As of April 2017, 65 million businesses had a Facebook page.
And yet only about 5 million businesses were advertising on Facebook—less than 8%.
Why the massive gap?
A few factors come to mind.
Some businesses just don’t have (or don’t think they have) the budget for social media advertising.
Some of them are in a perpetual time crunch, and getting started with Facebook Ads is pretty far down on their priority list. (Earlier this year, Drip discovered that half of small businesses do all their marketing in under 2 hours a week.)
But many businesses would be happy to invest a bit of time and money in Facebook advertising… if it didn’t seem so complicated.
That said, complicated doesn’t mean impossible. Even a total newbie can get their first Facebook ad out pretty quickly. And I’ve watched even very small businesses find great success within a few months of setting up their first campaign.
It’s really not the technology that’s so tricky. It’s all the decisions.
I mean, you start off with a choice of 10 different basic types of advertising goals—and that’s just the first question you’ll have to ask yourself.
You’ll also need to consider:
- Where do you want the traffic to end up?
- What kind of image will work best?
- What kind of headline should you use?
- Where do you want your ads to appear?
- How much do you want to spend?
- Who should you target?
… just for starters.
Recently, our own seasoned Facebook marketer Bob “The Teacher” Jenkins teamed up with Michael Koral of social advertising tool needls. to present a one-time-only webinar. It’s all about conquering decision fatigue and getting started with Facebook Ads as quickly as possible. They call it “ARM Advertising: How to Turn More Ad Campaigns into Revenue with Uncannily Well-Timed Advertising and Higher Converting Landing Pages.”
If you missed it, you’re still in luck—check out the details and get access to the replay below:
In this post, I want to share a few key takeaways from Bob and Michael’s presentation to help you make quicker decisions and build more effective Facebook ad landing pages. You’ll want to watch the training to get all the most helpful details and see real-time demos of the process they recommend.
But you can start making Facebook advertising simpler right here. When you break it down, the great big task of running a killer Facebook campaign has just three (very manageable) parts.
1. Build the Right Ad(s)
Every effective ad campaign starts with a good offer, and I’m going to assume you have that settled. (But if not, Bob has some sound advice about offers that work on Facebook in the training I mentioned above.) Once you know what you’re offering, remember these principles to start your campaign off on the right foot.
1. Think ads, not ad. Rather than try to build one flawless ad to perfectly represent your offer, try a few. You’ll learn a lot by seeing which of several options converts best with your audience. Needls., an ad-management platform that calls itself a “RoboAgency,” will even take the extra step of combining your headlines and images in different ways to produce tons of ad variations to test.
2. Think beyond stock photos. You want to make your ad difficult to scroll past. And while stock photos might seem like your best bet for a pro look on a budget, they’re generally pretty easy to ignore.
“Basic ad here, nothing to see, move along,” a standard-issue stock image proclaims—drowning out the message you were hoping to send.
So should you go out and hire a designer?
Nah. You have other, simpler options. Try one of these approaches:
- Use a real photo of you (or your business) at work. “Keep your images real and natural and see the difference it will make to your conversion rate,” Michael Koral recommended in a guest post for Leadpages last year. “So if you’re a real estate agent, use a picture of you in front of a ‘Sold’ sign. If you’re a wedding planner, use a picture of you in conversation with a bride-to-be.”
Remember, people share real-life photos on Facebook all the time. Using one may win your ad a second look.
- Use a text overlay. At Leadpages, we’ve discovered that stock photos overlaid with a bit of text get more social engagement than the same stock photos unmodified. Your text can’t cover more than 20% of your ad image to meet Facebook’s guidelines, but a brief snippet of attractive text can add to your offer.
- Modify your stock photo to make it your own. With simple tools like Snappa or Canva, anyone can add a dash of extra design when a stock image really is the best option. I happened to recognize the image Vimeo uses below as a stock photo—but check out how they’ve customized it to suit their business by adding a video viewfinder on top.
3. Think about message match. You want to create a frictionless path from Facebook to your landing page—and hopefully, all the way through to your checkout page. So when you’re writing your ad headline, be certain to use the same language you’ll use on your landing page.
It doesn’t have to be word for word. But if your ad offers a “free ebook,” don’t start calling it a “cheat sheet” on your landing page. If you’re using a photo of your product, make sure it’s a photo that also appears on the page you’re linking to your ad.
When someone clicks through from your ad, they’re saying that your ad caught their eye. If the landing page casts your offer in a different light, there’s a chance they’ll find that view less appealing and bounce. So take a little time to make sure you’re using the same core elements on your ad and your landing page.
Speaking of landing pages…
2. Build the Right Landing Page
The landing page is the second step in your Facebook ad visitor’s journey, but of course you’ll want to build it before you turn on your ads.
However, you shouldn’t build it before you think about your ads.
“What most people do not realize is that creating a landing page without having a full understanding of who specifically is going to see it and what medium traffic is going to be driven by is a recipe for disaster,” says Michael Koral.
Instead of selecting a page you already have on your website, carve out 15 minutes to build a landing page designed just for your Facebook ads. (It really shouldn’t take much longer if you’re starting with a good template and a page builder like Leadpages.)
As you’re creating your landing page, pay extra attention to the following three components—they’re especially important for Facebook ad landing pages.
1. A Headline That Reflects Your Audience
“Your headline won’t make people think, ‘I must buy your product!’” says Bob Jenkins.
No, the goal of a headline isn’t to get people to pull out their credit card. It’s to get them to self-identify as part of your target audience.
A good headline is like a magic mirror that only works for your target audience. They see themselves in it immediately.
How do you do construct a headline like that? A time-honored technique is to start with a problem your offer can solve.
This landing page headline from Plenty Vegan is a perfect “mirror” for its audience of people who would like to eat vegan but are having trouble sticking with it:
Once you’ve made visitors think, “Oh, yeah, this applies to me,” your headline has done its job. They’re going to keep reading to discover whether your offer is a good solution for the audience you’ve invited them into.
2. Just Enough Context for Action
Now it’s time to give your visitors the info they need to feel confident opting in. They need to know who’s making the offer, how exactly it will meet their needs, and the basics on what’s included.
These sections from a Facebook ad landing page by photographer and educator Justin Katz do an excellent job building a compelling context for the course Justin is offering:
Not only does this content supply context—it supplies proof. To make your landing page extra powerful for fresh Facebook audiences, try proof types such as:
- Testimonials from past customers (or even industry colleagues or mentors if your business is brand new)
- Customer reviews or social media posts
- A quick case study (if you’ve got a service-based business)
- A statistic or concrete result you or a client has achieved with your solution
Once your page visitors are ready to act, don’t forget to follow through with a vivid, high-contrast button that links to your opt-in form or checkout screen.
3. Trust Elements
When you’re building a landing page for any paid platform, you need to win the trust of two audiences: your potential customers, yes, but also the platform itself.
You’ll want to review Facebook’s ad policies to make sure your offer and ad check all the boxes. Beyond that, you’ll generally be on solid ground if you include the following trust elements in any landing page for paid traffic:
- Your business name and logo
- Your contact info (a phone number or address is fine—and it doesn’t have to be prominent)
- A link to a privacy or legal policy to indicate how you’ll handle any information submitted
- Internal navigation and/or a link to your homepage
- A link to a privacy or legal policy to indicate how you’ll handle any information submitted
What not to include: autoplaying video and any elements that aren’t optimized for mobile viewing. If you use Leadpages, you don’t need to worry about the second one—every page is mobile responsive by default, though you can also create a custom view just for mobile if you expect to get a lot of mobile traffic.
3. Display Your Ad at the Right Moment
Facebook’s demographic targeting options are astounding in their reach and precision.
For some small businesses, they can also be misleading.
Say you run a catering company.
It doesn’t really matter what your target audience’s age, gender, hobbies, or favorite TV shows are. What matters is that they live in your service area and have a party to plan.
You don’t need demographics as much as you need buying signals.
Those can be a little more difficult to tune into—which is why Michael Koral set out to build needls. “For the last couple of years, we’ve been listening to every public conversation on social media to identify purchase intent and buying signals within the actual posts themselves,” he says. The platform currently can manage ads on Facebook and Instagram, but it listens in on other social channels, too.
So if you’re a caterer, needls. can help you find people in your area who are posting things like:
“Can’t believe my baby graduates college in just one month!”
“We got engaged!!!”
“Making my 4th of July party playlist before I’ve figured out the food. #importantthingsfirst”
Needls. is designed to serve businesses that are too small to justify paying an agency to run their social campaigns, but too busy to take a fully DIY approach. With their “RoboAgency” model, businesses choose the kinds of buying signals they want to target, upload a few headline and image choices, and let the platform launch and optimize their ads.
Update: Leadpages just launched its latest feature Integrated Facebook Ads.
To start digging in and making highly targeted ads in as few as four clicks with our simplified builder, head to your account or sign up for a free 14-day trial of any plan level today.
Facebook advertising takes time to perfect. But when you start with the three major elements in this post—the right ad, the right landing page, and the behavioral signals that mean someone should see that ad and landing page—you’ll be in excellent shape to start optimizing.