I’m really proud of the fact that I work with a lot of small businesses, those businesses that feel like they would get turned away from other Facebook ad strategists / implementers, because they don’t have $1,000 a month to spend on Facebook ads every month. I personally don’t think you necessarily need to have that size budget. But I do think you need to have the right mindset and an understanding of what Facebook ads can do for your business.
Facebook ads are NOT a magic bullet.
So what are the key things to think about before you dive headlong into Facebook ads?
- You need to understand the importance of building an online audience
- You need to be prepared to allocate a monthly spend
- You need to accept that success is not instant
- You need to accept that ROI is not always outgoing spend = incoming sales
- You need to be prepared NOT to sell on Facebook ads from day one
Understand the importance of building an online audience
Many clients that come on board with me are completely new to Facebook ads – so not even a pixel on their website. This means that Facebook has NO historical data on their website visitors, so no idea what their ideal client looks like. Yes, we can build audiences from their Facebook and Instagram pages and their email contact lists, but we also need to get the pixel installed and start driving traffic to collect the data on the type of people that ARE interested in what’s being shown on the website.
These ads are all about building audiences – sharing your content with people that might be interested in who you are and what you do.
But Jo, how is THAT going to make me money?
Well hang on a minute… How is placing an ad in your local NET Magazine (or similar) going to instantly make you money? How is attending three networking events instantly going to make you money? How is posting organically across all your social media platforms instantly going to make you money?
Marketing activity is not all about instantly making money. That’s why you NEED to understand that an important part of the process is BUILDING YOUR AUDIENCE.
Marketing activity is rarely free (even your organic posting has a cost attached to it – the cost being the hours you spend) but what you are doing is raising the profile of your brand, getting your business in front of a targeted audience who are likely to be your ideal client AND creating audiences of people that you CAN retarget with sales / offers as and when the time is right to start selling.
Be prepared to allocate a monthly spend
When I’m talking to my clients about their budget. I fully understand that not all businesses have a specific marketing budget set aside. So, I often talk to them about what they spend on marketing currently. And one of the prime examples of “hidden” marketing spend, that many small businesses invest in regularly, is networking events – previously face to face but now predominantly online.
Let’s briefly look at the average networking event spend (and I’m basing this on a standard face to face breakfast type networking event)..
Lots of people think of it as “just £10” if they’re paying £10 a week or fortnight to attend a networking event, which usually covers the venue / breakfast cost. But more often than not there is also the annual membership of whichever networking group you’re part of (£600 per year for BNI, £390 per year for Business Over Breakfast, £240 per year for 4N etc).
And then there is your time. Let’s price your time at £30 per hour. There’s the two hours attending the event and on average half an hour getting there and another half an hour getting home. So that’s three hours! Or we can call it £90.
Over a year, networking fortnightly with BoB, as an example, the cost to you is just shy of £3000, or £250 per month.
And whilst referral marketing is great for getting your name out in the local market, there are no guarantees of any new leads or clients, and you cannot be sure that the people you’re networking with are in fact your ideal target audience.
In my opinion, that £250 per month could be far better spent on Facebook ads, building an audience of people who ARE your ideal customer.
You don’t instantly have to start with that kind of budget – I have many clients that start with me on a Facebook Page Growth Campaign and we spend just £1 a day to get them up and running, but 9 times out of 10, those clients see a real growth in their Facebook page numbers and within a month or two are asking “what’s next?”.
And the next stage is still to focus on audience building, through traffic driving campaigns, and this is where we start to move into the £3-£5 per day budgets.
Accept that success is not instant
If Facebook ads could sell any product, faultlessly, with little effort, then let’s face it, EVERYONE would have Facebook ads running!
All marketing is trial and error.
Paying for an ad in a local newspaper, leafleting your area, networking, radio ads, tv ads, posting on social media… Things that many of us have tried or thought about – some of it works for some, and not for others.
The joy of Facebook is the analytics. You get to see what is and isn’t working. What audiences are responding well to your ads, what audiences you should drop. What type of copy and images resonates better with your audiences. So you can tweak your ads as you go along, make improvements and see better results.
Facebook ad spend is never “wasted” as you are armed with information, which can make a massive difference to how your next set of ads perform.
Accept that ROI is not always outgoing spend = incoming sales
Audience building does not always equal instant sales. That is not the purpose of audience building.
In the audience building phase, you’re introducing a “cold audience” (people who have not yet heard of you) to who you are and what you do.
As explained in the budget section of this blog – you don’t turn up at a networking event and instantly expect to make £100 from the people you have met there!
So if you spend £30 a month growing your Facebook page, there’s no guarantee that you will instantly have that £30 back in traceable sales. BUT, what is likely is that you will have 60+ new Facebook followers, who are starting to learn about you from your organic posts, are definitely interested in what you do (because they have chosen to like your page), have the potential to become new clients/customers the more they learn about you AND are now in your warm audience for when you create sales ads.
But, having said that, you may be surprised by your own level of success. Below is an example of a traffic campaign that’s been running for about seven weeks, with a spend of just £3 a day. Our aim with this campaign was to build the audience of website visitors, as it’s a fairly new business and traffic to the website was quite low.
You’ll see that the campaign has successfully had 1453 link clicks for £155.49 total spend, which is great and exactly what we were hoping for (we wanted an audience of over 1k before we started retargeting) BUT in the process of driving traffic to the website, there has also been 9 purchases on the website. And with the average product cost on the website being £45, this equates to £405+ in revenue from the traffic campaign.
Be prepared NOT to sell on Facebook ads from day one
I speak to a lot of potential new clients who have a product / course / programme / membership that they’re about to launch and they want to use Facebook ads to sell their “thing”.
And this is perhaps where Gavin’s post resonated so strongly with me.
You have to KNOW that you can already sell your “thing” and that Facebook ads are just going to be the “booster” to maximise on those sales.
And if you don’t and have no existing audience, no current sales history, no real knowledge of who your interested audience are, then you MUST be prepared to start at the beginning – which is working on building your audience.
So we are not going to start work on say one and be selling your “thing” on day seven. It’s just not going to happen!
The average period of time that I work with clients before moving into any sales phase is three months.
Some people will definitely be put off by this information. But that’s okay. For me, it’s really important that the clients I work with understand the process and are all in on the idea of building an audience before they sell. Anyone looking for a quick fix won’t be the right match for me.
Shout out for the inspiration for this blog post
I was inspired to write this blog by something that Gavin Bell posted on Facebook. Now anyone that knows me knows that I’m a massive Gavin fangirl (even though I’m old enough to be his… big sister). I did my early Facebook training with Gavin, and whatever he has to say about Facebook ads is generally really informative and en pointe.
Here’s what Gav posted:
This really inspired me to think about who is and isn’t ready for Facebook ads and how to share that information with my audience.
If you want to find out more about how we can work together on your Facebook ads, why not book in a Power Hour and we can talk through where you are now and how we can move you forward with Facebook ads.