Facebook ads can help businesses BUT only if properly applied with some deep thought. The ability to reach so many people is appealing, and the likely lower cost-per-click (versus other PPC platforms) is alluring…. but it doesn’t mean that it will be the most cost-effective way to make the phone ring.
Many business owners stampede into paying for Facebook ads without understanding the greater issues. So many factors come into play, otherwise the odds of your money being wasted increase dramatically. You also can hurt your own cause and earn negative reputation if you are not careful… and you would be paying for your own online tarnishing. Talk about a waste of money!
Most business owners will hear about landing pages, click-through-rate, cost-per-click and a few other terms; but many don’t know what they mean. Those who do also likely won’t apply them properly. Once you get into retargeting pixels, forget about it! The concept of “A/B split testing of ads with Facebook retargeting pixels and hyper-targeted audiences to boost social engagement” (all of which could be great in reality) will go over the heads except the most studious of business owners. Nonetheless, they will want to stampede into these ads without thinking very clearly except that “Facebook ads are cheaper than Google Ads and cheaper than advertising in the local chamber of commerce magazine.” Yes, this sentiment has been expressed almost verbatim on more than one occasion recently!
Before going into the advanced topics like split testing, retargeting, custom audiences, and the various pricing models, let’s take a a few minutes and go over the basics. A local business owner AND a business owner who sells nationally all want the same thing: they want the phone to ring more with qualified customers/clients ready to buy for the first time. Remember however that Facebook is a social platform and one which is targeting the user’s PERSONAL interests, not their shopping/business interests. There are platforms for those interests such as specific forums, LinkedIn, Amazon (all of its reviews & social elements), marketing blogs, etc.
You have to be respectful that one of your paid (sponsored) ads will be showing up in the PERSONAL news feed and/or the sidebar (on desktop/laptop screens) of the person’s Facebook page. You have to accomplish a few things here:
- Due to the fact that they are NOT searching for your business at the time, you have to be respectful
- Nonetheless you have to break them out of their “trances” in order to pay attention to your ad. This is a combination of headline and image + curiosity/intrigue building in terms of the text under your ad’s headline
- Where do you send the traffic: take them off Facebook to your website, off Facebook to a web property you control like your YouTube video, to your Facebook page or to a specific post on your Facebook page?
- How do you target the specific person you want to reach AND are willing to pay to reach? While “everyone” is a pie-in-the-sky answer, you have to ask whom are you willing to pay to reach for the SPECIFIC ad/landing page combination. This requires some artful thinking
Regarding the latter, the rest of this post will focus on some examples of various businesses around the country. You will get some pointers on how you may wish to target your audience if you can identify with the type of business mentioned.
A photographer has moved from Hawaii to the East Coast to be near family. Nobody knows her in the new area of the country, but her membership in national photography associations should give her credibility. Good business for her is portrait/head shot photography, so she can target people over 30 who live within 15-20 miles of her new home. To narrow the list further, she can target those who have liked the local chamber of commerce Facebook pages (or just the “chamber of commerce” interests in the paid ad options). This is because she likely will be reaching business professionals in her area; and they will need new photos for LinkedIn, dating sites, etc.
Machine Shop Equipment
A guy is an approved distributor of a major brand of machine shop and measuring equipment. He wants to increase awareness of his selling parts as well as the repair and on-site installation services. In Facebook he can target those of a specific age range who have, as their profession, “machinist” and similar phrases. Additionally, he can target those who read certain trade magazines especially if those magazine’s readers tend to be the decision makers (buyers) of his products and services.
A plumber enters a new part of town to grow his business. Since most people go to the search engines for plumbing problems he has to use Facebook to “get ahead” of the problems. If he knows certain neighborhoods have high odds of bad plumbing then he can target those residents and offer a discount. He also can target foundation companies on Facebook and offer complimentary licensed plumbing services to bolster their appeal to homeowners.
The same as above for the plumber except that he can offer maintenance and tune-ups. He also can drive traffic to safety tips video. If that video is optimized in YouTube then the Facebook traffic, even if it doesn’t generate short term phone calls, likely will help him rank in the search engines long after the paid ad campaign is over.
An OBGYN wants to reach women within an hour’s drive of his office. In Facebook he can target women looking for pregnancy care, STD screening, and similar services by reaching women in an age range who watch certain TV shows, read certain magazines or like specific celebrities – especially those who talk a lot about pregnancy.
Advanced Technology Design
This is tough as the audience is very narrow, but it can appeal worldwide. This company can target multiple countries which speak English and target based on trade magazine interests or those who have liked the Facebook pages of trade shows where current customers attend thereby increasing the likelihood of similar people calling.
In this specific instance, the guy offers specialty financing for those who have low-to-no credit. One way to get the most out of his ad spend is target geographically and those who have a marital status of “divorced” or “separated”. These people are among his high-converting prospects in the real world, so he can get more of them in the online world.
This is a cut-throat business, so his ad headline and offer/body text had better be good. He can target those who have liked a chamber of commerce page or those who have liked competitors’ pages; and then offer a better deal.
Home Renovation Loans
Same as above, except he has the flexibility of different loan types. In order to have low competition, he can offer specialty awareness videos to reduce confusion around 203k rehab loans. He can target those in Facebook who expressed interest in home improvement and remodeling TV shows.
During the non-tax season, he can target those who have expressed interest in “tax deduction” book authors or financial services interests within his geographic radius. This should keep his ad spend low and targeted.
Definitely a natural business category for Facebook ads. She can target women within 5 miles of her salon and use tons of images for the ads. The only concern here is how NOT to target! Lots of flexibility and fun ways to get interest in her salon.
Lots of little towns around her area, so targeting those of a certain age (e.g. 30-50) who have claimed their marital status on Facebook as “separated” is a great starting point. She has to be careful of ad compliance, but a pre-approved ad by the State Bar should be sufficient and rubber stamped.
Heating And Cooling
Commercial businesses are great here because of the profit margins. Also, most competitors are not targeting businesses in this way. Target those in the geographic radius who read high end magazines and other topics related to commercial property management and commercial real estate. On average, they at least need a “tune up” of their heating and cooling systems once a year.
Boxing And MMA Gym
In a major city this is tough due to how many of these gyms are springing up. Embed YouTube videos in a post and then “boost” the post w/ Facebook ads to the desired geographic area. Target by those who like UFC, specific fighters, and self defense gurus on Facebook.
Can use Facebook ads in his geographic area by targeting those who like relocation services, home flipping guides, and parents of college kids. All of these audiences have high likelihood of moving soon. Other ways to target would include those who liked the pages of local apartment complexes.
In an industry with many “cliques” getting people to defect equestrian centers is tough. She can try advertising upcoming competition event dates to those already involved and get them to see her center for the first time. Conversely she can get prospective first-time parents to bring their girls to the center by targeting specific horse-themed movies, horse toy brands, etc.
He can boost possible phone calls by targeting associations of oil field workers and their companies, RV enthusiasts and others pre-disposed to living in a RV park environment. Use good imagery here and emphasize at least 2 benefits in the headline/ad body text in order to increase click-through-rates to the landing page (website, Facebook page or specific post).
Hopefully these examples give you some ideas on what you can do for your own marketing via Facebook paid ads.