Although Google AdWords is still an effective way for many businesses to profitably sell their products and services, in the past few years Facebook has become much more popular. Many small businesses that would never consider wrestling with AdWords, from Kindle book authors to Shopify e-commerce store owners, are making money from Facebook ads.
The Three Most Important Elements of Facebook Ads
* Audience Targeting
* Ad Creative
The Old Direct Marketing Commandment of “Know Thy Customer” Applies More Than Ever
Facebook knows more about you than the NSA. The spy agency might know all about your telephone calls, but over a billion people around the world regularly, and voluntarily, tell Facebook what they like. What music, books and movies they enjoy. What photos and images they enjoy seeing. They reveal how much money they make and what they spend it on.
The old school mail order marketers quickly learned the most important element in this success was selecting the list they mailed their offers to. Sure, they hired top copywriters to craft compelling headlines and offers, but they knew if they wanted to sell an investing newsletter, they better send their letters out to a relevant list of prospects. They could lose a lot of money by sending an investing promotion to subscribers of FIELD & STREAM or REDBOOK.
Therefore, the first step to a profitable Facebook ad campaign is to write a profile of your ideal customer. What is their gender? Sexual orientation? Age? Race? Religion? Geographic location? Language? Political affiliation? Level of education? Profession? Level of income? Relationship status? Include everything else you can think of, depending on your product and who it appeals to.
Use the Broad Category targeting and the precise interest targeting. Use what you know about your ideal audience.
When you set up your Facebook ad campaign, Facebook allows you to target your ads by all these variables and more. Start out going for your ideal customer. Once you’re profitable, try branching out. For instance, while some products may appeal to particular ethnic groups, many others appeal to every race, and you should segment by other variables.
Once you’re in profit, you can also experiment with interest targeting. You may find that a lot of your target audience likes to read Stephen King novels or play video games.
Your Ad’s Creative Must Catch Their Attention and Hold It
Your ad must have an arresting image. No amount of targeting will help you if nobody notices your ads. You want it bright and colorful. Within limits you can shock or surprise people, but don’t push it. If you’re not sure, check out Facebook’s terms and conditions. They put a lot of restrictions on what they allow.
In general, you want people showing emotion. Faces your prospects can easily see. People who appeal to your target audience or who look like your target market. People who make the appropriate (for your product and audience) emotional impact.
However, even the best images don’t actually sell your product or get the click. For that you need written copy. You need a headline that attracts attention and makes a big promise.
The rest of your ad’s copy or your post can elaborate on the benefits your prospect receives from the product. You have a short space in which to entice their interest. You can’t sell in that small space. You must build their interest so they want to click to learn more. Whet their appetites.
Facebook Ad Formats
When Facebook ads began, they were small and appeared off to the side. They were obviously ads, and people quickly developed ad “blindness” to them. You can still put up such ads, but most marketers would suggest selecting one of the more sophisticated options Facebook now offers.
You can promote your Facebook Page, posts on your Page, actions visitors took or even your own website.
You can, and should, experiment to see what works best for you. However, promoting posts on your pages is what looks most “natural” to your prospects. They’re used to seeing posts on the Wall, so your post should stand out not as advertising, but because you placed an eye-catching, appealing image or video on it along with a headline that appeals to them.
They may or may not notice the “Sponsored” on the post, and they may or may not care.
If your audience is at all young, you want to use ads for mobile phones as well as desktop PCs.
Alison’s Alligator is the go-to site for all the online marketing information you and your business need. When you understand why and how to make successful Facebook ads, you become invincible.