Whether you’re a web marketing consultant for locally-based businesses, or do the marketing for your small company yourself, you need to give Facebook a serious look as a channel for quickly generating leads. When you combine Facebook’s ability to drill deeply into any locale or language with their advanced user interest and demographic targeting, you end up with a very potent platform for reaching local customers and generating leads.
To illustrate, consider the following example.
Generating Local Business Leads During Slow Periods
Renovation contractor Jordan S. of Calgary, Alberta, Canada wanted to drive more home renovation leads during typically slower, early spring months.
When times are busier, he generates leads based on referrals and job-site advertising signage. Facebook Ads however presented a unique opportunity to drive leads via his newly-optimized landing page and lead form.
First Things First: Landing Page Optimization
Before spending significant dollars on any kind of advertising, it’s always best to optimize your landing page and lead or sale conversion flow to ensure your site visitors aren’t led to sub-optimal pages that don’t convert.
Rather than landing visitors on his site’s homepage, Calgary contractor Sage Renovations requisitioned a customized landing page that fed their main goal: Getting leads to contact them for estimates.
His landing page features minimal links to other pages on their site to ensure users are properly funneled through the lead process:
Note for Consultants: You can launch the most fantastic Facebook Ad campaign conceivable and still fail miserably if your client’s landing page stinks. Even if they’re reticent, pound it into them that they need a well-designed lander or contact page to have any noticeable success advertising on Facebook, Adwords, or any other PPC platform. If they’re not willing to invest a couple hundred dollars into a single landing page to improve their chances of success, you’re going to be hard pressed to drive any value for your services. Use this requirement as a qualifier to ensure you’re spending your time on the right clients.
Next Up: Creating a Lead Campaign with Facebook Ads
The first step in setting up a Facebook Ads campaign is creating winning ads.
Here’s some key points when it comes to creating ads for Facebook:
- You need to create multiple ads to ensure you find an ad that gets the best possible click-through-rat.
- Your (110×80) image is the most important part of your ad. It’s even more important than your headline.
- Dark images work best at grabbing attention against Facebook’s (mostly) white user interface.
- Be sure to read the Facebook punctuation and image guidelines to ensure your ads are approved.
- Try using the location name you’re targeting in your ad headline and body. i.e. (“City Name” + Keyword)
To create your ads, select the green “Create an Ad” on Facebook.com/ads:
Note: When creating your ad, be particularly careful to check your Destination URL to make sure it a) works and b) lands the user on the right page.
Next, you’ll want to set up your ad targeting options:
Be VERY careful here not to just go with the default targeting options.
The Facebook ad server will give you an idea of how many users you’re reaching with the targeting options you’ve selected.
Some notes on Facebook targeting:
- The more granular the better. For instance, ad performance can vary greatly between age groups, male vs. female, geographic location, relationship status and more.
- Try creating multiple ads with the same image, headline, and body text, but vary the ages, gender, location, etc… Yes, you’ll have a lot of ads to manage, but you’ll be able drill your targeting in more deeply, and cut low-CTR demographics where interest happens to be low.
- Try using different keywords to further increase the relevance of your ad to users who have either used those keywords in their Facebook Newsfeed or profile description. This will reduce the user pool overall, but more closely honed targeting means more qualified leads and higher ad click-through-rates.
Next, you’ll need to configure your bids:
- Facebook defaults to CPC or Cost-per-Click-based bidding, which is typically the type of bid you’ll want to start with. If you’ve got a particularly strong ad click-through-rate after running for a while on CPC bids, you can switch to CPM later, reducing your ad costs.
- Trying to start with CPM (impressions-only bidding) will make it tough to get your ads into rotation early on. Most other advertisers will be using CPC bids, and once Facebook’s ad server normalizes everyone’s bids across the system, you’re likely to end up without traffic.
- You’ll also want to be careful here to ensure your budget is set at a level you’re comfortable with. If your ad is successful early on, you could see a TON of traffic from Facebook before you realize whether or not that traffic is actually converting to leads or sales. Often, it’s best to start with a smaller daily budget until you can get a grip on how the traffic is performing for you quality-wise.
Review Your Ads For Accuracy & Go!
With a few ad variations created, the ads will await Facebook’s reviewer approval.
Note: Facebook can be quite slow in approving new ads, occasionally taking a day or two to review your ads. This is normal, unfortunately you’ll just need to wait it out.
Evaluate, Tweak, Repeat…
The one thing about Facebook Ads is that its not a passive ‘set-it-and-forget-it’ system on which to advertise. Users quickly experience ad fatigue and your ads will be lucky to run longer than a week or so before you’ll need to come up with more creatives to refresh your presence and keep your place in the ad rotation. You’ll know it’s time to come up with fresh, tweaked ads when your CTR starts to drop precipitously.
Continually loading new ads is a particularly important requirement if you’re targeting a small, tight group of people: people that will likely be exposed to your ad multiple times (depending on the amount of competition) over a very short period of time. Find what’s getting clicks, tweak it, keep it fresh and you’ll be able to consistently generate leads for almost any local business.