Do you know what separates the most successful brands on Facebook from those who claim that it “doesn’t work for them?“ They have a proper Facebook sales funnel in place.
Advertisers around the globe spent over $67.37 billion on Facebook Ads in 2019 alone. Users are getting bombarded with ads in their feeds, stories, and even messenger inboxes.
If you want to grab the attention of an audience on Facebook, “Here’s my product, buy now!” isn’t going to cut it.
Converting cold audiences on Facebook commonly requires a sales funnel made of multiple stages and touchpoints, with different ad creatives, emphasizing unique value propositions.
Creating one that actually works for your business is a complex task, and 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.
Facebook ads offer a ton of affordable options to get more paying customers.
But that’s also part of the problem.
In this post, you are going to find out how to use a ‘Facebook Sales Funnel’ to maximize website visits, leads, and customers.
What to Do When 99% of Visitors Aren’t Ready to Purchase
Average website conversions hover around an abysmal 1-3%, with recent studies showing an average of 1.84% and 1.77% in 2020.
Yours might even be lower.
That means the vast majority of visitors are NOT ready to buy and go through your sales funnel.
For most eCommerce stores or online businesses, that’s bad news.
So how do you increase your conversion rates? How do you reach the other 97-99% of people and convert them?
Your first step is to understand each potential customer’s circumstance and then show them the right message which resonates with them personally.
Understand The Different Stages of The Buying Cycle
Traditionally, the buying cycle is separated into three different stages — awareness, consideration, decision.
People in the awareness stage don’t know your product — all they have is a problem that they need solved.
For example, a person that has noticed that their shoes are getting worn out, but hasn’t made a conscious choice about whether to replace the shoes, fix them, or simply use another pair of shoes.
They’re not ready to purchase yet, so you can’t sell straight off the bat. Instead, grab their attention by pointing out their problem.
Once people have identified a need, they’ll begin researching potential options.
For example, they might be looking at new pairs of leather shoes in an eCommerce store or shoe repair prices.
Follow up with the right approach, and you will generate an interested lead.
At this final stage, the consumer will start exploring the different options they discovered.
They might call and ask the cobbler for a price, or go to a shoe store to try on a new pair of shoes, or ask for a friend’s recommendation.
Ecommerce shoppers will read product reviews, compare prices, and examine pictures or videos of the products in use — relying on the past experience of real customers.
All consumers will go through these funnel stages at different speeds. When advertising to a cold Facebook audience, even if you base it on interests or lookalike audiences, most users are in the awareness stage.
They probably don’t even fully understand that they need your product or service. And that’s the crux of the issue.
Why You’re Doing Facebook Advertising Wrong
Since you’re marketing to a cold audience, many things can go wrong with your Facebook campaigns.
- Poor ad creative
- Weak value proposition
- Targeting a generic audience
- Bad ad placements
- Tracking and optimizing for the wrong metrics
Search (organic, but especially paid – like Google Ads) converts well because people already want to purchase something.
In other words, it’s demand fulfillment.
Now let’s contrast that with Facebook.
A quote from our very own Massimo here at AdEspresso tells it best:
“People don’t go to Facebook to make decisions. They go to Facebook to avoid making decisions.”
With Facebook advertising, you’re NOT fulfilling a desire. Most people using the platform don’t care about your product.
You can’t just jump to the sale like with Google Ads.
You need to UP your seduction game instead.
Wine. Roses. Gaye. The whole nine yards.
To get the sale, Facebook users need to discover and engage with you first.
Here’s how to do it.
Step 1. Attract Visitors
When constructing your Facebook sales funnel, the first step is to generate awareness.
The trouble is, people don’t care about you, your products, or your services. They don’t even know about you. Not yet, anyway.
And it’s not enough to just write a blog post and share it in an ad.
Over 2 million blog posts get posted on WordPress blogs alone every single day.
To attract your customers, you need to get a little more creative than that.
Focusing on what people can gain works, but threat avoidance is often more powerful.
You need to help them be aware of their problem before you can offer them a solution.
”How customers want brands to contact them” could highlight a vital business mistake. Followed up with original research and real statistics, it’s a great Facebook ad and blog post from HubSpot targeting the B2B market.
For eCommerce demand generation, Warby Parker does an excellent job.
For eCommerce, you should focus on a broad but relevant interest, your target countries, and aim for 1-2 million users.
With this ad, they highlight the potential problem of blue light exposure. Instead of hard-selling the products in the headline, they simply ask their customers, “Do you have this problem?”
The ad format doesn’t matter as much as the content, but feel free to test carousel ads, video ads, Instagram ads in stories and feed, and more.
For eCommerce, you should focus on a broad but relevant interest, your target countries, and aim for 1-2 million users.
For example, for a new running shoe with extra cushioning to prevent injury in older runners, you might target men and women interested in trail running in the US and Canada, between the ages of 34 and 65+.
Because the goal is traffic, optimize your bids for clicks or landing page views.
You could also optimize for engagements if you use video ads to create audiences for later retargeting.
Finally, you must exclude all your warm audiences, so they don’t keep seeing the same ad.
You should exclude website visitors and users who have engaged with your video ads. (Read our guide on Facebook Ads custom audiences to learn more).
Step 2. Lead Generation
After generating awareness, the next step in your Facebook sales funnel is to turn those visitors into leads.
But they need an incentive to give up their contact information. Instead of a simple blog post, it needs to be more in-depth and useful to your prospects.
Lead magnets come in many shapes and sizes. For B2B, a report, white paper, or ebook can be effective.
Webinars can also be a powerful tool for lead generation, used by many industry-leading companies, for example, Slack.
Another option is to create an email course that will help prospects solve a problem or attain a goal over time.
With content repurposing, you can take an existing ebook, blog post, or “ultimate guide” and format the content as an email course.
For eCommerce stores, the lead generation stage can be a little trickier. If you sell an expensive product with a longer sales cycle, a long-term channel like email is essential, but it can be hard to get.
Warby Parker does a great job here too, promoting a mobile app for virtually trying on new frames — eliminating the pain point of having to go to a brick and mortar store to do so.
If you don’t have the budget to develop an app, you can offer to answer any potential questions about your product in person over Facebook messenger, with a messenger ad.
In some industries, Facebook lead ads can also be great at this stage.
Target the users you already attracted, specifically, your website visitors over the past 60 days. (You need to have the Facebook Pixel installed for this.)
It’s basically a retargeting campaign.
Since they have engaged with your website, they are likely in the consideration stage of the buying cycle — already considering their options.
You could also try a lookalike audience here since they are likely to be in a similar situation.
You want to optimize for conversions here, rather than website clicks or landing page views.
Run ads on both Facebook and Instagram to get maximum reach, since the audiences are much more limited in size at this stage.
A/B testing your Facebook Ads creative is also critical for success. Always create a few variations with different images, headlines, and text to find what works best.
As always, start broad but refine and fine-tune as you go.
Step 3. Convert Leads Into Paying 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.
These users know they have a problem and want a solution, so it’s time to reel them in and convert the leads into customers.
One approach is to offer a free trial or demo of your product, so your potential customers can experience the usefulness first-hand.
It’s important to communicate a particular value proposition to each individual that will resonate with them.
Since your customers are now at the decision stage, they will want to confirm their choice by seeking advice from their friends or online reviews. So, if possible, always include social proof like stats or testimonials as well.
SEMrush uses a video testimonial as a Facebook ad, further linking to an actual case study that showcases the benefits of using their product.
If you sell a consumer product, and they’ve already visited your product page, the ad doesn’t need to be complicated if you’re offering a discount.
Target custom audiences based on users who have visited specific product pages, or signed up for your newsletter report, white paper, or ebook. You can also target based on engagement with previous ads.
Again, optimize for conversions instead of clicks or views.
To maximize your ROI, monitor individual ad performance, track CTR, and other metrics, and use landing page optimization to improve your conversion rate.
Step 4. Generate Loyal Customers and Promoters
Focusing on existing customers will not only help increase loyalty and lifetime value but also generate new referrals.
In other words, your customers will handle the promotion for you.
And that’s essential if you want to grow your business. Even in this digital age, 83% of consumers still say word of mouth influences their purchases.
So the final stage of your Facebook marketing funnel is focused on generating loyal customers and vocal promoters of your product.
If you want people to refer you to their friends and family, reward them for being your loyal customer and for continuing to choose your product.
For example, a special offer like free delivery, like Starbucks, is offering its customers in the ad above.
You can also show your customers that you are dedicated to improving their communities — like New Balance, responding to the crisis by producing masks in their US factories.
There’s no textbook right answer for engaging with your existing customers. That depends on the backgrounds, preferences, interests, and attitudes of your target audience.
But creating brand loyalty to your products is perhaps the most important thing you can do for the longevity of your business, so don’t try to take shortcuts.
Target your existing customers based on customer lists or pixel data.
An omnichannel remarketing campaign works best. You can use your email marketing campaigns, like who HAS NOT opened a reward-based email, and create a custom audience to target those users.
Optimize your Facebook campaign for conversions (previously, oCPM), and use as many placements as possible, since the audience is very limited.
Essential Facebook Sales Funnel Tips
The great thing about Facebook is that it’s completely customizable, and you can implement any changes in real-time.
That means you DON’T need to do every single step or follow what we outlined here to a tee. Instead, keep these two tips in mind.
Tip #1. Adjust Steps Based on Business Model
For example, if you sell affordable consumer products, you probably shouldn’t try to get their email address. Instead, design a campaign that pushes for the sale on step 2, with product videos or testimonials to showcase the value of your product.
Conversely, a B2B SaaS with a dedicated sales team might even want to add stages to the process.
Tip #2. Blend Social Media Ads with Other Channels for Best Results
Don’t let your different campaigns operate in a vacuum, separate from each other. Omni-channel campaigns have 250% higher purchase frequency than single-channel ones. It’s the future of digital marketing.
For example, you can get targeted website visitors directly to product pages using Google Ads, and then follow up with a Facebook marketing campaign using video ads.
You could also combine Google Shopping Ads with Facebook Ads, in the same way, to create a powerful campaign for eCommerce.
To sell on Facebook is no easy task.
Most users aren’t there to specifically look for a product to buy.
So you can’t start off with a hard-sell, that would be the same as hawking your products in the middle of a movie theater, instead of in a department store.
Instead, you want to fly under the radar with your first ad — you’re not selling anything, just pointing out a problem, helping the users. Imagine how seamless product placement in a movie can plant the seeds of desire in an audience.
A Facebook ad funnel isn’t a magic bullet, but structuring your campaigns to address this fundamental issue is an excellent foundation for getting more leads and customers.
Hey, another great article but would be great to see ecommerce examples for content and ad creative for something like this. Examples are typically always B2B and often targeted toward business owners where content ideas are easier and more obvious as opposed to competitive items in ecommerce where people aren’t going to be invested enough to download and read an ebook (e.g. bluetooth speakers)
Massimo Chieruzzi says
Thanks for the feedback Liam! We’ll try to do a follow up article more focused on eCommerce!
Issara Willenskomer says
Thanks man, that would be awesome. Do you have the data breakdown as to what percentage of your users are using AdEspresso for B2B vs eCommerce? Plowing through your courses and loving it, by the way 🙂
Vinicius Nogueira says
Yes it would be great. I’ve always looked for examples of sales funnel for clothing stores or even electronics, and I’ve never found anything like that. Please do it!
I freaking love this article, definitely food for thought. Massimos quote hits the nail on the head “people don’t go to Facebook to make decisions, they go to Facebook to avoid making decisions” – unbelievable how many marketers make this expensive error.
amira korea says
thanks brad smith. we are struggling with leads conversion & this article is the solution that we need.
Samuel Elias says
how can this principles be applied to Real estate marketing? particularly for a Real Estate that doesn’t have a website yet but has a Facebook Page?
thanks brad.. really helpful
My business is product based and I don’t have a website yet! I do Sell mainly through Amazon and Ebay as well as from my facebook page. I am very new to all this facebook marketing things. Will this work for me? If yes, how do I go about it?
sandy rosensweig says
I have hired a local “face book guru” to establish a funnel with a landing page…it has been four months since I have paid in full..does this seem like a very long time for this program to come to fruition?
Thax brad, it really helps me…
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Digital Santhosh says
in paid advertising, it is very important to think and set up a funnel to scale up our campaigns. especially with the rising cost of Facebook advertising brands have to now try to get the maximum returns for every single dime they spend. And creating a great sales funnel is one thing that helps to achieve higher ROI.
Thanks for such a nice explanation of sales funnels. I really liked the use of apt images.
Do you have any recommendations on how much we should spend on each funnel step?
Jacob Jack says
Great blog! So helpful and informative!