Justin Lofton is a Facebook advertising and business acceleration expert. His passion is to help others leverage Facebook ads to grow their business. He’s spent more than $10 million on Facebook ads over the past six years growing his agency, Zenfusion, his SaaS company, SyncSumo, and several of his own multi-million dollar ecommerce brands.
In This Episode
Timing is everything when it comes to Facebook ads — take it from the business acceleration expert that has spent more than $10 million of them in the past six years. In this episode, Justin Lofton also shares how he syncs up his Facebook ads with his email campaigns, and gives insight into something unique he wants to bring back to the business world.
1:07 Deliver Value
Keep it simple and stay focused on what you are trying to accomplish with your business goals.
3:33 Technology Overwhelm
There are so many moving parts to an online business that it can be very distracting for the first time small business owner.
4:24 Facebook Ads
There’s no platform with more people and sharing capabilities than Facebook.
9:25 Bringing Business and Love/Spirituality Together
Justin uses his business prowess to run a non-profit that helps special needs children.
10:28 Be Your True Self
People get distracted by what others are doing rather than being themselves.
– Justin Lofton
LR: Welcome to MODERN ONTRAPRENEUR, I’m Landon Ray. Today I have Justin Lofton who is a Facebook advertising and business acceleration expert. He’s also the founder and CEO of Zenfusion and SyncSumo. He has a passion to help others leverage Facebook ads to grow their business. He spent nearly 20 years mastering the art of selling online … online rather across every industry and channel imaginable. He spent more than $10 million on Facebook ads over the past six years growing his agency Zenfusion, his SaaS company SyncSumo, and several of his own multi-million dollar ecommerce brands. Thank you so much for being here.
JL: Thanks for having me.
LR: Awesome. So, wow. You’ve gotten quite a distance in the last few years — 10 million bucks.
JL: That’s a lot. You learn a lot when you spend that kind of money.
LR: You sure do. So if you could go back to either 60 years ago or to the beginning of your career and give yourself a piece of advice that would’ve made it easier, what would you tell yourself, you think?
JL: I think it’s really about keeping things simple, staying focused on really what you’re trying to accomplish, and understand that it’s all about delivering value to the market that you serve. I think that, as entrepreneurs, we sometimes are monetarily driven and that’s what keeps us motivated. We see a lot of shiny objects in the pursuit of that.
LR: This space, the entrepreneurial space is hammered with all kinds of messages, but certainly a make money message, right?
LR: That’s a respectable goal. We all obviously have to support ourselves.
LR: We’re not entrepreneurs for no reason. But a lot of times it feels the pursuit of the financial goal can drown out the fundamentals of what it is to be in business, right?
JL: Right, correct.
LR: So what is the thing that … Do you have an experience or a story that you remember that, like how’d you learn that lesson?
JL: Yeah. I mean, I think that … I’ve been an entrepreneur since I was a kid, actually, and I think in that process of seeing opportunity, seeing a problem in a market and trying to solve it, that’s really where the fundamentals, like you talked about, are. When you’re younger, you don’t really see it as a money-making or make-money type of scenario. Entrepreneurship is all about solving problems that a market has. I think as we get older, and we have responsibilities and overhead and things to take care of, that mindset shifts to trying to make more money. And so, there’s multiple businesses that did fail. At the end of the day when I look back at that, it’s because of my mindset. It wasn’t focused on continuing to bring value to a market. It was focused on, “How do we make more money?”
LR: Yeah, it’s amazing how sensitive a market can be to your mindset going in, right?
LR: They don’t let that bullshit fly very long, do they?
JL: Yeah. It’s all about energy, and that energy is going to portray in your messaging and how you run your business, if you’re focused just on making money.
LR: Yeah, and through your employees, how they communicate for you…
LR: The whole thing?
LR: So what do you feel like your unique skill set is?
JL: It’s really focusing on what matters, right? There’s so many moving parts in a business these days, especially if you’re doing stuff online, there’s a lot of technology involved. I think that can overwhelm the small business owner and entrepreneurs as we try and figure things out and what’s the right thing to do. So it’s really about stepping back and understanding what is it that you bring to the marketplace. What is your ability to focus on a market and bring value? I’m really good at that because I’ve been doing this since I was a kid, in blue-collar, white-collar spaces, online and offline. And so, I’ve seen a lot. It’s given me a lot of experience and opportunities to see what I need to be focused on so I can not be distracted by the things that, like distract most.
LR: So what’s working for you right now?
JL: It’s Facebook. Facebook ads are working. I mean, I think that when you look at the different channels that are available to us to reach the audiences that we’re after, Facebook just has so many eyeballs and so much time per day on their platform and so many opportunities. At the end of the day, it’s really the only place that businesses can connect and build relationships with people, and the same place that they build relationships with their friends and family, and that is an extremely powerful thing. When you know how to leverage that and harness that, it becomes a formula that you can apply to any type of business and when it comes to reaching those audiences on Facebook.
LR:Interesting. So obviously, as a part of this market, you’ve witnessed the controversy about the effectiveness of Facebook advertising.
LR: You got the old-school Google guys who are like, “Look, you go to Google when you want to buy something, and you go to Facebook when you want to hang out with your friends. Stop interrupting me in my hangout time.” Google’s where the real game is happening. But then you spent 10 million bucks doing that. Why do you think those guys are wrong?
JL: Well I did that for years, right? I ran an agency prior to the social media revolution, and it’s a lot of … Basically, you’re waiting for somebody to type in keywords that show an interest in what you offer. With Facebook, I can reach millions of people overnight, essentially in a market, People that are targeted, they’re likely to buy from me, and expose them to something they didn’t realize that could bring value to their life, right?
JL: So I’m not sitting back and waiting for them to show up at my doorstep with Google searches and competing with everybody that also is running advertising around that term. I’m actually bringing it to them, bringing it to the market, so that they can see the value that I can deliver to them.
LR: And certainly then picking up people far earlier in the buying cycle, right? People that are not necessarily at the buying stage. So that is going to make it super important to be following up. What is working for you, now, in terms of longer term? You get that lead early that isn’t hot to buy, but they’re going to buy in nine months. What are you doing in the middle there?
JL: Yeah, I mean, that’s a great question, because obviously, in the world of email marketing, follow-up is critical, right?
LR: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
JL: It’s the same type of thing. Based on the stage that they’re coming in, you don’t know what the timing is, and that’s the thing with Facebook ads. If you’re doing a Google search on buying something, then it’s pretty clear that you have a buying intent right now, right?
JL: With Facebook, it’s all about timing. You might be able to reach the right audience, but it might be the wrong time in their life. So like you said, you’ve really got to nurture that. What I’ve really recommended is that folks retarget the folks that come in and think about it similar to email marketing, right? So, are you putting the same messaging in front of folks on Facebook, as you are with your email campaigns. Matching those and being able to reach them in the channel that they’re on, hanging out with their friends and family. At the same time, they’re checking their inbox seeing that same message.
LR: Oh wow. So you’re using tools to align, like a cadence of retargeted messages on Facebook or across the web?
LR: Just Facebook?
JL: You could use across the web.
LR: A cadence of ads that actually match in time the …
JL: Based on the behavior, right.
LR: Based on the behavior?
LR: So what kind of behaviors are you tracking to target those kind of people?
JL: Well it’s really about what step in your particular business funnel that they’re in, right?
LR: Uh-huh, but how do you determine …
JL: So, they’ve landed on pages. They’ve ended up in ONTRAPORT as a contact record. We can sync that data through ONTRAPORT, back to Facebook. We’re using those data points to know where they’re at, at that stage, so we’re only showing ads to people at the right time all the time, automatically.
LR: Interesting. So you’ve got the same conversation happening ….
JL: Same conversation.
LR: You found that works better than not having those things aligned?
JL: That and it makes your email campaigns work that much better. So if they’re seeing this stuff on Facebook, they may not engage with it right there. But then they see something in their inbox that’s saying the same thing, the more likely they’ll open those emails and more likely to click through to them.
JL: … and more likely to take the actions that are on those landing pages that you’re wanting from them.
LR: Super interesting. Do you have a process … We’re getting way off track here. But, do you have a process for figuring out what to say to people that are at the different stages of the buying cycle, like the kinds of conversations you should be having?
JL: Yeah, no question. Yeah, I mean, it’s clearly a formula that you can apply across different spaces. And really, it’s about listening to the marketplace, right? Go to those channels. Go to Amazon and search and read the books that are being sold in your market. Read what the reviewer said, you know, good and bad about the book, what they thought, what they got from it. You’re going to be able to regurgitate the same words that they use in that market back to them via your messaging.
LR: You’re using SyncSumo to sync that Facebook ad, retargeting ad to your cadence?
JL: Yeah, exactly.
LR: Awesome. Do you ever think about your legacy and what you’d like to be remembered for?
JL: Yeah. I mean, I think for me, obviously, I’ve enjoyed business over the years and continue to enjoy that, but I think it’s about bringing business and love together, right? So, business is about delivering value, and I think we get into this very logical, non-spiritual space in business. But I think that bringing some level of spirituality and love back to business is really what I want to stand for.
LR: Wow. How do you do that in your actual life?
JL: Yeah, I think it’s just … It’s really about putting yourself in a place to give back to others and finding ways to do that and that may be through business, thinking in terms of, again, what’s the value you can bring, and how you could wake up every morning and find new ways to bring more value to folks over time in your business or even in your personal life. So, for me, I’m a vice president of a nonprofit organization that supports special needs children and their families. So that’s kind of the things that I do to bring that love.
LR: Awesome. So we call this thing MODERN ONTRAPRENEUR. What do you feel like the responsibilities and the opportunities of entrepreneurship are today?
JL: I think, again, my mantra with bringing value to the market, it’s important that you focus on what are your key skill sets and what can you bring to market? I think that a lot of people get distracted with what other people were having success with. They tend to get focused on doing what others are doing, as opposed to being their true self and finding the values that they already have inside of them and bringing that to market. I think that is critically important. Entrepreneurs these days don’t get distracted by the fancy stuff that others might be doing and focus on their true value and bringing that to market.
LR: It is interesting today that we have, like a thousand paths to success, right? There’s so many ways today to skin a cat. That is kind of like one of the unique elements of our moment in entrepreneurial history.
JL: I love the fact that the entrepreneur, the sort of community is growing, and people are feeling confident to step away from the regular corporate jobs and take that risk to bring their dream to life, right?
JL: But it’s very easy to, also, once you’re in that space, to get distracted by things that aren’t your true self, and I think that’s important for entrepreneurs these days.
LR: Awesome. Well thanks so much for being here. This was great having you.
JL: Thank you. I appreciate it, Landon.
LR: Would you sign our wall?
JL: Yeah, I’d love to.
Want more MODERN ONTRAPRENEUR Podcast?
Check out the previous episode featuring business coach Minette Riordan.