What You Should Know Before You Set Up Your First Facebook Ad

screenshot-2016-09-28-10-24-28If you haven’t tried advertising your business on Facebook yet, you could be missing a lucrative opportunity. With over 1.2 billion active monthly users, there’s a good chance your customers are on Facebook. So why not reach them where they’re already hanging out? If you’re like many of our small business clients, you may have moved away from Facebook when the organic reach went down. But why take yourself out of the game altogether when you can pay to play?

The truth is, Facebook advertising has become more competitive, expensive, and challenging than it was even a few months ago. What works in the Facebook ads world is always changing. But with a strategic approach, willingness to experiment, and patience, savvy marketers are still reaching thousands of customers and generating a strong ROI.

Here’s what you should know before you set up your first (or next) Facebook ad:

You can’t skip Facebook’s advertising policies

This might seem obvious, but let’s face it–most people tend to skip right over terms, conditions, and policies. But you can waste a ton of time and effort trying to get your Facebook ads approved (and even get your account shut down) if you’re not careful. Ignoring this critical first step can cause a great deal of frustration. Even if you feel like you’re following the policies and guidelines and believe you’re doing nothing wrong, don’t be surprised if you encounter a stumbling block in getting your ads approved. Facebook claims that they want to create a positive experience for their users, so keep in mind that their policies are in place to prevent ad content that interferes with that experience.

Your success requires a strategic approach with realistic expectations

Unless you’re a known brand or you’re selling a low-cost, visually appealing product, Facebook ads tend to be most effective in raising awareness and generating leads. You’re not as likely to spark an impulse buy for your product, service, or program. So before placing your ad, think ahead to your desired outcome and what it will really take to acquire a new customer. If you’re selling something many other people sell, the potential buyer will need more than one Facebook ad to choose you over a competitor. The ad is often just the beginning; you’re going to need a plan and a marketing funnel to see the results you want.

You’ll need to be smart and sensible about your budget

Facebook ads used to be cheaper, but the cost has gone up. You can still stick to a moderate budget if you start small and then scale up once you know the ad performs well. But you have to be willing to take some risk, potentially lose some money, and keep an open mind while you experiment. It also helps to recognize in advance that Facebook is in the business of making money from ads; so sometimes an ad that performs well can go up in cost as you scale it. Keep an eye on your ROI.

You’ll want to know who you’re targeting

The true magic of Facebook ads lies in the exceptional targeting capabilities at your fingertips. Facebook is making a wealth of demographic, behavioral, and interest-based data available to you, and this is what allows you to reach exactly the type of customer you want to reach. Your ad will only be as effective as your ability to pinpoint the right audience; and the good news is, the ad itself will provide you feedback as you go. So if your best guess about who you’re selling to was wrong, you can always tweak your target audience as you go.

You must make an irresistible offer

What you’re promoting with your Facebook ad needs to be something people actually want. It should be a potential answer to a problem they’re experiencing or a burning desire. This can be tricky because your core business may be offering something “nice to have” rather than a “must have.” You may be offering something that isn’t urgent or timely. That’s why it makes more sense to go after a lead than a sale–most products and service offerings are something your ideal customer might not buy today, but they will buy eventually. Your ad should be for something they can get value from right now.

You’ll need knockout ad copy and visuals

When your ad shows up on Facebook, you’re competing for eyeballs and attention. Mediocre ad copy and ho-hum imagery isn’t going to cut it. The look and feel of the ad needs to be relevant, visually appealing, and attention-grabbing. The message should be enticing, with a clear value proposition and strong call to action. This is not the place to scrimp or wing it. Will you be clever, intriguing, or tell a story? How can you stand out and get your audience to respond?

You have to think beyond the ad itself

If you have a fantastic Facebook ad, but less-than-stellar landing page, the ad isn’t going to perform well. The landing page has to match the look and feel of the ad and live up to the promise of the ad; otherwise, people will click away. And once, they’ve opted in for a freebie, then what? How will it be delivered? What will the email say? How will you follow up with them to nurture that lead? Will you incorporate retargeting into your campaign? For the most successful Facebook advertising, you have to consider the entire marketing funnel. Yes, you can start simple, but that doesn’t mean you can afford to ignore elements beyond the ad itself.

Thinking of trying Facebook ads on your own but don’t know where to start? Learning how to get started can be daunting, but we’re always here to help you out. So give us a shout!

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