Think of paid acquisition as a way to talk to strangers at scale. It is an amazing way to step on the gas once we've determined who our users are. There are a lot of places to spend our money to acquire traffic. We'll focus on the two we think are the most effective when getting started - Google Adwords and Facebook.

There are many differences between these platforms - but a critical difference that becomes important in choosing where to start is that Adwords is "search based" and Facebook is "targeting based".

Do we know enough about our audience to know what they are looking for? Are enough of them actively searching for it using consistent language? If the answer is yes, we've got a strong case for starting with Adwords. We can step right up and introduce ourselves right when they are most interested.

If, on the other hand, we know a lot about our audience based on their age, their location, their interests, AND they may not be actively seeking our product or service - then using Facebook to target our audience and expose them to our offering is a great option.

Key Takeaway

Knowing which platform to start with comes down to what we know about our audience. If we are really clear on what our audience wants - Adwords. If we are really clear on characteristics that describe who our audience is - Facebook.

The Audience-Building Formula


Setup Google Adwords

Google Adwords’ simple pay-per-click service will, when done right, allow us to reach folks who already have an interest in our product our service by strategically using the right keywords. Sounds good, right?


Setup Facebook Ads

What Google is to search engines, Facebook is to social media. A ridiculous amount of people spend an equally ridiculous amount of time on Facebook. This is where your customers hang out, and it’s one of the best channels to take advantage of to create exposure and build our base.


Landing pages

A hyper-targeted landing page will allow us to simplify the decision-making process for our audience, drive them to commit to a specific action, and quickly and efficiently convert leads that were redirected from your ad campaign.

Step 1: Setup Google Adwords

It's safe to assume that everyone is very familiar with the ads that pop up when we search something on Google - those are driven by Google's ad serving platform Adwords. Adwords is to marketing what coffee is to our morning routine. It's going to allow us to step on the gas and accelerate our rate of customer acquisition.

While Adwords is awesome for a wide variety of things - its core super power is putting us in front of people in the moment they are looking for something.

Setting up Adwords

To get started with Google Adwords, visit their website at and click “Start Now.”

From here, you’ll need to have an email address and business website. If you don’t have a website yet, that’s okay. You can still use AdWords Express — Google’s “light” version.

If you already have a Google account (like Gmail, for example), you can go ahead and use that. If not, or if you want to use a different sign-in email address, click “Create an account” at the bottom of the screen and go through the steps to create and confirm your new Google account.

Key Takeaway

If you want other people on your team to be able to access your Google Ads account, you can invite them after you create your account and sign in. Learn how here.

Now that we’ve setup Adwords, let’s talk about how to create your first campaign.

The AdWords Keyword Planner

Since our goal is to acquire our first 100 customers, we need to make sure we’re targeting the exact key phrases and words these customers would use to find us on Google. To do that, we’ll use the Google AdWords Keyword Planner. You will need to have set up an Adwords account already.

Think of the Keyword Planner like a beefed-up thesaurus: We’ll enter phrases we think our prospects are searching for — and Google shares any similar phrases, how often people search for these phrases, how competitive the keywords are in AdWords and — last, but definitely not least — how much paper we’ll have to spend to advertise on each of these keywords.

Key Takeaway

Before we get started with the Keyword Planner — we need to double check that we have the “Advanced Options” toggled correctly.

  • If we’re hanging out in Oregon — we’ll set the “Location” to United States
  • and the “Language” to English.
  • The “Device” option should automatically select desktops and mobile devices — which is what we’ll want — unless we decide to only target mobile devices.

After that’s all squared away — we’ll click on the “Columns” drop down and take a peek at our: Competition, Local Monthly Searches and the Approximate Cost-Per-Click (CPC).

Because we’re in Oregon, Local Monthly Searches will show us the searches happening throughout the United States. We’ll also get a first look at the AdWords competition and the CPC for each keyword.

Then we’ll type in the phrases that we think our First 100 customers are typing into Google right into the “Word or Phrase” box — and then hit “Search”.

The Keyword Planner will then spit out a nice little list of keyword ideas that are similar to the phrase we just searched. In addition, our little beefcake thesaurus will spill the beans on AdWords Competition, Local Monthly Searches and will give us a ballpark estimate for the CPC for each keyword.

But, which keywords should we use in our AdWords campaign?

  • Do we know if the person searching for this particular keyword a good fit to buy what we’re selling? If they aren’t, then we’re just flushing money down the drain.
  • If the search volume is majorly lacking — that means no one is searching. So, why bother advertising with this keyword?
  • Do we know if we can afford to advertise on this particular keyword?

That last question is tricky, though. Is it true that we should spend money to make money? Sometimes. But, not always.

To figure out if we can afford to advertise on any one keyword, we’ll need to calculate our Maximum Cost-Per-Click (Max CPC) and then compare this to the estimated keyword CPC from the Keyword Planner.

Fun Fact

Our Max CPC is based on our conversion rate, profit per customer and our ideal profit margin for ads.

(profit per customer) (1 - profit margin) (conversion rate) = Max CPC

Since we’re working on getting our very first customer — we’ll have to take some educated guesses to figure this out.

Research our Competition

Next, we’ll take a ride on our own time-travelling Tardis to learn more about the keywords, landing pages and ads that have worked in our market — and the ones that totally bombed, so we can avoid them.

To get historical advertising data on our competitors — we won’t need to talk to some dude in a Guy Fawkes mask. Instead, we’ll use our competitor research tool du jour to get an inside look at our competitors — without hatching some illegal hacking plan.

Top competitor research tools:

  • SEMRush
  • SpyFu
  • KeywordSpy
  • iSpionage
  • HitTail

When analyzing our competitors, we’ll be sure to pay close attention to the date that they started to advertise on each keyword. If they’ve been using any one keyword for an extended length of time, there’s a good chance that it’s a money-maker — so, we’ll add it to our list of keywords.  

Compose our First Ad

Now, it’s time to dangle a carrot in front of our audience.

What could we offer in our AdWords campaign that our target customer would be unable to resist? Also — what can we do to stand out from all the other ads?

We need to make that what we offer in our campaign is:

  1. Valuable
  2. Believable
  3. Safe
  4. A Killer Call to Action

Here’s a good example of an ad -


Men’s Custom Button-Down Shirt Monthly Subscription

Off-the-rack button-downs letting you down? Get hand-made custom shirts cut to your fit, curated to your style, and delivered to your door. Go custom now and save 50% off your first month.

We’re going to want to point all of this traffic to a specific “Landing Page” which we will discuss later. For now we’ll just need to have at least one destination to point this traffic to.

We want to make the entire sales process totally seamless and reassuring. We’ll need to have a snappy headline that will reconfirm our amazing offer from our ad — and keep our soon-to-be-customer wanting more.

Alright — our ads are live! Hallelujah!

Once our traffic is up and running, let’s now look at how we setup our landing page, track our activity and analyze the results.

Step 2: Setup Facebook Ads

Facebook tries to get us setup and spending quickly (no surprise!). The onboarding process with Facebook advertising is pretty slick. Once we sign up — we’ll be prompted to create our very first campaign.

The first thing we’ll do is decide what our target outcome should be. Do we want to get more “likes”? Drive traffic to a certain webpage? Get people to download our app? Or are we trying to convert prospects into bona-fide customers?

Next, we’ll decide what kind of ad we want to run, and who that target audience is.

Then, we’ll have to actually create the ad part of our Facebook Ad. We’ll need to decide on images, the copy we’re going to use and which CTA button to add — if any!

The good news is that we can have several ads targeted towards the same audience, and kill the underperformers.

Feeling deja vu-ish?

No worries. This is basically the same exact structure we just covered earlier for Google AdWords. Lookalike Audiences take some of the guesswork out of ad targeting, and gives our click-through rate (CTR) a boost since buyers usually express similar behaviors.

Retargeting with Facebook Pixel

Retargeting ads are one of the easiest ways to attract the right customers — and capture some sweet, sweet revenue.

With Facebook, we can set up retargeting ads to reach an audience of people who have previously visited our website. Heck, we can even target the people who took a specific action on our website.

For example: When a user signs up for our newsletter, we can use an opt-in plugin to fire a Facebook tracking pixel once they’ve successfully subscribed.

This gives us the opportunity to target our subscribed users on Facebook and showcase any additional products or services we offer.

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