Growing your business in the digital age means embracing the tools of the time, and social media provides many of the present moment’s best offerings. Facebook ads, in particular, have remained some of the most effective assets of their kind. They can provide unprecedented opportunities to draw potential customers into your company’s buying funnel while raising brand awareness and giving a big boost to visibility in the process. Here’s a guide that can help you master all three of these important areas so that you can use Facebook ads to transform your business.
Beating the Average Conversion Rate
The average conversion rate for global online shopping at the end of 2017 was 3.26%, according to Statista. That’s up just over 0.3% from where it was a year before, but you probably want to do better than that. After all, the old adage rings true: a rising tide raises all boats. However, that doesn’t mean you should waste time waiting for the tide to come in.
Try reframing the above information in the following way: if your business is only converting 3.26% of all your customers, you’re actually losing out on 96.74% of all potential sales. However, making your business more social can improve your conversion rates drastically—and Facebook ads offer a unique way to accomplish just that. Part of their great power lies in their ability to reach individual segments of a wider market to ensure that your ads are reaching “ready to buy” customers. You can use the Ads Manager to create innovative value propositions aimed specifically at people who will be receptive to them, along with inbuilt links to your landing page. Boom—an instant uptick in website traffic.
The Cost of Facebook Ads: Maybe Cheaper than You Think
Some companies (especially smaller businesses) have a tendency to shy away from Facebook ads because they think they’ll be too expensive. It’s true that they can be—and that the Ads Manager kind of encourages you to go big whenever you’re creating a new ad—but that doesn’t mean you have to break the bank on them.
The key thing to remember here is that you get to set your own budget for Facebook ads. That being the case, it’s easy to prevent yourself from overspending. Just figure out what kind of social media marketing budget you can afford to have ahead of time—bearing in mind that the average ROI on Facebook ads tends to be around 15 percent. You might have to spend money to make money, but as long as you’ve crafted the ad carefully there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to do so. It might even be worth borrowing a little capital strategically so that you can afford a bigger ad spend. After all, those returns could be too good to pass up.
Updating the Sales Funnel for the Modern Age of Facebook
At its most basic level, the sales funnel still consists of three clear steps: discovery, consideration, and conversion. However, not everyone understands how each of these areas corresponds to the tools Facebook places at the disposal of their business. Let’s examine each step in detail, so that you can see what the best way to nail it via Facebook ads is:
1. Discovery and Video Ads
The first thing you’ll need to do is make people aware of your brand. The best way to do that is by using Facebook Live Videos. Live video ads are way better at getting a consumer’s attention than boring old text that they have to read. In fact, 80% of consumers would rather watch a live video than read a blog post. Try not to think about your nation’s declining literacy rates, and just picture the number of people who will stare slack-jawed at their devices when your live video hits their feed.
Some people may be concerned that video ads won’t be effective—especially since the company announced that its algorithm would de-prioritize video posts at the start of 2018. However, it’s worth noting that these changes apply largely to posts that are not made through the Ads Manager, which means that video remains an extraordinarily effective way to engage your audience. You just have to make sure that Zuckerberg gets his cut if you want that video to show up at the top of your consumers’ feeds.
Once you’ve decided to buy video ads through Facebook, it’s time to get specific about your audience. You can do this by whittling down your audience parameters in the Ads Manager:
At first, it might seem like you want your audience to be as large as possible. However, remember that making your audience too broad will result in you paying to show your ad to a lot of people who aren’t likely to be that interested. If you see tens of millions of people in the “Audience Size” box, you probably need to cut it down some more.
For best results, aim somewhere between 1.5 and 2 million people. This will ensure that your ad is targeted enough to reach likely customers, but that it still manages to reach a lot of them.
2. Consideration and Influencer Marketing
Once you’ve launched your first ad, you’ll want to start measuring engagement KPIs. Start doing this a few days after the ad is launched, and collect the data so that you can use it to make even more specific follow-up ads.
Your target customers have already seen the first ad, so they know you exist. The purpose of the follow-up ads should be to really make them think about buying your product. One of the best ways to do so is by partnering with an influencer that your ideal customers will trust. Influencers offer excellent ROI: about $6.50 for every dollar spent according to Adweek.
Use your KPIs to identify your ideal consumer, then reach out to influencers who have lots in common with them. An analytics tool can tell you who is watching your first ad through to the end, versus who is turning it off after 5 seconds. The people who are watching it for the longest time are the ones you should be using to find that ideal influencer.
3. Conversion and Incentives
Once your ideal customers have seen your follow-up ads, they’ll probably be on the point of making a purchase. Sweeten the deal for them a little with a discount or another type of incentive. Doing so can lure in customers who are otherwise on the fence, and can make repeat customers out of those who would otherwise have disappeared after their first purchase.
To make sure you’re only offering those discounts to the people who are most likely to buy from you, look at which of your customers have gone so far as to actually add items to their carts. These are the people who are on the point of making a purchase but just need a small push to send them over the edge of your buyer funnel. Treat this group as a new target audience, and put out another ad for them that includes a discount code. You can even create separate audiences for people who almost bought specific products, and then offer discounts on those products exclusively so as to encourage them to finish.
Investing in Facebook Ads Earns Astounding ROI
It’s easy to grow a business when your ads are outperforming average online conversion rates by leaps and bounds. Follow the three steps listed above, and you’ll be able to max out your marketing budget by creating ads that consistently earn you more customers.
Author bio: Nick Rojas (@NickARojas) combines 20 years of experience working with and consulting for small to medium business and a passion for journalism to help readers grow. He writes about technology, marketing, and social media for the aspiring entrepreneur. When Nick is not sharing his expertise, he can be found spending time at the beach with his dog Presto.