While Facebook ads are often touted as the solution to every marketing ill, the truth is that most of us don’t know how to best use this tool. We’re here to help.
First things first, is Facebook-based marketing all it’s cracked up to be? The benefits of using Facebook to head your marketing campaign are simple, really:
- It’s everywhere: with over 2 billion monthly active users in 2017, you know you’re reaching a wide and varied audience
- It’s straightforward: Facebook ads are specifically designed to make the marketer’s life easy, while still remaining cost-effective
- It’s trackable: Facebook’s mass data gathering capabilities mean you can be choosy about your target audience, and easily track how people interact with your ads
But it’s never that easy.
Too many business owners stumble when designing their content strategy – so how to avoid making the same mistake?
This post provides a practical guide to spending your marketing money wisely.
Pro tip – Make sure you’ve done some work on identifying your ideal client clear before you start putting any money into ads. Otherwise you’ll just lose $$ quick. Follow our ideal client guide if you need some help.
3 Strategies for Facebook Advertisements
These are the ads everyone thinks of: pitching a product (e.g. bookkeeping services, shoes, classes) directly to your customer.
The key with this type of advertisement is the audience.
“Hot traffic” is the best place to direct your money – people who have already visited your site, are on your list, or are generally fans. These are the people who have already been primed to trust your brand and to respond positively to your product offering. Hence, they are the most likely to generate sales.
One great trick with hot traffic is the concept of retargeting: using cookies on your website to track how people interact with both the website, and their actions on the wider web. The Facebook Pixel service is particularly designed for these campaigns, by taking data from your website and using it to target ads specifically to these people.
It’s important to remember to stick to hot traffic though; there’s nothing worse than spending money marketing to someone who doesn’t know they should care.
[bctt tweet=”#HotTip: Let Facebook Pixel do the hard marketing work for you! ” username=”anferneec”]
In order to reach critical mass and generate real volume of sales, it’s important to build up your reach and your network. These ads promote free training webinars, ebooks or courses which people need to sign up to.
Once these people are on your list, you can regularly reach them through direct email marketing, and thus create hot traffic. This hot traffic gives you an audience for your Product Ads, and a source of potential revenue.
The danger with this type of marketing, however, is how common it is. Just try scrolling through your Facebook news feed- how many ads do you see advertising free programs which require you to sign up?
We’ve become desensitized to these ads and skip them automatically.
On top of this, there’s the fact that usually you need to leave Facebook to get to these sign-up forms. Given how many individuals use Facebook on a mobile app, external pages are too hard, and your audience just won’t bother (unless what you’re offering is really of value to them).
In the end, you need to ensure that your customers perceive the trade-off between giving up personal details and a free program (or product) is valuable.
Note: you can also use retargeting to encourage warm audiences to take up your freebie lead magnet offer. This works well as they may have missed the offer the first time or were too busy, but a nice re-targeted reminder might just be what they need to sign up.
These ads are all about using ungated content – content available without a sign-up – to create a profile for your business. These are ideal for “cold” traffic – people who don’t already know your brand.
This is possibly where Facebook is most useful: content like blog posts or videos can be teased, or even fully published on Facebook, without any need for an external website.
Basically, your audience sees your material as an integrated part of their Facebook experience.
The beauty here is that it doesn’t feel like marketing: it feels like personal contact, and builds on your personal branding. And it draws your customer in absolutely.
To close off the ungated content, you can absolutely push a gated cheat sheet, or a full product, thus building your list or generating sales.
[bctt tweet=”Don’t spend too much on ads ever again #keepitcheap” username=”anferneec”]
Think of visibility ads as the first step in hooking your customers; the way you whittle down the people you spend time wooing for sales. It’s how you ensure that you only spend money on the people who will make money for you.
For a handy guide on how to write engaging ungated content check out How to Generate MQLs Using Ungated Content.
Flexible, Not Fixed
The most important thing to remember, no matter which combination of strategies you use, is being open to change.
What feels like it should work might not always work, and you may need to take time out from other business activities to explore how you can tweak your strategy. Thankfully, Facebook provides reasonably comprehensive feedback on users’ interactions with your ads, so it shouldn’t take too long to determine if something works.
That being said, even if something works right now, as your business grows and the external environment develops, the marketing strategy which works best for you will change, too.
Always remember that Facebook ads, like any form of marketing, are about engaging meaningfully with your audience. You want them to know that you offer them value, and that belief can only come if they feel your brand matches them. Tailoring to a changing audience is critical.
The $40 Per Month Budget
Practically, how do you start? Facebook marketing is cheaper than many channels, meaning you really can reach more people for less.
According to Claire, even $40 a month is enough to get started on a significant campaign.
Her outline of a monthly budget, assuming a 4-week month, begins by assigning each week a budget of $10.
Of this $10, $2 goes towards promoting one blog post to people who have already visited her site or who are on her list. This $2 essentially comprises her product ads for the week.
[bctt tweet=”Facebook ads are definitely worth ‘liking’” username=”anferneec”]
Then, she allocates $6 a week to promoting the exact same blog post to a cold audience. These are her visibility ads, designed to build brand awareness. This brand awareness gets built by regularly putting out consistent and congruous content which slots into your overall image.
It’s worth noting that she places less emphasis on consolidating her existing network, and more on extending her reach.
This leaves her with $2 per week, or $8 at the end of the month, which she prefers to invest in a three to four day aggressive marketing campaign. This final campaign focuses on products, list-building, and brand awareness, but ultimately hits customers repeatedly until they notice the business.
Here’s a handy table to summarise the $40 per month strategy:
|Budget allocation||How to spend it||Target audience|
|$2 per week||Promote one blog post||Warm audience (people who have visited your site or are on your list)|
|$6 per week||Promote same blog post||Cold audience (people who have never seen your content before)|
|Repeat the above for 4 weeks, with a different blog post each week. $8 x 4 = $32|
|$8 per month||Promote a free opt-in/lead magnet offer||Retarget people who have visited your site in the last 30 days but didn’t sign up to your list.|
While Claire’s budget might not suit everyone’s objectives, it certainly gives us a real-world introduction to Facebook advertising.
Where to Next?
Facebook ads aren’t the next big thing- they’re transforming marketing right now, and it’s crucial that all business owners capitalize on this new technology.
This isn’t a static tool, however, and there are a multitude of strategies you can use within your Facebook marketing campaign (have a read of this one sometime). It’s all about choosing from the instruments available to tailor a strategy which fundamentally engages your customers, to create real leads and real sales.
For all the amazing things Facebook ads do, however, at least we don’t have to pay through the nose. That’s always something to ‘like.’
For a more in-depth explanation of how to get started creating your ads for Facebook check out Facebook Ads: 5 Resources To Get You Started.