Instagram and Facebook ads have the ability to truly transform your business. When done well, they can provide a steady funnel of new, qualified customers directly to your website. More importantly, directly to your email list. These days, it’s tough to grow your customer list via social media based on organic posts alone. Instagram and Facebook ads allow you to buy this engagement. I refer to social ads as the traffic driver that adds fuel to your organic fire. In fact, social ads allow you to target your exact ideal customer based on their location, interests, age, and more.

However, social media ads are not a magic bullet. Your ads will only work if you set them up properly, are consistent, and continue to make tweaks as needed. Instagram and Facebook ads take testing and fine tuning until you get them working smoothly. And they require you to allocate a dedicated budget.

Let’s break down the five key components you need in place before you even think about creating social media ads.   

Know the Goal(s) of Your Instagram and Facebook Ads

First, it’s essential to get crystal clear on what your goal is. While this seems obvious, the mistake a lot of people make is trying to send people directly from their ad to buy their product or service. This is a no-no! Especially as a new or lesser-known business, it’s imperative to build trust with your audience before trying to sell them something. If they’ve never heard of you before and aren’t sure if your product is really worth it, they’re unlikely to see a Instagram and Facebook ad once and click to buy.

There are specific stages of a customer’s journey. First is the awareness stage. Then, the consideration phase. Third, the conversion stage and lastly, the retention stage. Most people are tempted to skip the awareness phase and go for the conversion (the sale), but in order for someone to buy from you, they have to know, like and trust you first. 

So, if you’re not going for the sale, you’re probably wondering what the heck is the goal of your ad. I suggest using your social media ads first to build community, relationships and your email list. By sending your prospective customers from social media to a place for them to subscribe to your emails, you’re much more likely to convert them down the line rather than risk them not buying whatever your ad was selling. With so much competition on social media, you need to be willing to offer people value prior to throwing up a Facebook ad and expecting them to convert into a sale.

The best way to get someone on your email list and offer them value simultaneously? By using a lead magnet! A lead magnet is a free offer in exchange for your email that is so good, your audience would pay for it. It can be anything from an eBook, a helpful checklist or workbook, a video series or a mini planner. As long as the lead magnet addresses your ideal customer’s pain point, you’re golden.

Now that we’re clear the goal of the ad is to grow your email list, and we’ve discussed your lead magnet, let’s talk through how exactly your ad will work when someone lands on it.    

From A to B to C

As I mentioned, your ads should be sending someone to subscribe to your email list, via a valuable lead magnet. Your lead magnet should live on a landing page that’s made specifically for the Facebook or Instagram ad. Remember, you’re sinking money into these ads, so you want to give them the best possible chance at succeeding! By creating a custom landing page, you ensure that your ad copy and your landing page will be cohesive and flow well from platform to platform. 

Once you get someone to the landing page, you’ll go into further detail about how helpful the lead magnet is, why someone needs it, and how it can help them. After the person enters their email address into the subscribe box, they should be taken to a ‘thank you’ page. Your next order of business is to decide what you want the purpose of that ‘thank you’ page to be.

  • Do you want to direct them to a specific blog post, while they wait for your freebie in their inbox?
  • Do you want to attempt to sell them an inexpensive product in your product ladder for a limited time only?
  • Would you like to make them aware of an upcoming free webinar you’re hosting?

You know your ideal client best, so determine which route you want to take and make it happen from that landing page. Think of your Facebook or Instagram ad as the first step in your customer’s journey with you.

Now that we’ve outlined some of the essential pages you need to knock your ads out of the park, I’d start thinking about whether or not you have capacity on your team for someone to create the landing page, thank you page and any other pages required for your ad. If not, it’s time to do some research on who can execute this for you.

Are We Talking Business Or Personal?

Let’s get into some of the nitty gritty details now. As you start playing around with the Facebook ads manager platform, you’ll notice it’s possible to run ads from either your personal account or your business account. It’s important you run them from a business manager account! 

The business account gives you access to the Facebook ad pixel, which allows you to gather tons of important data. For example, the pixel allows you to track data back and forth between your ad and your landing page on your site. It also allows you to retarget your customers with your ad! Facebook and Instagram do not mess around with their retargeting, in fact, you can retarget people who have recently visited your website, started following you on Instagram, who you’ve sent messages with back and forth in your DMs, and more.

The bottom-line? You need the ad pixel, so be sure to only create and launch ads from a business page. 

Invest In Your Branding

As a small business owner, or a new entrepreneur, it can be tempting to cut costs whenever possible. I get it, trust me. But taking the extra step to use only unique images in your Facebook and Instagram ads is so, so important. These ads are a representation of your company, and for a lot of people, it could be the very first time they’re meeting your company online! All the more reason to avoid stock images and only use original pics.

If your budget is tight, consider some of the following tips when it comes to using only new images for your social media ads:

  • See if there is a way you can swap a photographer in your area for your products or services in exchange for a mini photo shoot.
  • Is there a college nearby that offers photography classes? Call them and see if any students would be willing to shoot you for a low cost.
  • Sharpen up your own photography skills and use your iPhone to capture some good shots.

Don’t skip on using original images for your ads, it’s not worth it! Just think, wouldn’t it be super weird to come across the same stock photography image you used in your ads, being used by your competitor? *Awkward*

Be Realistic on Your Outlook

Lastly, before you start running ads, be sure you’re being totally realistic with your expectations. Instagram and Facebook ads aren’t like Cinderella’s Godmother…this wish ain’t happening overnight. Even when they’re done strategically, you’re always testing and learning from running ads. Trust the process, dive into your analytics and know that the more you test and try new things to pull your ideal customer in, the faster you’ll get an ad going that is effective.

If you want more help on growing an organic social media following, setting-up and running successful Instagram and Facebook ads, and/or building your email list, then my program, Become a Marketing Pro was created for you! 

What’s the biggest struggle you’ve had with running Instagram and Facebook ads? Is it just starting? Setting up your pixel? Let me know below so I can help you out!

Rachael Seda

Rachael Seda is co-founder of Mix+Shine Marketing, the Become a Marketing Pro Online Program, and the Co-Host of The Corporate Dropout podcast. She has created award-winning and effective marketing and social media strategies for her clients including Sentara Healthcare, The American Physical Therapy Association, Uncle Harry’s Ice Cream Cakes, Roc Solid Foundation and more. Rachael is a trained Google Design Sprint facilitator, and leverages this signature process to help consumer packaged goods clients take their branding and strategy from zero to done in just 5 days. In her spare time, Rachael enjoys living by the beach, running, chasing her two little ones, and traveling with her husband (if she’s being honest, preferably without the kids). Join her FREE 5 day challenge to identify and attract your ideal client.

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