Content Marketing

8 Growth Strategies For 2022 That Are Cheaper Than Facebook Ads

by Ezra Firestone

Right now, there’s a surplus of advertisers on social media who joined for the holidays, and they’re driving up the price.

On top of that, iOS 14 continues to make targeting less effective so it’s harder than ever to scale our campaigns.

I expect the prices to return to normal early next year, but I still think we’re in for another few months of difficult customer acquisition on social…

So here’s my playbook of 8 growth strategies for 2022 that are cheaper than Facebook ads:

  1. Buy More Email Leads
  2. Launch New Products
  3. Grow Your SMS Subscribers
  4. Create More Front-end Offers
  5. Invent A Holiday
  6. List Products On Amazon
  7. Expand to Canada & Europe
  8. Advertise On Television


These are the best plays I’m running today in my $40 million/year brand that you can use to open new sales channels and lower your customer acquisition costs.

Some of these plays I’ve been running for years, some we’re launching for the first time in 2022…

But I’m only including the strategies that are relevant now and simple to deploy.

#1 Buy More Email Leads

Email is a much cheaper communication channel than ads, and the ROI is something like 46X compared to 1.3X for our ads to cold traffic.

By using the I.C.O.S.A. content marketing strategy to create and amplify content on social, I can acquire leads for much less than the cost to acquire customers and then I can convert those leads via email. (I can even target the same audiences that I target in my conversion ads.)

In the last 12 months, I spent $200,000 to buy email leads and made $750,000 in sales.

That’s a 3.75X return on investment versus only 1.3% on ads, so this strategy is paying off — but it does take time.

This has been a major play of mine since 2019, but in 2022 I’m increasing my bet and I’m going to spend 10% of my ad budget on straight email lead generation.

(If your email game is weak right now, I’ve documented my entire email strategy in this free 4-part email marketing training.)

#2 Launch New Products

In general, most brands have one front-end offer that they use to acquire new customers…

But if you want a brand you can scale, you need a minimum of 6 individual product offers to upsell and cross-sell on the backend. So even when CPAs are too expensive to scale on Facebook, you can still grow revenue significantly by launching new products for your repeat customers.

Allbirds, Purple Mattress, Dr. Axe — every brand that scales into the high 8 figures has a phase where they rapidly expand their product line.

That’s why my goal is to launch 4 new products in 2022 and every year after. By the way, John and Molly broke down Smart Marketer’s product launch strategy in this recent podcast episode.

#3 Grow Your SMS Subscribers

iOS 14 showed us how valuable it is to control your own marketing channels like email and text messaging.

That’s why in 2022 I’m going to invest in growing my SMS list by:

  • Collecting phone numbers during checkout
  • Including SMS offers in our post-purchase email flow
  • Advertising SMS offers to our existing fans on social


Today, the engagement on mobile is much higher than on email or Facebook — but our SMS list is only 5% as big…

So by incentivizing our email subscribers and Facebook fans to also join our SMS list, I can monetize them more cheaply and effectively than with any other channel.

To start building your own SMS list, check out this blog post: 5 Quick Ways to Grow an SMS List (w/ Arri Bagah of Conversmart)

#4 Create More Front-End Offers

For the last 10 years, I’ve only marketed one product as my front-end offer to cold traffic — every other product was offered on the backend as an upsell or cross-sell.

Going into 2022, we created two additional front-end offers, complete with their own ad funnels, pre-sell articles, email automations and upsells.

If either of these new customer acquisition funnels is profitable long term, then I’ll be able to reach brand new audiences and scale my ad spend without increasing my CPA.

#5 Invent A Holiday

We invented our own holiday this year called Pro-age Month as an easy way to engage our fans and email subscribers.

We wrote articles about it, created Facebook Lives about it, designed hashtags and shareable posts for our community, and it gave us an authentic reason to promote our brand and products all month long.

No matter how big your brand is or how many followers you have, you should be running a sale event every six weeks to monetize your audience. It’s cheaper than running ads to cold traffic and it’s a reliable way to boost revenue throughout the year.

You can learn about my 7-figure holiday sale strategy in this episode of the Smart Marketer podcast.


Scaling from $40 to $80 million.

My ecommerce brand is on track to do about $40 million in 2021, up about 40% from two years ago.

But until now, I’ve grown this business by scaling our ad spend on social media, optimizing our email & content marketing and growing our repeat purchase rate…

If I’m going to reach my goal of scaling to $60, $70 and $80 million, then I need to expand my visibility sources beyond just social.

These next 3 plays are how I’m going to achieve that.


#6 List Products On Amazon

This year, we finally launched my ecommerce brand on Amazon. We started by listing only our most popular products as a way to capture brand traffic and to stop pirate brands from stealing our customers.

This is small stakes so far — we’re just trying to stop other people from profiting off our business — but it does help us convert new customers who see our Facebook ads and don’t want to buy through Shopify.

We figure we’re up about 10% in revenue from expanding onto Amazon, and we’ll continue to add more of our product line and invest in Amazon advertising in 2022.

#7 Expand to Canada & Europe

In 2021, we established a new fulfillment network in Canada so we could sell our products internationally without charging extra for shipping and fees.

In 2022, I’m going to establish a fulfillment network in Europe also, so I can ship and run ads to the E.U. as well.

After spending tens of millions of dollars to amplify the same front-end offer, every woman over the age of 40 in the U.S. has seen our ads like four times. By expanding internationally I can reach a whole new audience to run ads to.

But you don’t need a new fulfillment center to expand into Canada — you can start right now by adding international shipping as an option and testing your offer that way.

We were able to do this profitably even though our customers had to pay an extra $10+ for shipping.

#8 Advertise On Television

If you’re looking to branch out from social media advertising, here’s my shortlist of new sales channels I considered testing:

  1. Small or Big Box Retail: Many of the 8-figure brands in my Blue Ribbon Mastermind have expanded into retailers like Target and Whole Foods and are doing extremely well.
  2. Podcast Commercials: I know brands that run ads on podcasts and have built successful cold-traffic sales funnels with this strategy, too.
  3. Television: Both traditional cable and streaming services are available for brands like ours.


In the end, I decided to try television first. According to the agencies I spoke with, if you’re already spending $200,000 a month on social media ads, you can move to TV pretty easily.

Generally you can 4X your spending on television — there’s that much scale — so this can potentially be a very meaningful addition to my business. But it’s still a gamble…

I’m spending $50,000 to produce four commercials: two 30-second spots and two 15-second spots.

Then another $175,000 in ad spend to air them for four weeks. If I can match the 1.3X ROAS I know I can get from Facebook ads, then my $225,000 bet will pay off and I’ll have unlocked a major new sales channel.

Want to Learn More?

I first shared this playbook of growth strategies for 2022 during an episode of The Smart Marketer Podcast.

I covered my most important plays in this article, but you can learn more about my $225,000 bet on television and how I plan to scale from $40 to $80 million by listening to the full episode here: