Facebook ads offer a limitless number of affordable options to grow your business.
And therein lies the dilemma.
Converting more people from Facebook commonly requires multiple ad creatives, emphasizing unique value propositions, to highly-targeted audience segments on different devices, at different times.
With so many possibilities, it’s incredibly easy to mess up.
Here’s how to set-up a Facebook sales funnel that will help you avoid flushing your Facebook ad budget down the drain.
What to Do When 99% of Visitors Aren’t Ready to Purchase
Average website conversions hover around an abysmal 1-3%.
Yours might even be lower.
That means the vast majority (or 97-99% for you stat geeks) of visitors are NOT ready to purchase, for one reason or another.
Apply your average customer value against that low conversion rate, and what you get is expected revenue. Not a lot to look forward to.
So how do you increase that? How do you reach the other 97-99% of people, get them to stick around longer, and raise your site conversions from sub-1% to 3%+?
By creating marketing tactics that highlight value propositions just for them, and their specific needs or interests depending on their buying cycle (expertly summarized by David Skok on For Entrepreneurs):
Awareness: People in this stage may not even realize they have a need for your product or service yet. So they’re obviously not ready (or willing) to purchase. Instead, the goal is to grab their attention so that you can follow up with them when they’re ready to consider their alternatives.
Consideration: Once people have identified a need, they’ll begin researching potential options. Now the timing is perfect to follow up and possibly generate a lead if you can provide something interesting and valuable.
Decision: Leads will seriously consider the best option after surveying the competitive landscape, starting with your pricing, trial offers, and other ways to get started.
All people will go through these stages at various times, at various speeds. But most will touch upon them all at one point or another, giving you the opportunity to use ‘content mapping’ to send targeted offers to individuals in each stage that will appeal directly to their unique needs or tastes.
The same logic applies to specific channels, like Facebook advertising.
Why You’re Doing Facebook Advertising Wrong
Facebook provides a plethora of options available to marketers to reach people. Which can quickly turn into a nightmare if your suffering from any of the following:
- Poor ad creative
- with a weak value proposition
- targeting a generic audience
- on the wrong placement methods
- while tracking the wrong metrics
This is especially problematic if people are familiar with AdWords and try to apply the same tactical approach, because the two are VERY different animals.
Search (organic, but especially paid – like AdWords) is one of the highest converting channels (both online AND off) because you’re meeting a need that already exists. In most cases, people already want to purchase something, and all your ad needs to do is close the sale.
In other words, it’s demand fulfillment.
Now let’s contrast that with Facebook.
The best quote, from anywhere, ever, is from Massimo here at AdEspresso:
“People don’t go to Facebook to make decisions. They go to Facebook to avoid making decisions.”
That means with Facebook advertising, you’re NOT fulfilling a desire. Most people using the platform have no idea who you are, why you’re awesome, or why they need to pay attention.
Instead, you need to help them discover those things through demand generation.
Because the objective is different, you also can’t use the same hard-sell tactics that work on AdWords.
You need to UP your seduction game instead.
Wine. Roses. Gaye. The whole bit.
The point is that before the happy ending (get it?), Facebook users need to discover and engage with you first.
Step 1. Attract Visitors
When constructing your Facebook Sales Funnel, the initial goal is always to attract website visitors to your website and build an audience in the cheapest possible way.
Trouble is, people don’t care about you. Not yet anyway.
So instead of the highlighting the latest-and-greatest company info, highlight their interests, their quirks, and their problems. And you do that through content.
But not just any old content. It needs to be awesome, unique, and highly relevant.
Because there are literally millions of content pieces published each and every day. Here’s where to get started.
Your first weapon to help stand out from the crowd is an interesting, powerful headline.
The best headlines hit on some deeper, underlying motivational force.
Focusing on what people get (or gain) is a nice start. But often threat avoidance is more powerful. So pointing out what will happen if people don’t fix the mistakes they’re making, or helping them protect themselves from an onslaught are perfect. For example:
After you’ve mastered the headline, your design needs to be branded. Five Four does a great job keeping their image color schemes consistent to make them easily recognizable from everything else out there.
Audience targeting for initial website visitors should be relatively broad to start.
That means you’re looking for people with a specific interest in mind, within a certain area (like the countries where you sell), somewhere around 1-2 million users.
Finding the right audience is critical here, so test frequently and often to get a better understanding of who your visitors are. You can test broad categories like gender or age group, and get a little more targeted through testing interests. Then refine, refine, refine.
Placement is also very broad, showing up anywhere on the newsfeed and right column on both mobile and desktop.
If the goal is driving site visits, the lowest Cost per Website click is ideal. So set-up a bid optimized for website clicks or engagement (oCPM).
Step 2. Lead Generation
After generating initial website visits, the next step in your Facebook sales funnel is to get those visitors to become leads.
You do that by offering something of value in exchange for pieces of their contact information. Usually you’re providing immediate gratification in a quick or easy-to-digest format.
The best examples tend to be content-driven lead magnets, hitting upon some primal motivating factors like threat protection or promising pain-free simplicity.
Remember that your ‘ask’ should be proportional to the perceived value of what people are getting, which means people probably won’t give you their social security number just to signup for your newsletter.
Because content is becoming so commoditized (see above), it needs to be as specific as possible, targeting a specific niche or problem area for customers. (Here’s more on creating engaging content.)
This process also has the secondary benefit of positioning you as a thought leader in the category, so when that person ultimately does decide to move forward, you’ll get first pass.
The first step to designing a high-converting lead magnet is to make sure that you have a clear Call-to-Action (CTA) that highlights the primary problem or pain point (and how to fix it).
Lead magnets come in many shapes and sizes. But eBooks tend to be the most common and obvious.
eBooks are so popular in fact, that HubSpot is using eBook templates as a twist. Yup, meta.
Webinars are also a powerful content asset, promising the solution to a big problem in an engaging, live walkthrough setting. Webinars also provide the unique benefit of live prospect interactions in a group setting, providing perhaps the most effective way to build trust at scale.
A brilliant use of content repurposing is to now take your eBook or webinar and format the content as an email course.
Now you can take that in-depth resource and break it down into smaller batches, helping people consume the information bit-by-bit.
If your visitors and customers are too busy, too stressed, and too overwhelmed to read through an in-depth eBook or watch an entire webinar, a to-the-point checklist is a perfect option.
The goal is to provide fast tips that tell people exactly what they should be doing, removing all critical thinking from the process. This one from Bonobos does a great job for grooms who’re too stressed (or drunk) to remember where and when to show up.
Giveaways are one of the easiest forms of lead magnets because there’s very little to create or prepare ahead of time.
The trick with giveaways is to themes of relevance and specificity down to your prize. The same people signing up for a free iPad are most likely not interested in the hemorrhoid cream you’re going to try and sell them. So don’t discount future intent to buy, even if it’s not at this stage.
Audience targeting will mostly include people that you just attracted in the last step – specifically, your website visitors over the past 60 days. These people already know who you are, making them higher quality leads who should ultimately convert better, and you can typically reach them at a lower cost than going after a generalized audience again.
And because you already know exactly who you’re trying to target, you don’t have to worry about testing audience segments much at this point.
Instead, testing of the actual ad creative and design is critical. Try running through a few variations with different images, headlines, text and CTA’s to discover what’s working (and what’s not).
As always, start broad but refine and fine tune as you go.
Because your goal here is to drive real leads, try to keep placement on desktop where your odds or chances of success are highest (compared with the difficulty of filling out form fields on mobile).
The Cost per Conversion (for each lead) is the critical number to watch and optimize for (oCPM).
Step 3. Convert Customers
The first two steps of your Facebook sales funnel are the hard part. Now it’s time to ring the cash register by converting hot leads into paying customers.
If you’ve (a) attracted the right leads and (b) already built trust with them, getting them to convert should be a natural, straightforward process.
The key to creating effective ads that convert is to intimately focus them on a specific buyer persona.
That means you don’t need any frills or hard-selling tactics on the actual ads themselves. But you need to communicate a very specific value proposition to each individual in a way that will resonate only with them.
Then keep things simple and to the point, highlighting benefits (as opposed to features or other technical specs).
If possible, always include social proof like stats or testimonials as well. And don’t forget (or underestimate) the emotional AND rational sides of customers. That might mean a combination of explaining what they should do (or will be doing) after clicking on this ad so they know exactly what to expect.
But what if your product is very expensive, and usually requires a high-touch, consultative approach? These people will never complete a $10,000+ purchase – no matter how well crafted your ad.
So make them an offer they can’t refuse.
Create a simple, low priced product (or extremely scaled down service) that reduces friction to purchase.
Once you’ve successfully converted someone on this ‘unrefusable offer’ (aka tripwire), you can later try to get them to pay more after proving the value of your products and services.
Audience targeting should again be specific, focusing on custom audiences made up largely of your existing leads (while excluding any customers). When in doubt, simply target users you’ve generated in previous Facebook sales funnel step before.
Here you’re obviously optimizing for conversions (oCPM), monitoring the Cost per Conversion ROI by setting up a conversion pixel to pass revenue data back to your Facebook ad campaign.
If generating conversions requires a few micro-steps for people to complete, keep your ad placement on desktop primarily, split testing newsfeed vs. right column results to determine which is more effective.
Another key driver of conversions is the value proposition used in each ad, so constantly test and refine as needed. Once you get the ad click-through-rate (CTR) to an acceptable point, you can switch attention over to landing page optimization to further boost total conversions.
Step 4. Promoters
Turning existing customers into promoters can not only help increase loyalty (thus increasing the lifetime value), but more importantly, generate new referrals too.
That means your customers are now doing promotion for you.
Again, this step is straightforward. But keep things personal and light. These people are already paying you money, so show them your personal side.
If you want people to refer you, start by showing appreciate through rewarding them.
For example, a special offer or loyalty program like Starbucks.
At least, that’s what I think it says. The only thing 6 years of Spanish classes have taught me is how to use Google Translate.
Remember to use branded images or design to help your ads become more recognizable from all the other clutter.
Your audience target should include a custom audience segmented by purchase history (or even customer value if you want to have different campaigns based on tiers).
Another tip is to take data from your email marketing campaigns, like who HAS NOT opened a reward-based email, and use a custom audience to target those people specifically.
Optimize your campaign for conversions (oCPM) based on customer value, opening up placement to both mobile and desktop.
Two Final Facebook Sales Funnel Takeaways
The great thing about this approach is that it’s completely customizable.
That means you DON’T need to do every single step. Instead, keep these two tips in mind.
Tip #1. Align Steps Based on Business Model
For example, if you’re a consumer product with great content, you probably only need to worry about driving Visitors and Customers (as opposed to emphasizing Leads and Promoters).
Conversely, B2B enterprises with sales teams would want to maximize Leads generated because no ad will ever be able to close customers on it’s own.
Tip #2. Focus on Where You’re Resource-Lite
Chances are, you’re probably KILLING it in a few key areas already. Maybe your company is filled with PR-ballers who’ve firmly positioned you top-of-mind, resulting in more new website visitors pouring in every single day.
Great! But that also means you might be falling drastically short in another key area, like lead conversion, because there’s no performance-based marketers obsessing over conversion rates.
Obviously then, you can use Facebook ads to help supplement or support a key step of your overall sales funnel.
Because that’s the purpose of a proper Facebook sales funnel. And it’s what separates the most successful brands on Facebook from everyone else who claim that it “doesn’t work for them“.