Finding qualified leads online can feel like reaching your hand into the ocean to catch a fish. You know they’re out there, but they’re not swimming anywhere near your boat.
Facebook advertising is different in that you can target an extremely specific audience. Your ads are shown to precisely the people you need to reach – not just some vague demographic. In this guide, we’ll show you our inside Facebook advertising strategy, which you can try out for just $10/day or less.
Before we dive into the details on this topic, we also suggest you check out Bing, a great way to advertise your business and website online. Plus, you can get $50 in free search advertising from Bing Ads. Visit Bing to learn more.
What is Facebook Advertising?
Facebook advertising lets you reach a very specific audience by integrating subtle ads into the user’s news feed. If you’re not familiar with Facebook, the news feed is the “home page” where a user views all the latest updates from friends, celebrities they follow and other popular stories.
Ads fit into the news feed seamlessly: They appear just as another post or story, with the only difference being the small grey text that reads “Suggested Post” and “Sponsored” next to your ad. You can also have your ads show up in the right-hand sidebar:
Facebook Advertising Advantages
This is the 1st major strength of Facebook. Placed next to posts from friends, family and popular news stories, your ads are much more engaging to users than, say, a banner ad on a website
The 2nd major strength is the ability to target specific users. You can show your ad exclusively to men or women, users in a particular age range, those in a geographic location, newly engaged couples, parents, or people who “like” a particular hobby such as soccer, cooking or graphic novels. These are just a few examples of the thousands of different ways you can target users on Facebook. Also, all of these factors can be used in combination to drill down to a very specific audience.
The 3rd strength of Facebook advertising is the low cost of entry. For as little as $5/day, you can reach around 7,500 people and get about 20 clicks to your website. You can set any budget you like (as little as $1) and start/stop campaigns at will. In other words, there’s virtually no risk to getting started.
In order to continue following along to this guide, you’ll have to have a Facebook account and a business page. If you haven’t set these up, check out our guide on How to Create a Business Facebook Page first.
The Different Types of Ads
There’s 10 different ways you can advertise your business on Facebook:
- Boost your posts – Increase the exposure of one of your Facebook posts.
- Promote your Page – Promote your business page with the goal of getting more “likes.”
- Send people to your website – Promote an external link, such as your business website.
- Increase conversions on your website – Same as the above strategy, except you can track how many people actually make a purchase as a result of your ad.
- Get installs of your app – Send people to the store where they can download your app.
- Increase engagement in your app – For people who have already installed your app, this strategy involves mobile ads that will get them to use the app more frequently.
- Reach people near your business – Use geolocation to target people near your business.
- Raise attendance at your event – Similar to boosting a post, increase the exposure of a Facebook event.
- Get people to claim your offer – Promote timely discounts and other deals for people to claim in your store.
- Get video views – Similar to boosting a post, increase the exposure of a video.
The method we’re going to show you in this lesson involves #3 and #4 – drawing traffic to your website with the intention of converting leads.
What we have found works best in today’s environment is not to try and sell people something or capture leads right out of the gate. But instead, to provide your target customers something of value free of charge This way, instead of trying to sell something to someone who has no idea who you are, you introduce yourself by providing value to the potential client. Once they are familiar with you, they are then much more likely to respond to a direct call to action.
Note: The rest of our guide will follow our exclusive Facebook retargeting strategy for drawing leads to your website. If you want to use ads to increase your page “likes” or to boost a post, you can still follow along. You’ll just have to deviate from a few of the steps.
Our Facebook Retargeting Strategy
Our Facebook marketing strategy has two parts: FIRST you find potential customers by promoting a piece of valuable content on Facebook. NEXT you re-market to these same people on Facebook with a call to action. This strategy of targeting twice helps you build trust with your potential customers before making a pitch.
Here’s an example:
Say you own a bridal shop and you write a blog article titled “10 Mistakes to Avoid when Choosing a Wedding Dress” for your website. You promote this article on Facebook, which – due to it’s catchy title – attracts a lot of clicks.
Thanks to a Facebook tool that can track visitors to your website, the system can figure out which Facebook users have been on your page. Later, you show these same visitors a different ad – one that promotes your service directly: “Just In: Fall Wedding Dresses. Get 10% This Week Only” The audience, now remembering the helpful article you wrote for them, will be much more likely to contact you than somebody encountering your business for the first time.
So I have to advertise twice?
Yes. The first time is to establish who you are and what you to. The second time is to make a conversion. While this may sound excessive, the strategy enables you to prove your knowledgeability and make a much more personal connection with potential customer before making the actual pitch.
Think of it this way: Would your rather promote your product to a stranger on the street, or to somebody who’s already walked into your store?
This strategy also helps you stand out from the competition. Since most advertisers are still trying to make a sale or gather contact information right off the bat, an advertisement that provides something valuable for free should get a lot more attention. This also saves you money in the long run, since more engaging content costs less per click. So even though you’re paying for 2 campaigns, you should get more traffic and a lot more qualified leads than if you put all that money towards 1 ad.
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How to Create a Facebook Ad
Before you start your first ad, you need a piece of content that can draw people to your site and demonstrate your value as a business. This can be an article, a video, infographic, news piece, etc. – anything that is engaging, helpful and displays your expertise.
Once you have something published on your website, it’s time to create your first ad. If you’re logged into Facebook, click the arrow in the upper right corner and go to “Create Ads.” Otherwise, follow this link and click “Create Ad.” Then select “Send people to your website” and enter the URL of the content you’ve created.
Step 1: “Install” your Audience Pixel
Before you actually write your first ad, you need to install the piece of code Facebook uses to track visitors to your webpage. To set this up, scroll down to “Who do you want your ads to reach?” Click “Create New Custom Audience…” and then select “Website Traffic.”
Next you’ll be asked to specify who gets tracked from your website: anyone who visits your website, people visiting a specific webpage(s), people who have visited but haven’t returned in XX days and so on. For your first ad, just choose “Anyone who visits your website.” That way visitors from other sources will also be targeted (provided they’re logged into a Facebook account.)
Next you’ll receive the piece of code that enables Facebook to figure out who is visiting your website. Called the “Audience Pixel,” this code needs to be pasted somewhere on the backend of your website (likely on the “header” so it appears on every page). For a demo of how to add this code to a WordPress website, check out this YouTube video.
Once created and installed on your website, you’ll be ready to create your first ad.
Step 2. Creating an Audience
Although you just made a custom audience, you won’t be using this audience just yet. For the first ad, your goal is to reach people who aren’t yet familiar with your business. For the 2nd ad, you’ll apply your custom audience, which are the people who have visited your website.
At this point you should still be on “New Campaign” page below the header “Who do you want your ads to reach?” The first step is to choose the geographic location of your audience, which can be a country, state, city, Zip Code, DMA or address.
Further down you’ll find numerous more options, including the age range, gender and spoken language(s) of your audience. Under “More Demographics” you can find even more options, like relationship status, level of education, income, political affiliation and more. Under “Life Events” you can get more specific and target newlyweds, users with upcoming anniversaries, users who just found a new job and more.
Below demographics, you can also enter specific interests. These can be broad categories, such as “Coffee” or “Fitness,” or specific pages, like “Brewpoint Coffee” or “Courts Plus Gym.”
What you choose all depends on how specific you want to get. The meter on the right-hand side will show you the number of people you can potentially reach. If you get too low, the ad may be too specific and Facebook will give you this warning:
Once you have your audience selected, you can “save” it and use it for future ads.
Step 3: Set your Budget
Next you’ll choose your budget for the ad as well as the duration it will run. Remember that you’ll be launching 2 ads (one to draw customers to your website and another for re-marketing), so only use half your budget for this first ad.
We recommend starting with a budget of $5/day per ad (or $10 total). This should give you an estimated daily reach (the number of people who will see your ad each day) of around 500 to 1,500 people. Since a typical Facebook Ad has a conversion rate of 1.8% (when setup & optimized correctly), this should get you 9 to 27 clicks per day.
If you want to get more traffic, feel free to raise your budget. As you change the value, notice how estimated daily reach on the right-hand side also changes. Take that number and multiply it by 0.018 (or 1.8%). That will give you a rough estimate of how many clicks you can expect each day.
Step 4: Writing the Ad
The next step will be to create the ad itself, including the text and the “preview” photo that is displayed beside it.
For the first ad – the one that draws people to your website – this should be fairly straightforward. You can use the article/page title as the “Headline” and write a short description for the “Text.” For example, the wedding planner’s title might be “10 Amazing & Thrifty Wedding Decor Ideas” and the description may be “From Green to Rustic to Steampunk, here’s how you can dazzle on the dime”
For the second ad, you’ll have to be a little more careful. As your “sales pitch,” your goal is no longer just to get people to your website. You have to get people to your website with the intention of making a purchase. Here’s some tips:
- Start with your value proposition: What makes your business unique over anyone else? The simplest phrases are often the best: “Wedding Planners Who Get You,” or “Wedding Planners Who Care.”
- Top it off with a call to action. Write something that is clear and encouraging, yet also flows with your message. Consider phrases like “View our Latest Openings,” or “Exclusive Fall Offers”
- You want your target audience to identify with whatever your ad says. If you’re going for humor, a clever or cute joke will resonate to a much different audience than irony or sarcasm. Alternatively, you might want to go with more of a practical or urgent tone.
- Giving people stuff works very well. “Click to receive our latest coupons.”
- Always choose an eye catching photo that will resonate with your audience.
For more on how to write a good Facebook ad as well as 11 examples of ads that have worked for others see this article from Dan Slagen at Hubspot.
Where Will the Ad Appear?
Remember where we mentioned the different places an ad can appear on Facebook? Before you finish writing your ad, you’ll want to specify it’s placement.
You can choose if you want it shown specifically in the sidebar, in the news feed for people browsing from a desktop, or in the news feed for people browsing from a mobile device. For the first ad, you’ll probably want to leave all 3 selected. Once it has run for a little while, you can go back and see which placements were the most effective, then change your ad accordingly. Just note that the more you limit yourself, the fewer impressions you’ll get for the money.
Also, since most people use Facebook on their mobile phone, make sure your website is setup to look good on mobile devices. Google Developers has an excellent guide on this topic for a number of different platforms, including WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, Blogger, vBulletin, Magneto, Squarespace, Wix and more.
You’re now at the point where you can launch your first ad. Note that it will take 5 to 20 minutes to be approved by Facebook staff before it’s released to the world.
Step 5: Launch your 2nd Ad
Now that your first ad is launched and you’re driving new traffic to your website, it’s time to work on your 2nd ad. This is the “sales pitch” that will be shown to people who engaged your first ad. To create this, repeat steps 2 to 5, but make the following changes:
- Set your audience to the “custom audience” you created in Step 1 (the visitors to your website)
- Depending on how much traffic your website gets, you may need to wait a day or two before launching the 2nd ad. Facebook requires a minimum of 20 users in a custom audience before you can start advertising to them. Since the $5/day budget on your first ad should you get you 9 to 27 clicks per day, it shouldn’t be too long until you’re good to go.
Step 6: Optimizing the Ads
Now that both ads are launched, your’e done, right? Not so much.
First-time advertisers and seasoned professionals alike often must tweak their ads to make them as effective as possible. Facebook provides you with analytics on each campaign that makes this a cinch.
After some time has passed (1 to 3 days), click “manage ads” under settings in the right-hand corner and click on your campaign. Here you can view different analytics about your ads, including the click-through rate and cost per click. You can also view data about your audience: in particular, which gender/age-group are you reaching the most, and who has the best click-through rate.
Using this data, you can optimize your ad for better results. For example, if women aged 25 to 44 have the best click-through rate, consider advertising exclusively to this segment.
How can I tell if my ad is doing well?
Experts say an optimal click-through-rate is 1.8% or higher. Out of all the people who were shown your ad, this is the percentage of those who actually clicked on it. You can find this number (labeled as “Result Rate”) above the chart when you click “Performance.” If this number is below 1.8%, consider tweaking the image or text for better engagement. If it’s below 1%, consider starting from scratch with a new ad.
Another to track the successfulness of an ad is to see how many customers were referred by it. If you sell products online, you can do this automatically with Facebook’s conversion pixel. Similar to the audience pixel, this is a piece of code you place on your website. Rather than place it on the header, however, you place it specifically on the “check out” page – or whatever page a customer reaches after a sale goes through. This way, Facebook can determine if a paying customer was previously shown your ad. (read more here)
If you are an offline business you cannot use the audience pixel. However, just ask people at checkout how they found your business.
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The Bottom Line
A common mistake web advertises make is jumping to the sale too quickly. Showing a “call to action” ad to people who haven’t heard of your business does not make for a particularly effective campaign. Likewise, asking for an email address right away can deter people who might otherwise become a customer.
With our 2-step process, on the other hand, you get to demonstrate your value to potential customers before reaching out with a specific offer. By establishing a connection with your leads first, your “call to action” will be far more effective.