Building a Monthly Membership
with a FREE Virtual Summit
Facebook and Instagram Ad Case Study
Return on Ad Spend
My client runs an online platform that helps math teachers who feel bogged down and left all alone to make sense of new teaching standards, assessments, and (for some) new curricula.
This platform provides math educators with many free resources including a weekly podcast, regular value-packed emails, a growing Youtube channel, insightful social media posts, and a community inside a Facebook group with over 70,000 members.
Math Educators can invest in themselves further by purchasing one of the following offers:
- Digital Products
- Online Courses
- A Monthly membership community
This is a Case Study of the Facebook and Instagram Ad campaign for the 2022 FREE Virtual Summit at the end of which registrants were invited to subscribe to the paid membership community.
A Free Summit to earn Professional Development Credit
The Virtual Summit is a free 3-day online event, with a $19 VIP upgrade option, for teachers to come and learn from 30 different presenters from all over the country for which they can earn an hour of Professional Development credit, by evidence of certificates of completion issued for each session they attend.
Access to the summit is FREE to registrants for the entire 3-day weekend and can be extended for a few weeks with a VIP ticket or indefinitely inside the paid member community, which provides lifetime access to all of the past summits.
In 2022 over 18,000 educators registered for the free opportunity, the Virtual Summit and 504 people purchased a VIP ticket.
Summit Attendees were invited to join a $39/month membership
At the end of this summit, participants were invited to join a monthly membership community, where they can find “PD at their fingertips,” among other things, for the price of $39 per month or $468 annually.
In 2022, 342 of the Virtual Summit participants enrolled in the membership community. At the point of sale approximately $13,000 (342x $39) for the first-month membership payment and $10,000 for VIP upgrade, for a total of $23,000 was collected.
2,000% Return on Ad Spend
Return on Ad Spend (ROAS) for a subscription-based offer, like this membership community, is not calculated using only the revenue collected at the point of sale, but on the new member's total value to the business, their "lifetime value" (LTV), during the time they remain subscribed to the business.
We calculated my client's member's LTV by pulling data from their email service provider. We multiplied the average number of months a current member has been subscribed (21 months) by the monthly membership price and then added the average amount of money that a member spends on other products offered by my client (remember the digital products and signature course mentioned above). As of our date of publication, the LTV of a member for this client is $979.
THEN we calculated the ROAS of the 2022 Virtual Summit as follows:
ROAS = (LTV x # memberships purchased) / (Virtual Summit Ad Costs + Ad Creation and Management Cost)
The result? (drum roll please!) With a total ad spend of approximately $11,600 and management and ad creation fees for the 3-month period of $6,000, the 2022 Virtual Math Summit generated over $344,400 in current and future revenue for this company, which is a
2,000% Return on their Ad Spend. (20X ROAS).
For number nerds like me who want to make sure their calculation is correct it looks like this:
($979 x 342 new members)/ ($11,600 + $6000 costs)
This Ads Strategy Works
Even if your online community is not as big as my client’s community or your next launch goal isn’t 6 figures (yet!), you can still learn from the ad strategies we used for this FREE Virtual Summit.
Let me break it down
1. Build your email list before the launch
Before registration for the summit opened we spent approximately $2,000 on an ad campaign to grow our warm audience by giving away a freebie in exchange for an email address.
Remember it's almost always cheaper to advertise to a warm audience than a cold audience.
2. Free registration campaign with a conversion objective
Then almost 2 months before the summit, we spent approximately $9,000 on lead ads with an invitation to register for the summit for free to her warm audience and 2 different cold audience ad sets. We tested 3 different versions of copy and several different images and videos.
The clear favorite creative was the composite picture of the featured summit speakers above.
The cold audience we built of "look-a-likes" of the warm audience performed better than the cold audience we built from our customers' interests and demographics,
BUT that doesn't hold true for every online business. In 2022, many Ad Managers are reporting better performance from Cold Interest Audiences. Test both!
3. VIP upgrade for $19
During the summit, we spent approximately $900 on ads with the objective of "purchase," reminding summit registrants of the opportunity to buy a VIP ticket.
504 registrants took us up on this VIP upsell which resulted in $10k.
It's worth noting that we did not run ads for the VIP offer until the summit had started and the free registration was complete.
It is always less expensive to run ads to a FREE opportunity so we put all our dollars toward the registration to maximize attendees.
All registrants were offered the VIP ticket on the thank you page of the registration, in emails leading up to the event and then in a targeted 3-day-only ad campaign during the summit itself.
Planning for our next Virtual Summit in 2023
We were very pleased with our 20x ROAS at the last Virtual Summit. For the upcoming 2023 Summit we have expanded on our ad strategy to improve upon that ROAS so we can help even more teachers than we have in previous years.
Since the close of the 2022 Virtual Summit, which was late February 2022, we have used ad campaigns to exponentially grow BMM’s warm audience, and make the warm audience, well WARMER.
Specifically, we spent and ran the following ad campaigns
- We spent close to $20,000 on ads offering various freebies to teachers all over the United States and Canada in exchange for their email addresses, Our Look-A-Like audience has been on fire so we used that group to test different "freebies" to see which one resonated with our audience BEST and brought in new email subscribers for the lowest cost. Our average Optin Cost over the last 7 months has been $1.15/email. That means we have added approximately 17,000 people to our warm audience who have been nurtured with value-packed emails and exposed to all of our free opportunities since they joined our email list.
- We have spent $3,000 on a branding campaign to our growing warm audience. We use an awareness campaign objective on Facebook to send our community’s favorite Instagram and Facebook posts to all of our warm audience, less buyers. We want our community to see my client everywhere on social media, so when the next summit ends, and they are invited to join her membership community, they jump at the chance! We believe this strategy will decrease the time that people spend on our email list before they make a purchase, Currently, members spend approximately 15 months on our email list before they spend money.
This ad strategy continues to expand the reach and explode the sales of my client and help more math educators.
The 2023 Virtual Summit is scheduled for February 2023 when we look forward to helping a record number of math educators build their math minds so they can help build the math minds of their students.