Social media ads can dramatically speed your success or waste a lot of time and money. After helping more than 500 clients with web design and social media marketing, Nicole Ouellette knows how to use social media effectively to build businesses better.

In today’s episode, Nicole talks about organic growth versus ad-led growth and highlights core software tools every business should know about to grow faster via social media.

Listen now to learn:

  • How to avoid creating “bad party” websites.
  • The different types of media you can incorporate in your ads.
  • How to use Facebook Business Manager.
  • The power of remarketing pixels.
  • The difference between ads on Facebook vs Instagram.
  • And how to use chatbots to your advantage.

Important Links & Mentions

Nicole Ouellette’s Breaking Even Communications Website

Nicole’s Free 2020 Make Some Money Course

Exclusive Discount!
Nicole’s Facebook 201 Course
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Solopreneur Success™ Transcript

SSP049 Breaking Even Using Social Media Advertising with Nicole Ouellette

Nicole Ouellette:

Everyone tells me that Facebook is free, but if you’re doing it yourself, if you’re a solopreneur like the people listening, and you’re doing this yourself, it’s taking your time to do it, which hopefully you don’t see as some infinite free resource, because it’s not.

Steve Coombes:

You’re listening to Nicole Ouellette, founder of Breaking Even Communications. After helping more than 500 clients create more than 600 websites, Nicole has found marketing via social channels can dramatically speed up your success. But you must do it right to avoid wasting untold hours and dollars. And you’re about to hear some key insights into how to grow your business faster via social marketing right now, because Nicole is today’s guest on Solopreneur Success.


Welcome to the Solopreneur Success™ podcast, where successful business owners gather to share true stories and sound advice to help you start and grow your own solopreneur business. Come soar with us and design the life you love. Now, here’s your host, Steve Coombes.


Hello, solopreneurs. Today, I’m interviewing Nicole Ouellette, owner of Breaking Even Communications. Nicole’s a web specialist. She’s created more than 500 websites for over 600 clients in the past dozen years or so, yet she also has a particular strength in what we’re going to talk about today, and that’s Facebook and Instagram ads. Let’s face it, SEO is a long game, and it could be very effective, but advertising can dramatically speed up your growth, or it can be a money pit. So, Nicole’s going to share with us, today, how to make sure your social advertising is working effectively for you. So, Nicole, welcome to our show today.


Thanks, Steve, for having me. I appreciate it.


I’m really happy to have you here. This is a topic I’m personally interested in, and I know you specialize in creating websites, but also getting leads through social advertising, and that includes Facebook and Instagram, and other places. I’d love to hear how you got into the web development side of things. I think it’s pretty cool.


Well, what happened was, I’ve always been interested in being a writer. That’s what I always wanted to be when I was a kid, and people would ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up. It was to be a writer, and what I realized pretty quickly on is that it’s hard to be a writer, and that most people do other things besides writing. So, I understood, in working with some friends, that if I just learned a little bit of code to go with my writing, I could sell people, I could blog for people, I could actually just take this content and post it onto a website, and that made it a little bit more valuable and a little bit more niche.

This was 13 years ago, so I feel like, now, blogging has obviously gotten a little bit easier, in terms of technically being able to post things, there’s a little bit less code and things you have to know, but in doing this kind of work, the other thing I realised is, the marketing is what I love. The problem is, if I’m marketing an ineffective website, or a website that doesn’t even have a way for someone to either buy something or to be able to engage with the person, that I could be the best marketer on earth and be driving people to this website that wasn’t really anything. Kind of like going through the effort of telling everyone how great your party is going to be and all that, and then not cleaning your house, and people walk in, and you look at them and say “oh, hey. Come on in, I guess.” You know that that feeling?

So, the only reason I got really into doing the web development was so that I had a little bit more control over that product, but my main avenue for revenue generation, is mainly marketing. The website stuff just comes into play when you want to convert people.


Yeah, that totally makes sense. I’ve never heard it described exactly that way. I like that a lot, though, because it really is that way. It’s like “hey, here’s your party invite,” you’ve got this special invite, I’m looking forward to going over to have to a birthday party or the celebration or whatever it is, you walk into the house and it’s like, “well, I mean, I should just turn back around, walk back.


Yeah, there’s no decorating, everyone’s sitting on the couch, watching TV, and looks up at you mid-popcorn eating like, “what are you doing here?” Yeah, and a bad website could feel that way. We don’t want people to feel unwelcome at your party.


Exactly. You know that that’s very important, but you also are a specialist in the social media side of things. What drew you into Facebook and Instagram? Back 13 years ago, Facebook was barely a thing. It wasn’t nothing, but barely at that point. What brought you down that path?


Well, I started a blog because I was in a position where I had been submitting articles to a publication and they kept saying that they liked the idea, so I would write it up and send it in, and about the fifth time this happened and it didn’t run, I finally asked the editor “what’s going on?” and he said “well, I don’t think you’re a good enough writer,” so in that moment, I had a decision to make. I could have listened to this middle-aged man tell me I wasn’t good at it, or I could just decide to do my own thing. So, I went home that day and I set up a website, and I just thought “watch this,” so I started just writing.

For a while, my blog was a daily thing. Blogging, if people are just getting into blogging now, you will love that 13 years ago, we had these crazy ways of trying to drive traffic. Steve, I don’t know, were you ever in a blog carnival? Do you know what I’m talking about?


I didn’t participate in them, even though I’ve been a writer for 13 years myself, I never participated in that, but I’ve seen them.


So, for the people listening who maybe weren’t weirdly into blogging 13 years ago, there was no social media, so to get people to go to your website, you would find other people in your niche, so if you were blogging about cooking or personal finance, or whatever, you would find other people and you would all blog on the same topic and link to each other. So, I’d say, if I have a cooking blog, “we’re all going to cook with potatoes in this blog carnival. We’re going to post our favourite potato recipe.” Let’s say there was twenty of us participating, we all send each other “here’s my link to my recipe, or whatever,” and then we would all agree to post “here’s everybody’s potato recipe” in this blog carnival, so we would do really crazy stuff like that.

So, when social media came on the scene, we were all like “fantastic. This is way easier than what we were doing before,” and obviously, it still works in terms of, you are working with other people who have business pages, you are working with colleagues, but it’s a bit different in that you’re building your own platform a little bit easier, because you can just share your stuff and maybe not this other person’s potato recipe that you didn’t particularly like the idea of. So, when social media came on the scene, I got really excited as a way for it to drive blog traffic because, for three years, I think, or four years of that, that was daily. I think I have 1500 blog posts on my website, so enjoy those archives if you really want to.

Point being is, doing it, I have definitely become a better writer in all that practice, but also, it gave me a way to put things out there and get immediate feedback. So, to me, the social media stuff fed the blog in terms of for me. Then, as I started doing it for my blog, people would ask me “hey, Nicole, can you help me use Facebook to help whatever?”

I remember the first person who asked me that. It was a local coffee shop owner. She said “hey, I have a blog and I want to do more with my Facebook page. Could you help me with that?” and I said, “you would pay me to do that?” and she said “yeah,” and that’s when the lightbulb went off and I thought “maybe I can do this, because I really like this. I mean, I like the writing part, but I also like the idea of more people reading the writing,” because let’s face it, if you write a piece, you write a blog post, and whether 100 people read it or 100,000 people read it, you put in that effort already, so getting more people to read it is better. Yes, if you’re monetizing, it’s better because you make more money, but also, you get a lot of feedback.

I mean, I had people who were leaving comments, whether it’s on social media, on a Facebook post, or on the blog itself, I was getting emails from people. It’s just this really lovely immediate way to get feedback from your writing to just put it out there. To me, the social media fed the blog. After that, I just really got into helping small business owners get in front of more people with the same tools because, let’s face it, it’s hard out there to run a business, and I come from a small business family myself, and the fact that there was all these avenues that were open to people and they were cost-effective, and they were targeted was something that really spoke to me, and I really want to tell people that.


Yeah. It’s not just blog posts either. These days, you have audio, and you can share your podcast episode, or you can share a video that you put up on YouTube or Vimeo. There’s so many opportunities to share content, infographics, just a wealth of opportunity that wasn’t even really around to speak of anyways 13 years ago, so it’s just something. I also remember, back in the day, maybe it’s still around, I haven’t looked lately, it’s like Rafflecopter. You’d get points for sharing this link and there may be other opportunities like that, too, still today. Maybe that’s even still around and we’ll probably get into that in a little bit.

There are ways to get people to share your content so more people get eyeballs on it, but the first thing is getting that first person’s eyeballs on your content. Let’s say you’re a brand-new business and you said, “I need to get in front of people.” How effective is social media, in your eyes, for doing that?

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