So -- you want to use Facebook Ads as part of your marketing strategy?
Welcome to the club!
There are over 2 billion active monthly users on Facebook, so chances are your future customers are hanging out on the platform. Using Facebook Ads to connect with your customers, readers, and future clients is a great way to broaden your reach...often for much cheaper than other advertising outlets when done correctly.
The problem is, it can be overwhelming to know where to start. There are TONS of tutorials out there that show you how to use Facebook Advertising to market your business, plenty of examples and ideas, and countless success stories to provide inspiration. But if you're starting from scratch...where do you begin?
This post will teach you the five practical steps you should take BEFORE hitting "publish" on your ads. If you do these things first, you will be set up for success when the time comes to actually start running your Facebook Ad campaigns!
Let's dig in...
1 - Install the Facebook pixel on your website
If you haven’t heard of a Facebook pixel before, basically it is a small code snippet that you install on your website to track who is visiting your site.
Once you start using Facebook ads to market your business, you will use your Facebook pixel to do all sorts of things -- from helping you figure out who should see your ads, to tracking how your ads perform, to figuring out whether your ad dollars have resulted in sales (and what your Return on Investment is).
Before you start running Facebook ads, make sure you install the Facebook pixel on your website.
I promise this isn’t as hard as you think, and it won’t take long!
Here are the instructions for installing a Facebook pixel on Squarespace.
If your site is hosted on Wordpress, you need to install the pixel code in your header tag. You can either do this manually (if you have access to your server and are a bit tech savvy), or get a plugin that will let you do this easily via the Wordpress admin UI.
2 - Set a budget
Budgeting with Facebook ads can be very tricky.
Especially if you’re just getting started with Facebook ads, it can be tough to know how much to spend to see good results.
Typically, people are surprised to see how much it can cost to run effective Facebook ads. I highly recommend coming up with a system for how you will measure ROI and cost-per-sale (not just cost-per-click or cost-per-lead) with your ads.
If this all sounds like gibberish to you and you have no clue where to begin, remember: The most important thing to do is come up with what you can (realistically) spend on Facebook ads right now.
If it’s $50 a month -- that’s OK.
If it’s $1000 a month, that’s also OK.
Remember you are NOT going to be just boosting posts for $5 or $10 a time. Boosting one-off posts is a great way to burn through your budget quickly, without seeing results!
For now, just decide on your budget and commit to it.
If you truly don't know what a realistic number to begin with would be, I would recommend starting with a budget of $20 a week for your ads, and growing from there as you start to get comfortable that your ads are resulting in sales or leads. Once you’re able to measure your ROI and cost-per-sale, you will be able to more confidently budget for future ad spend.
3 - Get clear on WHY you want to run ads
This is a step that a lot of business owners sadly skip.
I have seen many, many people simply start boosting posts for $5, $10, $20 here and there...only to feel like “Facebook ads don’t work”.
Well - duh!
In those cases, generally the person failed to have a strategy in place before diving in headfirst to execution.
If you were planning to go on vacation, would you just get in the car and drive to the airport?
Of course not!
You’d do some research and decide where you want to go, probably spend some time saving up for your plane ticket, book a hotel, maybe read some guidebooks about where you’re going, pack your suitcase, etc etc.
The same goes for Facebook ads!
Don’t just start boosting posts or running ads before you know what you’re trying to get out of it. Your outcome goal should be very specific.
- If you’re trying to increase sales -- what are you selling? How much do you want to sell?
- If you’re trying to build awareness for your business -- what do you want people to know? How will you know if you've increased awareness in your target market?
- If you’re trying to drive more traffic to your site -- what do you want them to see when they land on your page? By how much are you hoping to increase traffic, and what do you want to do with that traffic?
- If you’re trying to book more clients -- what services do you want to sell? How many clients do you want to book?
Be as specific as possible with your target outcome.
If you have more than one reason for wanting to run Facebook ads, that is totally OK!
Capture each reason as separate outcome goals, and make sure you think about how that might impact your budget (advertising multiple things could mean more marketing spend).
These outcome goals will become your Campaign Objectives once you get into setting up and publishing your Facebook Ads using the Facebook Ads manager. Don't overlook this step!
4 - Identify your target market: who are you trying to reach?
Hopefully, you already have a good understanding of who your target customer is or who you are trying to reach. If not, make sure you get super crystal-clear on that before you start running ads.
One of the first things you’ll do when you set up your Facebook ads is build an audience (the people who will see your ad).
Try to be as detailed as possible when identifying your target customer. If you can, include geographic information about where they live, demographic information such as age, gender, marital status, lifestyle info such as whether they own a home, whether they have kids, income range, and even other companies they may shop at or “like” on social media.
If you've installed the Facebook pixel and are already getting traffic to your site (or if you have a list of past customers who've purchased from you), you can use Facebook's built in "Audience Insight" tools to learn more about the people who already visit your site or buy from you (aka "warm traffic").
5 - Set yourself up to capture emails
Whether or not you plan to use email marketing for your business, set yourself up to capture emails if you are going to be using Facebook ads.
This will make re-targeting with your ads much easier in the future, and you will save money in the long run if you show your ads to a “known” audience (aka "warm" audience).
Put a form on your website or landing page where visitors to your site can enter your email address. If you want to feed these into an email marketing platform, you can do that. OR, just have them save to a Google spreadsheet if want to keep things bare-bones simple.
Psst … if you need help deciding on an email platform, I wrote a post that can help you with that!
Small business owners and bloggers with limited marketing budgets CAN be successful using Facebook Ads...it just takes some careful planning, research, and commitment to testing and iterating on your plan. I hope this post helps you get started using Facebook Ads to market your business or blog!
Have you run Facebook ads for your business? What was your experience like? If you haven’t run ads before -- what’s holding you back? I’d love to hear in the comments!
Thanks for reading!