The key to marketing your small business online is within the palm of your hands.
Facebook allows businesses of all sizes to promote their products and services through its advertising program. But getting the results you want requires more than just posting an ad on a whim.
Successful Facebook Ads are specific, targeted and compelling.
Easier to be said than done? That’s not completely true!
We recently spoke with Adrienne Richardson, an advertising professional, and entrepreneur who lives and breathes Facebook ad, and has shared a few of her best Facebook marketing tips.
If you want to know the secret of her success and use her tips to boost your business… keep on reading!
Beginning her career at a PR agency in Philadelphia, Richardson has worked with clients that include NASCAR, Subaru, and R.M. Palmer Company. She researched and strategized hundreds of ad campaigns with the agency—only to be laid off just as she was planning a family.
After launching her own parenting magazine in New Jersey, Richardson decided she wanted to establish her own advertising business—Adrienne Richardson Enterprises—in 2013.
Soon after launching the business, she discovered Facebook ads and built her entire business around the social network. She went from an associate at an advertising agency to launching her own company that exclusively focuses on Facebook marketing.
Adrienne credits much of her success with Facebook Ads to her experience in PR and classic advertising.
Many things that are common practice in PR are often overlooked with Facebook Ads, but most of us using ads didn’t get our start in a PR agency”.
Here’s her 7 secrets to be a Top marketer on Facebook.
1. Measure success, not vanity
Many business owners place ads on Facebook hoping that a large number people will see them. However, if you have not defined the target market for your advertisement, those numbers won’t mean much. Small business owners often track “vanity metrics,” such as cost per click. However, that’s where many advertisers go wrong.
What business owners should track is the return on investment and/or the cost of acquiring a new customer.
Chase Hughes defines this cost in his article: Customer Acquisition Cost: The One Metric That Can Determine Your Company’s Fate:
Basically, the CAC can be calculated by simply dividing all the costs spent on acquiring more customers (marketing expenses) by the number of customers acquired in the period the money was spent. For example, if a company spent $100 on marketing in a year and acquired 100 customers in the same year, their CAC is $1.00.”
That is what truly determines the effectiveness of your ad from start to finish. You will see higher numbers for these key metrics if you have successfully identified the target market for your product. Advertising your business too broadly will make your advertising efforts far less successful.
2. Know the customer’s wants—and build your marketing around it
Companies create products to satisfy consumer demand. Customers buy products to satisfy their wants and needs.
If a business does not know the needs and concerns of its customers, it cannot target its ads effectively.
If there’s not a problem a product is attempting to address, then there’s no solution it can solve. Lacking an initial problem doesn’t give consumers initiative to consider your product, let alone purchase it.
Richardson gained plenty of experience in this arena during her ad agency years, and she leverages it to this day.
Certain strategies work better for some businesses than they do for others. Regardless, you must do your best to identify “the heaven and the hell” with your customers. What problems are they currently facing? What is their ideal situation? How can your product give customers what they want?
Let’s take a look at an ad that does this well.
The image in this ad captures a private moment most of us have experienced once or twice. Dropping your phone on your own face is a mix of surprise, pain and frustration, followed by some restraint as you stop yourself from throwing your phone across the room to get sweet revenge on an inanimate object.
Look for little moments like this, they are the “hell” that you’re looking for. It sets you up to present your solution.
If your budget allows for it, focus groups are a great method to get inside the customer’s head. They allow advertisers to truly understand the wants and the needs of the customer.
However, those who participate in focus groups are usually compensated, as it requires a considerable time commitment from participants. Still, focus groups are worth keeping in mind, as the results could turn out to be a game-changer for your business. Here’s an awesome guide on how to run a focus group.
If you’re not familiar with the needs of your customers and your budget is a bit tighter, consider running a survey as a Facebook ad. You can target your customers or, if you run an ad agency, target your client’s customers.
For example, when you go to see a superhero movie, you’re likely to see an additional three or four trailers for other superhero movies. This should not be all that surprising—it’s fair to assume that those who watch superhero movies would be interested in watching other movies like it!
Once you have this information about your target audience, including who you’re trying to reach, their characteristics and what’s important to them, you can develop your campaign around them. Taking these steps allows you to get inside the head, mind and heart of your audience.
3. Don’t be too vague with your messaging
The worst-performing ads are often vague. They are not specific enough and don’t relate to customers.
For example, a life coach may tell customers that he or she will help them “find more joy” and “be happier in life.” However, joy and happiness are subjective and mean something different to everyone.
The ad has one job: to get the customer to click it.
The average person reading a vague ad will likely not relate to it because it’s full of non-specific, empty language. Dozens of potential engagements on Facebook are lost this way. The ad does not necessarily have to sell the product, but it must provoke curiosity within the target audience.
Let’s look at an example that misses the mark.
Notice how the copy at the top of the ad mentions new tools they’ve built. But the ad does not say anything about the tools or making you successful, it’s talking about how innovative the advertiser is.
Neither the statements nor the image conjure up any emotion plus they don’t match on top of that.
Now, let’s look at an ad that does this well.
The messaging on top and beneath the ad is all discussing user experience which matches the image on the ad.
Even if “User Experience Issues?” was not written in huge font across the image you can tell that the character in the picture is clearly frustrated at their computer. A look you would never want someone to have if they were on your website or using your software.
What’s important with a strong Facebook ad, is that it must grab the target customer’s attention. To do that, it must be compelling. How do you make it compelling?
Richardson says customers need to feel like you know them, understand them and can relate to you as a brand. The problem with a lot of companies that just purchase ads is that they do not take the time to understand and relate to the members of their target audience.
4. Use the right words and images
We’ve already mentioned that messaging shouldn’t be too vague. But what should your messaging include? The words should invoke reactions from your target audience. The same goes for the images in your ad.
The image is what gets people to stop scrolling down the page and engage with your ad. Do not be afraid to think outside the box.
Avoid generic stock photos—people are desensitized to them. You need to pick an image that’s bright, colorful and grabs people’s attention.
Here’s an example of an eye catching image that you can use for location-targeting.
Though not everyone would recognize the flag on the right side of this image, it will immediately catch your eye if it’s the flag of your country.
Mixing in the US flag plays on an innate desire their target audience has to study in the US. Though they’re both very familiar images, they catch the attention of their ideal customer. When potential customers see the image, that is when they will read the advertisement.
Think about images that would grab a potential customer’s attention and get them to stop scrolling. If they find the image boring, your ad and its accompanying message won’t even hit their eyes.
In life, people try to move closer to what they want, trying to get away from pain and seek pleasure. The same applies for advertisements. Pictures that show what an experience will be like with a product, tend to perform better than depressing pictures of life without it.
If you want to learn more about how to tell a great story that helps your target audience visualize themselves using your product or service check out: Master the power of Storytelling in your Ads.
5. Write efficient, relatable content
Although the picture may be what first grabs a potential customer’s attention, your ad copy is just as important.
The copy should be relatable to both the picture and the target audience. Make it sound like something users would type on their Facebook profiles. Don’t type like you’re writing a college essay. Use some emotion!
The copy also should be specific enough for someone in the target audience to read it and realize it applies to them.
And, don’t forget to always end your ads with a call to action. Don’t assume that the audience knows what to do. Tell them outright what action they should take.
Let’s take a look at a winning ad for relatable messaging and good calls to action.
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The video and ad copy all focus on the benefits of email marketing. The information in the video is presented clearly, yet quickly. The call to action is great because it not only prompts the viewer to just “click” but he explains you need to sign up for a free account with Drip.
For more on creating great videos to promote your brand, check out: The Ultimate Guide To Branding With Facebook Video.
6. Match your ad to your landing page
The copy for the ad should also be congruent with the landing page to which it leads. One of the mistakes writers make is writing an ad as if it’s independent from the landing page.
Message match has a direct and proven impact on your Relevance Score. AdEspresso tested this metric across over a hundred thousand ads to determine what (if any) correlation it had with determining how much you have to pay.
Turns out, there was a clearly discernable link between the Relevance Score, the Cost Per Click you were paying, and your Click Through Rate.
So the higher your Relevance Score, the higher your CTR and lower your CPC. Also, vice versa.
You can learn more about this experiment and the findings at Why ‘Message Match’ Matters: How to Reduce Facebook Ad Costs 79%.
Richardson’s advice? Write the landing page first! From there, take the bullet points from the landing page and turn them into a conversation for your Facebook ad. Recreate it and be conversational. Tell a story. If ad copy contains too much sales language, people ignore it like they do modern commercials and billboards.
7. Connect with your customer
It doesn’t matter if you’re a large ad agency or a one-person shop, the process of creating a successful advertisement is the same.
You need to know what “the heaven and the hell” is for the consumer and create a language that speaks to and connects with them.
A great example of a company that highlights this is Coca-Cola. When the brand creates commercials, it shows people from different walks of life while appealing to compelling themes, such as unity. The ads invoke emotion in people while displaying colorful visuals. Coke is also associating its product with the brand.
Learning from PR agencies
Ad agencies have considerable experience the average small business owner may not yet possess. Compared to the average business owner, those working at agencies take more time to research, plan, strategize and properly develop goals for their campaigns.
They don’t just create an ad—they create something that’s intended to work.
They track the effectiveness of their ads with ROI and how much it costs to convert each new client.
When you put in the time and the energy to plan accordingly and track metrics, you’ll have much more success and make more money than the average person who just throws an ad up and doesn’t know if it’s working.
Follow these Facebook marketing tips from the pros, and as a result, your business will reap the financial rewards of more successful advertising when you engage an agency rather than going out on your own.
Kyle Gray is the author of The Story Engine An entrepreneur’s guide to content strategy and brand storytelling without spending all day writing.
His agency, Conversion Cake, helps startups and small businesses grow by telling their story and helping their audience through content marketing.
Follow him on Twitter @kylethegray“