What’s the easy answer to all your marketing problems these days?

Facebook Ads!

(That is, if you believe the conversations you hear as you move through the line at Starbucks or heed the advice you got at that networking event yesterday.)

So it’s tempting.  I get it.  Loosen your budget belt a notch or two and binge recklessly on Facebook ads. Kinda like buying a lottery ticket right?  What do you have to lose?

Well, actually, a lot.  Namely, money.  Which, as a solo business owner, you may not be rolling in just yet.

Facebook ads really do work well for some business owners.  (Data indicates that 60% of small business owners are happy with their Facebook ads results). But I’ve also seen Facebook ads flop miserably.

The difference lies in whether or not you have a strategy, or some kind of back end sales.  And also whether or not you know what you’re doing with your messaging, copy and clarity on ideal client.

Since I could buy many new cars with the money I’ve spent on Facebook ads, I’ve gained some wisdom from this experience.  For one thing, I know what you must do BEFORE you place your first (or 100th) FB ad.

First, consider this:

Facebook users like, post, and share for an average of 20 minutes every day. Which means you have approximately, oh, the blink of an eye to make sure you’re reaching exactly the right people, in the right places, and cutting through the noise. Plus, when you place your ad, you’re joining the ranks of about 1 million other advertisers on Facebook.

This data points to one stark reality: Your clarity in advance is crucial. This is not a lottery ticket. This is strategy. Before placing a Facebook ad, get clear on these 6 factors:

1 – Is your tribe hanging out on Facebook?

If you serve people online, the answer is likely yes, since most everybody who’s online is on Facebook. But if your ideal clients are, say, senior citizens – of the ones that are online, only half are on FB.

Facebook allows you to target people by geography, demographics (age, gender, education, language, etc.), interests and the types of connections they already have with you (fans, not fans, anyone). So get super-specific–the narrower you target your ad, the better. The more directly you can speak to your person through your ad, the better chance you have to cut through the chatter. Look beyond demographics like age or gender group (though women are more likely to be on Facebook than men).

2 – Consider where you are in relationship to the people your ad will target.

This will change how you approach them. Are they people who never heard of you, but share relevant interests with your ideal peeps? Heard of you, but haven’t purchased anything from you yet? Are already customers?

How “warm” the relationship dictates your strategy, and how bold you can be in your call-to-action… For people who don’t know you, the ad will be a list-builder and reputation-builder… For your existing clients, you can invite them to the next program or event.

Your facebook ad should solve a problem for your client.

3 – How does your ad serve?

Your ad needs to keenly resolve a pressing issue for peeps, or answer a question that has them up at 3 a.m. To cut through the distraction and noise, be utterly relevant to what your people need. Offer a solution, a gift, something that will truly be in service to your tribe.

And be succinct. The fewer words you can use to get your point across, the better. A vague or long-winded ad will get you nowhere.

4 -What action do you want clients to take?

Awesome, they’ve clicked through. Now what?

Coming from service, and knowing how close in relationship you are to who your ad is for, you may then encourage people to:

  •       Download a report.
  •       Share a blog post.
  •       Register for a webinar.
  •       Sign up for an event.

But prompt them to DO something. There needs to be a clear call to action, that’s easy and immediate. In other words, “Click here to register…” as opposed to “Call this number to schedule an appointment.”

5 – What results do you want?

So far we’ve been focusing in on the client: who is the client, what does the client want, what should the client do? Now let’s get clear on you and what you want. Taking into consideration all the previous steps – who, relationship, etc. – what do you want from the ad?

Are you building your list? Reaching out to a new category of client? Showing your expertise? Generating word of mouth for a new product or service?

You can see how each of these factors influences the other… For a prospect who doesn’t know you yet, it would be unrealistic to have the call to action be a purchase – better to offer a highly valuable, great piece of advice they’ve been searching for, in exchange for that precious email address.

6 – Get help. Professional social media help, that is.

Here’s the deal. If social media or digital marketing, is not your wheelhouse – by all means, don’t do it alone! In fact, I recommend that you HIRE someone to do your Facebook ads and social media for you.

Because I don’t want you spending your time trying to become an expert on Facebook ads when that’s not what you’re here to do.

But before you talk to a pro, knowing who you want to reach and your relationship with them, how your message will serve and what you want your peeps to do, and what results you want from your campaign will set you up for an aligned, successful Facebook ad campaign. And you’ll impress the socks off of your digital marketer. 😉

Please Please Please Don’t Toss Out your Offline Marketing

I know a business owner who is “tired of networking” (her words) and dreams of attracting all of her clients on line.  She wants to try Facebook Ads to get clients without having to leave her home.

Okay, fine.  I understand.  But this is often just the illusion of online marketing without the reality of the work of online marketing!

Ask yourself how your last three clients came to be your clients.  If it was from an event, a speaking engagement, networking or referral, make sure you keep doing your offline work as you grow your Facebook ad strategy.

Offline marketing can seem like such hard work compared to the magic-pill-ism of online marketing.  But if offline works for you, it might just be because you are good at it and because people need to meet and connect with you before they can decide to become your client.  Honor that about yourself and about them!

I’m curious…Have you run Facebook ads?  Care to share your results below?  I’d love to hear about them!

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