How to Generate 70x ROAS With Your Social Ads

How To Generate 70x ROAS With Your Social Ads

Michael Melaro, Sr. Director of Retail Performance, and Kate Wolcott Rizzo, Sr. Creative Manager, of The Wellsville Group, join the Social Pros Podcast to discuss maximizing the return on social ads.

In This Episode:

Please Support Our Sponsors:

Huge thanks to our amazing sponsors for helping us make this happen. Please support them; we couldn't do it without their help! This week:

Full Episode Details

Maximize Your Social Ads

Social media has often been pitched as a way to reach a worldwide audience cheaply and easily. While this is true, it’s a bit of an oversimplification when talking about social ads.

Many businesses, especially those starting out, can fall into the trap of an “If we build it, they will come” mentality. While your social ads have the potential to reach everyone, they probably shouldn’t. Rather than starting your funnel as widely as possible and targeting later, you can maximize your returns by targeting from the top.

As The Wellsville Group has found, understanding your audience and targeting your top-of-funnel social ads means you can put more of your money into the bottom-of-funnel content. In this way, you can stop wasting dollars pushing ads out to people who have no interest, while investing in those who will actually bring returns.

In This Episode

  • How to manage social for infrequently purchased products.
  • How to incorporate social listening and user-generated content.
  • Why your employees should be part of your social strategy.
  • How to target content for different regions.
  • How to use triggers to build new audiences.

Quotes From This Episode

“Some of our most successful campaigns have been based on listening.” — Michael Melaro

We don't have to be as targeted at the bottom of the funnel because we've already targeted earlier in the process. Click To Tweet

“A lot of things come and go, but we believe that Facebook gives us the most powered versatility in targeting.” — Michael Melaro

Resources

See you next week!

Influencer Marketing Mistakes Great Brands Don't Make

Influencer marketing is all the rage, but it’s also VERY EASY to botch the job. Based on our many B2B and B2C influencer campaigns, this tight eBook will save you from sadness.

Episode Transcript

Jay Baer: Welcome everybody to Social Pros this is Jay Baer from Convince and Convert. Joined as always by my special Texas friend hailing from Austin. He is the executive strategist of Salesforce Marketing Cloud. It is Adam Brown. Man what an interesting show, we went deep man. We got into the weeds this week. Adam Brown: We got into the crazy furniture weeds and one of the things, Jay, I love about this show is you think about furniture retail and you think oh that's a tired, sleepy industry. And it may or may not but my goodness what Michael and Kate and the folks at the Wellsville Group, a division of Ashley HomeStore or franchise of Ashley HomeStore are doing is really spectacular. From a targeting standpoint, from a return and measurement and analytic standpoint. Just some really great tips and advice that I think almost anybody in retail or any social marketer can write down and begin to apply on Monday. Jay Baer: Completely agree, this is a show that is not only interesting about social media strategy but also a lot of really great tips on social media operations and social media practitioner tactics. This is one especially if you're on the paid side at all you're gonna love this episode of Social Pros with Michael and Kate and Joy from the Wellsville Group as Adam said. Their licensees of the Ashley HomeStore Furniture chain. Man this is a good one, buckle up. Hey everybody welcome to the show. Sponsors this week of Social Pros include our friends at Salesforce Marketing Cloud who have a fantastic and free guide for B to B marketers called "The Complete Guide to Social Media for B to B Marketers". Tells you how to use Facebook, Linkedin, Pinterest and even Snapchat for B to B dumbing it for nothing. Right now at Bitly/socialb2bguide. That's bit.ly/socialb2bguide, get it right now. Also want to let you know about my brand new book I could not be more excited. It's called "Talk Triggers: The Complete Guide to Creating Customers with Word of Mouth". It's all about how to build a word of mouth strategy tied into your social media that turns your customers into volunteer marketers. I read it with my good friend Daniel Lemon. I think it's the best thing I've ever done. Go to Amazon right now and search "Talk Triggers" or go to Talktriggers.com to see a bunch of special offers just for you. That's talktriggers.com. Also the show this week is brought to you by our friends at CoSchedule. And I use CoSchedule literally every single day. It is the all-in-one marketing calendar combining project management, email marketing and social promotion in one place. Imagine that, you get complete visibility over your entire marketing schedule. You can keep your sanity and get way more done with CoSchedule. I tell you it is all true, check it out. Go to coschedule.com/socialpros, coschedule.com/socialpros and you will find there a free social strategy template. This week on the Social Pros podcast not just one but two guests. Ladies and gentlemen the show cannot be contained. We have both geniuses from the Wellsville Group. They are licensees of the Ashley HomeStore. They know more about furniture than any person has any right to. Joining us this week on the show Michael Melaro who is the director of marketing for the Wellsville Group and Kate Wolcott who is the senior creative manager. Michael and Kate welcome to Social Pros. Michael Melaro: Thanks Jay. Kate Wolcott: Yeah, thanks Jay. Jay Baer: All right so everybody understands how this works. Michael explain to us how Wellsville Group works within the auspices of the Ashley HomeStore brand. Michael Melaro: Well sure, so Ashley is the number one furniture manufacturer and also number one furniture retailer in the world. They started back in the 50's and 60's making furniture to sell to other retailers. It started as simple case good products like coffee tables, end tables, dresser and eventually evolved into a concept where they were making furniture for the entire home: living rooms, dining rooms, bedrooms. In 1999 they decided to take this concept of building a retail brick and mortar store that sold all their own products. So that was where they split off in becoming both still a manufacturer and a retailer in their own right. They licensed the concept and now there's more than 150 owner operators that operate more than 700 stores globally. Each of which sells only Ashley HomeStore product. There are also private dealers, multi-line furniture stores that sell Ashley as well. Jay Baer: So you guys in the Wellsville Group have 16 stores, is that correct? Michael Melaro: We have 16 stores, right. We're in seven GMA's, we're in western and central New York. We're in northeastern Ohio, in Cleveland/Akron area. We're in central Pennsylvania, kind of just east of Pittsburgh. We are one of the top 10 largest licensees in the U.S. and we are on Furniture Today's list of top 100 retailers by revenue. Jay Baer: It's curious that you've got stuff in New York and then Pennsylvania and then Ohio. You sort of try and do, you're capturing the rust belt and then the New York audience, that's the deal? Michael Melaro: Yeah, we thought we'd go after the areas that are toughest to deliver in the winter. Jay Baer: Yeah, I didn't think about that. Delivery is usually 20 bucks but here it's $6,000. Michael Melaro: Well it's funny, there's other licensees that you know a good friend of ours has stores like in the Charlotte area for example. They've got 18 stores running out of just one warehouse. And we've got six warehouses so you know we're dealing with some logistics that are just, they add a little bit of extra fun and insurance to the process. Jay Baer: One of the things I find really interesting and I have a, I don't think you guys know this maybe you do, and probably listeners don't 'cause I hardly ever talk about it on the show. I come from furniture. My family started Baer's Furniture and Carpets in York, Nebraska in 1875. Michael Melaro: Wow. Jay Baer: So family owned for many, many, many generations until it got to my dad who didn't want to do that so. I literally spent time as a tyke running around a furniture store obviously in the pre-social media days. But one of the things I find interesting about the furniture business is that typically purchases are infrequent. You're not buying furniture every Thursday. It's certainly not like a grocery store. So from a social media standpoint how do you look at that? Are you saying hey we want to just use social to build awareness so that when you are ready for a mattress, a dresser are your guise? Or are you trying to spur like you know what your couch sucks you should get a new couch? How do you think about the consumer psychology of a product type that is so infrequently purchased? Michael Melaro: Yeah, it kind of works for us and against us. I mean the average life cycle is about eight years so it's not like CPG where you're running to the gas station everyday for a pack of gum. But it's not like a house either. So it helps us out because we have the luxury of taking our time to build the brand equity on social. So our funnel process where we start people, and if we can get the multiple touch points over and over again so that they become familiar with our brand. And when that time becomes now and they're ready to buy furniture or themself a mattress they think Ashley. Hopefully they fall in love with our content and then they come to us. It works against us in the way you know we're investing a lot of money into building a customer base and it takes a while before that turns into real customers. But our average ticket's high. It's well over $1,000 whereas for a gas station it's quite a bit smaller so the fruits do pay off when they do pay off. Adam Brown: Kate, I'm curious if, because of social media or kind of the tail wagging the dog have we seen the business of furniture sales and furniture retail changing? Have we seen a move, I know with some retailers where it's more about the entire room. So you're not going in to buy a couch, you're not going in to buy one piece of furniture but you're buying an entire suite. Is that still a trajectory, is that still a way people buy furniture, or do you see all types and all customers coming in? Whether it's just to buy a $3 or 400 sofa ensemble. Versus a $7 or 8,000 new home? Kate Wolcott: Yeah, you know you really see a little bit of everything but that's the beauty of our social funnel. Is that we can break up our audiences to reach everyone. It's probably pretty obvious to almost anyone that's on the internet in the demographic for furniture that places like Wayfair and other things are trying to make the move to online. But we're still seeing that there's that push to want to come in the store and actually feel the product. You might see it online but you want to come in and actually feel it before you buy it. And so we tend to take that approach to a lot of our things and we're seeing with the younger demographics that it's a little less about the collections and wanting everything to match and it's more about finding style that fits you. Whether it's something that goes in a collection it's more 'does it match my style' or does the sofa go with this collection or that collection. It's less of that and more about mixing and finding your own style we're seeing. And we see that on our social post, anything that's about DIY or mixing this type of style, this eclectic look. It's really, those perform very well. Jay Baer: To that end Kate do you have the exact same inventory across all 16 locations and if not can you only then do social posts for inventory that is universally held in all your stores. You don't wanna say 'hey come get this awesome lamp' and then it's like hey we don't have this lamp, this sucks. So how does that work within your collection of stores? And then also how does it work with Ashley, do they feed you corporate stuff that they figure you should have and everybody talks about it? Kate Wolcott: Yeah, so there are some collections are HomeStore exclusive so we know we're always safe with those. You can't get those anywhere but in an Ashley HomeStore. Other places might sell Ashley furniture from the manufacturer but there's certain collections and pieces you can only get from Ashley. So we obviously do a lot of those. We also we have a full merchandising team that we we work very closely with to make sure that we're putting products out there that are in all of our markets. We tend to have things that are in every market and so we focus on those. Anything that's discontinued we have a very close relationship with that merchandising team that helps us understand what's safe and what's not. When to take things down, when to replace things with newer collections. Adam Brown: Kate that's interesting. And Michael I'll go to you for my follow-up on that. At Salesforce we have a customer who is a fashion brand. They make very expensive ladies handbags and things like that. And they had begun to use social listening actually in their R&D department to kind of understand color trends, style trends, things like that. What are people talking about? What are our customers, prospective customers talking about? I'm curious if you have seen any of that in the furniture industry or there at Ashley HomeStore? Michael Melaro: Yeah, definitely. Some of our most successful campaigns have been based on listening. It's funny we spend so much time sitting in a room brainstorming the best content that we can come up with and what we find time after time is the stuff that works the best is the stuff that somebody else came up with. Or the stuff that's spur of the moment or we see a customer who posted a photo or we see some stupid meme that goes viral that everyone's making an ad. Like the ones we've been seeing recently. But yeah we just actually started using user generated content as some of our campaigns. And we, we're able to put our photos next to our customer's photos of the product in their home it really speaks to that. That we do listen to them and that influences what's popular and it drives the trends. Kate Wolcott: Yup we've seen recently too that the more we do with things from our showroom to your living room that's been one of our top performing messages lately. So then we're layering that with newer tactics too. Where for instance we're jumping into trying chatbots and we're actually using it. It's gonna come from my face so not an ad, just somebody that's in the demographic and collecting answers about what people are looking for. So we'll be able to put that out there in posts, get a message back and then take that data to find out what our customers are actually looking for and then generate new posts out of that. Jay Baer: Because there's so many Ashley HomeStores, some are yours of course, but you mentioned there's many, many other licensees around the U.S. When you're creating contents either organic or paid how tight do you geo target? So are you thinking hey just this zip, or just a mile around this store? Or the whole metro area? How do you think about that? Michael Melaro: It's a little different, even the markets we have are different from each other. You know when we talk about let's take our central Pennsylvania market for example. It's very rural, people are willing to drive, sometimes up to 50 miles for a piece of furniture. If you look at one of our more urban markets like Cleveland where we have six stores within a 25 mile radius people do not have that same mentality. So we can't take that global approach of saying 'all right this is our radius and these are our demographics and this is the furniture we're going to carry and this is what's gonna work' So from content to content from radius to radius it all changes. But with our funneling process and our sequencing process ultimately that geo targeting is just the first piece at the top of the funnel where geo target but then after that it's all based on engagement as it goes further down. So we might go in with the thought that hey 25 miles is our area of service however we might find that this piece of content's working and that piece of content's working and that's where we take it from there. Jay Baer: One of the things that you told us off-air is that one of your key performance indicators the most important metrics that you track in your business at the Wellsville Group is what you call CPSV cost per store visit. I'm fascinated about that idea and certainly foot traffic in the store is a major, major part of what you're looking to accomplish. But how do you attribute that back to social, how do you do the math on that? Kate Wolcott: We've been embarking on in-store visit campaigns. Which have been really, really successful for us and we tie it back to your previous question about radius. Those are where we can get a little more hyper local and so we'll reduce our geography on those campaigns. So it might be 10 to 15 miles around the stores. So we get really, really local there and so then we can generate our cost per store visit from there. Our goal is to keep that under $10 per store visit. Jay Baer: Is that a promotion or a secret password or then when somebody shows up in the store how do you know they came from social? Kate Wolcott: So we've been our content that we use for it is basically we look at what we call our greatest hits from some of our other campaigns. Then we'll tie that with a little bit more of a promotional message. Whether it's some of them are as generic as come check us out at with our address and then we give them the directions. Others we might do something little like $50 off $100 purchase so we mix it up a little. Michael Melaro: One of the best things about cost per store visit we've always tried to measure this and when we first started with the company four, five years ago we took all of our advertising spend, we divided our traffic and we got a cost per store visit of $16. That was what we'd somehow defined as our sweet spot and we knew that if we were able to spend our marketing dollars and get our traffic for $16 or less that we were winning. So when we went into digital and we had a place to attribute that traffic we had a great benchmark to start with and being part of Ashley the big company, having access to Facebook's beta tools like the store visit tool it's great because there's a lot of ways that Facebook attributes a store visit to your campaigns. We give them our data every night so we can take our offline purchases and match them with our online activity and know for a fact that somebody saw our ad or engaged with our ad and came in store. Or maybe they check into our wifi, maybe they check in on Facebook, maybe their cell phone location services are turned on. There's four or five different ways that Facebook can make that cost per store visit. So when we get that down under 10 bucks we really celebrate because we know it's a more effective use of our advertising dollars than traditional media. On top of that one of the KPI's that we also measure is any retailer sales based retailer does is close rate. What percent of the people that walk in the door can we make a sale to before they walk out of the door. Our industry standard is sort of %25 that's the average. So if we say $16 is a reasonable cost per store visit and we only one out of four people we're essentially saying that we're comfortable spending up to $64 to acquire a customer at an average ticket. But what we found is with Facebook we're gonna get $10 cost per store visit our close rate's also higher. We see the return, ad spend is tighter because those people are more qualified than just the average Joe schmoe walking in the front door. Jay Baer: Well 64 bucks is nothing I mean the mark up on furniture is pretty significant and so if you can drive a customer at 64 you're making money all day long. Michael Melaro: You make it sound like such a profitable business. Jay Baer: I know too much. Adam Brown: One thing I'm curious about, Kate, is certainly having that cost per store visit around $10 I agree that's for most people in the retail sector other than consumer, especially for durable products like furniture that's a great, great number. You talked a little bit about how you're geo fencing and doing some things like that especially around the markets that you focus on. Curious if there's any other triggering or filtering that you're doing? I know a lot of companies in the financial services right now are looking for triggers. They're looking for certain words or certain topics being discussed by prospective customers. You know for financial it's retirement or a kid going off to college or looking for a new home for a mortgage things like that. I'm curious if there's any triggers you see in social that might show that someone might be considering a furniture purchase? Maybe it's a new baby or buying a new home, or moving or retiring. Are you using any of those types of triggers to create audiences or look-a-like audiences that you can then geo target and then track from a cost per store visit standpoint? Kate Wolcott: Yes, we are we're doing things with triggers with we have a movers campaign that we've recently been doing. We actually do that on social so we mix it up there. We also have audiences that we've built probably over the last three years or so that we also do look-a-likes on that. We've spent a couple years building these audiences. We used to go through and almost stereotype our audiences where we would say this type of ad we think this type of person should see. So we created all these audiences, but then as we progressed and started doing the funnel as Michael was talking about earlier we've actually taken some of that data and used it in a smarter way now. Where we've put it into our awareness funnel and then once someone interacts with the videos there we will send them something else related and by the time we get them to that point that's when we'll hit them with an ad. So we don't have to be as targeted down at the bottom because we've already hit them with those targets from earlier in our funnel. Adam Brown: One thing I'm fascinated about is the idea that the next time these customers who are coming into your stores today to buy furniture the next time they probably come into your store to make a significant purchase marketing is gonna be completely different and you're going to know who these people are. You will have merged their customer record and know that they bought this sofa four and a half years ago and they bought this dinette set six years ago. How are you looking to bring all that information together to either try to inform decisions today or looking towards the future to invest in those marketing dollars that you're going to save the next time they visit? Kate Wolcott: So we actually do that with our email program too actually. We take that offline data that we upload to Facebook and we look at that and create audiences and send them content based on what they purchase. So six months down the road if somebody purchased a mattress and we noticed they didn't purchase an adjustable base we may send them something about an adjustable base. So then we are not fully there yet but we want to integrate that with our campaigns on social and building audiences around those people. So looking at what they actually purchase from our store data and building that right into our audience that can seamlessly go right into our fall. Michael Melaro: You know it's kind of ironic and a little bit contradictory but even though it's a category where the average customer comes around every eight years we've also learned through our data that the best customers to prospect are the ones who have purchased within the last six months. I don't know if they still have that new furniture smell in their house, maybe they got a line of credit for $6,000 and they only spent $3,500 or they realized geez that sofa over there needs to be replaced now too. Or maybe that's older than what it was and maybe it's time for a new chair here and we're in the bedding business as well and it's kind of gross when you think of the average customer that comes in has been sleeping on a mattress that's more than 10 years old. Eight out of 10 people are, which is completely nasty if you learn about the science of a mattress being a sponge and collecting dead dust mites and body sweat and all kinds of terrible things. So while people don't come in that often once they do come in it does trigger a cycle of three or four or five return visits in a short period of time thereafter. Jay Baer: Yeah or there's some sort of life stage change that precipitated the first visit so it's a new house, they moved or sold their house or up-sized or down-sized or whatever. There's usually some sort of inflection point there it's not just random 'hey you know what we should do now, we should get ourselves a bed 'cause these dust mites are, I'm up to here with the dust mites'. Michael one thing you told us pre-show is that you are still heavily Facebook driven at Wellsville Group and while there are of course other social platforms out there Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, LinkedIn, what have you, YouTube that Facebook is still the work horse for y'all and I'd love for you to comment on that. Michael Melaro: Yeah I mean it's still the gold standard of social. A lot of things come and go but we believe that Facebook gives us the most powered versatility in targeting. Now with Facebook owning Instagram we do have some of our content overflow. We let that work automatically we don't decide what works best on which piece. But one of the biggest thing is that we see when it comes to comparing different social platforms to each other, and this isn't something that we necessarily see eye to eye with all other licensees on. When it comes to platforms like Snapchat and Pinterest and Instagram from an organic content or from a customer interaction position we believe that our guests want to interact with not us as a licensee but with the parent brand. We're gonna take a picture of their coffee cup and say at coffee shop I got your green cup in my hand. They're not gonna say at coffee shop 6255 Wichita you know what I mean. So I think it's does a disservice to the parent brand if you really wanna be omni-channel and you want to respect the fact that that's a global brand and has the same look and feel across the country regardless of who owns the store. That in those individual channels you have to treat it like how the customers would and not confuse them by having 800 different handles. That being said under Facebook with individual pages within our parent child network we think it's the best way to both give our customers incoming an easy way to find the store they bought at in case they want to continue their conversation. Or for us as an outgoing message to be able to say to our customers all right this is happening at this store, this location has a grand opening or give away cupcakes here and so on and so forth. So there's a lot of reasons for Facebook that we need that diversity. For the other platforms we let the corporate team take care of it. Kate Wolcott: Another thing that we've found is just using video is just priceless because we can build up a content of what we call evergreen content that we can use almost regardless of platform. I mean if we have it on Facebook and we see it's performing we can throw it in our library of things to re-use. Whether it's on YouTube or wherever else we wanna use it we've got it it's ready to go and we can have our choice really. Jay Baer: Speaking of the Ashley brand Michael is there ever any issues where one of your customers is following your Facebook content but then sees something similar or maybe something different from quote unquote corporate do you ever have any of that sort of channel confusion and how do you sort that out and make sure that happens as least often as possible? Michael Melaro: There's not much of it, there used to be quite a bit more. Back before Ashley had the parent child set up where the pages were all linked together. Under the locations tab we did have some confusion. As a matter of fact when we first started we had one Facebook page and it was called "Ashley HomeStore of Northeastern Ohio and Western, Central New York and PA. It was just this long and unholy title and there were other licensees in Cleveland and Pennsylvania and New York and they'd get questions for us and we'd get questions for them. There'd be one star reviews on the wrong page, it was a nightmare. Once we had that parent child set up though it's pretty clear which store you're talking to. Once in a great, great while but it's been mitigated quite a bit. Adam Brown: Michael you mentioned reviews and that's something that's near and dear to all our hearts in social media marketing management. Especially when you have an example like that where someone misreviews when they've had an issue of the wrong store. How are you dealing with both listening to the reviews on the multiple platforms and what is your process and protocol for managing those? Or does that happen at the Wellsville Group or is that all handled at corporate? Michael Melaro: That's all done by us individually and man we really blazed the trail in 2017 with a reputation. In 2016 at that time we only had 13 stores and over the course of the year we had 165 reviews. So basically one review per store per year. And as you can imagine I mean you guys are experts in this field we got more complaints than we did praise because that's just how people behave unless you ask for that review you're not gonna get it. So in 2017 we wanted to change the news, boost our average score which was three point two five stars. Our digital net promoter score was around zero, we weren't very happy with that. So in 2017 we made it a mission to educate our Salesforce on the importance of collecting those reviews. We spend a lot of time with our customers, an hour, two hours sometimes four hours. We definitely earned the right to ask for a review, we definitely give them the five star experience so we don't have the incentivizing coupon we're very ethical about our collection. But we were diligent about switching between Google and Facebook, those were the two platforms where we really focused. By the end of 2017 we had more reviews per capita than any other licensee in North America. We had 2,700 reviews and our DMPS was 75, our effort starting was four point six two. It was huge for us and we had to incentivize our team because they didn't necessarily believe it and understand it. So we would do these big break room displays where we set up candy and chips and we'd give them pizza parties and all this stuff. But the tables turned after a little while because when we started to get a giant cache of positivity in our reviews you started to see customers come in and say 'hey I'm here to speak to Jay, I'm here to speak to Adam, I'm here to speak to Robin' or whatever. So the way our customer up system works is that all sales people go on a list and you go in that order and you get whoever comes in the door when your turn is up. But if somebody comes in and asks for you by name well you jump right to the front of the line. So it rewarded those sales people who review acquisitions seriously. Somebody come in and say 'hey Adam, I'm here to see Adam' and Adam walks up to the front of the store and is looking at a complete stranger and he says 'yeah what are you here for'? Well I saw online you were the guy I had to talk to you had the best reviews. And all of a sudden that was a moment like 'oh my god that's it' I'm a believer 'cause the pizza parties were nice but now we're talking hundreds of dollars in commission. Jay Baer: Yeah in the commission business that is huge. In fact I'm an advisor along with Shep Hike in a business called Service Guru which is a similar kind of idea where you've got a kiosk at the front door of the business and on your way out you do a net promoter score survey and then you press on the photo of the person who helped you. So it kind of does that self-fulfilling prophecy of not just how did the store did how did the individual do. I think it's a real future in customer service. One quick follow-up Michael, I wanted to know where you put most of your emphasis in terms of review location? Is it Yelp, is it Google, is it Angie's List, or Houzze or something else? Where do you really say hey this is really where we want to make sure, I know the answer's probably everywhere, but what's your preference? Michael Melaro: You know it's 50/50 on Google, Facebook now but when we started it was Google, Facebook, Yelp. We had some real challenges getting our reviews to stick with Yelp despite our ethical collection procedures. That was kind of frustrating, you know if it weren't, the biggest problem with Yelp is that for all the Apple iPhone users it populates in the Apple maps as the store. And that's where we really feel like we need the most help, other than that we know that Google and Facebook have a lot more presence to our customers. And for the longest time we did both of them at the same time. We found it was a lot easier for our sales team if they focus on one at a time. So we do Q1, Q3 we'll focus on one of those platforms and Q2, Q4 we'll just switch to the other one. Adam Brown: Okay, I want to keep on this on this trajectory of talking about reviews and talking about sales people. Kudos to you and Michael and everything you've done in terms of getting those sales people excited about social because that is such a huge part of any kind of cultural change that has to take place at a company like yours that's making the big transformation. My question is on the other end of the spectrum. Once you get sales people excited about this then they begin wanting to participate in social media. Maybe they're talking about a promotion this weekend at a particular store. That inevitably brings up the challenges of governance, that brings up the challenges of what happens when that really great sales person goes to the other furniture store across the street? Curious if you've all thought about that and if you've put any governance in place to enable or empower your sales professionals to be those spokespeople on behalf of the company? Kate Wolcott: Yeah, we definitely put thought into it and before we started any of this several years ago we went down the road of creating a social media policy that has gone into every employee's handbook. When they're brought into the company it's gone over with them what's acceptable, what's not. We have a set of guidelines, what you should share what you shouldn't and we're totally fine with our salespeople putting it out there as long it's in a manner that respects the company rules. As long as they're, they basically aren't supposed to act or ever respond as if they're the marketing team from Wellsville Group or speak as if they're the national Ashley brand and they all kind of now that. We put so much value in having them as part of the process that we really haven't seen that many issues with it. There may have been a few where we just offline tell the person 'hey kinda can't do that' if they've done something. But really few and far between has that happened and I think that's because along the way we've really educated the sales team. We see that as they're our most valuable asset as far as their faces being out there. We found the ones that do make videos for instance, they're happy to do it. They're happy to participate and follow the rules because they're seeing customers come in like Michael said. So it's a back and forth. We appreciate them doing it and they've appreciated being given the opportunity to participate. Adam Brown: We were looking for a mattress over the weekend and we actually bought one so we went to a couple furniture stores and we did just like we're talking about. Today Caroline and I were pulling out our phones and looking at the reviews and we went to one mattress store and it said you have to ask for Jay. His name was Jay it's not Jay. Jay Baer: It's definitely not me. Adam Brown: Not you. At the Sleep Number Store you have to ask for Jay and certainly we did and very quickly we realized why. It was a great experience and talk about an organization that's doing some really interesting marketing on a product that has I can only assume has  markup like there's never been markup before. But it did fulfill this whole idea of how important that is. And that brings me kind of Michael to my last question I know the other big metric that all of you are focused on are return on ad spend. And relais is a big metric that many of our listeners probably use. You're kind of focused in and around a 20 X metric. And just like Jay asked for the cost per store visits and how you role social attribution into that I'm curious Michael how you role social attribution into your relais? Michael Melaro: Yeah so 20X is where our standard of excellence is for return. It is high a lot of businesses are satisfied with a two, three, four, seven, eight X return. But for us it's a large ticket item, we have to spend a lot to get that return. So we try and look at about a five percent spend would be our marketing budget. So for a hundred million dollar company we spend about five million dollars so there's your 20X. If we can do it there or better we're doing it better on social. Now what we've found is that when we first started we didn't even have offline conversion so we used [inaudible 00:33:09] strength metrics like CPE and things like and we thought we were cool 'cause we knew something costs less than 30 cents for engagement; but we didn't know if it drove a sale or not. Once we got the offline conversions set up we found out that very quickly by following our content and sequencing our audiences the way that we have that the further you push someone down the funnel sensibly the higher the return on the ad spend. What we see now is our bottom funnel content where we want to pump as much as our advertising dollars as we can. It's not uncommon for us to see returns of 60 or 70 X on our top performing pieces. It's so funny 'cause one of our best performing ads is the most hideous piece of creative. It's got a color of a sofa that we don't sell anymore on a discontinued rug. There's a plant in the foreground that's a little blurry. It's just amateur town USA photo. Two years ago if we were sitting in a room looking at this we would have been like scrap that it's ugly no one's gonna buy that, that's a terrible photo. It's still a struggle 'cause we're all creative people and we all think we know what's gonna perform. But we just can't bring ourselves to pull that ad because it's making us money hand over fist. So that's one of the tough lessons we've had to learn. And that one's still running, it's discontinued but can't do it. Kate Wolcott: We've actually to that point, we've actually tested it multiple times because as, like Mike said, the creative type in you hates to see this hideous photo. Even though it's performing and we know it's making tons of money but we, so we've run some different types of tests on it and time and time again let me tell you that photo outperforms any photo, anything we use. I mean we have our corporate brand has rented out mansions and taken beautiful, beautiful professional photography time and time again the ugly photo wins. Jay Baer: Well there's something to be said about that right? Kate Wolcott: It's real. Jay Baer: Yeah, that's exactly it. When it's too polished the customer can't necessarily see themselves in that imagery. So sometimes you over shoot it from a professionalism standpoint and maybe it's the plant. Maybe that's the real take away here. Every image should have a plant in the foreground. Kate Wolcott: Need the plant yeah. We've even done, we've tried audience, we've done different audiences. That campaign actually started out as we targeted to people that are for instance they like big lots or things like that. And obviously it's going to do well in that category. But we've tested it everywhere and time and time again it wins. Adam Brown: What's remarkable to me, Michael and Kate, is that story. In an industry that we've all gone and bought furniture and you don't think of it as a high, high tech type of industry. But you're using really shrewd science and great creativity to come to that; and for us to be having this discussion on how you're doing message testing and image testing and AZ testing on creative and actually informing what you're doing and what you're talking about is pretty remarkable. Other piece of I think that remarkableness is how you actually got to where you are right now. I love the story of how you both started as consultants and then as an agency and then became embedded into the organization there at Wellsville Group and Ashley HomeStore. Michael I wonder if you could share a little bit about how all that happened. Michael Melaro: We've got this weird story. We tell everybody our story 'cause we're every time we sit down with vendors and we start picking food out of each other's teeth people give us weird looks. But Kate and I have known each other for 30 years. Our parents used to work in adjacent classrooms in the same school and carpool to work together. So we've been friends since elementary school, middle school and high school. We went to the same college, we went to the same grade school program, we both moved to the same town bought a house on the same street, got a bank account together. I mean it's stupid, we do everything. Kate Wolcott: People think we're married. It's not uncommon to get congratulated for each other's. Michael Melaro: We're not making children but everything else right. We've always worked together and so for us we decided about five or six years ago to form an agency. Kate always led a creative agency and I had a strategy group. The things that we were the best at were the gaps in each other. So we came together and made our agency Brain Crush in Buffalo. It was great and we've had a great time working in all kinds of different industries. So Ashley was one of our clients and it just came to be that I don't think it took them long to figure out they could probably save some money by not paying our hourly rate instead and try and get us on the payroll. So even though the company's 51 years old this year they didn't have a marketing team up until five years ago. So we joined their team, we were no longer a vendor. We became employees and we built our team from there we now have seven working on eight people on our team. It's occupied the lion share of our time to the point where we're really only able to help another group one or two at a time. Jay Baer: That's great, what a fantastic story. Congratulations, it's an inspiration. We're gonna ask you guys the two questions that we ask everybody here on the Social Pros podcast going back now three hundred and however many episodes it is. I always forget what episode number that we're on. I'll start with Michael, what one tip would you give somebody who's looking to become a social pro, other than do whatever Kate says? That was probably the real tip. Michael Melaro: That is a good tip. You know we hear this a lot because our industry, the furniture retail industry is super old school. I mean it hasn't changed a lot. We always joke about how our industry is basically 65 year old men deciding what 30 year old women want in their living rooms. There's such a lack of evolution when it comes to marketing. We hear from all of our peers and all of our friends that own furniture companies. Oh we don't know where we can start on Facebook, we can't do it, we're so far behind, we don't even have a page. It almost seems like they feel like they're under a mountain and there so far behind they can never get there. What we've learned is that Facebook's only been around for like 12 years now, 13 years. You can start today and still be an early adapter. I believe the platform is still in its infancy when you look at the lifecycle. I always do a presentation in our stores and I always show about how slow television evolved. I use "Back To The Future" as an example. Back in 1955 when he crashes through the barn and they're all sitting around the dinner table looking at the TV. 30 years later they're still sitting at the dinner table watching TV only it's two inches bigger and it's got color. So media evolves very slowly and so for all the people that think that they can't do it you just get in there and play around and you learn and it won't take long to figure it out. Jay Baer: That's fantastic, I think you're dead on. I love your line about 65 year old men trying decide what 30 year old women want in their living rooms. There's a lot of truth to that. Kate last question is for you, if you could do a video call with any living person who would it be and why? Kate Wolcott: Okay, so at the expense of sounding a little bit like a fan girl I think I would have to say I'd love a video chat with John Mayer. I'm a big fan, Michael is too. But I also think he's an artist in more ways than just being a musician. He's really great at marketing. If you look through him throughout the years he's reinvented himself. He understands branding probably better than most musicians I would say. Maybe more than most business owners. He uses his brand to sell more records and he just keeps changing and attracting a new audience and I think he's a genius. Jay Baer: That's a good one and I don't know if we've ever had John Mayer on. We'd have to consult the database but that's a good one. He is a really good marketer and certainly now has been doing it long enough. He's one of those artists and there's not that many of them who is now sort of standing the test of time as well. Kate Wolcott: Yeah, he's kind of quietly one of the best guitar players living. Jay Baer: All right there you go, that's a good answer Kate. Okay Adam let's work on that. Adam Brown: When we get to the musician portion of our calendar. Kate Wolcott: Yeah, you'll have to get him on the show now. Jay Baer: Yeah, hasn't John Mayer played Salesforce some sort of conference, I imagine he's been at Dream Force or something? Adam Brown: I'm sure he's done an opening act somewhere. Jay Baer: Yeah, you gotta talk to somebody. You can make that happen. Adam Brown: I'll see what I can do. Jay Baer: You can do it. Kate Wolcott: Well that would be incredible. Jay Baer: Yeah, we'll let you know. Kate Wolcott: Let me know about that one. Adam Brown: You'll be the second to know. Jay Baer: Second to know for sure. Kate Wolcott: Thank you, I appreciate that. Jay Baer: Kate thanks so much for being here and Mike you too it's been terrific. Really fun show and congratulations on all the terrific, terrific success on everything you guys are doing out there. It's really spectacular. Michael Melaro: Thank you guy's we appreciate it, we love the podcast and we're glad to be a part of it. Kate Wolcott: Yeah thanks so much guys. Jay Baer: Our pleasure, ladies and gentlemen that has been this week's episode. Adam and I will be back next week with a very special show. Adam's gonna interview me about my new book "Talk Triggers and the Power of Word of Mouth" so we're going to switch it up a little bit. That will be fun, so until then I am Jay Baer from Convince and Convert and he is Adam Brown from Salesforce Marketing Cloud and this has been your very favorite podcast. It has been Social Pros, don't forget socialpros.com for every single episode going back way, way, way, way, way into the archives. All the transcripts, the links all that jazz at socialpros.com. See you next week.  
Show Full Transcript
Close