If you’re reading this blog post, you’re at least vaguely interested in the concept of Facebook ads. But is it just me, or does this whole concept make you feel a bit skeptical?
Isn’t it kind of sleazy to pitch ourselves in front of unexpecting social media scrollers? Is this a legit way to grow my business, or is it just a bottomless money pit to be avoided at all costs?
I’ll be honest: I felt exactly like this about Facebook Ads. But then I sat down with expert (& Fizzler!) Claire Pelletreau for this week’s Courage & Clarity episodes, and to put it plainly, she blew my mind.
Around the Fizzle neighborhood, we pride ourselves on honest, authentic business building. That means no skeezy marketing, no swindling, no begging people to buy crap.
More often than not you’re probably going to hear us point you towards creating valuable, helpful content and solving real problems for customers instead of showing up to Facebook with a fistful of cash.
What I didn’t realize (and what Claire showed me) is that there’s a strategic way to incorporate Facebook Ads into a business growth approach without feeling like you’ve dumped this month’s rent on a sketchy billboard.
(In fact, you only need $40 to be effective. For more on exactly how a pro would spend the cash, here’s the short episode with Claire.)
Here are three big strategies for leveraging Facebook ads, whether you’re a seasoned entrepreneur or at the beginning stages of business building:
Strategy #1: The one that gets you sales
These types of ads might say, “check out this new product” or “it’s Black Friday!” or “cart is open for our new program, just 48 hours left to get the early bird special!”
Chances are if you’ve considered using Facebook ads (or even experimented with them), you’re hoping to make a buck. Who doesn’t love making money, and besides, isn’t that why we paid for this thing in the first place?
It might surprise you that this expert recommends only running these type of ads to warm or hot traffic (aka, people who have had some interaction with your business.)
This means creating audiences inside Facebook comprised of people who:
- Have already signed up for your list
- Have visited your website recently (known as “retargeting”) or
- Are your Facebook Fans (if you’ve already been building this.)
Ok, you might be wondering: why would I pay money to advertise to people who already know me? Isn’t this supposed to be about getting in front of new people?
Here’s the problem: people buy from people they know, like and trust.
If a potential customer wanders Facebook, sees your ad on their screen but has zero context for what you’re selling, chances are slim she’ll trust you enough to swipe her credit card.
Therefore, when it comes to selling, we’re doubling down on people further down the pipeline.
The truth is that the timing could be off for many of the people you would love to work with. Staying in front of your prospective clients creates that association, and next time they need a product or service like yours, there’s a better chance your name pops into their heads.
So should I ever promote sales-type ads to “cold” audiences? It depends. Remember, you’re probably a total stranger to these people. So can you get specific enough to win them over? It might be worth a little bit of your budget to try this if you can get granular, but most businesses won’t be able to.
Most of the time, promoting services to cold audiences will not lead to a positive ROI. It might take a few “interactions” with your customers to cultivate enough trust to create that conversion.
(True story: we hear from Fizzle Show listeners who tell us they’ve been listening for months or years before they gave our membership a try!)
Quick technical note: You’ve got to do a little bit of setup ahead of time in order to show ads to people who have visited your site. That’s called the Facebook pixel, and it’s super simple.
Make sure you do that now, because you can only target people after your pixel is installed. Even if you have no plans to run ads, you can start pixeling today for anything you might do in the future.
Strategy #2: The one that builds your list
These ads promote a free course, webinar, training, challenge, ebook, or anything requiring people to sign up for with an email address.
Claire says this is probably the most common ad she sees, and if you have a good lead magnet or freebie, it’s possible that Facebook can score you some cheap signups.
The catch? Everyone is doing this one right now.
As our email inboxes are increasingly bombarded, it’s getting harder and harder to get people to fork over that address.
Here’s the key: your lead magnet has to be a serious issue or need for people.
Think about it — if I see an ad promoting your free mini-course, I have to leave Facebook (which I don’t really want to do!) to go sign up for your thing. You’ve really got to motivate me with your offer.
While this strategy is still a favorite, cost per signup can get pricey unless you can nail the problem.
That’s why Claire is such a fan of this third strategy …
Strategy #3: The one that introduces you to more people
This type of ad promotes your free, ungated content (read: no email address necessary to access the thing.)
These ads typically feature a specific blog post, podcast episodes or a video. Video is especially interesting because you don’t have to send people off of Facebook — by embedding the content right into the ad, you can show them a helpful video right there on Facebook.
Once you’ve gotten people to watch the video or go to the blog post, you can retarget them (see strategy 1 & 2) and boom, we’re on the fast track to the whole “know, like and trust” thing.
You might feel hesitant to spend money to put your blog posts in front of people, and I get that. My favorite part about this whole thing is that we’re not talking about a lot of money — as Claire breaks down in our interview, you can make this work with $8 a week.
Bonus: you can run ads with different pieces of content over the course of a few weeks and measure what lands most with people.
If you’re curious about what types of blog posts or videos are most interesting to people, this can give you some real solid information (you might even use this insight to determine what products to build in the future!)
Part of what you’re paying for is data about your customers. Your campaign results will reveal stats about what they’re into, where they’re from, how old they are and — my favorite part — what they really need help with.
No matter how you slice and dice your Facebook ads, you’ve got to test and measure the results. Play with warm and cold traffic and try different content.
It’s crucial that you allow yourself a lot of time to tweak, play and test, because the first thing you try might not work. As Claire tells us, many people rely on Facebook ads for a certain revenue goal but don’t allot enough time. When they miss those goals, they assume ads just don’t work.
Want to hear exactly how Claire would spend $40 a month on Facebook ads? This was my favorite part of my chat with her, and you can hear her lay it all out on Courage & Clarity.
Have you tried Facebook ads? What worked? I’d love to hear your experiences in the comments below!