One of my Ignite students recently asked me:

“Am I ready for ads if I haven’t sold enough of my product organically?”

There are some marketers who would argue that if you haven’t sold X amount of your product organically, you aren’t ready for ads.

I disagree.

I support the concept in that you need to prove your offer sells first, but I don’t think there’s some magical number that is standard for everyone.

So how do you know when you HAVE proven your product organically?

Or what if you don’t have a big enough following to sell organically first, what are you supposed to do then?

Tune in to today’s episode as I uncover the answers you need to know if you’re truly ready to start running ads!

If you enjoyed today’s episode, please share your thoughts in my latest post over on my Instagram page (@emilyhirsh)!

If you need additional support with your ads, go to helpmystrategy.com to see if you qualify to work with Team Hirsh before we reach our client capacity!

Subscribe To & Review The Hirsh Marketing Underground Podcast

Thanks for tuning into this week’s episode of the Hirsh Marketing Underground Podcast! If this podcast has added value and helped you in your business journey, please head over to iTunes, subscribe to the show, and leave us an honest review. Your reviews and feedback will not only help us continue to deliver great, helpful content, but it will also help us reach even more amazing entrepreneurs just like you.


Emily Hirsh:

Welcome to the podcast. Welcome all my new listeners, and welcome back if you are a regular listener. Thank you for joining me today and tuning in again. Hope you’re having a fabulous week. I am melting in the Texas heat and just feel like I’m doing the most right now. A little bit of like work, and mom, and work ,and mom, and just everyday feels a little bit like Groundhog day. But I’m going to San Diego soon, ao I’m excited for that, change up some scenery and some routine will be good. But man, 2020, like it feels like just yesterday when I was on the podcast in March or like early April doing the daily podcast I did when COVID all first hit, and now we’re in almost September, crazy. And like what has happened this year is crazy. So I hope that you guys are having a good week.

And today I am answering a question that isn’t, I was inspired to bring onto the podcast from an Ignite student. So the question that they asked was, am I ready for ads, because I haven’t sold enough of my offer yet organically? And then they followed it with, I see so many marketers out there saying you have to sell, you know, 20 products and I don’t know if she gave a number, but you have to sell like a good amount of products organically before you can run ads. before you’re ready to run ads. And so the concept behind this is prove your offer organically and then you’re ready to run ads. Which I get and I support. And I do know a lot of people out there saying it, but I want to talk through my response with her because if you guys know me and you follow me for a while, you know I’m really anti anything cookie cutter.

So if you ever say like everyone should sell X amount of products organically before they run ads, that is never true because it could be, it’s going to be different for me than it is for you, than it is for somebody else and it is for the students. So instead I want to walk you guys through what questions you should be asking yourself to be able to make the decision for yourself, if that’s where you’re at and what the different kind of factors that could be at play here that might change, you know, what you, that might change what you are doing, or what decisions you should make. And that’s really how you should always look at marketing is there should be questions and kind of like scenarios that you’re looking at that help you make a decision that’s best for your business, for your audience, for your offer, for your unique situation, because there is no one size fits all in marketing in anything. And so you have a unique business, a unique audience and a unique offer, and you have to make decisions based off that. 

So let’s talk about this question. Do you need to sell a certain number of your product or service organically before you run ads? And the answer is yes and no. So here’s two things. It is a great idea to prove your offer before you run ads to make sure that your offer sells, to make sure that it works, to make sure that it gets people results, that you can get testimonials to make sure the messaging is right and people are interested in it. That in theory is a great idea that I fully support. So if you have the ability to reach an audience organically, meaning without paid ads, whether that’s through outreach, through going on a guest podcast or a guest Facebook group, or a video, or somehow getting in front of somebody else’s audience, maybe you have an existing audience, which could be an email list, followers, people who will engage with your content and potentially buy a new offer that you put out there. 

If you have a way to sell your offer organically, that’s great. And you should follow that and do that and maybe sell, I don’t know, 25. It depends on the price because if it’s a $5,000 product, you don’t need to sell 25 of them. You could sell one or two, and you’ve proven, you know, that at least is going to gain some traction. So sell enough to where you’re like, I know people are interested in this, I know that the messaging is at least starting to resonate and I’m getting the messaging around my offer, and I know that my offer also is attracting people in it and it works, at least I know like people are happy when they get in it, because what you don’t ever want to do is scale an offer that doesn’t deliver. 

So if you have the means to reach an organic audience, yes you should and so those marketers saying that are correct, but in this person’s case, they don’t have a following. And so this person who asked me this in our course, she currently does not have a following. She does not have a very big social media following. She’s very new in business. She doesn’t really have an email list. She doesn’t have a way to reach a bunch of people and continue to sell her product. And she was kind of allowing this to stop her from running ads, cause she’s like, well, I haven’t sold enough organically and so I can’t run ads yet. So if you’re in the situation where you haven’t necessarily proven your product or your offer yet, but you haven’t started running ads, but you also don’t have a way to reach a bunch of organic people, my advice is that you should start running ads.

But here’s the caveat. Here’s the important piece. If you’re in that situation and you run ads, you have to run ads with the mindset that it’s an investment and with the mindset that you’re going to get where you’re going so much faster by choosing to run ads in this situation than by hustling and trying to organically sell your offer with no audience. Which would probably require you to either try to have conversations in groups to try to get in front of, you know, other people’s audiences to try to build your social media following. All of those things are usually very slow. They can work, but it’s hard to get a lot of traction. It’s hard to really like leverage this and gain traction organically if you have nothing to start with. And so in that case, if you start with ads, you’re paying basically for eyeballs, and that’s how you have to see it in the beginning.

And that’s what I told her. You are ready to start ads and you should get your, you know, follow the process, get your strategy in place, have your projections, set your goals, do all of those things, but still go into it, knowing it is an investment. And right now I’m paying to fast track my business so I can get way more eyes on my brand right now than I can organically, and it’s an investment because I might not make all of my money back. I actually probably won’t make all of my money back in the next 30 to 60 days, but I have to do this in order to get to the next level. And you can do what you could do organically in a year, you can do in two to three weeks with paid ads, because you’re just amplifying what you’re doing and getting eyes a lot faster.

And so that’s the piece that kind of differentiates like, yes, it’s great to prove your product. So for example, if I came out with a new offer, let’s just say, I came out with a new course.  I’m going to walk you through my thought process. So I came out with a new course, I have a following. So I would put it out to my following and if I needed to prove it, I could prove it to my following through a couple of emails, see what sales I get, see what kind of feedback and response I get. And then I’d run ads, but I’d still run ads with the mindset of, I’m not gonna make my money back right away. 

Now let’s say I don’t have my business today. I’m going to start a brand new business. I’m going to target a different audience and come up with a whole different offer. And I’m starting from zero. If it were me and I had the means to invest, I would take that money and I’d put some into paid ads and especially into like brand awareness, visibility, getting eyes on my brand, on my content, and on the top of my funnel, like a webinar. I think hers is a self-liquidating offer funnel. So on the top of that funnel to prove it, but I would go into it with the fact that it’s an investment and I’m basically paying to save myself a ton of time and hustling of trying to like pedal this organically. 

I think if you can, you should do both. Like continue to, I’ve talked about this before recently in a podcast episode, that marketing is about a holistic approach. It’s about the organic working with the paid, the email marketing, all of it together, working as one machine, supporting each other. So the organic helps the paid and the paid helps the organic, and then the emails help the funnel, which helped the ads and the sales. And so it all has to work together. And so it’s good to continue your organic efforts in building relationships and building quality followers and doing all of those things to try and sell your product, but if you’re not running ads you will be moving at a snail’s pace, because just social media is such a pay to play game that it’s very hard to gain traction unless you are paying to get eyes on your brand. 

And so you have to shift your mindset to be I’m choosing to run ads for the next 30, 60, 90 days. I’m going to spend a thousand dollars a month. I’m not going to make this money back. Just tell yourself that I’m not going to make it back, and I spend a thousand dollars a month because I need to pay for eyes on my brand, on my webinar and my funnel on my offer. I need to pay for that. So then I know what the response is. Did it sell? Did they watch the webinar? Did my offer convert? Did my cost per lead hit its goals? What are all of those metrics? And then I can go back and fix things. So you can’t just do it organically. 

So my answer to the question, do you have to sell your product organically before running ads to prove the product is no, but you have to be willing and able to have an investment in your ads to go out and pay for eyes. And knowingly, you know, if, okay, let’s say you don’t have that investment. Let’s say you have no money. Arguably you should maybe be starting a business, but let’s say you have no money to invest in your business. Like you need to get clients next week or sell your product, and you have no money to invest. Then the only thing you have is time to invest. And if that’s the case, hustle and get eyes on your brand and have conversations and try to sell your product, it will be very slow in the beginning, but it might get you sales and then you can invest in the ads. So if you have the money, you don’t have to sell a ton of your product organically before you run ads. And look at that, choosing to do that, look at it as a shortcut to be able to get more eyes faster than what you could do in six months organically. So just think through that. 

And I know this is kind of a short, short, snappy podcast episode, but I liked this question because whenever there’s something out there that like a lot of people are kind of following a formula and they’re like, well, I’m getting conflicting advice about this and I feel like some people are saying like sell, you know, your product this many times organically before you think about ads. And like, when am I actually ready for ads? You have to be able to be willing to ask yourself certain questions to be able to make the decision for your business. And so these are the questions that you should be asking to know, the biggest one being do I have an investment? Do I have the ability to invest in ads in the beginning? And if I don’t, if I don’t have the means to do that, if I don’t have money to invest, the only thing you have is time. And so you’re at the place where you are hustling your time to get in front of people, to build relationships, to get your brand and your offer out there, but if you have the means with at least, you know, $500 to $1,000 to invest in your ads, do it to at least get the eyes, to learn, to get data and to move to the next level.

Okay, so I encouraged the student in Ignite and I said, do you have the means to invest? Which I’m assuming you do because you just bought my Facebook ads course, but do you have the means to invest in Facebook ad spend? And she’s like, yeah I do, I just was waiting cause I thought I haven’t sold enough of my offer – I think she had sold five of her product and sold enough organically – so I wasn’t sure if I’m ready, but I don’t really have more of an organic audience to push it out to, so I’m kind of like stuck, I’’m in like a holding pattern. And I was like, well, you’re ready for ads then, just that doesn’t mean you’re ready for ads and just like throw up an ad and try to make it work. Like still be strategic, still go back through and listen to all my episodes about The Hirsh Process and setting the foundation, and making sure you have goals set, and you understand your audience, and your messaging is clear. You still have to do all of that. Doesn’t mean, you know, free pass to skip all that. It just means you have permission to spend your ad budget and possibly not make it back, but you’re investing your money and saving yourself that time to get some momentum and traction on your offers. 

All right, guys, thanks so much for listening today. If you need support with your ads, you can go to helpmystrategy.com to see if you qualify to work with Team Hirsh. I’ll be honest, we only have a couple spaces open coming up. I’m going to share the results to our pop-up podcast, but it was pretty amazing and so our client roster has gotten pretty full. We only have space for a few truly. And so if you’re thinking about working with us now, or the rest of the year into the next year, like plan ahead for me, I love planners, and get on the books to make sure you got your spot to make sure we can support you and what we might need from you if, you know, there is things missing that would set you up for success to be able to work with us. So you can go to helpmystrategy.com and I’ll see you on the next episode.