4 To-Dos Before Creating Your First Facebook Ad

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Facebook marketing for small business owners can drive growth, but successful campaigns must start long before the ad launches. You should also spend time setting up your account, targeting the right audience, and planning the proper budget and schedule.

Promoting your small business online with Facebook ads can be a smart play, but don’t make the common mistake of logging in, creating an ad, and hoping for the best. To get the most out of your campaign, follow these four steps before you create your first ad.

1. Create an Account and Log In

First things first, you’ll need an account. You may already have a Facebook account that you use to manage your business page. You can use the same account to build your ad. Once you’re logged in to the Facebook platform, navigate to the Ads Manager page. From there, you’ll have access to all the key features you need to launch an ad, plus a robust help section.

2. Establish Campaign Basics

Once you’re in the advertising dashboard, you’ll begin to create a new ad by outlining campaign details. What’s the goal of your campaign? Perhaps your goal is to drive traffic to your website, support catalog sales of a specific product, or boost awareness of your social media activity on the platform. Facebook ads can be customized to fit your goals.

Consider a florist, Julia, who wants to drive traffic to her online store. She’s asked to name the campaign, which might be “Floral Traffic Campaign Fall 2019.” Then she’ll be taken to the next section, where she’ll create specific ads. Since she’s running a traffic campaign, she’ll be asked to specify where she’s hoping to drive traffic, such as a website or app.

Woman business owner researches Facebook marketing for small business

3. Choose Your Audience

Once you’ve defined your goals, it’s time to clarify who you’re marketing to. You’ll want to define your target audience as clearly as you can. If your business has an active Facebook page, you can create ads that target those visitors or people like them. It’s also possible to target audiences through factors such as their location, interests or buying behaviors.

For example, Julia knows that the people coming into her shop are mostly over the age of 18 and live within five different zip codes of the shop. Information like that is a great way to start.

If you’re not sure how to narrow down your target audience to reach your best customers, consider using Facebook Audience Insights. This tool provides a detailed look at the larger Facebook community, as well as those connected to your business’s Facebook page. You can gather insights into their demographics, find out what content resonates, and learn more about their interests and lifestyles. Julia was surprised to learn that many of her buyers are businesses sending flowers to clients and employees, so she targeted her campaign to include that audience and other buyers she’s hoping to attract.

4. Define a Budget and Schedule

One of the biggest hesitations small business owners have about Facebook marketing is the cost. How much do you have to spend, and where will it come from? For example, Julia’s retail marketing budget allows for $1,000 per month on advertising. When posting a Facebook ad, she decided to dedicate $250 per month for one quarter. Based on that information, she could set limits on her account.

Facebook lets you set maximum amounts that you want to spend per click, per day or per campaign — so you can have tight control over total spending. One way to minimize your potential losses is to start small and track progress. Once you start seeing customers respond to your ad, you can decide if you want to invest more money.

It’s also important to create a schedule based on when you want the campaign to run. Give yourself time to prepare for a successful campaign, from researching your audience to choosing the creative images you’ll use for ads. Consider scheduling your prep work at least one week before the campaign launch, to give yourself plenty of time to overcome unexpected roadblocks.

Promoting your small business online is a smart way to grow, whether you’re attracting new customers or getting your name out there. Take the time to understand how Facebook marketing for small business growth can help you reach your goals, and with the right strategy and ongoing attention, it will become an essential part of your digital marketing toolkit.

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