Brilliant Business Moms with Beth Anne Schwamberger

Shalene Massie is the founder of Rhythm of Birth and Postpartum Journey. She is a doula as well as a birth and postpartum educator.

And, she personally gave me fabulous tips for my own delivery and postpartum time surrounding the birth of my baby boy!

Today we’ll be chatting about how she grew her online business using Facebook ads.

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00:45 - A Passion is Born  

Shalene got started in the birth world when she was living in South Sudan, Africa with her family. She found out she was pregnant and thought, “You know, so many women give birth without the option of medical care. I want to experience birth in a primitive culture.” When she came back to the States, she knew she wanted to hire a doula to assist in her birth.

Living in a new culture also made Shalene want to learn as much about birth as she could. She knew she might be called on if someone was in labor - in South Sudan, it’s all hands on deck - and wanted to be as prepared as possible. Unfortunately, she, her husband, and daughter had to evacuate South Sudan due to warfare. But on the plane back, Shalene knew she could carry that passion with her. She knew it was time to start her doula training.

Shalene’s family moved back to the states in 2012, and she jumped right in. To date she has attended about 114 births and has been teaching for five years.

2:55 - In-Person Business to Online Business

One of Shalene’s greatest business successes is that from the time she started, she’s been able to stay constantly busy with her in-person doula clients and classes. Her doula training process lasted three years, and after that time she needed to decide how to grow her practice. Shalene was at capacity with her in-person clients, so she turned to the online world.

Shalene says she actually started backwards. Though she teaches birth classes, she started an online postpartum class. There is a huge gap of information related to the postpartum period, and her class grew like wild!

4:24 - Shalene’s Facebook Ads Strategy

A popular way to use Facebook ads is to get new webinar sign ups, which also builds an email list. Shalene did just that for her postpartum class.

About four to five months ago, she ran Facebook ads to a webinar signup page.

Shalene had a videographer help her create a video ad that she felt was powerful and this really increased the number of people who signed up for her webinar. She was pleased with how the ads were working.

Shalene is a student of our FB Brilliance course, and says she learned a TON of information in that course to guide her ad development and lead generation strategy.

(Side note: Shalene says that since FB Brilliance, she’s become very geeky when she looks at other websites, wondering, “Are they using Facebook pixels!? Are they targeting me?!” You’ll have to listen to this episode for a great business idea Shalene and I cooked up!)

And just a reminder, statistics say only 6% of businesses on Facebook are currently using ads. There’s a huge opportunity out there!

6:54 - Shalene’s Successful Facebook Ad

Let’s dive right into Shalene’s ad to see why it was so successful.

Ad Copy: Hello pregnant mama! Join a free, live, postpartum planning webinar.

(She gets right to the point and says ‘this is who I’m talking to’. That’s one thing that’s so important with ads! Talk ONLY to your ideal customer. Ok, back to the ad!)

“In preparing for baby, I spent so much time thinking about the birth that it’s easy to forget about the weeks of change after baby comes home. If you’re expecting, sign up for this webinar pronto! - New Mama” (Confession: that new mama was me!)

In this webinar, you’ll learn 5 ways to begin planning for your postpartum transition and life after your baby is born, a secret myth about postpartum, how to feel at peace and minimize the risk of postpartum depression, and 5 things you’ll be so glad to know postpartum. Plus, get a fun, free gift at the end of the webinar.

If you can’t make the webinar live, sign up to get the reply sent to your inbox.

Click this link to join a tribe of mamas for postpartum planning: (LINK)

(There are so many killer strategies Shalene uses in this ad: bolding important words, incentivizing viewers to stay til the end, and adding a sense of mystery.)

Headline: Free, live postpartum webinar.

And then she has her link, and the fabulous video she created along with her videographer.

10:35 - Stats for Shalene’s Ad

Shalene has 64 likes, a few hearts, 23 shares, and 8,200 views on this particular video ad.

These stats are really solid! Trust me, even ads I run to 100,000 people don’t always get that amount of sharing!

If you’re outside of the business space, sometimes you really do have an advantage. People don’t share business webinars with their friend! But if they have a pregnant friend, they’ll share a great free class with them in their feed.

11:42 - Shalene’s Video Ad

Shalene’s video opens up with soft, lovely, music and a full-screen logo for her brand, Postpartum Journey.

She cuts to scenes of women caring for their newborns, and then text throughout, “Anxious about the postpartum transition…and caring for your baby? Feeling overwhelmed? 50%-80% of new mothers experience some form of anxiety or depression during the postpartum period, and many women find it hard to immediately bond and connect with their newborn.”

(That stat REALLY hits the pain point of her ideal customer, doesn’t it!? If someone was on the fence, she’s really reminding them that they need to take time for her class.)

And then we see the face of a new mother against a white background. She says, “You’re stronger than you think you are, and more equipped for this than you realize.”

And another mother saying, “You can do this. You are so much stronger than you realize. And you’re beautiful, too. The beauty comes from that strength.”

Then text on top of a lovely scene of Shalene helping a new mother, “Confidence and guidance in caring for your baby.”

Then cut to a mother giving her new baby a bath with a caption that says, “Peace of mind...” followed by more scenes of mothers and newborns, “as you care for your baby, and enjoy your postpartum experience.”

Then a shot of a hand tracing an outline, “Preparing your heart.”

We see a mother from earlier in the video telling viewers, “Be gentle with yourself.”

Then we see Shalene’s lovely face with these words, “You are beautiful and you are strong.”

Then a text slide outlining the details of Shalene’s class:

  • Postpartum Plan
  • Nutrition
  • Setting Up Nursery
  • Baby Basics
  • Placenta Encapsulation
  • Stories
  • Encouragement
  • Family Preparation
  • Newborn Care Procedures
  • Postpartum Depression
  • Infant Sleep Consulting
  • Healing and Strengthening after Pregnancy
  • Babymoon
  • Returning to Work

Followed by another text slide which reads, “This program is a great way to begin your preparation and learn ways to practically, emotionally, and mentally to prepare for the postpartum transition.”

Visit to register.

WOW!  This is a jam-packed video that really conveys the value of what Shelene offers!

13:50 - Creating a Video Ad on a Budget

I was so impressed with Shalene’s video, I just had to know how she created it. “It was an exciting endeavour!” she says.

Shalene’s videographer worked for Virginia Tech, and lived close to her. Turns out, his wife was pregnant, so they traded services! He also taught her a lot about video editing, so she had skills she could take with her for future business videos.

Shalene turned to former clients to act as the stars of her video. And we love her strategy for getting the most out of the videos she recorded. During one longer video shoot she recorded a ‘10 Baby Basics’ videos. She ultimately included this content in one of her courses (genius!)

Along with recording the ‘10 Baby Basics’ video, Shalene asked about 10-12 women to come into her makeshift home studio and asked them to record words of validation or encouragement for other mothers.

A few scenes of the mothers giving encouragement, as well as clips from her ‘Baby Basics’ footage, made the final cut for Shalene’s video ad. (And you can bet a beautiful montage of those moms made it into her online course!)

So to recap, Shalene used several brilliant strategies to create her video ad:

  • Trading services. This way, everyone can let their skills shine and get what they need - it’s brilliant.
  • Thinking ahead to repurposing content. Shalene created course videos by using these generous ladies and their babies, but also took bits and pieces of those videos to create an ad.
  • Something we didn’t mention earlier: Shalene got photo and video release forms signed by all participating clients.

18:11 - Shalene’s Crazy Good Cost Per Lead

I love talking numbers, so let’s get to it. (And if you’re on the fence about video ads, this will be the kicker to convince you!)

Shalene received 354 webinar signups from a cold audience, which means these were brand new people who had never heard of Shalene or her classes before. She got each of those leads for an average cost per lead of $1.38.

These are fabulous stats, guys. And this was the very first ad Shalene ran!

Another thing to point out:  Sometimes the number of leads you get can increase over the following week or so. Even with the campaign off you can get a few more along the way from people sharing the post or tagging their friends. Pretty cool!

20:40 - Targeting Audiences

Let’s dive into the audiences Shalene targeted for her ads.  

BabyCenter is an app and website for new and expecting parents. Shalene targeted fans and people with an “interest” in this website. Note:  When you target a particular website interest on Facebook, you’re not just reaching everyone who ever liked that Facebook page, Facebook is so genius they’ll be sure to show your ad to people who have also visited that website very recently too.

Other interests Shalene targeted: the book What to Expect When You’re Expecting, and the general interest of ‘Natural Childbirth’.

Another brilliant move by Shalene:  She created a webinar lookalike audience. To quickly define, a webinar lookalike is a Facebook audience created by users who look similar to your webinar attendees. You can create one by uploading your list of webinar signups in the audiences section of Power Editor.

Surprisingly though, Shalene’s webinar lookalike didn’t generate leads! She reached about 663 people but had no signups. Like any smart business owner, Shalene quickly pivoted her strategy, turned off that ad set, and focused on ad sets that were generating affordable leads.

A quick note if you’re discouraged that you don’t have a big enough audience to create an effective lookalike, don’t despair! You can create a strong lookalike audience by creating a lookalike of your customers.

This audience can be small but mighty ecause you already know those people are interested in your products and not just freebie seekers. And chances are, people similar to them will also be interested in purchasing from you too!

Shalene also targeted the online app and community The Bump.

And an especially brilliant ad set that she created with the help of a friend:  Her friend suggested to target people looking at psychological-based material on Facebook, and add in the filter of pregnancy. This is so smart because Shalene’s course is largely geared toward moms wanting to avoid postpartum depression and other psychological complications after birth. Such a smart strategy!

Finally, Shalene created a super broad audience to target of pregnant women. She then narrowed this audience to:

  • Women living in the United States
  • Ages 24-35
  • Who make at least $50K per year

Then Shalene excluded people matching one of the following criteria:

  • Already had children
  • New parents
  • Parents with toddlers
  • Parents with preschoolers
  • Parents with adult children

She did this to reach women who were expecting a baby for the very first time, but hadn’t had that baby just yet.

Even with this narrowed audience, Shalene’s potential reach was 3.4 million people!

Bottom line, your business shouldn’t have any trouble finding audiences to target! The sky is the limit when it comes to who you can reach on Facebook (and why shouldn’t it be with more than 2 billion active monthly users?!)

28:20 - How did the Audience Targeting Go?

As we mentioned previously, Shalene’s lookalike audience did not produce any leads. From the leads she did receive, Shalene paid anywhere from $1.26 per lead at her lowest (from The Bump US ad set) up to $4.66 per lead (from Natural Childbirth General Interest).

This range does have a huge variation, but it’s actually very good! Shalene’s ad and copy are very compelling. It’s easy for a new Facebook advertiser to try 5 different ad sets, but maybe none of them work. And it’s not that the ad itself isn’t good, it’s just that some audiences don’t respond.

One of the biggest factors that will determine your success with Facebook ads is your ability to continue testing new audiences to find the biggest winners!

For future ads, Shalene asked her current clients what top apps or pages they follow, and will target those audiences. SO smart!

31:22 - Setting an Ads Budget

Shalene’s ads started on just $5 per day for each ad set. (To refresh:  Each audience she targeted hangs out in its own ad set) and she increased her ad set budget from there as her ads performed well. Once Shalene identified those top ad sets, she came up with a budget that felt comfortable to her and stuck with it.

Drawing in attendees to her webinar through ads worked well, but Shalene learned an important nuance to her ads strategy:  She set her campaign too far in advice for the webinar in hopes of getting more attendees.

Shalene discovered that she needed to narrow the time frame between sign up and webinar. To prove the point, her very first webinar had 100 signups and 20 live viewers. The next webinar, with the longer lead time, had 300 signups but only 10 live viewers.

With a longer time span between signup and webinar date, people were more likely to forget about her class! A valuable lesson learned. Shalene says she’ll only do a 7-10 day window for future webinar ads.

(Just a side note here:  Even a year ago it was easier to get live viewers to my webinars! The online business world is constantly changing and competing for people’s time and attention continues to get more difficult, but being committed to experiment and adjust as needed will help you to succeed.)

33:35 - A BIG Lesson Learned

While Shalene’s ads were on point, she didn’t see the sales numbers she was hoping for after her webinars. The reason? Her site wasn’t truly optimized for conversions.

Shalene didn’t have a video about her or her courses on any of the pages. So while she got a decent amount of traffic, people didn’t buy because they didn’t know enough about Shalene.

In the last 6 months she’s really taken the lead on strengthening her business in this area! She recorded a ton of sales, welcome, and thank you videos. Now, Shalene’s site is much more inviting to potential customers.

(At BBM, we are constantly tweaking our site and our pre and post webinar sequences. There is so much to that! It’s a conscious and continuous process.)

Simply put, there’s more to the sale than a Facebook ad to get an email subscriber. Of the people who attended Shalene’s webinar, she had a 10% conversion rate. That’s truly a fabulous rate! But now she’s got to work on getting people to show up live and tightening up her site for even more sales.

37:30 - How Shalene Serves Clients and Her Family Well

One of the best decisions Shalene ever made was to hire a nanny. Having a nanny on retainer is THE reason Shalene says she can meet clients during the day, and live an on-call lifestyle.

She used to pray and be on pins and needles that her clients would deliver in the evenings when her husband got home. And now, she doesn’t worry a bit!

Shalene did increase her fees to account for this expense, but she thinks it’s an absolute necessity for Mamapreneurs, particularly if you’re serving clients. Add this expense into your business budget for peace of mind.

39:50 - Plans for New Ad Campaigns?

I seriously can’t wait to see how Shalene’s next Facebook Ad Campaign goes when she tweaks her entire sales system!

She says she may not use a webinar as a freebie, but has a huge library of resources to offer via Facebook ads. She’s working with a business coach this month to answer those very questions.

We are so excited for Shalene’s testing of sales funnels. (We’re also testing new funnels constantly!) We can’t wait to see how her growth mindset, continuous testing, and heart for pregnant and new Moms helps her to scale her business over the next year!

42:10 - Shalene’s Adorable Mom Moment

It means so much to Shalene that her husband and daughters really support what she does. Especially with the crazy, on-call life of a doula. In fact, her family was so supportive they hustled to get her to a Christmas Day birth! You’ll have to tune in to hear how this whirlwind story turns out.

Connect with Shalene

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