When we mention Facebook Ads to business owners, they sometimes make the mistake of thinking we’re talking about posting onto their timeline. And of course, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with posting on your business timeline – in fact, we recommend that you add new posts every day if possible. But the actual number of people that will view your business Facebook posts is very, very low. That’s because you tend to have to actually visit a company’s page to see what’s new, rather than have their latest posts automatically showing up in your feed.

But don’t worry because this is where Facebook Ads come in. And it turns out to have been rather a clever move by Facebook. They’ve made it next to impossible for company posts to show up in people’s timelines – after all, they’re in the business of selling advertising! But they’ve invested huge amounts of time and money over the years. And they’ve come up with an extremely powerful filtering tool for their adverts which allows you to be very targeted with your ads. When it’s used correctly, it can be a very cost-effective way of marketing.

When companies tell us they’ve tried Facebook Ads but didn’t like it, it’s usually down to the same problem, they’ll have put out one single advert with a piece of text attached. Then they’ve hit Send To All, run it for a week, and then complained about a massive spend with very little return. But that’s not the way to use the platform, as we’ll explain.

How to get started with Facebook Ads

It’s best to start out by creating a small and carefully selected audience in a tight geographic area for your first Facebook Ads. Now you should create three or four different adverts, so you can conduct some A/B testing. And when it comes to pictures, sometimes the craziest images get the best results. Put up some sensible pictures, but it’s definitely worth trying out some strange and/or weird ones too.

We know of a company that put up an image of a piece of broccoli with one of their ads, just to see what would happen – and it turned out to be their biggest-selling post ever! I’m not saying that you should post up images of broccoli to promote your own brand, but it’s worth thinking outside the box when it comes to creating your Facebook Ads.

An important thing to bear in mind is that Facebook Ads go directly into somebody’s Facebook feed, which is personal to them. And they don’t always want to hear about business-related things. But with the right photo, and the right wording, and if it doesn’t look too much like an advert, you can make your message look extremely appealing.

Define your audience with Facebook Ads

Facebook Ads is a suitable marketing platform for most industries. They tend to work best for B2C companies, but we’ve seen plenty of B2B companies also see significant returns on their investment. Sometimes it just needs some creative thinking to determine how best to attract your audience.

And thanks to its sophisticated filtering systems, Facebook Ads lets you target exactly the right sort of people. You can filter by job title, for instance, or even by interest, so it’s easy to find the perfect niches for attracting new customers

Build Your Customer Profile

Remember, your adverts are going into personal feeds, which don’t tend to be viewed too often during the day. The best times to aim for are break times, lunch times and when people get home in the evening, perhaps once the kids have gone to bed.

Ask yourself a few questions about your prospective customers.  What do they want to hear? What do they want to read about? What opportunities can you create for them? What fantastic products can you show them? What problems can you solve for them that they didn’t even realise had solutions? The more you can drill down into the specifics of your audience, the better the outcomes.

Refining your Facebook Ads strategy

Careful analysis of the results, using Facebook’s own tools, is an absolutely essential element of any successful Facebook Ads strategy. This lets you see which adverts are working, and which ones aren’t. And that means you can pause the unsuccessful ones, while allocating more of your available budget to the ones that are bringing in new business.

Questions you need to ask include:

  • Which geographic areas are working best?
  • Which are the most productive special interest groups?
  • What time of day returns the best results?

Continual analysis, followed by swift, appropriate action, allows you to allocate your resources in the most cost-effective way. And with careful, intelligent management, the return on your marketing investment can be huge.

But remember, the key to success with Facebook Ads lies in the planning. It’s not just about rigorous A/B testing, or tightening up on the time of day that your adverts run. You also need to keep analysing the results as you go. Run your set of adverts for a while, then run another set, based on your findings from the first set. You can build on what you’ve learned as you progress, improving as you go.

For further help or advice just give us a call.

Richard Stinson

For more information on marketing your engineering business get in touch with Richard, he has over 15 years marketing experience, many of those gained within the engineering sector itself.