You hear about sealcoating companies, and other asphalt companies, using Facebook ads for generating leads. You see people posting about their results online. You wonder…what the heck are they talking about and how do I even make a Facebook ad? While this topic can be very simple to cover, it can also be complicated and intimidating if you have never tried it. Honestly, it is like anything else in our industry when it comes to seeing results, you get out what effort you put into it.
This article is designed to get you going from ground zero and is literally the tip of the iceberg. At our company, we don’t even go as full scale as I have seen some companies go. So, let’s go over how people use Facebook, what is needed to start, the cost of ads, goals, how to find an audience, and what type of ads to place.
First off, Facebook shows the user what is relevant to them by what they have looked at, “liked,” or interacted with before -- and nobody wants to be hard sold on Facebook. They will keep on scrolling if they are. Honestly, it doesn’t matter how much money you spend. The ad must be good, and in some way, it must create value.
Facebook wants people to spend more time on Facebook, so they push the ads that keep people there and engaged. There is limited space for ads to be displayed on the user’s wall, so Facebook filters the ones that people stay on and engage with most. Facebook uses a relevancy score to put ads that are relevant to the user in front of them. That’s where the attention is, and that is where we want to be.
As for you, you only need a Facebook Business page to start, and you can even ask Google, ”how-to,” if you like. There are plenty of videos and guides to help with that. The cost of a placed ad is whatever you desire to spend. Even just $5 if you wish. You can go to your page or use Facebook Ads Manager (now Facebook Business Suite), which I prefer, to place an ad. When you get ready to place an ad, think about what kind of people need your service, then use wording that will resonate with them.
Don’t set your expectations real high to start. It takes some practice to learn how to target well. A good tip is to look up “choosing the right advertising objective.” When it comes to making an ad, Facebook will help you through it. They want you to spend money using their service, after all.
Setting Facebook Ad Goals
Let’s go over some of what your goals should be when running a Facebook ad. First, to create brand awareness and generate reach. Second, create traffic to your site, engagement with your business, video views and leads. Third, converting viewers into customers and getting calls, emails, and messages. And finally, sales!
Your goals may be different from what I outlined, but while reading this article you should at least be thinking about your goals while placing your ads.
Another tip: To create the view of just how diverse and experienced your business is, try doing 10 ads about 10 separate things you offer, not one ad about 10 things you offer. This tactic will also spread your timeline coverage out to help create brand and reach.
Remember, for your ads to work to their full potential, you must target your audience correctly. Let’s look at that.
Targeting Your Facebook Audience
There are a few ways you can target your ideal audience. Think about what the person you would want to buy your particular service would look like. Not only physically, but financially and personality-wise. To target those people, you can use tools in the ad creator such as demographics, interests, and behaviors. You can even create custom audiences to be used in the future.
When it comes to interests, Facebook knows the users’ interests because of data markers they have in place. They know where we eat out, what cars we like, our political alignment, favorite color, income status, job description, events we attend and even our pet preference. Kind of creepy, I know, but useful when placing an ad, so let’s just overlook that for now…for business purposes.
For example, let us say I want to get the attention of property managers in Madison, WI, with my video ad, which has good content. These property managers also are interested in landscaping. I can choose to drop a pin on the west side of Madison with a 5-mile radius, targeting people from 35-60 years of age, male and female, who’s demographics include property manager, landscaping, home improvement and saving money…seriously. Then you can decide how many dollars you want to throw at that ad to create frequency upticks and for how long the ad will run. You can then save that audience for future use.
What Kinds of Ads to Use?
So, what “type” of ads should we create? Let’s look at our goals again.
A Reach ad should contain “helpful” content and create awareness for your company. It should also contain a “call-to-action” button, such as “Call Now,” “Message,” or “Learn More.”
A Conversion/Lead Generation ad comes next, and the content is meant to say “hey, we know you know we are here and that we want you to feel free to reach out to us.” This ad should be an affirming ad that lets the viewer know that you are here to stay, care about what you do, and that you aren’t going anywhere. It should also let the viewer know that you have a large amount of value to bring to the table.
You can run an Engagement ad, which could consist of a promotional or even a “One-Time” offer for new customers. They can simply click the button to claim that offer.
Lastly, how about creating an Event? Could be an open house, block party, grand opening, or customer appreciation. Just something to let the community or potential customers know that they can come at a certain time to a certain place and get to know your company a little better.
You can also simply “boost” an ad (usually available right after you make a general post on your business page) by clicking a “boost” button that is almost sure to pop up. This is a great first step and introduction to placing Facebook ads because of its ease of use.
There are more options for more customers, with more demographics and themes, but that should give you a general idea of the possibilities and directions you can take.
What Do Facebook Ads Cost?
The cost when placing these ads varies depending on the objectives. Obviously, if you want to run a low-key call to action ad all summer, versus a one time simple “Call Now” ad, the prices are going to be very different. You have to remember, the larger area you encompass with your ad, the more people you include; the more people you include -- without increasing your budget -- means it is being seen far less often or even not seen at all by some people. Hyper-location of your ads may be your best bet on a small budget, if you are targeting a certain area.
Just a little side note. You can post to Instagram from Facebook, if you believe it will give you value, at the same time. Instagram for services like ours isn’t huge where we live, so I allocate the budget to Facebook.
Facebook Audience Insights
So how will you know if the ads are working? Well, besides the calls and messages, Facebook offers Audience Insights to let you see who is interacting. The great thing about Audience Insights is that it gives you a snapshot of who is viewing your ads and you can then define your next audience by those parameters, if you desire. You can then save that new audience, and then type a word into the Ads Manager (now Facebook Business Suite) to give you insights profiles.
With these points, you can get started using what I and many others view as the best and most value-driven marketing dollars you can spend. With these tools a small business can create a “touch” that big businesses can’t, and that touch can move your business to the next level.
Marvin Joles III is owner of Wis-Coat Asphalt Maintenance, Lone Rock, WI, and host of The Blacktop Banter Podcast. You can reach him at www.wis-coat.com and, of course, via Facebook.