How to make sales using social media advertising plus an e-commerce case study
If you’re a business owner, you want to be sure that you are always bringing in revenue for your company and you know that ads are certainly one sure-fire way to make that happen. But you just don’t know where to start. This “how to” article will walk you through the right way to start your first or next ad campaign and get better at creating them in the future.
So, let’s talk money. Moolah. Benjamins. It’s time to spend some of that green stuff on Facebook ads targeting your target market. Now, you probably know by now that certain people enjoy certain platforms, so defining your audience with personas (fictional representations of your target market) helps you narrow down which social media platforms you should spend your advertising money (and most of your efforts) on. Facebook touts the best targeting of all the social media platforms, so we’re going to cover ads using that platform. However, the steps below for testing ads will certainly work on any ad platform you use.
Testing, Testing, 1-2-3
First things first, fire up your Facebook ads manager and look through your current campaigns to decide where you want to start testing. If you don’t have any campaigns running, or haven’t set any up, don’t worry. There are plenty of resources online to help you get started.
Next, we’re going to focus on testing three things. There are many things you can test beyond the three that we will discuss here, such as calls to action, where you place your link, if you ask a question, if you use your logo on the image or not, but we are going to focus on these three because they are a good place for anyone to start and still get really good returns on their investment.
For the first test, you’ll want to create one ad set that is targeting just one of your personas (you have one of those, right?). Let’s say it’s a 45 year old man that owns a service-based business, in your area. We would probably span the ages a little, 40-50, men, whose job title states they are a business owner in your local area. There are a number of targeting options, so choose the ones that make the most sense. Don’t try to get too granular, or too detailed, as you could just as easily limit your ad audience too much.
Test One: Image
With this first set of ads, you’ll use the same targeting, the same text/copy, links, and calls to action, but you will use different images. You can really create as many of these ads as you would like using different images on each one, but going with 3 or 4 is a great place to start. You just want to collect data at this point. We’ll use it later.
Test Two: Copy
After about a week, or 1,000 impressions, if you prefer, you can check on your ads to see which of the images your audience preferred. Which ad did the best? Which ad got you the most money or the most leads? Use that image to move forward with your next test, even if the results were small.
In this test, we will create 3-4 more ads, only this time we will be using the same image (or images that are very similar, if you’re a bit advanced) and different language. Maybe you’ll change the call to action on one. Maybe you’ll ask a question on another. Elicit a different or more emotion in another. Just change the way you worded the previous 3-4 ads. Be sure that you are keeping your personas or your target audience in mind when you write your new ads. You want to speak their language so they will want to click. Speak to their pain points. What do they need? How does your product or service make their lives better? How does it make their lives easier?
In the above example, you can see I tested the same image on the two ads, using different headline text, both of which were aimed at getting males, 18-25 years of age interested in getting into the University of Texas - Austin, to click my link. After about 1,000 impressions on both ads, I adjust. If both of the ads get poor results, I do more tests. Since the image was a winner, maybe it was the headlines that didn’t work so well, so I would go back and try different language again. If I’m still not hitting my mark, I may need to test out my target.
Test Three: Target
Finally, we’ve made it to our last test; Targeting. After another week of testing, you’ll probably be seeing better results; more sales or more leads. But you’re still probably not where you want to be. A few of your ads may have gotten you nothing. That’s alright. We’re still collecting data that will help us narrow down what our audience prefers even further.
After another week, or another 1,000 impressions, we’re going to take a look and see what language our audience liked. What ad did they interact with the most? What got you more results than the rest? Use this information to make your final ads and test a new target audience. By this time, you’ve also gathered information about who is clicking your ads, who is filling out your forms, who is buying your stuff. We’re going to use that data and our personas to create another round of ads targeting what should be our refined audience.
When you create this new ad set, use the information gathered in the dashboard, like you see in the image. Use the “Demographics” tab inside of your ad set, gather that info, and arm yourself as you create the new ad set. Also make note of how close or far off it is from your personas, if you have any (and you should!). If it doesn’t match at all, you might have a new persona to start working on! Sometimes our ads reveal that we’re not even marketing to the right people, and that’s okay, too! Just keep learning.
“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” - Thomas A. Edison
Use your new data to create 3-4 new ads using the information from the successful ads in the last test. Use similar language (or the exact same) and images. This round of ads should really hone in on the audience that will buy from you and you’ll keep narrowing down, or refining what is working and what isn’t going forward. After this point, you can start testing calls to action, logo placement, etc. You should have enough experience under your belt to make some pretty decent calls on what is and isn’t working and that’s the secret sauce to ads!
To help you further, here are a few resources about A/B testing on ads:
- Facebook Ads A/B Test from Adespresso
- A Beginner’s Guide To A/B Testing: An Introduction from KissMetrics (a series)
- How to A/B Split Test Your Facebook Ads to Maximize Your ROI from WishPond
Ads Can Do More Than Earn Revenue
When you run your ads, you’ll get some nifty “side effects”. Your audience will grow. Your engagement will grow. People will “like” and “tag” and “mention” and “share” things. Your fans and followers numbers will start swelling as a result of any successful (and some unsuccessful) ad campaigns.
But beware, this can be great, or awful. See, if you don’t do your homework and really make sure you are targeting correctly, you will start building an audience with these ads, but they will be all the wrong people. Sometimes people just hit the “like” button because they like the picture, not realizing it was an ad and also not realizing they just “liked” your company page, not the picture. If you aren’t paying too much attention to your targeting, you may very well gain a new audience, it just won’t do you -- or your business -- any good.
To eliminate this, just be sure to target people that really do buy from you, and test, test, test!
Rinse and Repeat
So you’ve made some good ads, you’re making some progress and your ads are selling (or not), what do you do now? Do it again. Test some more! Find out what went wrong or what went right and attempt to duplicate it elsewhere. With another product. With another service. The only way to find out if you have really succeeded is if you can duplicate it. So don’t be afraid to do it again.
BONUS! Case Study
So you’d like to know if anything I just talked about works in the real world. That’s fair. Here’s a case study from one of our clients: an e-commerce site that we help bring in $5 for every $1 spent using Facebook ads. It’s possible. You just have to start somewhere.
Guest blog by Roxanne Roark
Roxanne is the Siren of Social at Heroic Search, a digital marketing agency based out of Dallas and Tulsa. She’s a native Tulsan, has been working in the social media realm since the days of Xanga and MySpace. At Heroic Search, she coordinates social media work in Tulsa, and frequently speaks at digital marketing events around the country. When not working, she enjoys DIY projects, reading, writing, gardening and being “Mom”.