If you run a small business then it’s likely that you’re working with a really small marketing budget. So it make sense to take advantage of every bit of free advertising you can and one of the most popular ways to advertise for free is on Facebook.
But do free adverts on Facebook actually work?
Well, the data tells us that if it’s done properly, then yes it does. However, over 95% of small businesses are posting adverts on Facebook and getting virtually no new customer enquiries or sales, so what are they doing wrong?
If you’re one of those businesses then are a few tips from our marketing experts to help you understand where you’re going wrong and how to post free adverts on Facebook (or any other medium) that get your phone ringing.
Getting Your Facebook Adverts Right
Years of exposure to advertising has trained our subconscious minds to ‘blank out’ blatant advertising. If we know something is an advert, we just don’t pay attention to it and that’s typically because most advertising isn’t relevant to us.
And relevancy is everything with advertising.
Below are two example of adverts for a Heating Engineer. The first advert is actually the most common one we all see (and ignore) on Facebook whilst the second advert is the right way to compose an advert…
But what if you sell products rather than services?
Well, the same rules apply. Here’s an example of the wrong and right way to write an advert for a product, in this case a small business selling handmade jewellery…
So what is it that makes these two adverts different and why is the second advert TWENTY TIMES more likely to attract new customers? Let’s dissect the two adverts and see what makes the second advert so much more effective than the first.
Writing an Engaging Headline
Obviously the first thing anyone reads when they see a picture on Facebook is the opening text, which on an advert will be the headline. And as it’s the first thing your prospective customers are going to read, it needs to be spot-on from a marketing perspective.
Advert 1 has the title ‘Acme Heating Engineers’ – On seeing this, your brain asks itself, “Do I need a heating engineer?” and unless by some miraculous fluke your boiler happened to have broken-down a few minutes before you looked at Facebook, your brain will process the answer as “No”, and your focus will no longer be on the advert so anything else on the advert is pretty-much irrelevant as it isn’t going to be read.
Advert 2 on the other hand asks a question, “When was the last time your boiler was serviced?” Now when your brain processes this question, it needs to think a little. Was it this year, or last?
Whatever the answer, you brain is forced to give a little more thought to this question so its therefore more effective to ask questions in headlines than simple state your business name or what you do. And assuming the reader can’t remember when their boiler was last serviced, or they’re sure it was more than a year ago, their brain is almost guaranteed to continue reading the rest of the advert.
Using Emotion to Grab Attention
Now we’ve got the readers attention, we need to engage with them on an emotional level. There is a ton of evidence that tells us that we are more responsive to emotions than logical thought.
For example, we know that flying is statistically the safest form of transport but if that’s the case, why are so many people afraid of flying? It’s a prime example of the emotional part of the brain over-riding the logical part.
And you need to ensure that your advert engages the emotional part of the brain rather than the logical part. So let’s see how advert 1 fails to do that but advert 2 does…
With advert 1, the core message simply tells us what the company does – nothing likely to engage the reader on an emotional level there so it get’s deciphered by the logical part of the brain and is quickly disregarded as unimportant.
Now advert 2 – the first two lines are crucial here. “Don’t risk a boiler breakdown”. The word “risk” triggers our emotional brain to take notice as we’re pretty risk-averse as a species.
Now the emotional brain is engaged, we come across the term “boiler breakdown” and immediately we think about the negative aspect of having no heating or hot water for days on end. We definitely don’t want that.
Money, Money, Money
Now we mention money because let’s face it, it’s the one common commodity that we all want to save.
Saving money for service-related businesses (such as our example), the potential loss of money if the service isn’t used is obvious with the statement “Huge Repair Bill” as it engages the emotional brain as we fear losing our hard-earned money.
Whether it’s saving money on the purchase price of a product or service, or saving money by avoiding potentially larger bills through maintenance and servicing, it’s important to drive home the fact that this offer will save the reader money.
You can talk about “quality”, “service” and how wonderful your business is but the bottom line is that for most customers, value for money and affordability is everything.
Don’t Fear The Price
Patently you know how much your products or services cost but it’s a crazy assumption to think that your prospective customers will have an idea of what you’re selling actually costs – in many cases they either won’t have a clue or assume the cost is much higher than it actually is.
We’ve worked with many small businesses who are paranoid about publishing their prices, or prefer to ‘haggle’ once they get an enquiry. But if you aren’t clear about your pricing from the outset, the chances are that you won’t get that enquiry in the first place.
So you’ll see from our example advert that we tell the reader the cost (£99) so they’ll hopefully think that it’s a relatively small price to pay for the peace of mind that they won’t be left in a cold house for days on end or face a huge repair bill.
We’ve set the problem (potential boiler breakdown) and by giving them an affordable price, we’ve solved that problem for them. Which brings us nicely on to the most important part of the advert.
Using a Call to Action (CTA)
Whether it’s on Facebook, your website or a newspaper advert, any promotion you run that doesn’t have a strong CTA is going to be more likely to fail.
In our example, we’ve used a very simple CTA “Visit www.website.co.uk to book”.
You might be thinking “Isn’t it obvious that the reader needs to visit the website/pick up the phone?”. Well, no it isn’t. We can’t stress enough that you need to TELL the reader to do something when they’ve digested the content of your advert.
There have been enough studies conducted on website adverts to conclude that adverts without a strong CTA will reap less than 2% of the responses than an advert with a strong CTA will achieve.
And for the record, adding your telephone number is NOT a CTA. People who are browsing the Internet are not likely to stop what they’re doing and call you just because you’ve put your phone number in an advert. The ONLY CTA that works with online adverts is a link to a page on your website.
And that brings us on to the biggest problem with many small business advertisers…
No Website = 80% Less Enquiries
Whilst having your own Facebook page is a great as an advertising medium, the one thing it can’t do for you is convert browsers into buyers – this is the fundamental purpose of your own small business website.
If you don’t have a website and are relying on your prospective customers to message or call you via Facebook, you will be losing 80% of those potential new customers. Here’s why…
- There is a limit to how much information about your business you can add to a Facebook page so you can’t really ‘sell’ your services or products.
- When people are viewing your page on Facebook, there are simply too many other distraction (notifications, chat, adverts etc).
- Consumers have more confidence and therefore are more likely to buy from a business that has invested in their own website.
- You will never ‘own’ your Facebook page. It is part of the Facebook website and therefore you are not building a marketing asset for your business.
- You can’t get hold of crucial marketing data on Facebook that you can get from your own website, such as the amount of visitors, how they found you, where in the country they are, etc.
Whilst all of these are solid reasons why your own website is better than a Facebook page, there is one key reason…
Facebook business pages rarely appear when people search in Google
And let’s face it, when you or I are looking for products or services, typically we go to Google and search before we even think about Facebook.
Try it yourself – go to Google and search for a type of business in your town, for example, ‘Plumbers in Portsmouth’, or ‘Accountants in Guildford’. You can try dozens of different searches and we’d wager that you won’t find one single Facebook page in the top-10 of Google’s search results.
If you’re still under the illusion that you can continue to run a successful and profitable small business without a website then we wish you luck, but any initial success you might be enjoying is not sustainable in the long term without your own website.
But a website is expensive, right?
Actually you can get a professional website from as little as £799 so there really is no excuse not to own your own website is there? You can get more info on our website design packages by clicking HERE.
We appreciate that we’ve covered a lot of ground in this article so here’s a quick summary of the key points you need to ensure you include in all your Facebook (and other) adverts…
- HEADLINE – Always use a headline that asks a question to define relevancy and forces the reader to think
- EMOTION – Use emotive, descriptive words to sell the benefits/negatives of using/not using your products or services
- PRICE/OFFER Include a price or offer to improve conversions and eliminate enquiries from those who can’t afford what you’re offering
- CALL TO ACTION – Always instruct the reader to do something when they’ve read your advert and not simply to ‘contact you’
- GET A WEBSITE – Remember that a Facebook page is an advertising tool and it can’t sell your business anywhere near as effectively as your own website
We’re 100% confident that if you follow these simple rules that you’ll see a significant increase in the amount of enquiries your adverts on Facebook achieves.
Good luck and if you need any further advice with Facebook adverts on any aspect of online marketing then feel free to call us on 01252 416 222 or drop us a line via our contact page.