Our Experience Running Paid Ads for Our Online Course Launch


Our Experience Running Paid Ads for Our Course Launch

Today, we are sharing something we’ve never talked about before… Running paid ads. You know us – we’re allll about organic marketing strategies. Because why pay when you can market for free?! Paid marketing has never been our thing. 

Well, we broke out of our comfort zone and experimented with running paid ads for our recent launch of SEO on Tap

And listen, paid marketing isn’t bad. It works well for many businesses of all sizes. You just have to have a really solid organic marketing foundation before diving into paid ads. We’ve been building our organic foundation for years, and we think that’s why our paid ads were so successful. We used our existing audience to target the right people with our ads.

But don’t get us wrong – it was scary to throw money at some ads and not know if it was going to work. We were pretty confident after working with a paid ads expert, but you just never know.

So, anyway, in this episode, we’re talking about our experience with running paid ads for our course launch. If you’ve been considering paid ads or are just curious about how they work, tune in!

Key Learnings From Running Paid Ads

The Decision to Try Paid Ads

We didn’t jump in because we felt we had to; it was more about curiosity and what could happen with a bit of extra budget in our pocket. Our journey was driven by a desire to learn, experiment, and see if we could extend our reach on the strong organic marketing foundation we’ve already built— which has always been our home turf.

The Power of Free Offers

We learned that free offers win when it comes to paid ads. After all, an expensive online course against a cold audience is probably not a great idea. If you’re going to pay to put your brand in someone’s face, make sure you’re giving value and not asking for something from them right away. This is our principle for organic marketing, too 😉

Variety is Key

Running paid ads for your business shouldn’t be a one-size-fits-all strategy. We knew we had to test and learn every step of the way— from engaging videos and eye-catching static posts to dynamic carousels, paired with copy that ranged from the concise and punchy to the detailed and descriptive. We’ll share more about what worked below, but we believe variety is key to learning what works for you in the paid space.

Our Paid Ads Results

You know us – we aren’t going to leave you hanging and not share some of the results we saw from paid ads! After all, this is the best part!

1. We’ve gained over 1,000 new email subscribers

It’s important to note that we don’t have the final performance results yet. But, so far, we have gained over 1,000 new email subscribers in just three weeks, which is insane. Our email list is one of our highest-converting organic marketing channels, so to see that kind of growth in such a short period is amazing. Plus, this isn’t just a number—it’s a bustling community of engaged individuals eager to learn and grow with us. Considering our email list is our secret sauce for deep, meaningful engagement, seeing this kind of expansion was both thrilling and affirming.

2. Cost-Per-Lead Performance

When it comes to the basics of running paid ads, the cost-per-lead (CPL) metric is how you typically measure success. Our campaign has been averaging a CPL of about $1— yes, you read that right, just a dollar per email! This figure isn’t just low; it’s practically unheard of, especially when weighed against the value of the leads generated and their potential to convert.

We also learned that our free offers outshone the masterclass in terms of CPL efficiency. This could have been driven by how the tracking was integrated into each platforms.

  • Our Freebies were delivered without the audience every having to leave Facebook. A Zapier was set up to then get that email list added to our Flodesk audience.
  • Our Free Masterclass had to drive people off platform in order to integrate with our webinar platform, WebinarJam.

The reason why this matters is because when you drive your audience off platform it can be a bit tricker for Facebook to see who is converting and then help to retarget your ad to more of those people. This could have played a factor in our masterclass’s CPL. But at the end of the day we were still extremely happy with the CPL for both ad placements.

3. Increased Engagement on Social Media

Our Instagram community felt the love, too! The buzz from our ads translated into a steady stream of new followers and lots of engagement. This wasn’t just about the vanity metric of getting new followers; it was about expanding our community and deepening connections. Every new follow was an invitation to engage, to enter into conversations, and to welcome more friends into our cozy corner of the internet.

4. New SEO Inquiries For Other Offerings

The spotlight on our SEO expertise through these ads sparked an influx of inquiries. While the initial increase in interest was exciting, we also noticed a slight dip in the number of people booking calls post-inquiry. This has been rare for us. Our inquiry to disovery rate is typically pretty high— about 80%. If you are curious what the process looks like, here’s a peek.

  • New leads submit an inquiry for our services through our contact page which is connected to Dubsado on the backend.
  • Next, they receive a personalized email with our investment guide and they’re invited to book a call with a scheduling link.
  • Lastly, once that call is scheduled and we’ve made sure we are a good fit, we share a proposal to work with us.

This process prevents us from making time for people who can’t afford our services or don’t feel like our offerings are right for them. This process has worked well for us and saves us tons of time. Although we’ve seen a slight dip in this conversion rate with paid ads, we are trusting the process and knowing that new leads doesn’t always mean every single person is the right lead.

Final Reflections and Future Plans

This journey underscored a crucial lesson: the harmony between paid and organic marketing strategies. Our organic roots will always remain deep, but the addition of paid ads has brought on some new possibilities, helping us reach further and grow taller. It’s a balance we plan to explore and refine as we move forward, always mindful of keeping the essence of our brand intact. But know this…

CAUTION: We strongly believe this performed so well because we had a strong organic foundation and engaged audience to lean on specifically in our email list— start there first. 

Comment below and let us know what else you want to hear about when it comes to paid ads! And don’t forget to tune into our episode— 5 Things That Made Our Course Launch a Success. Sharing even more behind the scenes from re-launching our online course.

If you liked today’s episode on The Duo On Air Marketing Podcast, don’t forget to leave us a review & subscribe!

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Abbey Oslin and Courtney Petersen are Minnesota-based marketing experts, educators, and co-founders of boutique marketing agency Duo Collective, which specializes in SEO, social media strategy, and branding for small business owners and creative entrepreneurs. To learn more about Duo Collective, or to inquire about working with our team, head over to www.duocollective.com. 

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