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Some advice is disposable: slips pulled from fortune cookies, the wisdom of Magic 8 Balls, unsolicited dating tips.
But then there’s the wall-worthy advice — stuff so good you clip it out of magazines, scrawl it on Post-It notes, or print it at work.
We recently spoke with the experts on MailChimp’s Facebook Ad Campaigns, and it yielded some seriously wall-worthy advice.
- Lindsay Pugh, Digital Marketing Analyst, Something Digital
- Erin Crews, Content Strategist, MailChimp
- Jocelyn Hardy, Marketing Associate, MailChimp
Together, Lindsay, Erin, and Jocelyn provided some invaluable tips for getting the most out of your next Facebook Ad Campaign — so get out your Sharpie.
Before the campaign
Check yourself before you — well, you know.
Before you dive into a new campaign, it helps to know where you stand. The ratio of engagements — the likes, shares, and comments a post receives — to your total number of page likes can give you a good sense of how you’re currently connecting to people.
“If you’re not getting good engagement yet, you can help lay groundwork for an ad campaign by shoring that up first,” Pugh says. If your client is starting from zero, it will take time to get up to speed. You can expect better results from an ad campaign with continued engagement.
Clarify your goals.
It’s an obvious question, but you’ve got to have a clear answer: What’s your intended result?
“There are so many ways you can use Facebook Ad Campaigns,” Crews says. “Your approach is going to change depending on what you want to achieve. Are you growing your mailing list? Do you want to promote a product? Or are you just introducing your business to the world?”
It also helps to know who you’re selling to. “Start by looking at the audience you’re interested in,” Hardy says. “What’s going to be their entry point? Is this a first-time buyer? That affects not just what you’re saying, but what you’re promoting in the ad.”
Having a clear goal for a specific audience will make your ads much more effective.
Creating a killer ad
Stay on brand.
Don’t think of Facebook as some strange land where you need to speak a new language to connect with customers. Use the same brand voice that you use in other marketing channels. Otherwise, you’ll risk alienating your audience and losing customers.
“You don’t want to create a mismatch between your brand and how you present it on Facebook,” Pugh says. “If you’re using different voices, it’s going to alienate and disorient people. It feels disingenuous when there’s a lack of consistency, and that can lead to a breakdown of trust.”
In other words: allow your client to be themselves.
Use email as a trial balloon.
Email can be a great place to test Facebook campaign ideas so you come out of the gate with a stronger ad.
“The A/B and multivariate testing available in email can help you test what works on an audience who already likes your product,” Crews said. “Testing copy on your mailing list doesn’t just improve your email, it can be a way to sharpen your Facebook ads before you’ve spent a dime.”
People want to see people.
Unsure what kind of photo to feature in your ad? Crews and Hardy can help. As members of MailChimp’s Marketing Education team, they’ve seen the data on what works — and one thing they’ve learned is that people like to see pictures of other people.
“Lifestyle images featuring the product tend to do better than photos that only show the product itself,” Crews says. “It’s good to have a person in your image — which makes sense, given how people use Facebook to view and post pictures of friends and family.”
Call to specific action.
It’s not enough to invite people to do something — it’s what you invite them to do that makes the difference.
“The early data we’ve collected shows some performance differences based on wording. ‘Learn More’ is the least effective call to action,” Crews says. “But ‘Shop Now’ works well. Be specific and direct when you can.”
Be strategic about using incentives.
Another good way to motivate people to click? Offer them something nice.
“When you incentivize people, it typically leads to better results,” Hardy says. “And you can be strategic about your incentives. We had a client that offered free shipping for purchases over $40 while advertising a $25 product. So their customers were incentivized to visit the website and do some additional shopping to qualify for the free shipping. It was a great way to bring people in and show off a larger product line than what was featured first in the ad.”
Jocelyn and Erin at MailChimp in Atlanta, Georgia, USA
Who (and how) to target
Find similar customers.
One of the things that makes MailChimp’s Facebook Ad Campaigns feature so powerful is how it allows you to leverage your existing email list to find similar people on Facebook.
“The data in your mailing list is valuable,” Hardy says. “It tells you a lot about your most loyal customers and the people interested in your brand. The Facebook feature can then use that to identify lookalike audiences and introduce them to your product. It’s a smarter way of targeting new customers than just using vague demographics.”
There are potential customers out there who have a ton in common with the people who already love you. They just haven’t heard of you yet.
Meet people where they are.
Every customer (and potential customer) is on a unique journey with your company and products. Use the tools within MailChimp to segment your campaign based on where each customer is on her particular journey.
“When you’re segmenting your list, keep in mind where customers and potential customers are in their life cycle,” Crews says. “Is this someone you’re engaging for the first time? Or has this person purchased from you before? The more you can tailor your content based on how your audience has interacted with your business, the more successful your ad will be.”
"When you incentivize people, it typically leads to better results. And you can be strategic about your incentives."
After the campaign
Know the value of your customers.
It can take a little bit of investment up front to see the payoff from new customers down the line. Knowing at the outset how much a new customer is worth can help you measure whether your campaign is effective enough.
“I advise people to set a goal cost-per-acquisition number,” Pugh says. “So, for instance, if it’s worth $100 to gain a customer, I look for a conversion per $100 spent. But if you’re a new company just getting started, it might cost a couple hundred dollars up front just to raise some brand awareness. If you’ve thought about these things at the beginning, you’ll have benchmarks to measure the effectiveness of your campaign.”
Don’t discount the value of new subscribers.
Once your ad campaign has launched, it’s good to keep a little perspective as you watch the results. For instance, if your ad campaign doesn’t translate immediately into sales, that doesn’t mean it failed.
“If you’re running a $50 Facebook ad but only see $40 in sales, it can feel like you’re losing money,” Crews says. “But if you also added 8 new subscribers, that’s a big deal, especially in the long term.”
Quick sales are great, but taking the long view of your ad campaign will give you a better idea of its efficacy.
Give the people what they want.
What if the ad brought people to your site, but you’re still not making sales? You might be sending people to the wrong place.
“If you’re not seeing a payoff in conversions, you may be sending people to the wrong landing page,” Hardy says. “If a customer comes to your site looking for a product, they probably shouldn’t arrive at your homepage. The more navigating they have to do to find what you showed them, the less likely they are to make the purchase.”
Learn. Improve. Repeat.
Even a successful ad campaign will have lessons to teach. No matter what your results, take what you learn and make your ads better.
“The nice thing about Facebook ad campaigns is that you get immediate, measurable feedback and engagement,” Hardy says. “You can use that to adjust copy, change your images, and keep improving your ads in the future. In that sense, it’s a lot like an email campaign — success is an ongoing process of refinement.”