Still boosting your Facebook posts? Running Facebook ads for more likes? Have a campaign optimized for impressions? Stop it. Like, right now, because you’re most likely throwing your ad spend down the drain. Here’s the right way to do a campaign (on any platform).
If you've run Facebook ads before, this is probably a scenario we've all been through:
I'm going to tell you something.
Are you ready?
Don’t be afraid to admit this is you.
This is basically everyone who doesn't have a dedicated digital marketing team or in-depth knowledge of content marketing strategies.
How do I know? Because it’s the same situation most businesses are in almost every time I have an initial consult with them.
You’re lost in the turbulent sea of 'social'.
Things are moving too quickly from platform to platform, and most of the time you’re too busy trying to set up a profile and keep it up to date to worry about actually having a system that works.
Want to get good at social media marketing?
So good that it directly translates to revenue?
Stick to one marketing channel and perfect it; move onto the next afterwards; rinse and repeat.
Don’t swing from platform to platform because it’s “the next big thing” unless you've already got a working strategy for the one you’re currently using!
If it is indeed the next big thing, it’s not going anywhere anytime soon, and you'll be spending most of your time trying to figure out the system, not making money on it.
Let someone else spend their time and money figuring out what works and what doesn't.
If you’re killing it on the platforms you use already, then go ahead and be an early adopter and get an edge on your competition. But moving just for the sake of moving will put you at a disadvantage on multiple platforms.
What would be my recommendation for most businesses to get started on?
Facebook ads (click here to find out what Facebook ads are if you’re new to this whole thing).
Now that we've gotten that nugget of information out of the way, let’s get into the good stuff.
Why your Facebook ads suck
Blanket statement ahead: most Facebook ads suck.
They’re terrible, and I wish someone stopped them from ever getting made because I know this person is throwing money down the drain.
“But they might have some secret strategy behind it all!” you may say (probably if you’re one of the people I described above but didn't want to admit it. Stubborn bunch.)
Yeah, it’s called ‘not knowing what you’re doing’.
I click your link to see what your offer is (usually they don’t have a clear offer, or it’s a discount), see what capture methods you have on the page (again, usually nothing) and if I'm really lucky, I may get sent to a landing page (I found on average, 10% of businesses using Facebook ads actually sent me to a landing page).
This screams to me that you have no idea what you want from your ad.
Or you do in fact know what end result you want for your ad, but it’s all wrong (and I cover that in a second).
You don’t have a strategy guiding your advertising, and this is a huge money sink.
I'm not going to go into how you make an overarching marketing strategy for your business in this post, but I will show you a simple tip to making better ad campaigns and ‘mini-strategies’ shortly.
Here’s some examples of bad Facebook ads (sorry if this is one of yours, send me a message and I'll help you make them better for free as my way of saying ‘my bad I called you out in front of the whole internet and my email list).
Why don’t I like this Facebook ad?
Well, for starters I have absolutely no clue what LeadDigits is after looking at this ad… like, at all.
Not even a vague clue. Its lead gen of some sort I guess?
I know it’s something that works with LeadPages; I don’t use LeadPages but have been looking at their website, so this must be a retargeting ad.
The copy is too small to read in the image.
This looks like it’s meant for the News Feed, but they couldn’t be bothered making another ad set so just had is scale to the right hand column (poorly).
What would I have done?
They should’ve made a new ad set focusing only on the right hand column and gone with “Get LeadDigits Free!” as the copy with their image and sized the font up to the max 20% coverage so it’s actually readable.
The heading and by-line aren’t too crash hot and is a bit repetitive which is usually good, but with the lack of information, I think changing it up would get them more interest.
A headline highlighting the scarcity could work well, perhaps “This Week Only – Free”, then the by-line describing what the hell LeadDigits is, “Get mobile details every time a lead signs up blah blah blah. FREE with every Pro Annual Membership from LeadPages.”
Why I don’t like this ad
Holy guacamole. A wall of words. tl:dr. Next. Boring.
The opening sentence highlighting the problem is aiming at educating people. What does this tell me? That they haven’t focused their target market enough. It’s too broad. This should be on your landing page, not your ad.
Toptal is everywhere, and I don’t care about Toptal at all. How does this help me? I can’t tell, so I'll skip this ad. f I knew about Toptal, I might recognize the brand and read more, but I don’t so I skip it.
Crap headlines and short descriptions (everyone is guilty of this one at some point).
I think this is a targeting issue, as I have no interest in engineering, no connections to engineering and have never heard of Toptal – yet I'm seeing this ad, which I have no interest in.
What would I have done?
Condense, condense, and condense.
“Donate your time to students & graduates of the General Assembly Opportunity Fund along with other Toptalers around the world to improve diversity and opportunities for disadvantaged groups in technology.”
Still too wordy (or should I say verbose) but better than before.
The headline doesn’t really jump out at me, and I still don’t care about Toptal. Perhaps, “Be a mentor – join the fight for diversity” or “Fight diversity – empower through mentorship”.
Both of these examples include a call to action within the headline which guides those interested people on what to do next i.e. ‘join the fight …’
The original short description just seems to be the meta-description from the website. Should’ve been changed to align with the rest of the ad.
“Creating one of the largest global initiatives in history to empower individuals from minority & low-income backgrounds. We’re committing $1,000,000 worth of mentorship time & $100,000 in scholarships to improve diversity and opportunities for disadvantaged groups in technology.”
Again, too long, but I don’t know enough about this business to make a nice succinct description of what they do.
So, key takeaways from this are:
That’s the absolute basics people.
Remember how I said most Facebook ads suck?
That’s actually good for you because your ads aren't going to be like most peoples. They’re going to kick some ass and actually deliver results day in, day out.
If you do this right, you'll see measurable increases in your KPI’s, I have no doubt about it.
Okay, so now you know what you need to focus on at the bare minimum to stay out of my posts for all the wrong reasons.
How do we actually go about fixing this? Well…
How to fix Facebook ads that suck (or any ad really)
Fixing an ad is actually a lot easier than you think.
It’s silly how simple this is.
It’s probably the simplicity of it that makes it so hard to do because people often make things unnecessarily harder than they need to be all the time.
Stop trying to impress people with how smart you sound, and impress people with how smart your actions are instead. It will do you well.
Anyway, to get back on track… let’s look at the simple thing you need to do to fix any ad.
It’s the one thing you need to think about before you do any ad at all (or any action in business too, when it comes down to it).
Are you ready for it?
Just ask yourself before you do any ad at all:
“What do I want to achieve from this, specifically?” or WDIWTAFTS for an easy to remember acronym that rolls off the tongue. Marketers love acronyms.
Or you can call it the ‘Focus Question’ like I do.
Now, stop rolling your eyes and muttering ‘duhhh’, because you’re not doing this and I know it.
I can tell, because of all the crappy ads that are littering my Facebook feed, and all the crappy ads my clients used to have which I've had to hack away at and fix for them (often offending people until results start coming in).
The problem with the majority of ads on Facebook (or ads in general done by the average Joe) is that they’re too broad, and shown to too many people (without really making anyone jump up and go, ‘YES I NEED THIS THING”).
This gives you poor results and makes you frustrated and jaded and bitter.
So, in comes the Focus Question again, “What do I want to achieve from this, specifically?”
The key word in that powerful little sentence is this one.
Without it, you can’t make an effective ad campaign.
This one word, specifically, narrows your focus and will make sure that everything to do with this ad is to achieve this goal.
The beauty of the Focus Question is that it can be applied continuously to the same ad and all the key parts within it.
It also helps craft your offers, your opt-ins, your lead page design and everything and anything in between.
So for a Facebook ad looking for 2-3 new clients per month, this is the ad we ran as one of our test campaigns.
It leads straight to a dedicated landing page, with an opt-in and a lengthy booking quiz for good measure.
It also re-iterated the same type of language used in the ad, which is super casual and short, so there’s no disconnect between the ad you've seen, become interested enough to click on, and then the page you’re redirected to.
The call to action is in the image, “Let’s chat”, and also the button has been changed to ‘Book Now’ instead of the more common ‘Learn More’.
People who opt-in to this ad know they’re making a booking so we know it’s fairly qualified which means an increased likelihood to convert into a paying client.
We found this worked well for us as it’s targeted, qualified traffic by the time the lead ever reaches our email inbox and we book them in for a free 30-minute consultation knowing most of these leads will be clients in the future.
Most punters won’t book themselves in and fill out long survey forms if they’re not actually interested in what you’re offering.
This is good because it decreases the cost of each lead by deterring people who aren't too fussed whether they get more leads or not.
Any time you’re finding your results aren't quite living up to the goals you set, it’s most likely because you haven’t been specific enough with your ad or the parts that make up your ad e.g. opt-ins, landing page etc.
The more specific your ad, the narrower your target market becomes which makes it much easier to find highly qualified leads looking for exactly the thing you’re offering.
This is a big thing to take note of, because most people are clueless to modern marketing techniques, instead relying on what they’re heard or what they believe to be true e.g. mass market converts better than highly targeted niche markets.
This ad is awesome because it's SUPER targeted, and obviously showing because I'm writing this post in October (relevant to most people's interests). The image is eye-catching and the headline works on people's need to be unique. Which becomes super heightened during Halloween! The short description is awesome too because it highlights how easy it is to do yourself, which is another hot-spot for people who like making their own costumes. Great work Wintercroft team on nailing your customer persona's and getting this ad done.
This is another great super-targeted ad for a couple of reasons. The post description is spot on, leading with a question to make readers go to the second sentence which really nails that this is a practical course which only takes 28 hours. Great job showcasing the benefits of this one in a nice succinct way. The image is good, as skim readers will see the benefits easily - iOS 9, Build 18 Apps. Then finally, the short description is using social proof perfectly, with 15,000 other students having enrolled in the course already. This gives their business real authenticity and authority to back their offer.
For a top-down example, as a business owner you want more money (no shit!). So this is what you do:
This might sound stupid and overly simplified, and it is on both parts, but it’s what most people are doing.
If they just used that powerful, little sentence it would work a lot better:
See how adding this one thought into your process makes your goal clearer, allowing you to do the actions needed to achieve it.
A Final word
You should now know what’s stopping your ads from being effective, as well as being able to quickly create ad campaigns around a mini-strategy to see your results improve.
To quickly recap:
Do you think you could use the Focus Question on some of your own crappy ads? I know I’ve done it countless times, and am still using it on my own crappy ads that are floating around out there. Please leave me a comment below and give this post a share if you enjoyed!
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I create marketing campaigns for clients around the world. No B.S. and to the point - I'll tell you how it is. I'm a copywriter and creative director at heart, but most would recognise me as a full-stack print and digital marketing expert. Want to work together? Click here.