Don't waste money with Facebook Ads
I wanted to have an online shop selling cereal. True story.
Over the past few years I experimented with numerous businesses and business models, one of them being an online store for cereal. And I really wanted to make it work.
I was determined to succeed with that idea, so much so that I consumed an unbelievable amount of webinars, blog posts, books on how to grow your ecommerce store.
I followed the processes described step by step, but I just couldn’t do it.
Looking back, it’s not the processes and advice that was bad. It’s the fact that they weren’t tailored to the stage my business was in.
They were talking about optimizing your store for a better conversion rate, writing better descriptions, regularly emailing your customers with discounts and special offers, and I didn’t even have a proper online store, let alone an email list!
If you ever ran a Facebook Advertising campaign after following a good expert advice and it was a complete flop, it’s probably because you followed an advice that just wasn’t suitable for your type of business or the stage you’re currently in.
But instead of realizing that, you gave up, thinking Facebook Ads just don’t work.
They work, when applied correctly. I’ve done it myself, over and over again, no matter the business type or the audience we were targeting.
So buckle up and get ready for a crazy ride, because today I’m going to show you how to get started successfully and avoid that beginner’s failure that typically occurs when listening to improper advice.
Always start slow
The strategies I develop and implement are always tailored to the specific client I work with. Everything is custom-made, that’s my promise and what they’re expecting me to do.
However, there is one rule I always follow, no matter the client.
And that’s to START SLOW.
When working with students, I’ve heard this over and over again:
“Oh yeah, my Facebook Ad budget it $1,000, so let’s set my budget at $100/day.”
You’ll need at least 1-2 days to get a big enough of a data sample for you to make a decision what to do next, you’ll optimize the ads a little bit on the 3rd day, launch some new visuals on the 5th day, wait a bit more to see the results of those new creative elements, and then you’ll be out of your budget.
Even when I worked with clients that were already spending upwards of $50,000/week on Facebook Ads before we started, I still followed this approach.
When we were redeveloping their strategy and implementing a new one, instead of starting with a budget of $7,000/day like they were used to, we started with $1,000/day.
It’s important to find a perfect recipe for a successful campaign with a smaller budget, and go all in after you’ve got the recipe all tuned out.
Choose a strategy that fits the stage of your business
We all want to advance in business as fast as possible, following any business advice that might come handy. What people mistakenly think though is that applying super advanced techniques aimed towards multimillion-dollar businesses to their own 5- or 6-figure business will help them progress faster and achieve the multimillion-dollar status within a year.
That’s like buying the fastest car and hoping it’ll turn you into a good driver.
Spoiler alert: It won’t.
The direction you’ll go in now that you’re following my process, depends on the stage of your business, specifically in relation to your Facebook Advertising Pixel and the data it collected so far.
First, define in which group your business belongs:
Just Starting: You have implemented your Facebook Pixel to your webpage just recently and you get less than 100 visitors/day to your webpage,
Established: You had your Facebook Pixel implemented for a while now and it has collected more than 5,000 events.
Once you’ve defined that, follow the approach for the group your business belongs to.
When you’re just starting
Let’s be honest — you’re quite new to Facebook Ads. The worst thing you could do right now for your business and for the health of your Facebook Ad campaigns is launching an intricate multi-step sales funnel.
You’ll have plenty of time to do that later, but we gotta build a solid foundation first.
Forget about launching a purchase campaign first. Considering the low amount of events your Facebook Pixel has tracked, that would be an incredibly unsuccessful campaign.
Facebook needs a certain amount of data (= conversions in this case) to work with so they can automatically optimize your ads and show them show to people that are most likely to convert.
If you get only 1-10 conversions a week with the existing setup, how would Facebook know how to optimize your ads? And Facebook being in a blind spot like that would only turn into failure.
Instead of a purchase campaign, let’s start feeding that top of the funnel first and work on building a heathy and mutually beneficial relationship with your target audience.
While top of the funnel campaigns are typically centered around spreading awareness, educating prospects through advertising valuable blog posts, growing your authority, creating a buzz around your brand, that doesn’t make them any less important from your bottom of the funnel campaigns, centered around promoting products.
Top of the funnel is vital for scalability and without it, you won’t have much success with your purchase campaigns either.
Considering all of that, the campaigns you need to be thinking of at this point are Traffic campaigns and Lead Ad campaigns, investing 70% in traffic and 30% in lead generation.
Strengthening Authority with a Traffic Campaign
The main goal of a traffic campaign is getting your audience to trust you and strengthening your authority. And you’ll do that by generating quality traffic to your page by advertising something of value to your target audience.
Your audience isn’t interested in your representation online, so driving traffic to your homepage isn’t the most effective strategy you should follow. What they want to see is a blog post that solves a specific problem they’re experiencing.
Not sure which one is the best blog post for this? Take the one that’s already performing great organically — that’s a good sign that a topic resonates with your target audience organically and will do even more when exposed to a new audience.
The whole idea of this approach is to build trust with your audience through value while the data you’re going to use for the bottom of the funnel is generating in the background.
Reusing all that traffic with Lead Ads
After the traffic campaign, funnel those website visitors and blog post readers into the next step, and that’s the Lead Ad for your lead magnet.
A Lead Ad campaign serves as a first transaction between you and your target audience, even though it’s not a monetary one. Still, by leaving you their email address, your target audience is expressing trust in your content, services or products. And that worth more than you imagine.
For Ecommerce businesses the nature of this two-step funnel is a little bit different. While the first step would still be a traffic campaign, the second step would be a retargeting campaign, but instead of lead generation, you’ll be launching a conversion campaign with a goal of generating Adds to Cart.
The value-first process that we’re following with this approach is about making our funnel wider and wider, allowing more people to pass through it without compromising the quality of those leads.
Now, are you starting to see how the pieces fit together for your first campaign?
When you’re established
Running a business with an established online presence doesn’t mean you can only focus on bottom of the funnel when it comes to your Facebook Ads. By doing that you’ll quickly run out of audiences to retarget and be left out to dry.
The first two steps you’ll follow are the same as for a business that’s just starting — traffic campaign and a lead magnet campaign. However, a budget distribution will be different. You’ll invest 30% in traffic and 40% in lead generation.
And what will you do with the remaining 30%? Well now’s the time to start generating direct ROI from Facebook Ads with a conversion campaign that’s focused around purchases. The audience that you’ll use for this part of the funnel and the audience that will convert at the highest rate is an email list of people that dowloaded the lead magnet from your previous campaign.
However, don’t go advertising your most exclusive product, the top of the line thing you can offer to your audience. People rarely make jumps from submitting their email to buying a $950 product.
Your goal with this step of the funnel is to generate the first monetary transaction that also symbolizes a commitment your customer has towards you. A commitment that will grow when you present them with new, more exclusive products.
The same commitment won’t happen without that first purchase. And to make it easier for you to close that purchase, you have to present them with a tripwire product.
A tripwire product is something of great value to your customer, but of lower price. Looking from a customer’s perspective, it should be an impulse purchase and not something they deliberate on for longer.
A $39 ebook, $75 video bundle, $49 for access to a library of most successful ads. Just a few ideas to get your mind going.
And if you’re running ads for an Ecommerce business, this is the moment where you’ll retarget all of those people who have added the product to their cart, but never went through with the purchase.
There’s nothing more effective than retargeting a qualified audience and giving them what they were looking for from the get go.
Treat Facebook Ads as an investment
There’s no question that I’d rather have the answer to than:
“But what’s the exact budget I should start with?”
Unfortunately, that same question is also impossible to answer, because there’s no one-size-fits-all approach.
Facebook Ads are an investment and you should treat them like that. And as every good investor will tell you:
Invest the amount you can afford to lose and do everything in your power to make a profit.
If you’re starting out and working for that top of the funnel, you can start with as low as $10/day.
If you’re also investing in the bottom of the funnel, generating those sweet purchases, you should first determine how products in value you want to sell in a week and then spend at least the same amount of money for Facebook Ads in that week.
Most importantly however, when deciding on how much to spend, is to make a decision you feel comfortable with. It’s your money and your decision how to spend it.
Recap of the lessons
It's not that difficult to spend hundreds of dollars with Facebook Ads and see no conversions at all. I've seen that happen over and over again.
But that won't happen to you if you just follow these rules:
No matter what your advertising budget is, always start slow.
There's no one-size-fits-all strategy -- choose the one that fits the stage your business is in.
Treat your Facebook Ads as an investment by investing the amount you can afford to lose and do everything it takes to make a profit.