If the Facebook Ads for your business aren't performing as well as you'd like, you could be missing out on key opportunities to reach more potential customers and increase sales. Learn some of the reasons why you're not crushing it with Facebook Ads.
If you've only just stumbled onto Facebook as a channel for marketing your business you're arriving late to the party. The days of staggering viral reach for organic (free) posts from business pages on Facebook are a thing of the past. Whether you're a big brand or a small local business you'll be lucky to reach as high as 15% of the audience following your page. That isn't very much, especially if your audience doesn't number in the thousands. Why do business pages reach only a small percentage of their people?
If you haven't heard, Facebook began lowering the reach of business pages several years ago as their pay-for-play advertising model began to take off. Facebook claimed they were thinking of their users by ensuring family and friends were a priority on users' newsfeeds. We could debate Facebook's motives but it won't change the facts, which are these:
- Facebook has a huge audience (over 2 billion people)
- People who use Facebook check the platform regularly (think multiple times per day)
- Traditional advertising is losing ground to online advertising (spending on Facebook and Google Ads increases year over year)
- Facebook offers your business a more flexible platform to reach the people you need to get in front of than traditional ad platforms (think print and radio)
You're too busy running your own business to learn how to do Facebook advertising effectively and, if you're doing your own ads, you're likely making many or all of the mistakes below.
You're only running awareness ads
For many small business owners, marketing begins and ends with awareness advertising. You see these types of ads in local community newspapers all the time. Usually they're small squares or rectangles featuring the name of the company, a slogan, some contact info and maybe a colourful photo or illustration. They don't say much about the business and its products or services. There's usually no special offer or a call to action. These ads function simply to say "hey we're out here, think of us when you need what we've got". They deliver the bare minimum of value by creating awareness for your product or service.
The basic equivalent of this type of ad on Facebook comes in the form of a suggestion to "Promote This Page". These ads are designed to encourage people to "Like" your page and increase your following. Increasing likes to your page is not a bad outcome for advertising. People trust businesses that other people use, so think of your follower count as an endorsement, but as we've already mentioned, don't expect to reach many of them with posts.
Instead, you should take charge and get more value by planning your ads instead of letting Facebook do that for you.
You have no overall marketing strategy
If you only run ads on Facebook because you received a notification suggesting you should boost a popular post, it's time to rethink what you're doing. For one thing, the organic posts people respond to most readily, the ones Facebook flags for you, aren't usually the ones with a clear marketing message. Too often it's the humorous fluff that gets a thumbs up, the cheeky memes people share, or at best, accomplishments you've racked up such as winning awards or sponsoring little league teams. These posts are important for engagement, goodwill and brand building, but they won't drive immediate sales.
Mapping out a clear strategy for your Facebook ads will help you get in front of the people you want to reach with a message you want them to see when it's important for them to see it. That doesn't happen by accident and Facebook's occasional little nudges to encourage ad spending aren't going do the trick. Instead, do yourself a favour and spend some time planning your ad campaigns. You'll feel much better when you see the results your advertising can deliver.
You're not using audience targeting
Since not everyone is your customer, why pay to have your ads shown to everyone? On Facebook you can increase your advertising success rate by understanding who you need to reach and targeting your ads to be shown only to those people.
With traditional forms of advertising such as print or radio, you have limited options in audience targeting. Yes, the purchasing habits of a classical music audience will likely be different from those of a country music fan, but those are still broad targets. With Facebook ads you can select your audience based on age, gender, geography and interests.
You don't have a compelling offer
Part of your advertising planning should focus on the incentives you want to offer people. Without a compelling offer you're giving people little reason to pause and they'll scroll by your ad when it appears in their newsfeeds.
Discounts aren't necessarily the right compelling offer. Discounting does work, but you shouldn't make that a primary tactic in your ad strategy unless you want to race to the bottom in a price war with your competition. Instead, focus your offer on the value of the benefits you can deliver to your customers. Remember, people buy from you because they believe you will solve their problems. Make solving their problems part of your offer. Does your product/service save people time or money? Is it a convenience that eliminates the stress of juggling too many chores? Focus on how much time or money they could save. Tell them how it can take something off their To Do list.
Here are some examples of offers for different types of businesses:
- Beauty Spa - Fade or remove tattoos without scarring. Try our Spectra Laser Tattoo Removal procedure.
- Luxury Camping Retreat - You don't have to be a scout, a woodsman or a voyageur to go glamping. We do all the work.
- Custom Home Builder - The home of your dreams, at a price you can afford. We'll work with you to bring your custom home project to life. Click & see.
- Renovation Contractor - Breathe new life into your kitchen with a renovation that fits your budget & your needs.
You aren't using a strong hook to create interest
Although they may appear to be similar, there's a difference between an offer and a hook. The offer is what people will get; the hook is why they should want what you're offering. You can hook people best by speaking to the results they'll get when they use your product or service.
Here are some examples of hooks to match the offers from the previous examples:
- Beauty Spa - Banish Tattoo Regret!
- Luxury Camping Retreat - Relax. It's Glamping!
- Custom Home Builder - Your Dream Home Now!
- Renovation Contractor - Drab to Fab Kitchen Reno!
Your ad destination takes people to your website homepage
Unless you're running a "like" ad campaign to get more people to follow your Facebook page, you should be sending ad traffic to your website. The reason is simple. People are more likely to buy from you if they understand how you can help solve their problems. Your website is the place where you can illustrate the value of what you do. But don't dump people on your home page and hope that they'll click around to find out what your solution is. Make it easy for them to find out why they should buy from you. Create landing pages which offer clear explanations, furnish examples of happy customers, and give people multiple chances to learn more or opt in along the way.
Landing pages give you a better chance of converting web visitors into customers, and the additional traffic will benefit you in terms of Google's search rankings. Plus, you'll be able to measure the effectiveness of your advertising, your website content and your sales funnel.
You don't ASK people to take action
One of the cardinal sins in marketing is not being clear about the actions you want people to take. You've managed to get their attention. In fact, you've paid good money to do so. Yet so many people throw away opportunities by only presenting the facts about their product or service without driving people to opt in. Encourage people to sign up for your email list in exchange for something of value. Make it easy for them get in touch or request more information. And by all means, ask for the sale!
You aren't measuring results
If planning is a significant point where most small business owners stumble with Facebook ads, measurement is a close second. There's an old joke about advertising: “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don't know which half.” You'll have a better chance of learning which half is which if measure your results.
For many business owners, ad measurement usually begins and ends with a comparison of two numbers: total ad spend vs total business revenue. And that's it. There's no tracking set up to connect sales to ads by platform (radio, print or online) through items such as coupon codes or special web addresses.
Often, when there is any follow up at the point of purchase to find out if customers were influenced by advertising, it's usually half-hearted and poorly documented. We wish this wasn't the case, but it's not unusual to hear business owners say, "a few of us were asking people how they heard about the sale initially, but we fell out of the habit as the campaign went on".
Proper ad planning means you understand the goals for your ads and how you will measure results. This is where online advertising has an advantage over other media. You could include a promo code in a radio or print ad, but that's about it for measurement. Either people respond to your initial offer or they don't. With online ads you can bring people to your website and measure their response through the actions they take on your website. Did they download a coupon? Sign up to your email list? Press a button taking them to another page to learn more? Place an online order? Click a Call Now button or send an email request?
By tracking your customer's journey through your website you can see what's working and improve what isn't. This will help you guide prospects more effectively through the three stages of your sales funnel from awareness through consideration to conversion. And the people who don't take action may not necessarily be lost to you. If you get email sign ups, you have the opportunity for additional follow up through an email series to nurture their interest. You can use re-targeted ads to bring people back to your website for a second chance at converting them. Remember, these people were interested enough to click a link to your website in the first place. That makes them potentially warm prospects. Are you going to give up on them so easily?
You give up too easily
Yes, we're saying it. Marketing, and advertising in particular, is a rinse and repeat process. By now, most of the world has heard of McDonald's and Coca-Cola. They have huge market share, yet they keep advertising. Why? Because they want to keep on selling. They won't rest, so why should you?
Recognize that marketing effectively requires continued investment to gain results. Don't be one of those small businesses who dip their toes into different ad platforms, trying them out for "a little bit", only to stop before they get any traction, simply so they can "save" money. If you believe your business can grow by reaching more of the right people, then take the time to plan what you want to accomplish and how you want to do it. Then execute, measure, and adjust.
Adjust your offers, ad copy, images, targeting, timing, web content and ad spending until you get it right. Before you know it, you'll be crushing it with Facebook advertising.