Well, I’ve never been too keen on writing long-winded introductions and figure most people just skip to the first bullet, so I’ll spare you my bad jokes and just tell you what you’ll learn in this post.
Today, you’ll learn three really effective Facebook advertising strategies:
- An email capture campaign—I’ll show you how to use Facebook advertising to collect new email leads.
- A traffic generation campaign—You’ll learn how to use Facebook advertising to drive traffic. This will get you in front of more potential customers and create more opportunities to sell down the road.
- A direct sell campaign—You’ll learn how to get people to directly purchase your products with Facebook advertising.
Bonus: Download a free guide that teaches you how to turn Facebook traffic into sales in four simple steps using Hootsuite.
How to set up a Facebook ads campaign
If you’ve never setup a Facebook advertising campaign before, I recommend beginning with this post.
Learn how to get even more out of Facebook with free social media training from Hootsuite Academy.
PRO TIP: You have two options for creating Facebook ads: Facebook Ads Manager or Power Editor. I recommend using Power Editor as it has bulk scheduling and the ability to copy and paste ad sets across campaigns quickly.
A few quick Facebook advertising best practices
- Don’t go broad with audience targeting. “Being broad is a quick way to waste your money,” says marketing expert Kim Walsh-Phillips. Narrow your audience by adding one interest category at a time. For example, start with “Napa Valley Wine Country Tours” and then broaden after you’ve run your campaigns for a few weeks, adding “wine tasting” or “food and wine” and so on. That way, you’ll have a better idea of what’s moving the needle.
- Target by zip code or region. If you have a local business, you can target your audience by their zip or postal code. This is also helpful if you know a particular city (such as New York) converts well. You can find which cities convert best in your Google Analytics in the “Audience Insights” section.
- Test images first. One study of 100,000 Facebook ads by Customer Aquisition found that images counted for 75 to 90 percent of an ad’s performance. Copy also matters—but if you’re seeing low conversion rates try testing new images first.
- Tell people what to do. Keep it simple. Tell me what to do next—whether that is to “download the guide,” “book a boat rental now,” or “schedule a demo.”
PRO TIP: Mikie Basi, a digital marketing strategist at Hootsuite, offers this advanced tip: “Always test different types of targeting to find the best audience for your products. Experiment with interest categories, friends of followers, and website audience lookalikes. Run them in separate ad sets to determine which is the top performer.”
Facebook ad targeting options
There’s no shortage of ways to target your audience on Facebook. Here’s a list of some useful targeting tips.
Connections: you can target people who are either connected or not connected to your Facebook Page. If you want to reach a new audience, select “not connected to your Facebook Page.” If you have an offer or new product, select “connected to your Facebook Page” as you’ll reach people who already know your brand.
Custom Audiences: Facebook lets you upload customer email addresses or other identifiers to build your own audience targeting. This takes a bit of work to figure out. Facebook has a good step-by-step guide.
Lookalike Audiences: This lets you target people based on data from your Facebook Pixel, mobile app data, or from fans of your Facebook Page. Here’s how to set-up a Lookalike Audience.
Learn how to get even more out of Facebook with free social media training from Hootsuite Academy.
PRO TIP: Noah Kagan, the founder of AppSumo, offers this Facebook ad targeting tip: “Take your top 10 best customers and search their email address and name on Facebook. Then go to their Likes and create a spreadsheet of common interests. Look for the one to two similar Likes across your top customers. That’s who you can target.”
Facebook advertising strategy No. 1: collect an email
Unless you’re a marketing magician, it’s pretty hard to get people to buy from you the first time you wave to them in a Facebook ad.
For products that take longer to sell, email is your best friend. Facebook makes it pretty simple to collect new email leads. With software such as MailChimp, you can send out automatic emails (such as one email every few days). This helps you build trust and introduce people to your brand before you pitch your product.
STEP 1: Open up your Facebook Ads Manager or Power Editor. In the campaign objective section, select “collect leads for your business.”
STEP 2: Create your form in Facebook. Make sure your fields align with the fields on your email list. Keep it simple: first name, last name, and email address.
STEP 3: Use the tool Zapier to automatically send email sign-ups from your Facebook campaigns to your email provider such as MailChimp. You’ll need to sign-up for a Zapier account, connect Facebook to Zapier, and select the Facebook Page and Form. Here’s a step-by-step article for MailChimp users.
STEP 4: Now, your new subscribers will be automatically sent from Facebook to your email list. Do a quick test to make sure data is passing between Facebook and MailChimp.
STEP 5: Next, let’s set-up the actual ad campaign. Open Facebook Ads Manager or Power Editor and select “collect leads for your business.” This time, select the form you created.
STEP 6: Choose your audience targeting. If you’re new to audience targeting, this article will help.
STEP 7: Launch your ad campaign and watch the emails come rolling in. If you want to get more sophisticated, you can set up a custom automated email sequence in your email provider for Facebook leads. Below is a quick email strategy to use. You can sequence these emails a few days apart in your email provider:
Automated Email No. 1—Share something really valuable that connects to the problem your product solves (example: a food truck could share a map of all the best restaurants in the city). No product pitch. Just value. You’re training prospects to open your emails.
Automated Email No. 2—Tell an interesting story that connects to your product. For example, the food truck could talk about how they couldn’t find a good Pho/Italian fusion restaurant and so quit their corporate jobs and created their food truck, Pho Get About It.
Automated Email No. 3—Share another valuable resource (such as five mistakes people make when cooking spicy chicken at home). No product pitch.
Automated Email No. 4—Make an offer such as a discount for their first visit.
Automated Email No. 5—Make the same offer again but tell an interesting and useful story as the lead.
The goal is always the same: train people to open your emails by offering valuable content and then make the occasional product pitch.
PRO TIP: Take a look Facebook ad campaigns by BarkBox, AppSumo’s Noah Kagan, Photojojo, and Tangerine.ca. These brands have mastered the art of a conversational Facebook ad that still drives a purchase or action.
Facebook advertising strategy No. 2: drive traffic to a proven piece of content
Every brand has a few killer pieces of content. These blog posts or videos drive the lion’s share of traffic each month. Launch a Facebook ad campaign to extend the reach of these proven pieces of content.
Facebook Video, in particular, is very powerful. Every day, Facebook users watch over 100 million hours of video. If you have a proven piece of video marketing, use Facebook to amplify it.
STEP 1: Go to your Google Analytics. Click on “Behavior” > “Site Content > “All Pages.” You’ll see a list of your most popular pieces of content, gaining visitors from SEO and social. Choose one to promote with a Facebook ad campaigns.
STEP 2: Video performs really well on Facebook. Consider turning one of your top performing blog posts into a short video aimed at Facebook audiences. If you don’t have a big budget, you can create a slideshow video ad in Facebook’s Ads Manager.
STEP 3: Facebook users will likely watch with no audio, so keep the message simple. A study by Facebook found that captioned video ads increase video view time by an average of 12 percent. Facebook recommends that videos do not “require sound to communicate their message.”
STEP 4: Make sure your call to action matches your video content. It’s unlikely a person will go from laughing at your funny brand video to adding tennis shoes to their shopping cart.
STEP 5: Open Facebook Ads Manager or Power Editor and select “Get Video Views.” Select your targeting. Upload your video directly to Facebook. Push the campaign live!
PRO TIP: What types of videos work best on Facebook? How can you take someone from a video view to a lead or sale? At Hootsuite, we created a video strategy kit for marketers, showing what types of videos work best on social media and what to measure.
Facebook advertising strategy No. 3: drive a direct sale
If you have a good product, there’s no reason why Facebook can’t generate direct sales. Here are a few tips to make sure you make the most of your ad budget.
When asking for a direct sale, you need trust. So if you’re an unknown brand with an untested product, I’d recommend skipping this strategy and testing with the first two Facebook advertising strategies first.
For example, I play music in my spare time and desperately want a $1,000 piece of audio gear called, the RME Babyface. I trust the company and understand the product. Price is the only thing holding me back. If anyone—and I mean anyone—offered me a discount with a Facebook ad, I’d buy in three seconds.
In contrast, I see a lot of Facebook ads trying to sell me music courses and audio software. They’re unknown brands and I’m long way from trusting them. Their money would be much better spent trying to get me on their email list rather than trying to shove me into a shopping cart five seconds after seeing their brand for the first time.
STEP 1: Make sure you’re confident that people will buy your product directly from a Facebook ad. If you have a proven product with sales, proceed to the next step.
STEP 2: Open up Facebook Ads Manager or Power Editor and select “Create Ad.” Choose “increase conversions on your website.”
STEP 3: Next, Facebook will ask you which type of conversion event you want to track, such as adding products to a shopping cart or adding payment information.
As we’re trying to drive a direct sale, select “Purchase.” You’ll need to install a Facebook Pixel on your website’s thank-you or confirmation page. By installing the Pixel on your website’s thank-you page (or whatever page they see after buying your product), you’ll be able to verify that a visitor who clicked on a Facebook ad made it all the way through your shopping cart process and bought a product. This guide explains how to set up your Facebook Pixel.
STEP 4: Next, open a new browser and visit the page you installed your Facebook Pixel on. This makes the pixel fire and sends information back to Facebook. To double-check that your pixel is firing, you can also download Facebook’s Pixel Helper. This simple tool will help you confirm that your pixel is sending data to Facebook.
STEP 5: Go back to Facebook Ads Manager and select your audience targeting. Under “Connections,” you’ll see options for people connected to your Facebook Page. Select “People Who Like Your Page.” This helps you reach people who’ve already expressed interest in your products and services.
STEP 6: The next step is to create your ad. As you’re trying to drive a direct sale, keep the copy simple and clear. What do you offer and how is it different?
STEP 7: Give people a reason to buy from this specific ad. For example, maybe you bundle with another product as a freebie. Or you include a one-hour training webinar. You want people to stop what they are doing and click from your ad to your shopping cart.
STEP 8: Give your campaign at least two weeks before making any changes to copy or creative. Depending on your traffic volume, this should give you enough data to make an educated decision about what to optimize.
PRO TIP: With remarketing, you can serve Facebook ads to people who have visited your website. Your ads could include enticing offers, product recommendations, or funny reminders to complete their purchase. This guide explains how to set-up your first Facebook remarketing campaign.
A few must-know Facebook advertising guidelines
To avoid the embarrassing talk with your boss or client about why Facebook has suspended your ad campaign, I suggest memorizing these advertising guidelines.
- Don’t have more than 20 percent of text on your images. Facebook doesn’t want people’s newsfeeds to be filled with text-heavy images screaming for attention. Keep your text overlays to less than 20 percent of your image.
- Don’t use Facebook or Instagram logos or icons in your ads. This is against Facebook’s brand rules. Using another company’s logo in your ad implies a partnership.
- Don’t ask for sensitive personal information in lead forms. This includes questions about debt levels, ethnicity, and personal identification such as passwords or social insurance numbers.
PRO TIP: Use this tool by Facebook to quickly check if your images contain less than 20 percent of text.
Final things to help you
Similar to long introductions, I’ve never cared much for conclusions either. So I’ll end with a few resources I’ve found to be helpful.
Facebook offers lots of good tips and recommendations on this page. I generally go straight to Facebook’s guides before muddling around blogs.
If you haven’t yet used video in your Facebook marketing efforts, this short strategy guide will help you get started.