Chances are you and most of your friends and relatives have posted status updates on Facebook in the last few days: The social media service Facebook has more than 750 million active users all over the world—and more than half of them log in every single day. That means if you’re hoping to reach an audience for your small business’ marketing messages online, there’s no better place to go.
Your company probably already has a free Facebook Page, which is ideal for connecting with current customers. However, in order to win over new fans that might not know who you are, you might need to consider purchasing a Facebook ad campaign. Here are some strategies for marketing effectively on the world’s largest social network.
Facebook ads can be purchased on either a CPM (cost per 1,000 impressions) or CPC (cost per click) basis, and you’ll be able to set a daily spending limit to ensure that you don’t spend more than you’ve budgeted.
If making people aware of your company’s brand is most important to you, choosing a CPM format will be a more cost-effective way to make people take notice—but there’s no guarantee that they’ll click through to your website.
If you only want people who’ll take action, you can choose the CPC format, but you may pay as much as several dollars for each individual click, depending on how you’ve targeted your campaign. It’s simple to switch from one format to another, so you may want to spend a few days alternating between them before choosing which one you prefer.
Additionally, think about whether you want web users to click through to your company’s actual website or to your Facebook page. Although it might seem more appealing to send customers directly to your site, by asking them to “like” your page you’ll be able to communicate with them directly and send them promotions on an ongoing basis.
One of the most convenient elements of Facebook marketing is the fact that you can easily target consumers according to age, location, hobbies, and many other data points. That means that you can create different ads for each demographic market, changing your message according to consumers’ personal information in order to attract their attention. For instance, if you have a store with several locations, you can create personalised ads featuring each store’s address for people who live within driving range of that location.
You have a very limited amount of space for text in your ad, so don’t try to be clever or include unnecessary details. Simply describe what your company offers, with a short call to action, such as “sign up for our newsletter” or “like our Facebook page.” In many cases, offering some sort of incentive can encourage more people to click through—for instance, “Like our Facebook Page to receive a 20 percent discount.”
After launching your Facebook ad campaign, you’ll want to keep a close eye on how well it’s working and what you might want to change for next time.
Consider testing several different versions of your ad to see which one is most effective, then using the winner exclusively. Pay attention to how many people are doing your requested action, whether that’s liking your Facebook Page, signing up for a newsletter, or purchasing a product, and determine how much each conversion is costing you in financial terms.
If you determine that it’s taken you $20 or more to gain a single new customer, consider what you might be doing wrong. Are you targeting the wrong demographic? Is your ad too confusing? In some cases, you may simply find that other marketing avenues are more effective—but in most cases, with enough trial and error, you’ll likely find that Facebook ads are worth the marketing spend.
Kathryn Hawkins is principal and chief content strategist of Eucalypt Media. She has worked as a freelance journalist for media publications and managed inbound marketing and content strategy for corporate and nonprofit clients for more than 16 years.
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