Table of Contents

Introduction

For small businesses and online sellers, advertising can be a great way to increase brand awareness, announce a new product or service, sell more stuff, and, most importantly, generate more revenue. But while the decision to advertise is often an easy one, choosing how and where to advertise can be more difficult. Many marketers end up casting a wide net of ads out into a large sea of potential customers and hoping for the best. This method, while sometimes effective, isn’t very efficient—especially if you already have a limited ad budget.

So, what’s a small business to do? How can you make sure you’re not wasting your money by advertising to a random assortment of people who aren’t likely to convert into customers?

When you’re ready to develop an advertising plan, consider the elements you already have in place. For example, you probably have a list of contacts who have subscribed to your emails, made a purchase from your store, visited your website, or otherwise engaged with your brand. Those people, and people like them, should be your target audience. They’ve already shown an interest in your brand, and there’s a good chance that, with a little nudge, they’ll be more likely to purchase from you in the future. And that’s where Facebook can help.

Facebook is a critical marketing channel for marketers and online sellers. And with nearly 2 billion active users worldwide, it’s easy to understand why. Facebook offers marketers a unique opportunity to reach both current and potential customers quickly and affordably. No matter the size of your business or your budget, you can create a scalable Facebook ad that helps grow your business and your bottom line.

Facebook also gives you the power to put your MailChimp contact list to work for you, so you can easily promote your business to current customers or get the word out to other like-minded people with an interest in your products. And, since Facebook will show your ad only to people who are likely to make a purchase, you’ll have the peace of mind that you’re making the most out of every advertising dollar you spend.

The advantages of advertising on Facebook

Facebook ads are unique in that they target actual people. The cookie-based advertising of many other ad platforms means you’re limited to showing an ad in a specific browser on a particular device, but Facebook gives you the power to track and reach your audience no matter where they might be. For many folks, Facebook has become a part of their daily routine, and they’re logged in on multiple devices—their phone, computer, even wearables. But no matter where or how they access their Facebook account, all activity is tied to their individual profile. This means they’ll see your ad across different devices, so you can always deliver the right message at exactly the right time.

Facebook also gives you the ability to expand beyond your core audience and reach other potential customers who share similar interests. Through profile information (like demographic data and content that someone has liked or shared), activity on connected websites or apps, and information shared with Facebook by other advertisers and marketing partners, Facebook can identify people who are likely to have an interest in your ad.

This allows for more granular targeting and more effective, relevant ads. And, when you combine Facebook ads with your emails in MailChimp, you’ll create one consistent, integrated marketing campaign that can lead to higher conversion rates.

Why create Facebook ads through MailChimp?

Facebook ad campaigns in MailChimp are an easy way to promote your business, sell your products, and grow your audience. In just a few clicks, you can create beautiful ads that target current customers or help you reach new ones, all through a simplified ad buying interface that removes the guesswork without sacrificing flexibility or power.

After creating your ad, MailChimp will close the loop for you, providing easy-to-read reports that help you analyze the performance of your ad, so you can view engagement and spending over time. And, if you’ve connected your store, MailChimp will track your ad’s revenue, products sold, and customers acquired, too. Since you never have to leave MailChimp to create an ad or track performance, it’s easy to develop integrated marketing campaigns and see how each channel is contributing to your success.

Facebook ad campaigns are available to all MailChimp users without any additional markup or fees. So, no matter what type of MailChimp plan you have, you can start advertising your products or services with as little as $5 a day.

Determine your audience

Choosing the right audience and keeping your content relevant is the key to running a successful Facebook ad. If you’re selling women’s clothing, for example, don’t target men and women who are between the ages of 18-65 and live in the United States. Selecting such a broad audience typically leads to lower click-through rates, and Facebook can even cancel your ad if it has unusually low engagement or negative feedback.

The easiest way to zero in on the right audience is to use your contact list to build an audience of Facebook users who are similar to your customers and subscribers. MailChimp gives you the power to find value in all sections of your contact list, even people who have unsubscribed. Now, you can leverage your subscriber activity and e-commerce data to create powerful segments that help you show relevant ads to the right people.

People on your list

By targeting your existing MailChimp subscribers on Facebook, you can reconnect with customers who are already engaged with your business. With the help of MailChimp’s segmentation tools, you can leverage what you already know about your contacts to create relevant ads that increase conversions and improve customer retention. You might decide, for example, to target people based on their purchase history from your store or their engagement with your previous campaigns. Here are a few targeting ideas to help you get started.

Targeting ideas

If your goal is to increase conversions, consider targeting:

  • Potential customers. Create a segment of subscribers who have engaged with your email but haven’t made a purchase yet. Encourage them to visit your store by advertising free shipping on their first order or highlighting your best-selling items.

If your goal is to retain and engage your existing customers, consider targeting:

  • Recent customers. Create a segment of people who have recently purchased a specific product from your store and target them with an ad promoting similar items that they might also enjoy.
  • Repeat customers. Create a segment of customers who have placed multiple orders from your store, then show your appreciation by sharing a special discount or giving them early access to sales and limited edition items.
  • Lapsed customers. Your Facebook ad campaign can be a great re-engagement tool, too. Create a segment of customers who haven’t made a purchase in the past 6 months, and target them with an ad that showcases your latest arrivals.
  • Former subscribers and non-subscribers. In the Ad Builder, select a segment of people who have unsubscribed from your list or folks who have never subscribed at all. An ad featuring a special incentive might help convince the non-subscribers to sign up or help win back people who have unsubscribed.

It’s important to note that for each of these targeted segments, you’ll need to have at least 20 people in your audience. And, if your audience has fewer than 200 contacts, you may want to consider extending your ad’s duration to 2 weeks or more. A shorter time frame might cause the ad to be shown too frequently, which can lead to negative feedback from Facebook users.

People with similar interests

Facebook has a wealth of data about its users that can help marketers find the right audience. When you create an ad targeting people who are similar to the folks on your list, you have an opportunity to put that data to work for your business. Facebook will analyze the profiles of the contacts on your MailChimp list, then create a lookalike audience based on shared interests, behaviors, and demographics. From there, you can narrow down your audience by location, gender, age range, or interest keywords. It’s a great way to introduce yourself to new people, create awareness around your brand, and grow your list.

Here are a few suggestions to help you get started.

Targeting ideas

  • People similar to your best customers. Once you connect your store, use a segment based on the purchase activity of your customers. For example, you might choose to use a segment of customers whose total amount spent is more than $100, or a segment of customers whose total number of orders is greater than 2.
  • People similar to your most engaged subscribers. Use a segment based on the member rating of your subscribers. In this instance, to create an ad audience similar to folks who are engaged with your email, you could use a segment of subscribers who have a member rating greater than 4 stars.

People with interests you define

There are other cases, however, where you might opt to harness the power of Facebook’s data by creating an ad that targets users based on unique criteria you define. You can narrow down your ad audience by location, gender, age range, or interest keywords.

This option provides businesses of all sizes with the tools they need to build brand awareness and grow their audiences. If you’re a new marketer or a business with a small contact list, this tool can help you find potential customers. Here are a few things to consider as you narrow down your audience:

  • Where else does your ideal customer shop? You can use those other brands as interest keywords to help define your target audience.
  • Do you typically sell more stuff to women? Or, do you find that men are more likely to purchase your products? Target based on gender to increase the relevance of your ad.
  • How old is your target audience? Are most of your customers twentysomethings, or are they more likely to be grandparents? Plug in an age range to make sure you’re reaching the right people.

Invite folks to join your list, tell them about your products, or encourage them to visit your website. Then, as your audience—and your business—grows, you can use our email and ad campaign tools to nurture your relationship with your new audience.

 Set your budget

When you advertise on Facebook, your budget represents the maximum amount you’re willing to pay to show ads to people who are in your target audience. You can determine the duration of your ad and choose to spend any amount you’d like—even as little as $5—and you’ll be charged only for each person who clicks on your ad. Keep in mind, however, that the reach of your ad is directly affected by your budget; a higher budget will allow you to reach a larger audience and, ultimately, get better results.

Consider your goals

As you set the budget and duration of your ad, it’s important to keep your goals for the campaign in mind. Customer acquisition and retention are both essential to the growth and success of your business, but they don’t always have the same effect on your ad budget—or make an immediate impact on your bottom line.

Reaching and converting potential customers is often more costly than simply connecting with the customers you already have. Existing customers are already engaged with your business, so targeting them with your Facebook campaign may actually keep your ad costs down.

But your ad’s return on investment (ROI) isn’t just about immediate sales—it’s also about the value of acquiring new customers and retaining current ones. So be strategic and develop campaigns that make sense for your business. If, for example, you operate an established company with a large customer base, a Facebook ad campaign aimed at customer retention may offer more value. But if you’re still trying to grow your audience or increase awareness of your brand, a Facebook ad campaign focused on acquisition, while a bit more costly, may prove more valuable in the long run.

Write effective ad copy

Creating an effective Facebook ad is a lot like creating an effective marketing email. Before getting started, you’ll need to determine the purpose of the ad, the message you’d like to convey, and who you want the audience to be. And, just like with email, there are best practices to consider as you’re developing your message.

  • Write with your audience in mind. Your copy should be specific and relevant to the people who will be reading it. For example, an ad promoting a new product to existing customers would probably look quite different from an ad that’s intended to encourage a brand-new audience to sign up for your mailing list.
  • Include a call to action. A call to action (CTA) button provides clear guidance to the audience and helps drive traffic and sales—especially for people scrolling through their Facebook News Feed on mobile devices. Our early data shows that ads that include a call to action have a 29-percent higher click-through rate than ads without them.
  • Convey your message clearly and concisely. Space within a Facebook ad is limited, and attention spans can be pretty short, so you might have only a few seconds for your ad to resonate with someone. Be sure the intent of your ad is easily recognizable; keep your message brief and your call to action direct.
  • Stay on brand. The messaging in your Facebook ad, just like your marketing emails, should align with the other elements of your brand. Write in a voice and tone that’s consistent with your brand and familiar to your audience.
  • Your ad copy and your CTA should match your landing page. When someone clicks your ad, the page they’re directed to should be relevant and instantly recognizable as yours. If you’re promoting a specific product, for example, your ad should direct customers to the product page in your store instead of your homepage.

Choose the right image

When you create a Facebook ad campaign in MailChimp, you’ll have the option to create a carousel or single-image ad. While both options can be effective, Facebook reports that carousel ads can drive a 30-50 percent lower cost per conversion and 20-30 percent lower cost per click than single-image ads. Each option does, however, have a slightly different use case.

  • Use carousel ads when you want to tell a story or showcase multiple items from a collection. If you’d rather call attention to or drive sales of a specific product, a single-image ad is the best option.
  • Use compelling images that reflect your message—and your brand. Your images should complement the text elements of your ad and be consistent with the imagery from your other channels. Select images that help people see your business—the people, the environment, and the benefits of the products themselves.
  • Keep the context of the News Feed in mind. A highly stylized image that feels right at home in a glossy magazine might not fit as well among the slice-of-life posts and puppy photos in the News Feed.
  • Use high-resolution images. A beautiful, high-quality image—taken from your phone, for example—will grab the attention of your audience as they scroll through their Facebook feeds. For single-image ads, images with dimensions close to 1200×628 will work best. If you’re creating carousel ads, use square images that are 1080×1080.
  • Keep text to a minimum. Facebook ads that contain images with little-to-no text tend to cost less and perform better than ads that have text within the images.

Real-world examples

The 3 Facebook ads pictured below have a lot in common. They each promote the same product—temporary tattoos—with a free shipping promo. But there are some key differences when it comes to content and audience targeting. Let’s take a closer look.

OK

Audience: Men and Women, Ages 18-55, Lives in the United States
Estimated Reach: 3 million people

This ad targets an overly broad audience with a general message, and doesn’t give a clear explanation of the product. The image is a little fuzzy, and it doesn’t show people using the product, which can result in lower engagement. Although the ad’s content fits Facebook’s ad terms of use, it might not be relevant for the audience, which can result in cancellation.

Better

Audience: Women, Ages 18-34, Lives in the United States
Estimated Reach: 500,000 people

The ad targets a more defined audience, and the image has been improved to show the product in action, highlighting its “coolness” factor. The message is also more descriptive and relevant. However, the ad still lacks direction in its description, or a clear call to action. It probably won’t get much negative feedback, but the ad isn’t as successful as it could be.

Great

Audience: People Similar to ‘All Contacts.’ Refine audience to: Women, Ages 18-34, Lives in the United States, Interested in Fashion, Coding, and Computers.
Estimated Reach: 30,000 people

This audience is well-defined by targeting a lookalike audience that’s similar to the customers and subscribers on the company’s MailChimp list. It’s further refined to young women who are interested in fashion, coding, and computers. The ad’s description also contains more details about the product, including a call to action button that shows users where to go. There’s a high likelihood that this ad will perform well on Facebook.

Prevent Facebook ad rejections

MailChimp makes creating a Facebook ad a quick, painless process, but you’ll still need to adhere to Facebook’s policies, requirements, and restrictions in order for your ad to be approved. If your ad is rejected by Facebook, MailChimp can’t override the decision, so it’s important to make sure your ad covers all the necessary bases before you submit.

Before any ad is published, Facebook reviews it to make sure it meets their advertising standards. During the review process, they’ll check your ad’s images, text, targeting, positioning, and even the content on the page you’ve linked to. In addition to Facebook’s content-related restrictions, there are a number of requirements more closely connected to your ad’s design.

  • Minimize the amount of text within your images. Facebook will reject your ad if 20 percent or more of the pixels in your image are dedicated to text. This includes logos, slogans, and images with text overlay. To check your text-to-image ratio before uploading to MailChimp, use Facebook’s grid tool.
  • Keep your ad relevant. All components of your ad (text, images, and linked landing pages) must be relevant to the product or service being advertised and the audience viewing the ad. Be sure to clearly represent your brand and the thing you’re promoting.
  • Avoid using all caps and a lot of exclamation points. Facebook may reject your ad if it contains all capital letters, too many exclamation points, or any spammy language.

For more information about the Facebook review process, visit our Knowledge Base.

Understand your ROI

When you connect your store to MailChimp, we’ll be able to provide you with ROI for both your email and your Facebook ads. You can explore your reports and track sales from your ads or email at any time, and after the ad is finished running, you can view ROI data so you’ll always know which elements of your marketing are resonating with your audience.

Learn from your reports

Your Facebook ad campaign generates thorough reports that can help you determine what works and what doesn’t, so you can use that data to inform—and improve—future ad campaigns. MailChimp’s ROI reports make it easy to measure the performance of your ad in terms of revenue, products sold, and new customers, so you can quickly identify what your audience likes and use what you learn to optimize growth across all of your channels. Remember, your ad’s ROI isn’t just about generating immediate sales—it’s also about the value of customer acquisition and retention.

  • If the performance of your ad isn’t quite where you’d like it to be, consider trying new images, messages, or calls to action to see how your audience responds. Or, run multiple ads, testing different headlines, creative elements, or even different target audiences to see which combination results in the most conversions.
  • You can use your MailChimp emails to inform your Facebook ads. A/B testing different subject lines in your email can help you improve the headlines that you use for your Facebook ad campaign.
  • The performance of your ad can help you learn more about the buying behavior of customers, too. If a certain type of item performs particularly well in ads on Facebook, you may consider using product content blocks to advertise similar items in your emails, as well.

More resources

MailChimp has an extensive Knowledge Base with a number of articles that can help as you’re getting started with Facebook ad campaigns.

Or, browse Facebook’s resource material to learn more about the options they offer and tips to help you get started with advertising on the platform.