This week I’m so excited to bring you Gavin Bell. Gavin is the UK’s leading facebook ads consultant and in this episode he shares his journey with us. Gavin knows a lot about facebook ads as you’d expect but how has he gone about building his business and his personal brand? In this episode we’ll find out.
Multi-award winning entrepreneur, Gavin Bell really knows his onions when it comes to Facebook ads. Not only is he a leading Facebook advertising consultant, but he’s also a renowned vlogger with millions of views. You might just see him speaking to his camera today…
Gavin helps brands across the world to utilise Facebook in a way that not only builds their audience, but turns that attention into revenue. His work has been featured on the likes of Virgin.com, Huffington Post, Entrepreneur on Fire, KissMetrics and Social Media Examiner.
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Hi there. Thanks for joining me for this episode of gravity, the digital marketing and internet business podcast. I'm Bob gentle and every week I'm joined by small digital marketing business owners, creators, consultants and practitioners who share what makes their business work. Whether you run your own business, you're just thinking of stepping out on your own for the first time, you're in the right place. If you're new to the podcast, and welcome along, just take a second right now to subscribe to the show and your podcast player. That way, you won't miss weekly new episodes as they come out. And you can dig into some older ones when you finish this one. This week, I'm so excited to bring you Kevin bell. Kevin is the UK is leading Facebook ads consultant. And then this episode, he shares his journey with us. Kevin knows a lot about Facebook ads, as you'd expect. But how has he gone about building his business and his personal brand? In this episode, we'll find out. So welcome along, let's meet. So I am delighted to welcome Kevin bell to the podcast, Kevin is the UK is leading Facebook ad. I am so excited to have you here. I haven't told you this. But you're kind of a great case study for me in this that there are people that you meet. And when you meet them, you realize you know much much more about them than they know about you. It's a bizarre experience. I met you at atomic con a little while ago and realized I actually have a relationship with you that you don't even know about. So I'm delighted to actually get to spend some time with you in real life rather than just watching your stuff online. So Gavin, do you want to tell people who you are, where you are and what you do?
Yeah, of course. So it's so funny that you say that because I spoke on a couple of different stages in the last two days. And that's one of the main things I've been speaking about is the importance of creating video content because it builds the relationship with people, and allows you to build relationships with people at scale, without you having to kind of be there in person with that passion. But my story, I guess, starts up in the Shetland Islands I was born, I was wasn't born in Shetland, but I grew up in Shetland for until the age of 18. And before moving down to, to Manchester actually just studied a Business Academy down there. And that was it was down there that I decided to get into into business and making starting starting a business working with personal trainers and getting personal trainers to go into corporate environments and run fitness sessions to the staff there. And that business was set up and it was going and things were good. And I decided to move to Edinburgh a couple years after after growing that, but when I missed that, and I never really kind of struggled to get that working to the point that I wanted to. And it was then that I realized that personal trainers typically have are typically are terrible at marketing. And I'm when I saw that I saw that there was a space there to go into the marketing world and help these guys with with marketing. And it was then that was kind of the inception of what I do know, over over that kind of first few months of running that business working with PCs, I decided to get more and more into Facebook ads and paid media and decided to try and go after the space of like you said become the go to person in the UK for for all things Facebook ads. And that's kind of brought me to where we are now I've run a three person small agency running ads for clients all over the world and do a lot of video creation. So we've got a YouTube channel where we try to have as much educational content as possible. And and also do a lot of speaking. So speaking on stage is mostly in the UK right now. But also do a fair bit traveling to speak to people all over all over the world.
And you have a dog by the sounds of it.
The dog is just come into the room, and very excited to see me But please, no sleeping and she can
do it like little children. As soon as you decide you want to try and do something, that's when they want your attention.
Exactly I was the dog was downstairs in preparation for this call. And then I hears him crying at the door to gain so.
So in your business now, it really revolves around Facebook and Facebook ads in that What does a typical client look like for you?
Yeah, so we've worked with businesses of all shapes and sizes, like initially kind of alluded to was it was mostly personal trainers back when we first started. But no, no, we're working with everyone from local chiropractors over in the states to football teams here in the UK. It's really a case, we typically work with anyone that comes to us that has a business and a product, that we believe in something that's already got kind of proof of concept. And we work with that person to amplify what's already working from a Facebook point of view. And so that might be a football team that's trying to sell more season tickets or a local chiropractor that's super busy with clients, but wants to reach more people in their local area. We can use Facebook ads to reach those people. But there's no we've never kind of niche down into a specific industry. So it's always going to be in the businesses that have an offer or funnel, if you want to call it that that we we typically start working with.
I think with nourishing, people always focus on the finishing on the vertical market. But what you've done is Nishan on a very specific technology and narrow range of tactics. And that to be fair has just as much almost more value as initially on a vertical market. Yeah. One of the things I've seen when I look around people who do focus on Facebook ads, is that the busier they get, the higher the minimum budget from the client needs to be in order to be a viable client. Is that something that has been built into your business, I imagine between chiropractors and football teams, a large range in what they have available to spend.
Yeah, I mean, actually, the the clients that we typically work with over in the states are the chiropractors actually typically have pretty large budgets, because we're, they're not always traditional chiropractors per se that have, let's see, fit, they're looking to get people into the office for $50 per hour, it's more kind of like long term health program. So a client to them might be worth upwards of $4,000. And when one clients worth $4,000, then I may need to spend a fair amount to get people in. So in terms of budget wise, you're totally right. Like when we when we first when I first started the business, we were charging, or we're working with clients that were maybe spending 300 pounds per month, and they were never working with brands or upwards of like $35,000 per month. So I think you're you're right in that the clients over the last few years have grown both in, in budget and size. And and also the kind of service that we give them that's that's changed from back in the early days, whether it was maybe just very basic Facebook ads that we're running over it now we tend to build out the full funnel for them. And we kind of work with them to bring their potential customers through a full journey of of building that relationship. So creating good content first, making people in the local area aware of that business and then driving them into taking a specific option or offer or purchasing the product. So we'll work with, with our clients to kind of see that journey through from a from an advertising point of view.
Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. I mean, that will make everything much more effective. a Facebook ad is great. But it can only offer one part of that conversion journey. And if you're controlling all the different elements in that conversion journey, you're going to be much more effective, and have a much happier client at the end of the day.
Understand. I mean, that's one of the things I learned early on was, you can be the best at Facebook ads in the world. But if you're sending people to an offer that sucks sort of product that people don't want, it's not had proof of concept or a landing page. It's poorly designed, then your ad campaigns never going to work. Yeah. And and so it's important to either kind of make the client aware of that, and, and say to them, Look, you're here the basic ad process process that we're going to walk through. And if we're not seeing results from this, this could potentially be because of the back end the offer the website that we handle that then we can make sure that it's going to work. Yeah.
And the team that you have you said you're a team of three, you and two others. Yeah. And are they employees are such
one of them is Yep. So what one March part time and then kind of similar to yourself. Got one, one account manager that's contracted handles that client accounts. And I've have you asked me a few years ago, I would have said, I like the biggest agency. I could, yeah, on people. And that kind of very quickly learned that. It's not all that it makes it to be. Want to keep it as lean as lean as possible and make as much money as possible whilst keeping the overheads as low as possible.
Yeah, I think early on in business, and I think maybe it's a thing of its time, I think, but for a lot of my career, and I think a lot of people even now, they equate success with size. And actually, some of the most successful agencies in the world are tiny. They just use people they breathe in and out through contractors and freelancers in a much more dynamic way. And I can see quite clearly that you were doing that.
Yeah, absolutely, we get met with a friend john Lee Dumas from Entrepreneur on Fire
a few months ago, and that's
a big name drop,
name drop yet. And he he was an editor. So we spent the day together. And it was just fascinating to hear how they've got a business of the three people, four or five people, of which three of them are contractors, and the other to him and his wife and his girlfriend, Kate. Yeah. And you can go to their website and look at their income reports that they do. So it's a very big business, but not a very big team. Yeah, and I don't think you need to build a huge agency to be successful, I think, I think one of the things that kind of struck me was looking and speaking to agents, to fellow agency owners, and just hearing that, not one of them seem to be super excited about what they're doing. It was always morning about the fact that they hadn't got on to the government program, suppliers list. And they were constantly putting in pitches and proposals and getting turned down. And I was just going like, as a 19 year old, I was like, this doesn't seem like fun. just constantly doing work, writing proposals going and pitching competing against other people, I thought is not that way to position myself as an expert in a specific field and to have people come to me, as opposed to me constantly going into them. And that's kind of what I set out to go into. I'm going to come to that in a minute.
Because that really is where you stand out is how you've gone around building that personal brand and promoting your brand yourself and your business. It's really been pretty stellar. In fact, let's go there now. Where I first encountered you was in your videos, obviously, you're very active on YouTube. And I don't know if it's a little bit smoke and mirrors. I was picking somebody in local radio a little while ago. And there's one business in my area that seems to be always advertising on the radio, and they have a really annoying song that everybody knows. But the guy from local radio told me, they actually only advertise once every three or four months, but they do it consistently. So to everybody, it seems like they're always there. I can imagine your content marketing is a little bit like that. But to me, it looks like you're omnipresent. In Video. It's really quite powerful. But what was your journey a video because I looked on YouTube, and you've been doing it for about two years now. Yeah, I'm interested to hear how that felt when you started. In particular.
Yeah, for sure. Well, it's basically if we go back, rewind a couple of years, I was had a very early, very early stages of business. And I was I was looking up at people and space and speaking to mentors and realize that video is one of the options, or one of the ways I wanted to promote the business because I just felt at the time, it was one of the best ways to be able to build trust. And to kind of what we've alluded to here is is to get people to feel like they already know me. And I just felt that video was one of the best ways to do that. And so I was like, right, I need to create video, let's get into this video thing. But for a very long time, I was I felt like I was held back by the fear of creating video. So I was really, really scared about filming myself because I didn't want I didn't want friends and family to look at me and speak to me and ask me why I was doing these weird things. scared of getting it in public and filming in public because some people might think I was a little bit weird. And so for very long time I had to off creating video, but it was, as you say, about two years ago that I decided to film my first video. And because of this fear that I had about creating video, to get that initial video, oh, I took my born into a forest and filmed my first ever video in a forest. So no one could see me. So it's it's a video. It's still my YouTube channel. It's a video about how to grow. It's called How To Grow your Twitter followers or something like that.
I've watched it this morning.
Did you hear Yeah. And as you would have seen, filmed in a forest, it's low quality, everything about it's pretty terrible. But it was my first video. And that was the video that kind of got me started on this journey. And like I said, I kind of built up this fear of creating video. But when that one went live, nothing happened. Nobody watched it, no one cared, there was no engagement, hardly any views. And so I said to myself, I've got myself wound up about nothing. Maybe I'm actually not very good at this video thing. And so I need to get better better at it. And I'm looking back video is one of those things that you can only really get good at it. If you do it. You can practice you can be a great public speaker, you can be great conversation, being able to articulate a message. But something happens when for 99% people, something happens when you go in front of a camera, and you change. And it's I always try and explain video. That mean you were having a conversation in person Bob you wouldn't. And I asked you to describe something to me. I asked you to explain your podcast. You wouldn't start explaining it. And then 10 seconds didn't go? Ah, sorry, go. I didn't like what I just said. Can we cut that and start this conversation again, please? I think that that wouldn't happen. But for 99% of people, including myself who's been doing this for years, if you asked me to explain my business on camera, the chances are I probably wouldn't get it on the first take. I would probably go right. That was all right, I want to do again. And so always something happens when we get in front of camera, even though it's literally just like having a conversation to people. I posted that first video in the forest. And then because I decided I needed get better I decided because I'm quite competitive person that I needed to set this up as a challenge. And so I set up a challenge of 100 folks in 100 days, where every single day for 100 days, I was going to pick up my phone and speak into my camera about something that I'd maybe learned or something I'd done that day. So for example, I may have picked up my phone and said, had a really interesting chat with Bob on his podcast today we spoke about x y Zed. Here's a really interesting point that came out of it. And I share that on on Facebook and YouTube. And these videos were edited, they weren't great. They weren't high quality it was all I was doing was trying to get into the process of just creating, of just getting into the habit of being able to speak on camera. And that kind of helped me become a little bit more confident in the camera, I was able to articulate my message slightly better, and overall just helped me become better on video. And then, at the end of those 100 days, I decided that I was going to start a weekly video, I thought to myself, I'm not getting much engagement on these videos, I'm getting maybe like 20, 1020 3040 views, but people are seeing things when I meet them for the first time like gaff, I feel like I already know you, or Gabba, watch that video. And I really resonated with that point that you said. And I've said to myself, well, if people are feeling like that, after watching one of these kind of not very good videos, what would happen if I actually put a lot of effort into storytelling and edited these videos. And so I started a weekly blog. And that was when things really took off. So I think two years, two years ago, my videos were or last year, my videos were seen over 2 million times on Facebook and YouTube, which is just absolutely crazy to think that two years ago, I was in the forest. And then the year later, millions of people were watching, watching my videos online. And so it's been a really fun journey, I've learned a lot. And if we can maybe draw one lesson from that story it's video is, you're not going to be very good on video when you first start. But it's such an important way to market a business that you just have to embrace that messy period at the beginning. embrace the fact that you're not very good. And just start anyway. And not don't judge yourself based on how well the video performs online engagement, likes views, etc. Judge your performance based on? Are you actually able to post that video?
Yeah, the execution? Yeah. So looking at the videos that you were doing maybe a year and a half ago, and an average week, how long would you be spending on those.
So the I mean, when I was doing the hundred blogs, hundred Day Challenge, we're talking like, five minutes a day, then then I started to create content, that was the weekly videos on that, I was spending a lot of time on those because what I do is basically choose a day that was called a film. So wives doing that do to film and, and that doesn't take a huge amount of time to be honest to film because you're just kind of documenting your day as you go along. And so you might add, like an hour of filming of things that you maybe weren't doing before. But what they're kind of real time suck for video creation is the editing process. So getting all the footage off your camera, putting it into your editing software, filtering that out, cutting it up, doing music on that, that's the bit that takes a lot of time. And so I was probably spending when I was when I was creating videos myself, would be four hours at the weekend editing videos and putting them up. Yes, not bad. Yeah, I guess I guess, probably four hours editing and they were to shoot. And then you probably got an hour of promoting that. uploading it to YouTube doing all the titles and that type of thing. So yeah, I mean, when I, when I look at it's probably about a day's worth of work to get the video up. But know, about six months ago, I hired a videographer who, you know, does pretty much all my shooting with me and does all my editing. So that's taking that massive strain off of me.
Right. So you simply have to love this Take for example, your your Social Media Marketing World. Yeah, I think was last week. Yep. And I watched that video. They're sort of the journey to San Diego. Yeah. What was your production workflow on there? How much of that were you doing? And how much of that were you getting help with?
Yeah, so I mean, these ones are quite funny. So I was obviously traveling Social Media Marketing World and filming the trip there and filming my first couple of days there. And so I did all the filming there, that was just me that's going on my own. So I just had my camera with me or use my phone to try and tell about the story behind the day. And then would upload the videos to Google Drive overnight, were to then pick them up on the days that he was working. And you'd edit them and posted them. So I actually didn't watch the videos until I got back with my girlfriend, and everyone saw all the videos before me. So that's going to allow ed to edit and post without me kind of going through things. But we've got to reach the point now where he knows what we're trying to do. It makes it a lot easier. It was kind of funny, because obviously there's a seven hour time difference between San Diego who I was and, and Scotland. And one night, those the it was the 80s night Social Media Marketing World. And I remember getting in at three in the morning. And I had got texts from Ed being like, have you uploaded the videos yet? Because it was obviously 10:10am. UK time and he was starting to work. And it's like, oh, no. So it kind of had a few drinks and me had to upload the video those three in the morning. So so I could get started on on editing that.
That'd be the content. That's really interesting. Because from the outside, they just looks like you're having a lot of fun, and you're being quite dynamic and posting the video, but people don't appreciate all the moving parts there with the kind of stuff that you're doing now. And I think that San Diego video, for me is a good example. You're doing quite a lot of that in public. And for me, that's just mind blowing. And the contrast between that video two years ago in the forest, and the video last week, which was filmed to an extent in a busy airport on a plane, and places like that. How do you handle the mental side of everybody's looking at me? what people are thinking? Well, yeah, the confidence side of that, how does that work?
Yeah, for sure. That's, that's a great question. I
it still doesn't sit right with me. Like, I wish I felt confident and could easily record myself in public. But the reality is, like, I still hate it. I'm more than comfortable speaking to the camera behind closed doors. But going out into the street and filming, I always feel really awkward. Which can actually be a bit of a can be like, it's really annoying when you're like I need to get a clip here to be able to tell the story. So it makes sense on video. But there's so many people here don't want to film anything. But one of the things that I found that works, or has helped me is Social Media Marketing World, for example. I was around the right people. So everyone there was a social media person. And so there's people walking around doing Facebook Live speaking to their phone, there's people there posing for Instagram pictures, and it's just normal. So I feel like I was I was around the right people. And another thing that I've found that is kind of brother, there's some like little mind hacks if you want to go on that that I found that worked for me randomly, like wearing sunglasses, I find it much easier to log in public, if I'm wearing sunglasses, headphones as well, I find it easier to log in public when we're in headphones. And also, having someone with me makes it so much easier. I don't know whether that's because I feel like I'm in a different little bubble when I'm with someone or I had my sunglasses on. And but when me and Ed are filming and he's filming me, I've got no problem recording myself in front of in front of people. But so, for example, we were walking down the street and I had a segment that I want to talk the camera to. I would feel comfortable doing it with Ed recording me. But I wouldn't feel comfortable doing it if I was holding the camera myself. And I don't know why that is. But I've just never really kind of gotten over that logging in public awkwardness. And it's something I'm like, still two years later, still trying to work on still trying to figure out, but it's just takes time, I think.
Yeah, I can totally understand that. Actually. I mean, people are used to seeing people being filmed and talking to camera. That's what they do on telly on TV for those in the States. But people talking to cameras and holding it themselves. It still looks from the outside. A little bit narcissistic. Yeah. And we judge people based on that. Why are you taking pictures of yourself filming yourself? Clearly, if there's good commercial reasons why you would do that, once it's done and people are watching it, they'd like to consume it. But we're busy judging people when they're actually doing it.
Yeah, this is the kind of interesting paradox, if you want to call it that, that I like, trying to get my head around for the last two years, which is when we post the video, we want millions of people to watch it. And we want as many people as humanly possible to watch that video. But when I'm creating that video, we don't want anyone to see us doing it. Yeah. It's so strange. I've never really understood why why that's the case.
Because through the video, and your, for your diligent use of the video, because you're not relying on YouTube. If I were to look at your LinkedIn profile, your LinkedIn profile is probably the most vibrant, fun LinkedIn profile anyone will ever see. It really is really well done. But how you then monetize this personal brand is great. You've got your the done for you Facebook ads service, which people would expect. But you've also product eyes really neatly and you continue to evolve? To tell a little bit about that.
Yeah, totally. So I see we've got the done for you side where we run client accounts. But one of the things and that was when I first that was the main service I had, but I often found that there was a opportunities that were arising, that I wasn't able to service, for example, people would come to me and they'd say, Gavin just got this tiny little thing that I need help with. And the only thing I could really do back then was say, Okay, I'll help you for free, which isn't a good use of time. So that then meant that it's like, Okay, well, maybe I can charge for this little service. So I developed what's called the Power Hour where people can buy an hour of my time. And we can jump on Skype and solve every problem there is. And then I was like, right. I don't want to build a massive course. So what sort of agency so what sort of income streams can I create, that doesn't necessarily mean that when I make a sale, I need to spend more time on it. And so I decided last year, about a year and a half ago to launch a course teaching people how to run Facebook ads themselves. And, and that did really well it was priced at about 597. And we had quite a few people go through that program and get great results. But one of the things I found with the course was a surprising amount of people would buy it and not take action on it. And just never go into it as like, why are people spending this money and then never actually going into the program and learning. And so I decided to have a Facebook group before but decided to relaunch my facebook group and try and make it super engaged. So I did that. But nine months ago, and when we got to 500 members or so I was like, Okay, let's survey the members and see what they want, what they want to create, how they want to learn, etc. and build a product for people that they actually wanted, as opposed to just saying, or just presuming that people wanted a course. And so I did surveyed about 980 9% or something of people came back and said that they wanted a membership where they paid a monthly fee. And they got access to training on how to run ads. So to set up your funnel I to generate leads through Facebook, all those great things. But they also wanted, like support as they as they went through that. And so I thought, okay, let's take that feedback on board. And that's where the idea for my latest product came, came in, which is called my funnel Academy, which is essentially going to be a kind of framework, a monthly membership that provides people a framework of step one, step two, step three, what you need to do. So for example, step one is very basic things like developing your perfect customer who is your perfect customer. And then we move into let's creating create a lead magnet. And then we move into creating the content, creating the funnel have to run the ads through that. But they also get a weekly group coaching call with me if they've got any questions to kind of try and keep them accountable. So I've always tried to create different products and different revenue streams that mean that I can help people a larger scale. So one of the another thing that came out of the course was people said they could afford it. So it was okay, well, let's create something that the people that can't afford the course can also buy. So I can try and help a much larger number of people without necessarily having to spend a huge amount of time with those people.
Yeah, that makes so much sense. And I think there's there's a place for that probably in everybody's business is just taking the time to produce it, but also having the audience that means that it's worth doing. Yeah. Which you've done really, really well. And on that basis, if you were doing it again, given that a large portion of my audience is people like you and I, we all have our strengths and weaknesses and your strength is is unusual. You Well, I'm not sure if it's your strength, it's unusual. But your execution has been unusually good. So what would be one piece of advice you could offer somebody if they wanted to build an audience, not necessarily imitating what you've done? Because everybody's different? But yeah, what would you What would you have to drop into that very vague question?
Yeah, I think the the main thing would be, you just need to start creating. And that might be a podcast that yourself Bob that might be videos like me, but you just need to start creating something of value. So first of all, who is your perfect customer? What problems do they have? And how can you solve that through either written audio or video content, and you will slowly start to build an audience of people that are interested. I mean, like I was speaking at an event yesterday, where I spoke about the importance of creating video. And somebody went away, literally, after the event, sat in their car, film, their first video, uploaded it to LinkedIn, about a topic that ran their business. And they got like one thing 200 views in the first day, and like, that's somebody that's never done video before. Someone that's never tried to build an audience, but that person has no started to. If he continues to create video content every day, or every week, he will start to become known as the guy on LinkedIn that creates content around his topic, which builds authority, and it's going to start getting messages asked for people on wanting to work with him because he is showing himself as the go to person. So for me, it's like just your first client like Bob you probably look at your, your initial podcasts and think, going, that was terrible. Like just how I look back at my first books, my first videos, no one looks back at their first stuff and thinks that
And so you just need to start. And once you get started, you'll start to iron out the kinks, you'll see what people actually want, you'll start to develop the audience. And when you start to develop that audience, that's when things become exciting, because you can do things like I did on service your audience to see what product they want, or you can start to launch products, and you've already got people there, they're probably going to buy it. So yeah, so the creation of content is for me that that kind of fundamental thing in my career. That's, that's given me the most leverage.
I really appreciate that. And if people want to connect with you, how would you like them to do that?
Yeah, you can either head over to my website, Mr. Gavin belk.com. Or where I'm probably easiest to get to is Instagram. Again. That's just at Mr. Gavin bell.
Kevin, I have a lot more questions. I haven't managed to ask you that. I wanted to ask you about speaking Social Media Marketing World. I also wanted to ask you about things like why you have used Scotland so well in your videos. I don't want to take up any more of your time. So I quite like to get you back sometime. Let's do it. For now. Thank you very much for your time.
No, thank you for having me. It's been been fun.
I honestly could have gone on for a lot longer with Gavin but I think it might have been rude. It's so many more questions to ask and hopefully I can have him back sometime. Kevin is a great example of always operating on the edge of your comfort zone. And the success of that is clear to see. So before I go Just a quick reminder to ask you to subscribe to the show. And if you haven't already, then join our Facebook group. You can find a link from the website at Bob gentle com Or just search gravity, digital marketing and Facebook and you'll find us easily enough. My name's Bob gentle thanks again to Kevin for giving us his time this week. Thanks for listening to gravity. And see you next week.