Have you ever felt like you let a friend down?

You promised to do something, didn’t do it, then you felt bad about it forever?

That’s exactly how I feel about this growth engine experiment.

A few months ago I asked a few communities if they’d be interested in getting “behind the scenes” data from one of my growth engine campaigns. The response? 109 people raised their hand and said they were interested.

And then? I didn’t do it.


I procrastinated so long it eventually fell off my “to-do” list. Until now.

It’s time I make good on that offer, and I want to make sure it gets done. So what I’m going to do is share the whole process with you, live, right here as it unfolds from start to finish, results and everything.

What does that mean? That means I’ll update this post as I build, test, chuck things at the wall, optimize, and (hopefully) fist pump my way to a profitable growth engine in 31-days.

I created a Facebook Messenger group for the experiment. If you want to follow along, click here and send me a “What up!” to join the group. I’ll send you a FB message when new updates go live.

Doing this live also means it could completely bomb.

NOTE: I’ll link to updates here. If you have questions or suggestions about how to do better, put them in the comments at the bottom of this post. I’ll check them regularly.

Phase 1: Build The Foundation

My goal for GrowthBoks is to do $30k in digital product sales by the end of 2017. So far we’re at $2,585 with nearly zero marketing effort.

I’ll use the growth engine process I’ve run for dozens of clients… except this time it’s for my “thing.” Which means I’ll have to deal with all the emotional turbulence that bubbles up when you’re trying to bring YOUR baby into the world.

I didn’t do this sooner because I was worried about things like:

  • What if the whole thing flops and I waste all my money?
  • What if nobody clicks my ads?
  • What if my ads look like crap?
  • What if my landing page doesn’t convert?
  • What if I nobody wants to buy what I sell?
  • What if my tracking doesn’t work, and I don’t what’s working?

… you know, all the typical stuff that pops up when you try to build a growth engine from scratch.

Here Are The Details:

Objective: Build a profitable growth engine that sells digital products with Facebook ads.

– Spend $1000 on Facebook ads in September.
– Split the budget up into $100 micro-tests.
– Build the foundation of my growth engine (two ads, one landing page, one follow-up sequence).
– Measure the baseline performance of those three pieces.
– Tweak until it’s profitable.
– Scale and optimize to increase sales.

Primary Goal: Create a growth engine that turns a profit on a $100 ad spend.

I have a ton of ideas that I want to test. Things like small products, evergreen email sequences, just in time live webinars, automated webinars… But…

I love complexity so much that I usually get lost in it. So to avoid that I’m going to keep it simple.

Keep. It. Simple..

Phase 1: Build The Foundation Of The Growth Engine

The growth engine is simple.

  1. Put a little money into Facebook ads that send people to a landing page.
  2. They enter their email and receive a follow up sequence.
  3. They buy what you offer.
  4. Profit!

You can put that money in your pocket, or you can do it all over again and multiply your money every time. This live case study me trying to do exactly that. Here’s a visual:

My goals for phase one are simple:

1. Establish baseline performance. Data is only good if you have something to compare it to. So phase one will set the baseline for future comparisons. The data I’ll follow include:

a.  Cost Per Lead (How much does it cost me to get one webinar registrant?)
b.  Webinar Attendance Rate (What percentage of registrants actually show up?)
c.  Webinar Conversion Rate (What percentage of attendees make a purchase?)
d.  Total Sales
e.  Ad Spend
f.  Total Profit

Following those stats should give me a picture of how my growth engine is doing.

2. Get one sale from the webinar. The conversion sequence is the most important piece of the growth engine. That means the first thing I need to prove is, “Can I get one sale from a webinar?” That’s exactly what I’m focusing on in this first phase.

This is a “bottoms up” approach, meaning I’ll make sure I have a webinar that makes sales (the bottom of my growth engine) before I start pouring more people into the top of the growth engine.

These are the three steps I’ll follow to build the foundation of the growth engine…

Step 1: Create Two Ads Based On A Proven Framework

I have a few frameworks I’ve used in the past that are proven to work. Instead of trying to reinvent the wheel, I’ll use my frameworks.

With that, I want to test an image ad against a video ad. I know I can go crazy here with all sorts of different ads and variations… and I’m using all of my restraint not to.

[Keep it simple, Kev. Keeeeep it simple.]

So with that, I’ll run two ads. Each with identical text, headline and description. The only difference is, one will have a static image and the other will have a ~5 second video that runs on a loop.

Everything else will be straightforward. I’ll use the conversion objective, auto bidding, etc.

I’ll post the ads in my next update…

Action item: Create two Facebook ads. One image and one video ad.
Delivery date: EOD Thursday, September 7th.

Step 1.2: Create Audiences For Targeting…

In my experience, lookalike audiences with no additional interest targeting work best when you’re starting from scratch. Once the ads have a chance to run you can find opportunities to improve.

GrowthBoks has an email list of ~2,500 subscribers. I’ll use that to create a lookalike audience that I can target with my ads.

Basically… what Facebook does is it looks at your subscriber list and finds common attributes among them. It then gives you what they call a “lookalike” audience of additional people who fit the profile, but are not currently on your list. It usually gives you a target audience of 1 million+ people.

Action item: Create Lookalike (1%) audience inside ads manager.
Delivery date: EOD Monday, September 4th.

Step 2: Create The Landing Page

Quick recap…

I’m running two ads based on one of my most successful frameworks (“You’re not that far away…”).

I’m testing two ads, both with the same text except one has a static image and the other has a short ~5 second video.

I’m running that ad with default settings to a lookalike (1%) audience from my email subscribers.

The next decision is determining where people will go after they click my ad.

In this case, we ultimately want people to attend a webinar where they’ll learn a bunch of cool stuff and be offered an opportunity to enroll in Zero To Growth Engine.

Again… So. Many. Ways. To. Do. That…. But — we’ll keep it simple.

And the simplest way to do that is to send people straight to a webinar landing page that asks them to register for the free session.

All we need is a simple landing page design that accomplishes that. And that is my action item. To find and build a webinar landing page.

I’ll post a screenshot when it’s ready, in my next update.

Action item: Build One Webinar Landing Page.
Delivery date: EOD Wednesday September 6th.

Step 3: Create The Sequence

The sequence is what takes someone from kinda interested to paying customer. It provides value and gives someone a low-risk way to experience what it would be like to buy what you sell.

I keep hearing about how well webinars are doing… and we’ve run a few for clients. So… I’m going to do a webinar!

The webinar will be a 60-90 minute presentation that introduce people to the growth engine, shares some valuable content about how to do it well, then makes an offer to enroll in Zero To Growth Engine at a discounted rate.

Of course, here’s the catch. I’ve never done a webinar myself. We’ve done them with clients, but I’ve never done one myself. So I’ll have to fight through the learning curve, but I think it’ll be worth it.

Plus, we’re already 1,668 words into this post about the live experiment, so I can’t back out now…

Action item: Build Webinar Funnel.
Delivery date: EOD Friday September 8th.

Finally… What am I selling?

I’ll be selling Zero To Growth Engine. ZGE is an online course that includes a series step-by-step assignments. It takes you by the hand and helps you build your own growth engine from scratch.

The irony of this just hit me.

But anyway…

ZGE also includes my product development playbook, my how to scale playbook, and my personal swipe file of ads, landing pages, and email sequences that turn paid ads into profit.

Depending on how things unfold, I’ll also test a small product that sells for less than $100, or maybe a high-end product that goes with ZGE. We’ll see.

So Version 1.0 of The Growth Engine Will Be:

Facebook Ad > Landing Page > Webinar > Zero To Growth Engine (product)

Challenges I’m Up Against…

–   I’m relatively unknown. I won’t get any assistance from “brand equity” or awareness.
–   Everyone sees webinar ads. I’ll need to differentiate somehow.
–   Everyone sees “online course” offers. I’ll need to earn trust and offer value.
–   I’ve never presented a live webinar before. I’ll need to scale the learning curve and practice.

What Do You Think Is Going To Happen??

My plan is to run two ads, one with a static image and another with a short video, that send traffic to a webinar registration page.

Then I’ll present the webinar, provide value, and offer an opportunity to enroll in Zero To Growth Engine.

The goal of phase 1 is to build the foundation of the growth engine, set baseline numbers, and learn how to convert one sale with a live webinar.

Once we have a webinar that converts, we’ll work on ways to get more people to register and attend the webinar.

I’ll report back on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday this week, as I complete each piece.

I created a Facebook Messenger list for the experiment. If you want to follow along, click here and send me a “What up!” to join the group. I’ll send you a FB message when a new update goes live.

Once everything is built and ready to go, I’ll turn on the ads and report back on how they are performing.

What do you think? Think we’ll run a profitable micro-test within 31-days?