It seems like Facebook can’t catch a break.
The social media platform has1.55 billion monthly active users, with over 700 million of those users visiting Facebook on mobile each day, and yet still, all you’re likely to hear about Facebook from business owners is that the organic reach is terrible and that their ads don’t work.
While it would be easy to throw in the towel and move your advertising dollars elsewhere, it’s hard for me to let you dismiss what I would argue is one of the best advertising platforms available today.
Plus, keep in mind that with 72 percent of all online adults using Facebook, your ideal client IS going to be there.
You just have to know how to reach them successfully.
Related Article: Google Ads vs. Facebook Ads: Which is Better?
With all of that in mind, check out my five steps for utilizing Facebook ads successfully in 2016.
1. Start Using Website Custom Audiences Today
The biggest mistake small business owners make is not taking the time to set up Website Custom Audiences (WCA). Honestly, if you take nothing else away from this article, it should be this.
Why do custom audiences matter?
Because they allow you to track who is visiting your website and remarket to them at a later date. For example, if someone read a blog post on your website about eating healthy, you could remarket to them with a lead magnet on a similar topic to move them onto your list.
At the very least, I would recommend creating these three custom audiences:
- Website Traffic – 30 Days
- Website Traffic – 60 Days
- Website Traffic – 180 Days
Even if you don’t plan to launch any new promotions in the near future, set up the pixel on your site today so that it can start accumulating people within those custom audiences. Don’t wait until you need to start running your campaign to add the pixel or it will be too late.
2. Lead With Un-Gated Content
Have you ever tried targeting a brand new audience with a free lead magnet?
It sounds like a great idea, right? After all, you aren’t asking them to make a purchase, you’re offering something free in exchange for their email. No big deal, right?
Wrong. People are getting more and more selective about giving out their email addresses. There are also so many businesses offering free lead magnets that you’re just one of a dozen if they don’t know who you are. They’ll scroll on by without a second thought.
Instead of leading with gated content, start by sending them to a great piece of un-gated content like a new blog post.
Once they have landed on the page and you have “pixeled them,” you can REMARKET to them with your great lead magnet. You will likely find that conversions are higher because they already know who you and are familiar with your content.
Related Article: You're Doing it Wrong! 5 Don'ts in Facebook Advertising
3. Use Lookalike Audiences to Expand Your Target Audience
You should always try to target an audience size of 500K to 1 million people. However, if you don’t have 500K people visiting your website or on your email list (as so many do not) or you just want to reach an all new set of people who are most like your current customers, you can expand your target audience using lookalike audiences.
When you create a new lookalike audience, I recommend starting with the one percent of people who are most like the audience you are replicating. For example, create a lookalike audience of the one percent of people who are most similar to your email list. In addition to your email list, I also recommend creating a lookalike audience for your website traffic and, if you KNOW it’s well targeted, your Facebook fan page. Note: if your Facebook fan page is full of family and friends who you have asked to like your page over the years, skip this one.
4. Split Test…and Then Split Test Again!
There are two big mistakes that are commonly made when split testing. First, businesses will often limit their split testing to images alone, rather than split testing both the images and the copy. Second, when they do find a winning combination, many businesses will stop testing altogether.
It’s important to test BOTH the copy and the image for each audience. I recommend having a lengthier version of the copy as well as a version that’s short and to the point. You may find that an audience that is less familiar with you and your business responds better to the longer version, whereas a warm or hot audience may respond better to the short version. However, there’s really no way of knowing.
It’s also a good idea to keep testing…even after you find a great combination of images and text. There’s always room for improvement, after all!
5. Be Prepared to Troubleshoot
All too often we think that if our ads don’t work on the first try that they won’t work at all. However, even the BEST marketers will rarely get it right on the first try. You need to be prepared to do some troubleshooting in order to get the results you want.
For example, if you aren’t getting clicks, your budget or bidding may be too low. If you’re getting clicks but no conversions, it could be that your ad isn’t congruent with your landing page or that you need to modify the target audience.
Regardless, don’t be discouraged if you don’t hit it out of the park on the first try. You may have to tweak your ads multiple times to achieve success.
Don’t let any failures you’ve had in the past cause you to dismiss Facebook advertising. Instead, stay informed about the updates that are being made so that you can make the most of them. If Facebook holds the key to your target audience, it may be worth the investment of time and money to reach it there.