Podcast

How to Build A Million Person Following Whose Begging To Buy Your Stuff With Wes Jones

This week I got a super special guest for you. His name is Wesley Jones. He weighs in from Chicago Illinois by way of Southern California. 

Have any of you guys been following us for the past few years? 

You’ve seen our rise on social media and it’s kind of odd for somebody like me who’s been in the cannabis industry for many many years and kind of social media and out of the public spotlight only to protect my family and protect my identity as I was navigating my way through the industry. 

Well a few years ago I ran into Wes Jones and a group that he was working with that helped entrepreneurs like myself build audiences and brands online. 

And I wanted to take my, all my expertise and all my years and stories and everything from the cannabis industry and bring it online and start publishing it to you guys. 

And Wes was one of the ones that helped me do that.

He is a performance-driven communications expert leveraging over 9 years in digital marketing, public relations strategy, and content management. 

Without further ado, I’m going to welcome Wes on to the show and just dig into this stuff, how to build million-person audiences that are begging to buy your stuff especially in the CBD and cannabis space when a lot of people are having a hard time acquiring customers and building audiences for themselves. 


Content posting is really really really important because you know don’t you don’t want to. I mean it’s like throwing a party but there are no drinks there’s, there’s no entertainment and then there’s no weed there’s nothing right. The content is the party, right? 

So, you click on like because people want to be a part of this community, they want they’re interested in the topics that you’re going to discuss. So, you’ve got to actually deliver on that content. What’s healthy is a good content mix. – Wes Jones


Download The Episode Companion For This Episode

Some Topics We Discussed Include:

[02:11] – Wes Jones background, turfing real estate career to pursue an online digital marketing career

[05:19] – Cost of acquiring fans

[06:39] – How Wes’ strategy snowballed in building fanbase following

[08:27] – Content posting, what it is all about

[11:32] – How many posts should you do a day, what is a great content mix?

[14:39] – Importance of nurturing your own internal traffic and tribe

[15:17] – Doing paid ads for restricted industries, what is the struggle with Facebook?

[16:48] – Scarcity with your offer, the advantage of bringing in sales

[20:43] – Best niche for fan acquisition

 

Connect with Wes Jones

Connect with James Brinkerhoff

 

Transcript:

James Brinkerhoff This week I got a super special guest for you. His name is Wesley Jones. He weighs in from Chicago Illinois by way of Southern California. 

Have any of you guys been following us for the past few years? 

You’ve seen our kind of meteoric rise on social media and it’s kind of odd for somebody like me who’s been in the cannabis industry for many many years and kind of social media and out of the public spotlight only to protect my family and protect my identity as I was navigating my way through the industry. 

Well a few years ago I ran into Wes Jones and a group that he was working with that helped entrepreneurs like myself build audiences and brands online. 

And I wanted to take my, all my expertise and all my years and stories and everything from the cannabis industry and bring it online and start publishing it to you guys. 

And Wes was one of the ones that helped me do that. 

So, we’ve been able to build a Facebook page of, is about to cross a million followers. We have other groups that put it well over a million Facebook groups and different social channels there. 

We’ve built a subscriber list to over 400 thousand people. And recently I had to kill about one hundred thousand people on that subscriber list because it was costing me so much money to keep it going and a lot of those people weren’t really active with our content and our offers and stuff. 

So, so we’ve built a huge subscribers list with Wes. We’ve done a lot of things; we’ve been able to acquire 500 customers and only a few short days. 

We’ve been able, another time we did a promotion for, and we got 300 customers and like less than 48 hours. 

So, we’ve been able to do some amazing things online with social media with our friend Wes Jones here. 

So, without further ado I’m going to welcome Wes on to the show and just dig into this stuff, how to build a million-person audiences that are begging to buy your stuff especially in the CBD and cannabis space when a lot of people are having a hard time acquiring customers and building audiences for themselves. 

So, Wes thanks so much for joining us today. 

Wes Jones: Thanks for that intro man. Glad to be here. 

James Brinkerhoff: Yeah you bet. You bet. 

So, tell me a little bit about yourself Wes, your background and kind of how you got into building out these awesome audiences for people and yourself. 

Wes Jones: Right, right. My background really is you know I started off in real estate and you know before I knew what Internet marketing was and direct response marketing was, I was doing direct mail campaigns to get people to list their house with me for sale also to find investors also to find buyers. 

So you know I had this really kind of complicated business where I had to advertise to get people selling their home. I had to advertise to find people that wanted to buy homes and also had to advertise to find investors. 

Which created a really unique problem for me at the time. You know I was pretty good. I built the 400 person cash buyer list of investors and that’s how I was able to start wholesaling. 

But at the time it was around 2011. So, it wasn’t a great time for real estate. So, I decided to pivot. 

You know I found out about this thing Internet marketing and direct response market and that’s when I kind of realized like you know I’m already kind of doing some of these things. 

And from there, I mean that’s really how I got on the Internet. Fast forward a couple years I’m in agency business and one of our biggest problems is keeping clients for a long time. You know Facebook changes its algorithm every four to six months. 

So, you know if we want clients longer than that I mean it was really getting tough because an algorithm would come and change and all of our campaigns that are doing 300 percent, 400 percent, would tank and we kind of have to start from scratch. 

And the costs are higher now and we’re trying to figure it out. And what we came up with last year, really. Really over the last two years but last year was when we really started realizing like, Okay, what is worth? What’s worth to cross every account and we have we’ve never really had to change it. 

And we looked at this idea of fan acquisition. Acquiring fans around a social property and getting the organic reach and the organic push that you get from owning a page and basically have an internal traffic.

Acquiring fans around a social property and getting the organic reach and the organic push that you get from owning a page and basically have an internal traffic. - Wes Jones Click To Tweet

Wes Jones: And we were able to kind of take that and build out into other phases where now our philosophy is based on just having your own internal traffic. Because now you know we took our average take rate of a client from four to six months to eight to 10 months. 

Because now when the algorithm changes you know we have many chat lists. We’ve got an e-mail, we’ve got a SMS, you still got a fan page. 

We can go live on that fan page. 

We can still retarget our warm audience right until we figure out the cold traffic side. So, it just allowed us to keep our clients longer because we had more time to kind of figure out the ins and outs because we built up such a huge mass of internal traffic. 

James Brinkerhoff: Cool so, to get this right. A lot of times people on Facebook they’re spending to get leads or they’re spending to get customer straight to their product. So, they’re giving telling Facebook take people right to my offer page or my sales page my product page and I’ll pay for that. So normally what are people, what is the cost to get somebody to your sales page, your product? 

Wes Jones: Man, I mean if you’re an e-comm right now it’s pretty normal to see you know conversion costs. Are you say people to your website or people to buy?

James Brinkerhoff: Yeah. To your website, to your offer.

Cost of Acquiring Fans

Wes Jones: To the website? Is pretty normal. If you know a typical sales page, 80 cents on the low. Dollar fifty if you’ve got a pretty good offer. If it’s newer and you haven’t tested it your cost per click may come out around 250. But we’re seeing around 80 cents to 150 is about the norm. 

James Brinkerhoff: Right. So, 150 to get to your offer. Then the other way that you guys do it is you acquire fans. So, let’s talk about the cost of acquiring fans and why that’s where you guys are steering all your clients right now. 

Wes Jones:  Yeah. For us the typical cost to acquire a fan is about 15 cents and there’s a lot of times we’re able to get that below 10 cents. I know what you know we ran a pretty legendary campaign. We got over 200 thousand fans were 4 cent a piece. 

So yeah, the leverage there is because you know when you pay for a click you pay that dollar fifty you get one click. But if you want that person to come back to your site, you’ve got to pay Facebook again. So, you also have to play, pay the retargeting cost to get them to click back to your site. Whereas, with us, a fan, is going to see our content through organic reach. We can do Facebook lives. 

There are different ways we can post and get them to engage with us in Messenger. 

So, you know really our whole philosophy is offsetting your traffic costs, not increasing your traffic costs and just perpetually relying on retargeting. 

James Brinkerhoff: I just want to throw some numbers out for you guys out there listening in for my mastermind group. 

So, we started at about 40 dollars a day on Facebook and we started getting, I think we started about 12 cents alike. 

And then after a few weeks Wes optimized the campaign and got it down. We had some of them were a penny. Some of them were two cents. Some of them were four cents and some of them were six cents.

 And at that point I probably should have dump, I could have dumped a lot more money on it but I was just starting out and when you start to see this thing snowball week after week. 

And then the paid traffic with the organic traffic it like boost it together so it kind of turns into this snowball and we’re there getting thousands of new people into our page and into our kind of community page every week. And then from there we’re posting, so to talk a little bit about the content strategy once we get in there right. 

So, you can spend 40 dollars a day right. You can get 40 people if you’re lucky you probably get 30, 25 to 30 people to click on your page. You probably, realistically nobody is going to buy out of that many. 

So, you have 20 people that click there then they’re gone. If you ever want to see them again you either giving them away something on that page that was really irresistible they were going to give you your email or you’re going to have to pay Facebook or Google or someone to retarget them because all you really got was their pixel ID, you got them on your pixel right. 

Yeah because they clicked on your landing page so you’re going to have to go pay another dollar fifty probably to get them to see the page again. Well, this way a dollar fifty you have fifteen people for a dollar fifty or ten cents. 

You know you have 15 people for a dollar fifty that are in your community and then the next time you post they’re going to start seeing your posts. You’re going to become a regular figure in their News Feed and they’re social. 

 So, I hope you guys see the power of that. So, talk a little bit about the content posting. 

 Content posting, what it is all about

Wes Jones:  Yeah content posting is really really really important because you know don’t you don’t want to. I mean it’s like throwing a party but there are no drinks there’s, there’s no entertainment and then there’s no weed there’s nothing right. The content is the party, right? 

So, you click on like because people want to be a part of this community, they want they’re interested in the topics that you’re going to discuss. So, you’ve got to actually deliver on that content. What’s healthy is a good content mix. 

How many posts should you do a day, what is a great content mix?

So, I would advise people to think about content types, types of content that your audience is interested in. 

Pick at least three, right, content type. So, for example, “Benefits of Certain Herbs”. That’s a type of post. Right? 

Now you know you’re going out and you’re looking out for memes that say, “Benefits of Ginger”, and list out the benefits of ginger. Benefits of turmeric, and then it lists out the benefits of turmeric. 

And you might have another type of post that’s one that did really well which you guys was like anti-pharma posts, right? That gets a ton of engagement. So, come up with content. 

James Brinkerhoff:  Like controversy, the controversy would be like a type. 

Wes Jones: Yeah. 

James Brinkerhoff: Controversial posts. Then the other one that did well for us was like songs, for some reason like any kind of songs about weed or CBD. And people loved the music on social. So that was another one that did well. Another one that did well for us was news. 

Wes Jones:  Yeah, I was going to say news and political news or industry news. Updates about a specific product or legal status on a specific product. 

And you can really get a good idea of this by looking at you know hopefully if you’re starting a community, you’re not the first person to start a community around this topic. So, you can kind of go spy on some other people and see what kind of post were engaging with them. 

James Brinkerhoff: Yeah. So, if I’m good, if I’m into natural health I go into Facebook and the search bar and I type in Natural Health for Moms or Natural Health America or Natural Health Organic. 

And I go look and see like how many pages how many groups are there and then if there is. Do you look for a certain number say like if there’s, there’s not a page that has one hundred thousand fans is probably not worth my time? 

Wes Jones: Typically you got to go with your gut. I would say typically 80 percent of the time if no one has done it yet it’s probably not worth your time. 

James Brinkerhoff: Okay. So, it’s good to see the competition. It’s good to see some big pages when you go search for like Sports Fitness. 

Wes Jones: Yeah, yeah. I mean if I see a page that has 20 million fans, and another one it has 5 million, another one that has a million, another one to six hundred thousand. I’m excited to get in because typically those guys have a huge audience but their posting strategy is all wrong. 

And so they’re still missing out on a ton of engagement and a ton of traffic and we ask what we really can come in there and kind of shake things up. 

James Brinkerhoff: Yeah, I love it because as somebody who’s doesn’t have a huge budget you can actually go in and compete with some of these guys because of getting these strategies right. So cool. So. So you go through you get your types of posting you maybe test three four or five and you figure out what three are really getting you engagement and you stick with those three types. 

Wes Jones: Yeah. 

James Brinkerhoff: And then how many times a day do you post?

Wes Jones: It depends. Per page. Right now, less is more so. Six to ten times is really good. Right now, I used to be six to twelve at one point we were posting twenty-five times today. 

Right now, if you’re posting twenty-six to ten times a day with a healthy content mix. You’re good. And what I mean by content mix is don’t post all memes, right? Posts maybe post 5 memes, an article, and a video. And if the content mix is what will get you the engagement, if you post the same type of content. I like to say you’re kind of bland out in the Facebook algorithm. 

They’re kind of just stop showing your content. So just make sure you’re mixing up your content types as far as the categories of content that you’re posting but also the physical type of content like this is a photo. This is a video. This is a link post. This is a meme. This is you know a meme video like just mix up your content types. 

James Brinkerhoff: Yeah guys. So, we would normally be posting maybe five or six memes a day. Then we’ll publish two articles and we’ll have those originally written for us and then we’ll publish them on the Facebook page and you get all these people clicking over to the blog. 

James Brinkerhoff: So now we’ve got people pushing over to our own content site where we can place our own ads and our own, have our own opt-ins for e-mails. 

And then we start building that brand of that content that blog and so we’ve been able to get three hundred and fifty thousand clicks on one article from doing this. And you never know which one’s going to go viral. 

Importance of nurturing your own internal traffic and tribe

But if you stay consistent all the sudden as traffic builds up in our blog, we’re seeing fifty thousand, one hundred thousand unique visitors every month which starts to build up your own internal traffic. And that’s pretty exciting. You have, pretty exciting. You have your own little tribe there. 

You don’t have to go pay Google and Facebook or do solo ads or somebody else who has a big list every time you want to send traffic there. You start to build your own tribe and that’s really exciting. 

So, let’s see one thing, one other thing I wanted to ask which is pretty important and people are asking me right now is the ad portion of this. And while a lot of people are getting their ad shut down to restricted industries like CBD and hemp and cannabis and stuff. Talk to me about you know setting up these ads and how you guys go about the audiences and some of the sweet spots to look for. 

Wes Jones: Yeah. Yeah, we did a lot with the restricted space. What we’ve been able to do there is kind of prolong and delay the sale and we focused on since we know pretty much everybody is out on a witch hunt for life certain industries like CBD and Kratom there. 

 And we’ve done both CBD and Kratom. What we’ve been able to do is prolong the sale just a little bit and we focused primarily on capturing the audience in as many different buckets as possible. So, we do fan acquisition, we get them in messenger, we get them an email, we get them SMS. And from those four channels organically we will sell that product. 

Typically, Facebook is, they want to know you’re not using Facebook ads to sell CBD and Facebook ads to sell a product that is not compliant. 

Posting CBD on your news feed organically? You know typically they’re not going to mess with you for anything like that. And you guys know we’ve done that with which are, which are Manychat. 

We’ve done that which are, which are page organically. The problem is typically, and I’m saying typically because it is still Facebook right. Ninety-nine percent of the time they just want to know that you’re not advertising one of those products. But organically is perfectly fine. 

So, we focus primarily on email. For us, the messenger is a way we really love to get people into email because it’s kind of like building two list in one. So, we’ll get him into messenger first and from Messenger, we’ll ask with their email address and that’s working great for us. 

 James Brinkerhoff: And then right from there you send him an email of the product. 

Wes Jones: Yeah, yeah. I mean and then the key is making sure you have your offer really dive in and have a ton of scarcity. You know James talked about those offers where we got you to know several hundred customers you know in a day or two. And that was twice. 

Well what we did was we sold through email. We sold through messenger on the back end, totally uncompliant products. Right. Yeah. The smoke paraphernalia and such right. And what we did was we just engineered a ton of scarcity. You know a ton of timer’s and an irresistible offer. 

And people will take advantage of it. You know some people think that you know if you can’t optimize for purchase on Facebook, you’re not going to make sales. 

You know what how do we make sales before Facebook. Right. Right. So, it’s just you know there’s always a way to engineer a campaign for scale. 

Not Able To Sell Directly In The News Feed Which Is A Bummer. It Is A Bummer

For us with CBD since we’re not able to sell directly in the news feed which is a bummer. It is a bummer. We rely on you know capturing our audiences and messenger and email and high scarcity irresistible offers work awesome for us. 

James Brinkerhoff: Well there you have it guys. So mainly, let me just recap on the ads, you’re mainly running light campaigns to get that person into the page. Right. And you also do some messenger ads. 

Fan Acquisition and Building a Fan Data

Wes Jones: Yeah. So typically, we’ll start with a fan acquisition and we’ll acquire fans, five to ten thousand fans because that gives us a dataset to create a lookalike audience firm. So now we can do two things. We can retarget our fans and capture them in the messenger now but we can also go to a cold audience based off that fan data. Facebook will give us an audience of 2 million people that very closely matches the 10000 fans we’ve already acquired. So that’s how we’re making sure that when we move forward in the cold traffic. It’s super targeted, super dive in. 

James Brinkerhoff: So you target that look alike with Messenger ads so they get into the messenger get their email for some type of giveaway or a recipe book or a YouTube video or something. And then you follow up with the product after you’ve kind of led them down that path. 

Wes Jones:  Exactly. Yeah. 

James Brinkerhoff: So that’s how we’ve been doing it guys. People have been wondering how we’ve been doing this. And everyone’s getting their Facebook, their ad accounts shut down and we’ve been quietly building audiences not directed at CBD, directed around a passion. Whether it’s yoga or whether it’s pit bulls. For us, it was “Legalize It, Don’t Criticize It” because we’re my backgrounds and cannabis so I was. I’ve been all about getting it legalized my whole life.

And we found that there’s a lot of people in that niche so to get out there on Facebook check out you know Facebook is also a search engine. So, go looking for the groups and the passions that you’re all about and the likelihood is if you see a big page there’s a lot of people in that niche that love that type of stuff. 

 And there’s a way to get in there and get in front of people even if you don’t have this monster huge ad budget like some of these big brands. So, I’m super excited about this stuff. 

And if any of you guys are interested in this, you can go ahead and reach out to me. I’m going to be leaving some links below here and those that are in my mastermind group and seeing this video there’s going to be a forum down below where you can talk to us. 

If you’re interested in having us help you build out these kinds of audiences for your business. It doesn’t necessarily have to be CBD this works in a lot of niches. Wes, what are the best niches you would say it probably doesn’t work in every niche, right? 

Best Niches You Would Say Fan Acquisition Probably Doesn’t Work In Every Niche

Wes Jones:  Well you know I haven’t seen it not work yet. And if it hasn’t worked it wasn’t necessarily a niche kind of saying it was more so. Didn’t have the right offer or maybe we just didn’t target the right people that offer went for. But I would say we’ve done this at least 50 or 60 times over the last few years and I mean almost every audience we’ve built has been super high performance. Some more than others. I’m biased so I’m going to say the best niche is the health space. Anything that’s around health. 

Wes Jones: People are super motivated right now; especially alternative medicine is a trend. Ten years ago, it was only the coops that were interested in. Now it’s like number one brand, right? Now it’s global. So, I specifically like to help people in any realm of health, right? Whether it’s fitness, right? We’ve got cycling clients or whether it’s you know CBD. Beauty, beauty is really good space. 

Wes Jones: So there’s a, I mean anything that people, any industry where people spend a lot of money is you know a good industry, right?

Anything that people, any industry where people spend a lot of money is you know a good industry,- Wes Jones Click To Tweet

Wes Jones: So if I had a client right now. So, luxury sunglasses I might start a fashion page for them, right? Because people are interested in fashion. People are spending money on fashion. So why couldn’t we build a community around them? 

So, a lot of it, just making sure you got, you can kind of spy on the people who have the pages already and see what they’re posting already that’s going viral. If you can find at least two or three posts that did good for other people then there’s no reason why you can’t build a community around that topic. 

James Brinkerhoff: Cool Wes. That’s awesome and I mean that is a lot of value, you guys. 

 You basically, we basically broke down there how we’ve done it. how we’ve done it and there’s been very few of us in the cannabis and hemp space that have built such a massive following like that. 

 So, we go back to this video I’m going to transcribe it so it’s all written down and hopefully I’ll add a couple of PDF. 

I know Wes is, I think he’s coming out with a course soon so just stay tuned. This is really the way you guys right now to build big tribes’ internal traffic where you have your own authority and your own traffic that’s following you. 

And at some point, you know some point six months ago I turned it off. I stopped giving Facebook money because I had so much traffic that I had to run back and start focusing on my offers to try to keep up with all the fans and everybody that I was dealing with. 

Asking me for products, asking me for courses, coaching, all kinds of stuff. And now I’ve even, Wes I’ve even got multiple six-figure deal just from building this community that has nothing to do with you know cannabis consumers or legalize it.

Just the fact that we’ve built a massive audience and people are looking at us like this it’s creating massive opportunities from my wife and I. Speaking on, getting paid to fly across the country to speak on at people’s events. All different kind of stuff happens to this. So even if you’re just selling sunglasses or you’re just selling a CBD product or a skin care thing or whatever it is this really elevates you in almost every way in your business. 

You go and show people you have a million followers on Facebook. They want to interview you. They want to put you on their podcast. They want to do some. They want to do deals with you. 

James Brinkerhoff: So there are so many things that come from all this and I’m super excited about it, Wes. 

I’m thankful that you took this time, I know you’re busy. You took this time to come out here for our audience and teach them some about this stuff. 

And I’m going to continue to bring you out here as long as you’ll come out and show up and help continue to teach this stuff. Because to me it’s really like as a small business owner, when you look out into the world and I especially like being in the cannabis space, I’m looking at some very major, the billionaires is who I’m up against now. I’m up against these billionaires. 

 And I’ve been you know I ran away from home as a kid you know nobody you know and when I was young cannabis was like stay the hell away from everyday. It was like this really bad drug, “Say No to Drugs”. I grew up in it and all that stuff. So that was kind of pushed out of my family and everything and I worked really hard and I built myself up a million seven-figure business. 

You know being a caregiver and taking cannabis down to these medical collectives down in San Francisco back in the early 2000s and I was really proud of myself but I still couldn’t tell the world that I had a little successful business that I built. 

James Brinkerhoff: And so here I am now it’s legal. You know it’s like I know that there’s a group of guys like me and guys and girls like me that have been in the industry a while and now that it’s legal now we’ve got to do the next problem is the billionaires and all these guys are coming in with unlimited ad spend unlimited access to television radio. They have such shelf space. 

Wes Jones: Their buying patents to everything. Yeah.

James Brinkerhoff: They’re buying up, they’re buying up the industry. And to me this technique, this strategy of building audiences online. This is like a diamond in the rough you guys where we have the opportunity to get in front of a lot of people. Where you would never have that opportunity in mainstream media. You’d be paying hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars to get in front of. We’ve had, I’ve had probably 50, 100 million video views. People that have seen me or my wife on video. That’s where we go to different cities and people recognize my wife in the airport now. It’s crazy. 

Wes Jones: I was just looking at your page man. You’ve had almost nine hundred thousand messages since we started manychat. 

James Brinkerhoff: I know. I get, for a while, I was getting a message every five seconds, I had somebody sending me a message internally. And I didn’t have they’re asking me for products and all this stuff and I just didn’t have the team that you know. So, I wasn’t ready for how fast this audience got built.

So, I just want to just put that out there to all you guys like this is the way to build a moat around your company where you have people that trust you and like you. Then there’s some moving parts you know and I’d recommend getting with my wife too.

Because when you combine Facebook live with this audience strategy it’s super powerful. And you become like a celebrity to people and you really become the authority in your space. So, and you don’t have to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to do it. So, it’s just pretty exciting I’m going to continue to talk about this stuff. Again Wes, thanks so much. And you guys this is the latest episode of On The Rise and we will see you on the next time. 

Wes Jones: All right have a good one. 

James Brinkerhoff:  Later. 

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