How Small Business Marketers Can Run Facebook Ads on a Shoestring Budget

Is Facebook Advertising Making You Feel You’re Ready for a Chill Pill?

Facebook

Wait a minute. Just before you throw in the towel or tell us to ‘stick a fork in it’, this post isn’t going to give you a list of reasons why you shouldn’t be on Facebook. In fact, it’s the other way around. I encourage you to try the things we did and learn from results we got.

1. Know your campaign objectives.

Regular posts can help you achieve your marketing objectives. Use the readily-available tools to help you create posts that engage and get people to perform an action on your page. Facebook made this easier for page editors and administrators by making the ‘post wizard’ gallery available. It is pinned on top of your Facebook page ‘Home’.

Post Wizard Gallery

WHAT WE DO: Vary the post types. You can have a #MondayMood photo or video post, start a live video during an event you’re either hosting or participating in. For example, this post from #SheMeansBusiness #ConnectedWomen has been generating traffic for our website months AFTER the event.

She Means Bussiness

Facebook Insights

If you are running a Promotion (Paid Ad), you can select ad formats based on your specific goals like, engagement, lead-generation or website traffic goals. The Promotions tab can guide you on the step-by-step process:

Paid Ads

2. Identify and select your demographics.

Targeting. targeting. targeting. If you’re not careful, your ads will be found irrelevant by people who see them in their feeds and you won’t get results from your ad campaign. Promoting your small business locally using Facebook isn’t as expensive as putting out an ad in the local newspaper, but it does build contacts and connect you with your audience.

WHAT WE DO: Promote our Local Business and target potential customers within a 50-mile radius (that’s wide, but you can go hyper-local and just select the 10-mile radius, depending on how far you want your reach to be.

Note that Facebook recommends targeting at least three (3) audience areas of interest. In our case, we set it so the keywords ‘Digital Marketing’, ‘Social Media’ and ‘Content Marketing’ is prioritised. Our audience selection returned 340,000 people potentially reached by our ad.

Demographics

Inside Tip: Facebook’s New ‘Interest-based’ Targeting Rules

3. Study your previous posts. See anything shiny? Boost it.

Previous Posts

Sometimes, a well-performing post can do a much better job of getting engagement through boosting rather than advertising. In any case, a Boost doesn’t give you the same significant customisation that an actual ad does. Read this helpful tip from Facebook: What’s the difference between a Boosting and an Advertising on Facebook ?

Another important thing to remember when boosting and advertising is to develop your OWN content strategy. Your website is your springboard. Everything should start on your website. Make sure that there is a balance between sharing relevant content from reputable industry sources AND promoting your very own branded content.

The challenge that most business owners have is they don’t have enough content to promote. So they resort to ‘sharing away’ other people’s content and while that’s nice to do for others, it doesn’t help you build your own brand– and that’s a mistake.

Start with having enough relevant content on your website. What do your ideal customers need and how do they want to consume the information that you put out there? Content is your ‘product’, too. You promote your ‘product’ on social media to get traffic, generate leads and contacts. If you share other people’s content ALL THE TIME, don’t be surprised they get all the traffic and you don’t! Let’s not even talk about paying to boost those posts, no matter how effective they are!

4. Use attention-grabbing headlines.

Attention-grabbing, not click-baiting. Don’t mislead your customers into clicking through your ad only to frustrate them and give them reasons for tagging you as a spammer. People welcome information they can use and share. There is no point to coming up with a crafty, sexy headline if you’ll end up hurting your brand because the content didn’t deliver what the headline said.
Here’s one of my favourite blog posts from Hubspot: ‘ How to Write Better Headlines for Your Facebook Ads

5. Test the most effective calls-to-action

Because not all buttons are created equal….
Call to Action

Depending on the objective of your Facebook Ad, we encourage you to experiment on a variety of Calls-To-Action. If your goal is to get people to schedule an appointment, use the ‘Book Now’ or ‘Contact Us’ or ‘Request Time’ buttons. Test them and see which ones people actually click on. Unfortunately, there is no way you can change the color of the buttons like you would in a blog post or a website. If your goal is to expand a mailing list, ‘Sign Up’ would be the right button. You can integrate this with your Google Sheet or MailChimp or other mailing app.

Video is very effective. You can also re-purpose your content from blog to a series of video clips. There’s a ton of apps for creating unique explainer videos using 2D or 3D animation, too. If you have the bandwidth and the budget, you can invest in your own branded set to build your content archive.

6. Set your budget

Define your budget range and stick to it.  How Much Do Facebook Ads Cost?

You can choose to spend $1 a day and get results. Select a Continuous Website Promotion. This way you have a very calculated ad spend. Facebook will not charge you beyond the budget you set. Your dollar a day can go a long way! Use it wisely by making sure your audience is defined and your landing page is optimized for lead generation and sales. Whether you set a budget of $5 a day or $50 a day, it’s totally up to you.

Here’s how we did it as a pilot and have never stopped since!

Ads Cost

7. Set the campaign duration, review & adjust

You don’t have to be married to your ad campaign. Test it out for a week or a few days and see what adjustments you can make based on insights you gather.

We know. It’s exciting to see spikes in traffic, spikes in reach and starting to have people contact you. Right?! But it’s also important to evaluate the quality of leads you get. When you evaluate your ad performance, ask yourself, ‘Were these new contacts exactly who we targeted? If not, why not?, or ‘How can we tweak our targeting so we only get qualified people who are ready to engage with us?’

Managing Facebook Ads starts with tracking and measuring. You can’t manage something if you don’t have the appropriate metrics and success indicators in place. Make sure that you have the metrics by which you want to assess your overall effectiveness taken care of when you define your ad goals.

8. Use videos and photos

… not because people on social seldom read. They prefer not to read chunks of text. I know this because I test it on my own personal page all the time.

Post a photo or a video. People engage. Write more than 250 characters, people skip it.

Keep in mind that most people on their mobile devices prefer to click and watch than scroll and read. People use social media for live videos, shared videos, selfies, food photos, landscape views, Insta-worthy shots and memes. You won’t stand a chance even if you write an award-winning article and post ‘Facebook Notes’.  You’re better off writing a short or long-form blog (like this) and sharing a photo with a link back to your article. It’s a more effective way to drive traffic than to actually write as ‘text’ on a social post.

Here’s How You Can Use Photo and Video Using Facebook Canvas.

9. Use Awesome Landing Pages

Most people think their Homepage or Contact Us page are the only pages where they can (and should) drive traffic. By default, your URL is your homepage. But people get tired of seeing the same thing over and over again. When you’re launching a new product or service, create a landing page specifically highlighting this and start driving traffic to your landing page using Facebook Ads or Boost Post.

A landing page is a stand-alone page that promotes nothing but a specific product or content offer. The most effective landing pages are not necessarily heavy with product features and specifications (that’s a Product Page). The elements of a good landing page are: Headline, Sub-header, Unique Value Proposition, Lead Capture Form, High-impact image, Call-To-Action Button, Social Proof, a standard background about the author or company in the footer section. At the end of the day, your ideal customers’ experience from clicking thru your Facebook Ad to your Landing Page is reflected on the action they take… whether it’s downloading content, requesting for a demo, or signing up for a free trial, your Facebook Ads will only be fully effective once paired with a powerful landing page.

10. Track and measure (this doesn’t have to be the last item all the time)

Oftentimes, people wait until the ads expire before they come back and really assess its effectiveness. Wrong. Monitor and pay attention to your ad’s performance as soon as you run it. If you see something isn’t working, Pause the ad and Edit. If you see something is working, find out why and replicate to a mirror (or completely new) audience and see what happens.

ONE LAST TIP:

If you’re running Facebook ads, make sure your cover photo conveys consistent messaging. Keep you cover photo as dynamic as your ad. Your cover photo is not your brand’s tombstone. It’s your social media headline, too. How often you change it depends on how dynamic you want to be perceived by your audience. If you’ve got the same cover photo today as you did when you first created your Facebook page in 2009, errr… it’s time to drop what you’re doing and freshen up the ‘face’ of your ‘Facebook Page’.
There is a lot of trial and error on running effective Facebook ads. Whether you’re running B2B or B2C campaigns, the key is to find where your ideal community’s interests are and be visible where they are most likely to spend time on. Facebook ads aren’t spammy. It becomes spammy when advertisers don’t think through their strategy for promoting content enough so that either of two things happen: the people that see the ads aren’t the right ones; and the right ones don’t see them –or even if they do, they don’t find your brand relevant and they move on before your chill pill takes effect.
Creative Commons Attribution: Permission is granted to repost this article in its entirety with credit to Results Professional Marketing and a clickable link back to this page.
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