Today on The Systems Made Simple™ Podcast, business systems expert Courtney Elmer chats with Facebook Ads strategist Zach Spuckler about targeted marketing strategies you can easily implement.
After founding Heart Soul & Hustle and making 1.5 million dollars in online courses and coaching sales, Zach knows his way around Facebook Ads, marketing plans, and product launches.
He's now the chief marketing extraordinaire at his Facebook Ads & Consulting Agency where he works with his clients to achieve multi-six-figure launches and helps them figure out which marketing plans and strategies are best to fill their marketing funnel and grow their customer base.
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Courtney Elmer 0:00
You're listening to the Systems Made Simple™ podcast, Episode 22, which is all about developing targeted marketing strategies, using Facebook ads, and implementing marketing plans.
I'm your host Courtney Elmer, and today I'm giving you a peek inside a conversation I had recently with one of my favorite digital entrepreneurs, Zach Spuckler. You might have heard his name before because he's been helping digital entrepreneurs scale their businesses for many years now.
Zach is the founder of Heart, Soul & Hustle, and I’ve learned a lot from him through the years. After making $1.5 million dollars in online courses and coaching sales, he pivoted to serving that same audience with marketing plans and consulting services. He's now the chief marketing extraordinaire at his Facebook Ads and consulting agency, where he works with his clients to help them achieve multiple six-figure launches.
From hosting challenges, to launching digital and physical products, to Facebook ads, Zach has you covered. In the time that I've known him, that’s one thing I've always admired about Zach: no matter what mechanism he was focusing on in the moment — whether it’s teaching people how to use challenges to launch their programs, or get over the fear of showing up online, or teaching digital entrepreneurs the ins and outs of Facebook ads — one thing has always remained the same, and that’s Zach. He’s one of the most down to earth, authentic guys you'll ever meet and he shoots straight from the hip. He tells you what you need to hear, when you need to hear it. So without further ado, let's dive into today's episode with the one and only Zach Spuckler.
Zach, welcome to the show!
Zach Spuckler 5:49
Thank you so much for having me. I'm excited to be here.
Courtney Elmer 5:52
Me too. I can’t wait to talk about Facebook ads, and marketing plans, and all the targeted marketing strategies. But before we get to any of that, why don't we start by having you tell our listeners who you help, and how you help them?
Zach Spuckler 6:05
Sure. So my name is Zach Spuckler, and my company is Heart, Soul & Hustle. We work with digital entrepreneurs that have courses, coaching programs, consulting, who have a successful product and want to scale it to the next level. So we come in and do a couple of different things. We either help you run your Facebook Ads campaigns, from creation to optimization to campaign management and reporting, And we also work with select entrepreneurs that are looking to scale their products but need help actually figuring out the best marketing plans for scaling that product.
Courtney Elmer 6:58
That's such a huge need because as entrepreneurs, we get excited, we come up with these ideas, we create these things, and then we ask, now what? How do I grow this? What are the steps I need to take for the fastest growth possible, without wasting my time? What are the best targeted marketing strategies or marketing plans?
Zach Spuckler 7:12
Exactly. We come in and help you figure out what the marketing plan actually looks like to scale your product, program, or course. One of the cool things about our business is that we ran a successful online course business that we scaled to over a million dollars within a few years. We don’t come in and say, “Here’s what I would do.” We say “Here’s what we’ve done, and here’s what works.” We've launched everything from memberships to coaching programs to masterminds to courses to physical products. We have the experience, we know what works, and what doesn’t for targeted marketing strategies, Facebook ads, or marketing plans.
Courtney Elmer 7:58
Yeah, so valuable. Gosh, why wouldn't you go to someone like you who’s already done all the trial and error, learned from the mistakes and has the knowledge to teach you where to focus and what to avoid? Very cool. Let's go back to the beginning of your business — take us on the journey. What inspired you to start Heart, Soul, & Hustle, to begin with? What targeted marketing strategies, Facebook ads or marketing plans have worked the best?
Zach Spuckler 8:32
I started back in February of 2015 because I had a successful blog. Many people don’t know that about me. We were selling e-books and courses and things were going well. But the truth is, I’d done a lot of things to try to make money. From freelancing to website flipping, to direct sales, to Google AdWords — if you could make $1 online, there’s a good chance I tried it. When I looked back, what I found was it wasn’t blogging or freelancing that I loved, but I fell in love with the idea of marketing yourself and your skills. I loved creating marketing plans and creating revenue out of nothing. My superpower at that time was that I'd been running Facebook Ads for my food blog. I had learned a little bit about those ads. I’d also built a presence on a live streaming platform called Periscope. It’s super old school now, but I was there talking about how I was using Facebook ads in past businesses and how I would use them going forward.
Within 30 days, we’d acquired a small client roster for Facebook Ads. People were also asking us how to gain a presence on the Periscope platform, so we created a course called Rock Your Scopes and took that to six figures. Then, I came back to my first love, which is Facebook Ads. We created a Facebook ads course that we took to six figures. After that, people started asking me how I was launching these programs with such success, and we’d been doing five-day challenges. Those were nothing new, but we systematized it and started teaching people how to do challenge launches.
We turned that idea into a half-a-million-dollar course. And because we were helping people launch their products, we had over a million dollars in student success stories. I throw these numbers out there to share what’s possible. There were plenty of people doing better than us, there were plenty of people trying to get to that level. And what was so great that what I was teaching was a combination of what I’d done to get to that point. Some of it included live video, some included Facebook ads, some included marketing plans and launch strategy.
And then I felt the calling to do something different. So many people asked why I’d change things up when what I had was going well when I was making money on automation and could easily scale using Facebook Ads. We have a mutual mentor, James Wedmore. He says, “Zig when everyone zags.” And I chuckled and said, “the ultimate Zig would be to go from one to many, to one to one.” Nobody does that!
Most people do the opposite. I thought, what if I go back to one on one, doing what I love most: Facebook Ads and developing targeted marketing strategies. The one thing I didn’t love about the Facebook Ads course was that I had to constantly update it. I loved Facebook ads and implementing targeted marketing strategies, but having to update that thing every time Facebook decided to change a rule or a button was a nightmare. But now that I manage Facebook ads for people, I get to stay current and also execute on new changes and enhancements. That's so much more fun and fulfilling for me and that’s why now we focus primarily on Facebook ads management and we consult with people that want to take their courses to the next level. We also consult on targeted marketing strategies and other marketing plans.
Courtney Elmer 13:36
It's so cool to sit here and hear the evolution of where you were to where you are today. The ups and the downs, the twists and the turns, and the path that has unfolded before you. I imagine for many people listening, might have a desire in their heart to do something different or go in a different direction. Zig, when everyone Zags. And then all the beliefs and fears come up. I’d love to explore that with you and hear what concerns or fears came up for you when you made this pivot, which isn’t even the best word to describe what you did because you simply turned back toward the heart of what you love doing most.
Zach Spuckler 14:47
A lot of entrepreneurs chase something new because they get bored. I get bored easily too when something starts working. But I think the first and most important thing for us to talk about is that I didn’t decide one day, “oh, Instagram isn’t working for me so I’m going to go to Pinterest, hopefully, this is the secret!” When I pivoted, or when I got back to the heart of what I was doing, it wasn’t because I thought “this is what’s going to work.” I go into everything, no matter what it is, that it will work. Whatever you're doing, it will work, and it's worth pursuing it until it does work.
In terms of what fears came up for me, the biggest one was, “but what if this doesn’t work?” It was still a legit fear. Never before in my business had I burned the boats and shut everything down. I turned off the courses, I turned off the webinars, I turned off the funnels, I turned everything off. I went all-in on the agency. It was a gradual process, not an overnight one, but it was the first time that I burned the boats. And when I was burning the boats, I was moving across the country to San Diego from Ohio. Ohio has a very affordable cost of living, San Diego, not so much. I fill my gas tank up in Ohio for $35, but in California for $70. I knew the little things would add up: rent, gas, groceries, utilities. So I took a huge leap not just to change what I’ve been doing in my business, but to upgrade my lifestyle at the same time. I worried if it didn’t work out, then I’d be in trouble.
The other fear that came up was about clients being disappointed about something. Whether it be the results, the communication, or anything at all. Not everything has been perfect. Not everyone has been thrilled. Those experiences have been the exception, but even so, they’ve taught us a lot. We realized communication was our weak point, and we’ve got a system now in place to fix that. When you’re serving one to many, you can isolate yourself from the feedback. When you get a negative complaint or email, you can have someone on your team handle it. But with one on one work, you have to get on the phone or look someone in the face. That was a huge fear or roadblock for me that I had to overcome, was that sometimes people aren’t going to be happy, and you don’t get to hide behind the keyboard and let your assistant deal with that. Between taking that big leap and realizing that it's about interpersonal skills and kind communication were two big shifts for me.
Getting systems in place was key too. When I started, it was me running Facebook ads, developing targeted marketing strategies, and creating marketing plans, which are very different when you’ve got somebody else running ads. And I had to learn to trust during this process, too.
Courtney Elmer 20:06
You mentioned over time, you learned to not let the negative feedback get to you. And this goes for all entrepreneurs: while it's your job to provide the service that you say you're going to provide, it's not your responsibility to make someone else happy. But there can be a lot of guilt that comes up around that because many people make the mistake of — and I’ve done this too — taking responsibility for your clients’ results.
But only they can go through the program, only they can do the work. You don’t hire a personal trainer and expect them to do your pushups for you. But when you’re working one on one, people are expecting service from you. So I’d imagine you have to get really good at setting people’s expectations. How did you start to shift these fears and move from feeling emotional over a negative email, to feeling neutral about it? How did you come up with the right targeted marketing strategies, Facebook ads, and marketing plans?
Zach Spuckler 21:37
Yeah, and I won’t sit here and say the fears are completely gone. We've been running the agency full-time for about five months as our primary source of revenue and income. The biggest thing to realize is, number one, no amount of what other people say can hurt you. There’s a fine line between realizing when somebody has something negative to say, yes it’s a reflection of them, not a reflection of me. And the flip side is, what is this teaching you?
We had a client who said we didn’t communicate. That gave us the opportunity to go back and say, “Hey, what do we need to do to fix this?” And, to prevent it from happening again. You can experience feedback negatively, but it can also be a positive thing for your business and you can experience it that way too. Reframe it as “Hey, this might suck in the moment and I don’t like hearing it, but it’s ultimately going to lead to a better experience for myself and all my clients.” Having that higher level of awareness of “Yeah, it sucks” and also realizing one unhappy customer is not going to collapse your business. Amazon has unhappy customers and they’re doing fine. Don’t take feedback personally, take it professionally and ask, “What can we fix, where can we improve, and what processes can we put in place to prevent this from happening again?”
You get accustomed to taking on feedback, and realizing that you can't make everyone happy. Another thing you can do is to set clear expectations with your clients and customers. In our contract, we say that we do not guarantee results. And, we don’t send that contract and hope people read it. When we onboard a new client, we schedule a contract review call and we take them to step by step through everything they’re agreeing to. Never once has a client said, “well, if you can’t guarantee me results I’m out.” Most people say I appreciate you being honest. It’s in my best interest and my clients’ to get my clients results, but I don’t guarantee them. I set their expectations from the get-go.
Courtney Elmer 27:23
There are so many things I love about what you said: the first being the separation between taking things personally vs. taking things professionally and understanding that negative feedback means nothing about you as a person, but it’s simply an opportunity for you to improve. Make the changes that need to be made, prevent future problems in doing so, and move on. And the second is setting our clients’ expectations. That goes both ways as well: for us as business owners, to be clear on our own expectations of ourselves and others. And also to communicate those expectations with your clients clearly, and set yourself up for success and not disappointment. They appreciate you being clear and open and honest with them, which builds their trust in you, and that is huge.
So let me ask you this: the name of your business is Heart, Soul, & Hustle. And we’re sitting here on the Systems Made Simple™ podcast which is about teaching busy entrepreneurs a new way to work and live: one where their success does not depend solely on the amount of hard work and effort they’re putting in. I’d love to hear your take on this idea of hustle, given where you were when you started your business and where you are now.
Zach Spuckler 30:06
When I started I was hustling — grinding out the 16-hour days, doing all the things, and thinking that would bring me success. But as my business has evolved, hustle for me has become doing the right things that other people won’t do, to get it done. There has to be a happy medium. There are seasons of hustle — maybe you’re launching something new and putting in more hours than normal. I think of these like HIIT workouts: it’s a short burst of time where you’re hustling a little bit. But just as you wouldn’t do HIIT workouts 24/7, you can’t push and hustle in your business like that 24/7 either and hope for great results. You’ll burn out too soon.
I do think that hustle gets a bad rap. Do I think you have to hustle forever? No. Do I think there are seasons of hustle in your business? Absolutely. But hustle isn't grinding away and working 16 hour days. It’s about focusing on the right activities because I can hustle to make 60 posts to my Instagram and schedule them out for the next two months. But the reality is, I don't know that that's going to grow my business.
You have to ask yourself what’s important. What's a high payoff? Where is your valuable time best spent? What targeted marketing strategies are most effective? Facebook ads? New marketing plans?
For me, it’s focusing on activities that grow the business and doing them even when you don't want to. Doing what’s required to move you forward.
Courtney Elmer 33:48
What I’m hearing you say is to work intentionally, not just for the sake of working. I tell my students all the time, it's about knowing what those right things are for you because every business is unique. What activities are moving the needle the most? That's where discipline comes into play, by working intentionally on those things and only those things, and not allowing yourself to be distracted by the shiny objects and the busywork. People ask me, “How do you run a business with a two-year-old at home with you? When do you work?” I work during naptime, which is an hour and a half to two hours a day. It’s not that much time on the clock, but because I’m intentional with how I invest that time, I’m able to get done what needs to get done. It’s not about grinding it out and working 16 hour days for the sake of doing it, it’s about working well and being intentional.
Zach Spuckler 35:10
Yeah, I agree. 100%.
Courtney Elmer 35:12
So what would you say was the biggest mindset shift you’ve had in your business? What marketing plans have been most effective?
Zach Spuckler 35:35
Yeah, I love this question. For me, the biggest thing was seeing that whatever I want to do, I can do successfully. I talked a little bit about how I’ve done Periscope, and Facebook Ads, and challenge launches, and more. Through it all, I branded myself effectively. I don’t know that it was intentional, but it happened that way. But when people get to know you for one thing, you can start to take on that identity and start to think “oh gosh, maybe I”m only as good as ‘the Challenge guy’ or ‘the Facebook Ads guy.’ So one of the shifts that I’ve made recently is that whatever I decide to venture into, I can do successfully.
Courtney Elmer 37:20
That's huge, too, because you said, our identity does become wrapped up in the thing that we become successful at whether it's intentional or not, or it happens over time. A piece of us gets wrapped up in that; attached to that. Then it’s the fear of “Well, if I step away from this, then what? What if the new thing doesn't work?” The belief you traded it for, which is, “I can be successful at anything I set out to do,” is empowering. And that’s a perfect segue into the question I want to end on which is, what is your definition of success?
Zach Spuckler 38:11
This is an easy one for me because it's not monetary, and I think I'm pretty darn close to it right now. But it's to take the day off if I want to take the day off. To work for 12 hours, if I want to work for 12 hours. To take my family to Disneyland and have a good time if I want to do that. To me, it’s being able to live the life you want, having the business support the lifestyle, and having a lifestyle to support the business.
Courtney Elmer 38:45
That's the ultimate freedom and the ultimate luxury, to be able to do what you want when you want and to give yourself permission to do that. To know that your business isn't going to fail if you’re not chained to your desk. Zach, I know our listeners are going to want to connect with you. Where can they find you on social media?
Zach Spuckler 41:18
The best place is on Instagram. I'm @heartsoulhustle. If you've been listening to this, and you're like, “oh my gosh, this guy needs to run my Facebook ads I need new targeted marketing strategies or marketing plans!” You can head on over to heartsoulhustle.com and check out what we do. And if you want to work with us, you can fill out an application there.
Courtney Elmer 41:39
Awesome. Zach, thank you so much for being here on the show. You’ve given us so many takeaways that relate to targeted marketing strategies, Facebook ads, or marketing plans.
Zach Spuckler 41:48
Thank you so much. It's been an absolute pleasure.
Courtney Elmer 41:52
Thank you guys so much for tuning in. Go subscribe so that you’re the first to know as soon as a new episode drops, and take a second to leave us a review, especially if you loved what you heard today about targeted marketing strategies, Facebook ads, or marketing plans. It only takes a moment of your time and your reviews help people find us who need to hear this message too. We’ll see you back here next time on the Systems Made Simple™ podcast. Until then, go live your EffortLESS Life®.