3 Steps to the Perfect Facebook Ad for a Local Service Business
Not all businesses should be on Facebook.
You’ve been hearing the opposite for years, but you’re only seeing your service business’ posts get less and less engagement over the years. You might have even wondered “Does paying for page likes and engagement actually help me get new customers?”. We’ll tell you want conventional wisdom doesn’t want you to hear: No.
Just plain no. The days of “free” advertising and easy engagement on Facebook (or really any social media platform) are long gone, and Facebook is focusing more and more on pleasing giant corporations, not the small local service business down the road… BUT we’ll also say this:
“Every local service business who is serious about gaining new customers should be on Facebook.”
By serious, we don’t mean those who just want to get “fans” and then share a funny cat video with them. We mean people who are willing to divert their advertising money away from traditional forms (billboards, radio, television) into perfectly targeted, low risk ads on Facebook. Smaller companies and brands can be make a huge impact on their local market if they are willing to dominate a small niche (instead of trying to advertise to every person within their state).
Here’s the process your local service business can use to create highly converting ads that build your brand in your local market.
What you’ll need to get started (Prep for Success)
The process for creating the perfect Facebook ad for your local service business will be easier if you have a little prep work completed first:
1. Create an advertising account and Facebook Business Page
This is self-explanatory, but to state the obvious, you’ll need to have a business page already set up for your local service business. Once this is completed, go to Facebook.com/Ads to set up a payment account (basically you’ll need to ad a credit card Facebook can charge for your ad to be shown)
2. Define customer persona
Think about the perfect customer for your product or service. What demographics describe your “ideal client”? Are they married? Male/Female? Home-owners?
If you’re having trouble, think about the demographics of your your best current customers and build from their similarities. This is an important step, so take your time. Think about their likes/dislikes, what they value and what turn them off.
Once this is ready you’ll know what type of messages work well on your ideal “customer persona”
3. Strategize about specific desired outcomes
This is where a local service business can get in trouble. Quite frankly, social media’s value can often be oversold, and on any online platform (Facebook included) it’s easy to almost throw money away. They key to avoiding this is knowing exactly why you’re on the platform and what you hope to get out of it.
Facebook is great for many things, helping you get the word out about an event, helping people near your location find you, and even helping your brand share humanizing stories with your audience. But we believe the real value in advertising with Facebook is driving traffic to your website.
(If you have a bad website, stop reading this and invest your money into improving that first!)
Your end goals should be decided long before you ever spend one cent advertising on Facebook. Commit to writing ads that drive traffic back to page on your site with longer, more in depth content or engaging call to action you can explain in a more visually appealing medium.
Pro Tip: The metric we suggest tracking and working to improve is clicks on the link back to the site.
4. Calculate your customer lifetime value
This is an important step to keep you accountable to our next step (creating a budget). Think about how valuable a theoretical lifetime client of your is to you. How much revenue will they bring you if you win them over for their life? This is the potential gain you could receive from winning over a new customer with a Facebook ad (or any).
The reason why Facebook ads are great for a local business is purely an economical one: the cost/impression is really affordable.
This means more people will see your ad for a lower overall budget, giving you a better chance to capture more lifetime clients.
5. Set your budget
From here, its a numbers game. Not every person who sees your ad will become a lifetime customer, but since that’s the goal, we’ll assume some of them will. Before ads go live decide how much money you’re willing to spend for each new lifetime customer that you could gain for your service business and what your overall max budget is.
6. Set your goals
Now, with your maximum ad campaign budget set you’re ready to do some planning. As you open up the editor, you’ll be able to see the size of audience your budget will show to, and give you the chance to measure what your cost per impression might be. You’ll want to lower this CPI as much as possible in order to maximize your budget, but keep in mind the more targeting you use, the more costly your impressions will likely be.
Brainstorming Your Ad
Every service business Facebook ad should have all of the following components below. Make it easier on yourself by having these ready before you go to buy your ad.
1. Catchy Headline
25 characters maximum in length, this needs to be an exciting or informative statement to captivate your new potential clients.
2. Two Photos
It’s super important for these to be high-quality photos in order to compete with the other visual content on Facebook.
Remember, you have to catch your audience’s attention in a space where almost everything is pure leisure and entertainment. While Facebook ads can show more than one photo/ad what we mean is you should create two different visuals to show with your ad.
This will give Facebook the ability to show one half of your audience one visual and the other half another. This will give you the chance to see what kind of photos your audience responds well to and will give you the chance to create better ads in the future.
3. Ad copy
90 characters maximum in length, this is the small amount of text that will show above the photo. Quick, explanational phrases that give the reader a chance to quickly gain an interest in your deal/offer/uniqueness.
Note: A strong call to action is imperative in this section. You only have a couple of second (at most) to share with them why and how to take action, make it count!
4. Link description
This is an optional additional 200 characters that shows below the photo. If you feel like you can’t explain your offering in the above sections, you have a little extra room here to convince the Facebook user to click through to your site.
Armed with these strategies and ad copy, you’re ready to create an amazing new ad.
Create your high performing newsfeed ad
Here we can finally get to creating your beautiful new ad.
1. Create a new ad
Choose your option for the type of ad you want to run. (the exact ad this tutorial is teaching is for the “Send people to your website”)
2. Choose the page you wish to advertise
Pick this by copying and pasting your URL into the form. You can only advertise for one web page at a time, so be sure this is the exact page you want your visitors directed to. (if you’re creating an ad for engagement on Facebook, you’ll instead choose your desired Facebook Business Page instead of your desired URL)
3. Choose to only show your ads in the newsfeed:
Facebook’s advantage is its newsfeed, and you want your ad to be sandwiched right between their brother’s fishing trip photos and the cute video of a cat their friend shared. As you might see this is why the photos you use must be high quality and very engaging.
4. Target your audience:
Targeting is perhaps the most valuable asset Facebook ads have. We suggest one of two methods to find the perfect match for the customers persona you created earlier. One is great for reaching your current customers, the other for reaching new ones.
A. Saved custom audiences: This is easiest to use when you’re hoping to target Facebook users who have already done business with you in the past. This is accomplished by uploading your company’s email list into the Facebook Audience Creator and Facebook will then find the Facebook User’s profiles that match those emails. This is a great option if you have a large email list, but is tough to take advantage of when just starting out.
B. Demographics targeting: This is a fantastic way to target people in your local area who fit all the qualifications for being your perfect customer. Sort by Age, Gender, Languages, Interests, Behaviors and LIfe Stages. The possibilities here are almost limitless so be sure to search the editor for creative ideas to find the perfect customer.
Note: The most important of these demographics for a service business is location. You have a limited geographic region so pinpoint this as closely as you are able to. Facebook will even allow you to target down to specific zip codes.
5. Set your budget
Start with a small trial run (1-2 weeks) to see what the response/cost of your ad is. Make sure you give your ad a “lifetime budget”, meaning this is the maximum amount you wish to spend on it. Set your end date and time at least 24 hours from your publish time.
6. Upload your engaging photos or videos
Upload both of your images. The recommended image size is 1200 x 628 pixels. This will create your A/B Split tests, giving you the advantage to see what your audience responds to (and will help you create better ads in the future)
7. Text and links
Here, add the compelling ad copy, connect your ad to your Facebook Page, and choose a Call-To-Action.
8. Order your ad and submit it for review
We hope this was a practical and helpful guide the perfect Facebook ads for a local service business.
Still have questions? We’d love to help! Reach out in the comments below.