How to Know When Your Business is Ready for Facebook Ads
Quick dose of brutal honesty: It takes time, skill, and a healthy dose of trial-and-error to create Facebook ads that deliver the absolute best results for your unique wellness business.
In this post, we’ll give you an overview of some important basics and a few strategies to try, basically a very solid jumping-off point. BUT you’ll need to be patient and persistent as you fine-tune your execution. We can’t promise you’ll be a Facebook ads guru after this one read, but we’ll definitely teach you how to build meaningful ads that support your products, programs, or services.
Before we dive into any ad-creation details, we need to make sure you know exactly what this type of promotion can (and can’t) do for you.
How to best use Facebook ads (Hint: No hard selling!)
Scroll through your own Facebook feed and take a look at the ads that are served up to you as a user. You’ll probably see a few branding-focused campaigns, but many more direct-sales plugs for items like t-shirts, jewelry, or hand-crafted artisan items. Seeing these, you may think, “Awesome! Clearly people are selling things using this platform, so I can expect to sell classes or subscriptions using Facebook ads myself.”
The reality is a bit more complex than that.
A “cold audience”—a group of strangers who’ve had no previous exposure to you or your business—almost NEVER buy something just because they’ve viewed an online ad. Even a meticulously phrased and beautifully designed ad will fail to sway them. (Which is kind of a relief, right? It’s not you, it’s just the way that Facebook ads work!) People occasionally pony up for actual merchandise—hence the t-shirt ads—but intangible services and virtually anything that costs more than $20 is just not going to reliably sell on Facebook.
Not only that, most of the ads you see in your own feed are retargeted: They’re created by companies whose websites you’ve already visited independently! Those companies tracked your actions, and strategically reached back out to you through Facebook to say, “Hey, remember looking at that West Elm lamp online yesterday—that one you added to your shopping cart? West Elm still exists! Maybe you should swing by again, and actually BUY that lamp.” Instead of shoving something brand new in your face and demanding you buy it, they’re gently reminding you about something you’ve already shown an interest in purchasing.
Luckily, this is a strategy that you can also use to target and reach your own customers. We’ll circle back to the specifics shortly. But since you’ve already accepted that you won’t be selling classes and memberships directly via Facebook ads, you need to determine what you will promote, and how you’ll frame it.
What’s your Facebook ad goal?
Before you shell out a single dime for an ad, you need to decide on your campaign goal. And that goal should be something more substantial than branding or website click-throughs.If your business is relatively new to Facebook—and especially if you run a brick-and-mortar studio—you could consider a campaign to boost your Facebook following.
This type of campaign is relatively inexpensive, effective, and can be quite helpful if your current community has fewer than 1,000 members. It’s also a great tool if you have a lively and active Facebook group that you’d like to augment, or know for a fact that your Facebook page is the primary sales funnel into your business. “Like” and “follow” campaigns don’t lead to sales directly, but they do build legitimacy for your online and social media presences.
But unless you’re a brand new business or a brick-and-mortar studio, we recommend focusing on a list-building strategy instead. Using Facebook ads to generate sign-ups for your email list is a tried-and-true way to build and scale your business quickly. Here’s what you’ll absolutely need before getting going:
A robust, alluring, and 100% free opt-in gift that’s emailed out to all new subscribers
A friendly “Thanks for signing up! Here’s your freebie, and a little more info about me” delivery email written and ready to roll.
A follow-up sequence of at least three additional emails that will send automatically at specific times to remind new subscribers of your other offerings
If you’ve got all of those puzzle pieces in place, you can create incredibly effective Facebook ads that will grow your list by leaps and bounds.
How to reach the right students through Facebook ads
As we hammered home earlier, you do NOT want to blast your ads out to the entire world. Instead, like the companies that strategically target you with their ads, you want to speak directly to your Quintessential Client (QC) and folks who are predisposed to show interest in your business.
Luckily, Facebook’s demographic and psychographic tools make it a cinch to reach those exact groups, enabling you to make the most of your ad spend.Your QC profile should be extremely specific, but for ad purposes you can use slightly broader strokes. Be sure to hone in on:
Where your QC lives (you can even target down to the zip code!)
An age range of about 15 years
But don’t stop there! Drill down to include any other demographic information you think is essential to defining your QC. Facebook offers you the ability to target based on relationship status, education level, field of study, political views, and much more.
If you’re offering classes or training that’s meant for yoga teachers, hit up the “job title” category and include all jobs that include the word “yoga.” If you focus on prenatal or postnatal offerings, mine the “parents” category to target pregnant women and brand new moms. You can even leverage the “life events” demographics to reach brides-to-be who are hoping to get in shape before their wedding!
Think strategically, then select another three to five criteria in addition to the basic four listed above. Pick ones that help create a rich, full picture of your QC, or ones that make your ad campaign tailored and specific.
Having tested our own Facebook ads for more than three years, we’d strongly recommend keeping your ad audience relatively small, between 90,000 and 400,000 people. More than that, and you’re casting a mighty wide net; you may end up catching lots of people who don’t truly fit your QC profile.
How to use retargeting in your Facebook ads
Yep, time to circle back to the concept of retargeting and how it can benefit your business! Now that you’ve spent time honing in on the demographic and psychographic groups you want your ad to reach, and decided if you want them to:
Join your Facebook following (like your page or join your group)
OR subscribe to your email list (our recommendation in most cases)
You’ll need to spend some time crafting your copy and visuals, and embrace the experimentation phase. Try adding LOTS of text in the news feed description of your ad; try sending folks to different lead magnet freebies; tweak your demographics; change up your headline; and take careful note of the results.
If you’re focused on a list-building strategy, here’s your crucial next step: Once you’ve run a series of ads that sent folks to your email list sign-up page, it’s time to retarget those recent sign-ups by leveraging your Facebook Pixel.
Create new ads that send new subscribers to your blog posts, nudge them toward your paid offerings, or introduce them to your video series. They’ve already shown an interest in you and your business, so NOW is the time to encourage them to take the next step. That can mean actually buying something, or just engaging with you on a deeper level by signing up for a longer (but still free) class or webinar. By doing this, you’re making the most of your investment by reaching out again to people who are already primed to transition from followers to customers
Again, this post just scratches the surface of Facebook ad planning and strategy, but we hope it’s enough to get you started! If you’re ready to dig deeper, our Inner Circle program gets into the nitty gritty details of crafting a stellar campaign. We’d love to welcome you into our course and community!