That a plan is necessary to get results
That we can learn a lot from the people who know us already
That marketing is an investment and not an expense
That testing is the best way to determine what works and what doesn't.
That we must be patient
That there will be days of frustration
But if we remain focused, we'll get the results we want.
I get it. You've boosted a few posts on Facebook and didn't get the results you wanted. Hey, it happens, you're not alone. In a world of instant gratification, it's only natural to want results immediately and not to want to spend a lot of money to get those results. With that in mind, I'd like for you to take a step back and think about this… “quality isn't added after the fact, it's designed into the process.” Professor Scott stated those words years ago, during a lecture in one of my undergraduate Process Improvement courses, and they serve as the basis of my marketing strategies today. When crafting your Facebook ads strategy, keep these six rules in mind:
1. Don't wait until the last minute.
Too many entrepreneurs force themselves into a position where they need to make sales immediately. This gives you no breathing space to test and serves only to increase your stress levels. The truth is that you’re going to make mistakes when you first start advertising. In fact, most Facebook ads will probably fail at first. The reason most ads fail at first is that we’re often looking for instant results, which may cause you to turn your ad off before Facebook has had the chance to optimize them. Another reason may be lack of testing. Did you test enough ad copy or image variations? You think that you know what will resonate with your audience, so you publish an ad, but then nothing happens. For ads to succeed, you may need to test multiple campaigns with different text, images, and call to actions.
2. Start with the people that know you.
Take the pressure off yourself by running ad campaigns to warm audiences. These audiences consist of your current customers and email list. Test multiple ads to see which ones resonate with them the best. Once you understand the ad copy and graphics/videos that best appeal to your existing audience, you’ll be in a better position to create ads that resonate with your cold target audience.
3. Invest in marketing.
As mentioned before, small business owners tend to find themselves in a fight or flight position when it comes to advertising. Rather than designing a marketing strategy that creates a continuous flow of traffic, we'll often wait until that last moment. That moment when we need sales. Ironically, this is usually the time when we are also watching cash flow and aren’t willing to put money into our marketing campaigns. See the irony there? Marketing should be a continuous function of business, a budgeted aspect that is part of your everyday strategy.
4. Testing is a given.
Most entrepreneurs will run a single ad campaign and call it a day, whereas professional marketers are running multiple ad campaigns to identify the winning campaigns towards a specific audience. Don’t be afraid to test multiple ads to the same audience. For example, you can run any number of campaigns, I like to start with a minimum of three, but have been known to test up to 20 different ads, to the same audience. After 24 hours, I’ll go in and see which ads are performing better. Ads that aren’t performing as expected are turned off, and the others left to run another day. This process continues until only one or two winning ads are running.
5. Stay the course
We're all susceptible to “Squirrels”, or Shiny object syndrome. In times of need, we'll try just about anything to generate business. You may be trying one type of marketing method, and then another presents itself, and we're tempted to switch. This is a mistake when it comes to Facebook advertising. The reason is that when you change strategies before thoroughly refining the original plan, you'll never get the results you are seeking. You must stay the course and commit to seeing it through. Otherwise, you’ll experience an increase in frustration, a loss of traction, money and time.
6. Expect moments of frustration.
Understand that some days may be frustrating. Yes, things change. Algorithms change. People change. And you have no control over any of the changes. You may even want to swear at your computer, or at your Digital Marketer, and want to give up because things aren’t happening fast enough. Stop. Breathe. Accept it; Don’t give up. Just like anything in life, results take time. By accepting that there will be times of frustration, it’s much easier to run ad campaigns and make adjustments as you are refining your ads and perfecting your strategy. Entrepreneurs tend to fall into one of two categories, short-haul and long-haul. If you’re in business for the short haul and the quick win, you'll fall fast. You’re going to run into a lot of frustrating days, and you’ll probably despise Facebook advertising and digital marketing in general. However, if you’re in business for the long haul, you understand that business is the ultimate brainteaser. And like with any mental challenge, you need to remain focused. Remaining focused is the only way to produce a winning formula that generates the results you’re looking to achieve.
Notes: Article inspired after listening to a presentation by Ben Angel.