

This book was the answer to a question LJ has received hundreds of times: “How do you afford to go to Disney?” LJ always thought she was giving common sense answers, but as we business owners have to remember, what comes naturally to us doesn’t come naturally to everyone else!

Disney has improved LJ’s life in so many ways, from getting her finances in line (her family was almost a quarter of a million in debt!) to learning how to make the most of time with her family.

15:00 - Maximizing eBook Sales

Through our emails, I recommended my sister-in-law Abby’s Book Boss* resource to LJ. In that course, Abby shares her own eBook launch strategies - such as offering presales and working with affiliates - which LJ took to heart.

By creating a product that really helps people and following solid marketing advice, LJ has more than earned back every cent she has invested into her Facebook ads. During just her week of presales, she sold over $11K worth of ebooks! And that was just presales! Those customers hadn’t actually received the final product yet!

Within two and a half months of the book going live, LJ made $35K in sales. LJ says she is reinvesting a lot back into her new company, but the income has already outpaced the real estate company she already has!

17:38 - How to Run Presales

In February, LJ started a Facebook group, which really works well for her niche. Fans were posting to LJ’s business page asking their Disney planning questions, and LJ was eager to answer them...but she felt uncomfortable answering personal questions in a public place. She had the idea to start a private Facebook group where moms could ask their questions, and it worked well.

Facebook did a great job of matching up the perfect members to join Smart Moms Planning Disney. By the time the book pre-sale started, LJ had about 5,000 members in her group, with tons of engagement!

LJ told her group an ebook was coming the moment she started writing it! And it worked out great since she got tons of amazing feedback during the writing process. (People were even begging her to finish the book as quickly as possible!)

Once LJ was ready to warm up buyers, she introduced the book price at $50. She knew most moms might find $50 for an ebook too much to pay, but she wanted to establish that value in their minds. Plus, when she announced the presale price of $35, everyone was super excited for the deal and eager to buy!

LJ’s goal was to sell $3,500 total, but she made that amount in the first day! LJ credits all of her success to the working of God.

22:33 - Favorite Tools to Run a Presale

Of course, Facebook is LJ’s #1 tool. She says she never would have connected to her audience without it.

Another tool LJ loves is SamCart. This app makes it easy to offer customers other products you have for sale. And in fact, it motived LJ to diversify her product offerings and create several packages for customers to choose from.

SamCart includes training that suggests using ScreenFlow or PowerPoint Mac to create a slideshow pitching your products and how they work together. She also purchased a quality microphone to record her voice overs.

LJ invested $1,000 to use SamCart for a year, but it paid for itself on her first day of sales.

25:00 - Using Facebook Ads for Affordable Leads

LJ ran her first Facebook ad on Christmas Day, but there was a MAJOR glitch. A friend sent her a screenshot which showed that LJ’s landing page was completely messed up and looked awful! Still, those leads were coming in at $2.20 each, which is pretty great considering her error-filled page. LJ quickly turned off the ad and did some troubleshooting. Once she was back online, she started getting leads for as low as $0.15 a day!

LJ watched our FB Brilliance course in bits and pieces. But whenever she would hit a dry spot or snag with her ads, she picked back up and watched the next module - which usually solved her problem.

Due to her background in real estate, LJ is comfortable with the idea of investing money in order to grow. She was okay to spend money up front (about $2,000 a month for a few months) to build up her email list so they would be ready to buy when the time came.

Once LJ started writing her book, she backed off Facebook ads and let the momentum organically continue. These days, she is spending about $200 a month on targeted ads.

28:21 - LJ’s Brilliant Ad

LJ’s most successful Facebook ad is her simplest.

She tells the story of how her first Disney trip was a total disaster! But she came back home, learned more, and tried again. The second trip was a huge success!

Then she directs visitors to her free cheat sheet on a carefully designed landing page.

This simple ad is her highest clicked link of all! Despite the fact that she’s really pushing other ads to evergreen blog posts.

From the investment she’s put into Facebook ads, LJ already has 10,000 subscribers on her list. That kind of growth is incredible for such a new business!

And the proof is in the pudding that LJ’s sales funnel is on point. In fact, she has a recent example of one customer completing her entire sales funnel in the course of a one day! The customer:

  • Signed up for her free cheat sheet
  • Clicked immediately on the delivery email and joined her Facebook group
  • Began engaging with the group, and clicked over to LJ’s popular blog posts
  • While reading her blog, the customer requested LJ’s first ebook chapter for free
  • And by the end of the day, had purchased LJ’s $50 eBook!
31:12 - My New Assignment for LJ

Since things are going so well, I have a new experiment for LJ to try: Retargeting ads for the people who ended up on her product landing page but didn't end up buying. She could offer a special bonus or $5 off coupon, or even a customer testimonial ad to recapture those visitors and get the sale.

At this point, LJ says she can’t handle more sales. (And I know that’s a great problem to have!) Currently, about 6 out of 10 orders are digital, but taking care of the printing for those few physical orders is a lot. LJ is interested in assembling a team at some point to help her grow.

33:47 - The Magical Story LJ Paints with her Ad

So let’s dig into LJ’s ad. It’s so well done!

Copy: I know you barely have a second here between taking care of your kids and career. In fact, you’re so busy you don’t think you have time to plan a vacation this year. But you know your kids are only the perfect age for that Disney World magic for so long before the time passes you by.

I’m LJ and I understand exactly how you feel.

But to be honest, my first trip to Disney wasn’t all that magical. I was so busy, I just showed up in line and stood all day. I had no plans, no reservations, and no idea where anything was. We stood in the heat all day and did very little.

I didn’t go back for 3 years.

But when Baby #2 started walking, I wanted to go back again.

And this time I wanted to be prepared.

An obsession was born.

I now look back on that next trip with such fondness and feelings of joy. I wouldn’t trade those magical memories of my kids and husband for a million dollars.

Since then, I’ve gone to Disney over 20 times. I spent over 100 days at Disney World in the last 2 years. I’ve taken not only my four kids but also people of every age from newborn to school age to grandparents! I’ve stayed at almost every Disney resort, rode every ride, seen most every show, ate at so many of the restaurants.

And I’ve started this blog to help other working moms find the magic I found at Disney World. I’ll make it easy for you to plan your trip because I don’t want you to end up like me during my first trip! I even have a free cheat sheet that will give you all the important steps to plan your trip.

Click here to sign up and grab my free Disney World Planning Cheat Sheet. ? bit.;y/WDWFreeCheatSheet

Photo: It’s a fun flat lay, desktop shot. And she has snapshots of Disney World overlaid on the desk, as well as a checklist.

Headline: Disney World? You CAN go this year.

Tagline: Disney World: Make the Magic Happen in 2017

This ad has so many shares and views, it’s really perfect!

36:50 - BUSINESS MOM POWER!

You guys, this is why moms business are going to take over the world! Moms love supporting other moms, and telling other moms about the awesome things they find! And, moms listen to each other. I just love this energy!

LJ is also passionate about moms having an outlet, and being able to earn an income from home.

(Audio abruptly cuts here due to some technical difficulties we had, bear with us!)

39:00 - Getting Creative with Targeting

We see that LJ has an ‘Ear Hat Ad Set’ that is marketed directly to travel agents for them to be affiliates of her book. Pretty smart!

Copy: You’re the expert. Your client is looking to you to provide assistance to make their trip to Disney World as magical as possible. They want you to tell them where to eat, where to stay, what they should fast pass, and how to save money.

If you’re like most people, you probably value a great recommendation. When someone tells you about a product that makes your life better, you’re grateful to that person and you’ll go out of your way to help them in the future.

The word for this is loyalty.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could make a great recommendation and earn your client’s loyalty for years to come?

And it would be even better if you got paid to make that recommendation!

If this sounds intriguing, click here to check it out the program.

And the link goes to a smart landing page explaining the affiliate program for LJ’s book.

40:10 - Narrow Your Target Audience With Your Ad

What I also love about this is that LJ let her ad do the work of narrowing down her target market. A lot of newbie advertisers try to perfectly pinpoint their audience on Facebook, only to get frustrated that Facebook doesn’t have that exact audience at their disposal.

But the thing is, it doesn’t cost a lot for Facebook to show your ad around. Let the very clear message in your ad copy, image, and headline do the narrowing for you. It’s totally okay if thousands of people pass you up on your offer, as long as a few of the right people see it and respond. That’s the power of Facebook!

40:54 - Facebook Ads Are NOT Just For Huge Companies

A lot of people think that Facebook ads are only for huge businesses, but I’m here to tell every Brilliant Business Mom that ads are doable for any business of any size!

You don’t even have to run your ads every day to see great results. You can have a successful campaign for $50 a month, get new people in your funnel for about 10 Days, turn off your ad, nurture them, measure your results, then tweak from there!

41:30 - A Fabulous ROI

When LJ started her real estate company a few years ago, at the time she was really nervous about investing! “Am I really going to spend all this money? I might never get it back!” And thinking about FB Brilliance, LJ says if anyone is on the fence she can attest that the course is a great investment.

She says, “This course had everything I needed in it. You gave me the direction for me to head in.”

(That is SO sweet and kind. Thank you, LJ! And our interview ends really abruptly here due to technical issues. But stay tuned! We’ve got great things ahead.)

43:30 - Ready To Try Your First Ad??

Did this interview leave you just itching to test Facebook ads?? We have a cheat sheet you can grab before you do: 10 Things You Need to Know Before You Run Your First Ad.

It'll save you time, tears, and money!

43:50 - Closing Comments

Whew! That was so fun talking to LJ! One thing I wanted to mention, there were a few awkward starts and stops to the interview, and you might have heard baby squeaks in the background. That’s because I was holding Levi while recording, and his schedule was a bit different than mine :) We did have to cut this interview short, and didn’t get a chance to hop back on due to scheduling, but I did want to share LJ’s story!

Her success is absolutely crazy.

And one thing I wanted to point out is that LJ is not afraid to invest funds up front in her business to get results. You can absolutely do Facebook ads on a budget. But LJ did scale more quickly to see bigger results more quickly.

As LJ shared, she comes from a real estate investing background. And in real estate, you’re often putting up large sums of money before seeing a return. And honestly, that’s how a lot of business growth works.

We’re almost spoiled to think we don’t have to spend anything and can just start a profitable business from thin air. Yes, we live in an amazing time where we can set up shop on the internet instead of having the huge overhead involved in a storefront or physical place of business. But that doesn't mean starting an online business will be free.

There is always a cost to growing your business. The question you have to decide is what expense do you want to trade in: dollars or hours?

There isn’t a right or wrong answer. But if you’re ready to trade dollars for quicker growth, I think you’ll love FB Brilliance!

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