I was so excited when I created my first Facebook Ad campaign.
I can remember thinking that it was the answer to all of my problems.
It was so cheap and there was so much volume.
In fact, there are now over 1.86+ billion monthly active Facebook users, and it takes up 22% of the internet time Americans spend on mobile devices – compared with 11% on Google search and Youtube combined!
In my mind, I had it all figured out…
My ads would go up, tens of thousands of people would visit my website and convert into customers.
The reality? The ads went live and no one took any notice.
The few that did click through didn’t stick around for longer than 30 seconds.
Did this experience make me stop using Facebook Ads?
In fact, it was quite the opposite.
I dedicated the next few months of my life figuring out how to make them work.
My one caveat, this model won’t work for every business.
For example, lower value/margin e-commerce will require a more direct approach.
This approach works great for businesses with a physical location who need to build an audience and educate them about their product or services before they buy.
Financial products, cosmetic surgeons, digital services and healthcare providers are just a few that benefit greatly from this business model.
What Facebook Ads Really Are
Facebook is a social network. It wasn’t built to facilitate the sale of goods and services.
Content that does well on Facebook usually has an inherent value in it, that is realised just from consuming the content itself.
It’s something that’s funny, nostalgic, relatable and educational.
Friendships are built on interactions over time. It’s this process that we have to try and replicate for your business.
We first need to introduce ourselves and build trust with our audience, only then can we try and sell to them.
Don’t be naive like I was and think Facebook Ads will work like Google Ads.
Trust me, I’ve been there, come back and got the T-shirt!
When someone is searching for a keyword relating to your product or business, the likelihood is that they’ve already completed the majority of their research.
The popularity of Google Ads means that the latter stages of the buying cycle have become saturated.
You and all of your competitors are competing for a small piece of the buying process.
Facebook Ads offers an antidote to this.
With Facebook, you can be the person who triggers the buying behaviour and is the only business that’s in contention right from the moment the buyer decides they’re going to make a purchase.
In this post, I’m going to breakdown step-by-step exactly how we’ve been achieving this with our own business and others we work with.
What You’ll Learn
- How to identify your perfect audience and double your click-through rate
- How to create educational content for your audience
- How to promote your content to an audience that’s never heard of you
- How to write compelling ad copy
- How to choose the perfect image for your ad
- How to create powerful landing pages in less than a 1 hour
- How to send people who’ve read your content to your offer page
Step 1: Define your Ideal Customer
I’m going to go out on a limb and say that not knowing your ideal customer is the biggest mistake businesses make.
By trying to create something everyone will like, they end up creating something nobody loves, and in doing so, kill their business.
Remember, you can be anything to anyone but you can’t be everything to everyone!
Decide who you have the best chance of selling to with the resources you have at hand.
If you’re one of the few people whose product has a universal appeal, you’re going to have to narrow it down until you’re making your millions.
Some questions to ask yourself:
- How old are they?
- Are they male or female?
- Are they in a relationship?
- Do they have children?
- What’s their net worth/income?
- Why do they need this service, what problem does it solve?
- What are they most afraid of?
- What values do they aspire to?
This type of exercise may seem like fluff to seasoned online marketers who are used to dealing with numbers, but this is CRUCIAL!
Don’t go near Facebook Ads UNTIL you’ve worked this out.
Figuring this out will help us target the ads, write the copy and select the correct creative for the biggest impact.
If all this sounds confusing, or you’re a busy person like me and simply don’t have the time to conduct your ideal client checklist, you’re more than welcome to download ours.
Don’t worry if you don’t have a huge audience, although anything less than 400,000 people means you’re going to have to squeeze as much juice as you can from a smaller audience.
To stop them becoming bored, angry or fatigued by your brand, you should constantly update the content you’re delivering to them.
Step 2: Create 3-6 Pieces of Educational Content
Now that we know who we’re going to sell to, we need to create content that will compel our audience to click through.
We’ve already established that a direct sell doesn’t work on Facebook.
The reason why?
Your leads are COLD.
They aren’t ready to buy, they don’t trust you, but they’re probably in the mood to be educated, informed and delighted.
Your content will act as the vehicle that takes your product and implants it into the subconscious of your audience.
It’s like the movie Inception. You can’t just tell someone they need to buy something.
They need to piece together different bits of information and make that decision for themselves.
Ideally, you want to introduce a solution that they probably didn’t know existed. It is this process that will help establish you as an authority in the field.
Our goal here is to educate people. You must resist the temptation to try and sell mid-way through!
People aren’t stupid.
If they’re trying to learn and you pitch in mid-way through it’s going to turn them off quicker than garlic breath.
Our goal here is to get people to click on the content, at which point we will be able to retarget them.
Educational content is more in line with what people expect to see on Facebook, it’s more likely to be more relevant to your audience.
Relevancy = lower CPCs.
Lower CPCs = lower cost per acquisitions.
This is a complex system we’re building, but it will all start to piece together as you read.
A direct sell could potentially work on Facebook if you had an unlimited budget, but Facebook Ads can get really expensive when you’re not using retargeting (we’ll come onto this later).
Here is a great example of an article that helps express benefits without selling the product directly:
We can use this example to create a format to use to create our own educational content:
- Identify a problem for the customer.
- Explain why the problem is important
- Help them solve the problem themselves
- Finish with 1 CTA – Use us if you want us to solve this problem for you.
Don’t worry about giving away your ‘secret’. If you don’t, someone else will.
I told you not to sell mid content, but once someone has consumed the entire thing, we’ve got a little bit more leeway.
So in the end, include a soft call to action linking to one of the pieces we’re going to produce in step 2.
Not everyone will convert now, but some will.
An example of a soft call to action on the Ruler Analytics blog.
IMPORTANT: Make sure the Facebook Pixel is on this page. Facebook Pixel Helper is a Chrome add-on that I’d really recommend to help you with this.
Step 3: Create a Cold Target Audience
What we’re going to do now is take our content and promote it to people who’ve probably never heard of our business before.
Facebook has 4 categories of targeting:
All of these can be layered to niche down your audience to as specific as:
Men aged 16 – 18 who live in Shropshire that earns £35,000 a year and recently purchased something online.
Depending on how comfortable you are with Facebook, creating audiences may be a little bit difficult at first.
Thankfully, Facebook has given us a tool to help us find people who look just like the people we already know are valuable. That tool is called Lookalike Audiences.
Lookalike Audience takes onboard your current leads/customers and finds other Facebook users who have a similar profile.
Some suggestions to create a Lookalike Audience:
- Upload the email list of people who have bought or used your service and create a lookalike list based on that
- Use Facebook’s basic targeting and the ideal customer profile we established earlier to send 200 – 500 clicks to the content we produced and create a custom audience from that
- Based on people who have visited high-value pages of your website/product
- Based on people who have already liked your page
Lookalike Audience will provide you with a new audience you can reach out to.
Don’t forget to add in your geographical layer so you only reach people in your catchment area.
You will want to tailor how you write your ad copy for a new audience.
When you’re writing for an audience that’s never heard of you before, it’s important to express that you’re going to provide value.
For that reason, we recommend using a longer-form copy.
Take a look at these two examples from Ryan Deiss:
The ad on the left was targeted to an audience that already knew him (retargeting), whereas the ad on the right was a cold audience.
If someone has never heard of you before, you need to really explain yourself and give them a reason to click.
You wouldn’t walk up to a stranger in the street, expect them to know who you are and ask for your number.
Step 5: Select a Compelling Image
Don’t underestimate the importance of a great image!
Facebook content is primarily visual and is becoming increasingly more so with the rising popularity of video.
It’s difficult to give a formula for the perfect image so you need to test different ones to see what works.
Thankfully, it’s super easy with a new feature in Power Editor that allows you to create multiple variations of the same ad.
The team at Quicksprout did some research and discovered that animated graphics were the most shared image by type.
I must note. Animated graphics may not be suitable for your AD, it purely depends on your message.
Although, I thought it would be worth mentioning that royalty-free images are least likely to get noticed through the noise on Facebook.
The only things that are set in stone when it comes to selecting the right images are:
- Make sure it contrasts with Facebook’s UI – dark or bold images tend to work well
- As humans, we’re hardwired to recognise faces in things, a phenomenon called Pareidolia. Use this to your advantage. Test different ages and genders and see which relate better to your audience.
- Try and make sure the styling/messaging is consistent with your landing page.
- Once you’ve completed these steps, we should now be sending targeted traffic to your content which is educating them on the importance of the problem you’re solving!
Next, is to send your new audiences to your educational content.
Step 6: Send People To Your Educational Content
Now that we have our content, we need to send people there.
Take the cold target audience you created earlier, and produce a new campaign on Facebook with the settings:
Optimise my ad delivery for Traffic
Take the long-form ad we created. Hint: Amy Porterfield is amazing at these. Click here.
Insert the URL of your educational blog posts.
Set the campaign live with a budget of around £5 per day, increasing it as you see performance improving.
Step 7: Create 1 – 3 Compelling Offers
The job of the offer is to give someone a compelling reason to give you their contact details.
People don’t just give out their email address without a good incentive.
Your offer needs to be extremely appealing towards a problem your target audience is having.
In order to create a compelling offer, ask yourself the question:
What keeps my customers awake at night?
Find a practical solution to that problem.
This is going to be the topic for your offer.
Don’t make the mistake of creating a cumbersome 100-page e-book to download.
People on Facebook aren’t in the mood to work. They want a quick win that’s going to be easy to digest.
- A 1 page PDF checklist of tools and resources
- Downloadable coupon/discount
- A 7-day video course delivered by email
- A free consultation/checkup/assessment
Your offer has to do one thing.
It needs to offer a quick, simple and concise solution to a very real problem they face.
If you can nail this, they won’t be able to resist giving you their details.
Step 8: Create a Landing Page for Each Offer
Landing pages are where we’re going to send people after they’ve viewed our educational content.
Create one landing page for each offer.
The design can be practically the same (people overemphasise design).
However, the copy and creative should change to match the offer.
The goal of the landing page is to get someone to give you their contact details in exchange for the offer you’re providing – this is your One Metric That Matters.
Although I said people overemphasise design – don’t be slack.
It isn’t super difficult to pick up the design skills you need to create a reasonable landing page.
If you don’t have the time, hire someone from Upwork.
If you’re not a developer, to create landing pages quickly and easily, there are 4 pieces of software I’d recommend:
We use Unbounce because it’s the most versatile and allows us to create the most professional looking designs, but each has its own benefits.
We will summarise their learnings, but for more information take time to read their blog The Anatomy of a Landing Page.
Benefits focussed headline
Tell your readers what they will get by taking you up on this offer. Make sure the headline matches the offer in the advertisement and is a similar writing style. Resist the temptation to talk about yourself. You’ve got microseconds to catch the reader’s attention – make sure they understand why they need to stay!
Support the headline with some additional information. Explain to the reader how they’re going to realise that benefit.
- Visual Content
Use videos/images that show the context of use.
A landing page is useless unless it collects someone’s information! They should be the most visible part of your landing page. Once the reader has figured out what the benefit is, they need to figure out how to get it. This is how they do that.With forms, you should only ask for the information you need. For most people, this will be a name and email address. However, if you require further qualifying information go ahead and ask for it.Also with the copy on the form submit CTA, use language like ‘Yes, I want…’ rather than ‘submit form’.Make sure all phone numbers are tracked using call tracking software, we’ve heard Ruler Analytics is pretty good ;).Phone numbers can add an extra 75 – 100% of revenue to your campaign results.
Social Proof Always include social proof, it’s one of the easiest ways to improve your conversion rate.If you don’t have any, ask a customer to review or offer a free sample to a friend in return for a review.
Step 9. Send People Who’ve Read Your Educational Content to Your Offer Page
Create the Audience
Now that we’ve warmed our audience up with our educational content, we can send them to our offer capture pages.
To do this, we will use Facebook’s retargeting features to target people who have viewed one of our educational pieces.
Setting up this retargeting audience is simple:
- 1. Go to Power Editor
- 2. Audiences
- 3. Create an Audience – Custom Audience
- 4. Choose Website Traffic
- 5. Under Website traffic
- 6. Select the dropdown
- 7. Choose people who visit specific pages
Now in the URL box, we want to include snippets of the URLs for each of your educational content pieces.
You don’t have to include the whole URL, just enough to identify it.
For example, if we were to set up a URL for this post we would make it look something like this:
Set it to include traffic from the last 30 days, give it a name and click Save.
Step 10. Create the Ad
Create a new Facebook Ad campaign, but this time you want to set the goal to Optimize for Website Conversions.
Use the short-form copy ad from the digital marketer example.
Set the audience as the custom audience we made in the step previous.
When the ad has spent between £50 – £200, check the performance and turn off any ads that are below a certain threshold.
I’d class anything less than 1.5% CTR as low performing.
With the budget freed up from turning off these ads, you can start reinvesting it into the ads that are working, but DON’T increase by more than 15 – 20% per day or it’ll mess up with your cost per click.
We mentioned previously that it’s important to make sure your audience doesn’t become bored or fatigued with your brand/messaging.
The best way to monitor this is to look at the Frequency metric if it’s over 5 you should be thinking about changing your creative.
Step 11: Close your Leads
If you’ve followed these steps carefully, you should now be adding a steady stream of qualified leads to your sales pipeline – woohoo!
Depending on the quality of your hook and content, the relevance of the leads may vary, but over time you will come to understand how to better match your promotions with the value of your product.
If you’re looking to automate your sales outreach, we recommend using a tool like ActiveCampaign.
If your schedule is anything like mine, you might not have time to read this full article. That’s okay. I’ve put together a quick breakdown of everything you need to remember.
- Not knowing your ideal customer is a fatal mistake. You can be anything to anyone, but you can’t be everything to everyone. Decide who you have the best chance of selling to with the resources you have. Don’t go near Facebook Ads until you’ve figured it out.
- Direct selling doesn’t work on Facebook. Your leads are cold. They aren’t ready to buy, but they might be in the mood to be educated. Content that is educational is more in line with what people expect to see on Facebook
- You want to introduce a solution to their problems. This will help you become an authority in your field. However, you must resist the temptation to upsell mid-way.
- Creating new audiences can be a little difficult at first. Thankfully, Facebook released a tool called Lookalike Audiences to help with this. This tool is designed to help find other Facebook users who have a similar profile to your existing leads/customers.
- Remember, when writing for a new audience it’s important that you really explain yourself, give them a reason to click. You wouldn’t walk up to a stranger in the street, expect them to know who you are and give you their number.
- Don’t underestimate the importance of a great image. Facebook is primarily visual. It’s hard to say EXACTLY what image you need to have on your ad. Thankfully, you can use Power Editor which will allow you to create multiple variations.
- In order to create a compelling offer you must ask yourself; what keeps my customers awake at night.
- When it comes to landing pages, there’s no better authority than Unbounce.
- Continuously check the performance of your ads. If the CTR is less than 1.5% TURN IT OFF!