Using Facebook Ads to Promote Your Business for Beginners

Tips and tricks for beginners on how to understand your audience, optimize your ad, and properly set budgets for your business Facebook ads.

Now that you’ve created a website and Facebook page for your business, it’s time to promote your business using Facebook ads.

First things first – when starting a Facebook Ads campaign you need to decide if you are going to drive traffic to a website or a Fan page. This will make a big difference in your strategy, and there are pros and cons to each.

For example, if you choose to link to a Fan Page, it will be easier to get an ad approved because you are not driving visitors away from Facebook (and Facebook really likes that). But on a Fan Page, you won’t able to engage and create leads with customers like you would be able to on your website.

Generally speaking, it’s recommended to drive traffic to your website and not to your Facebook page. There is more flexibility when leading customers to your own website. Ultimately, the decision should be based on what your goal is – do you want to create more leads and drive people to your website, or do you want to have more Facebook followers and create social buzz?

For the purposes of this guide, we will focus on creating a Facebook ad that links to a website.

Understanding your Facebook audience

Before creating an ad, it’s crucial to first understand your audience on Facebook, and there are two great ways to do that:

  • By digging into competitor Facebook pages or pages related to your industry
  • By analyzing Facebook groups related to your product or industry

Take notes on the kind of language, messaging and imagery used, and find a way to incorporate that with your own ad. For example, when browsing through competitor Facebook pages, see what kind of content is included in the most popular posts from their page. When analyzing Facebook groups, try to get into their heads. Learn how to approach your audience and understand their needs and desires by reading the conversations in these groups. What are their issues? How are they currently dealing with them? What are their interests?

People are receptive to content that they are familiar with, and information from both methods will prove to be a tremendous asset when creating an ad that resonates with your target audience.

Optimizing your ad and website for Facebook traffic

Once you understand your audience, use that insight to brainstorm creative ad ideas. Leaving a first impression with your ad is vital, so be sure to stand out by using strong headlines and powerful images. Try to pick an image that represents the mission of your business or product, but also something that resonates with your customer base. You want people to remember you. Social Times has a great article on Facebook ad creative best practices if you need some inspiration.

Next, you’ll want to make sure the landing page your ad links to is optimized. Once a customer clicks on the ad and is taken to your website, there should be correspondence between the CTA’s in your ad message and the content delivered in the landing page. Having a clean and professional-looking landing page will also help you optimize your landing page. There are dozens of websites and resources out there with tips on how to optimize landing pages.

Facebook Ads campaign – step by step

The first step when creating a Facebook ads campaign is to choose an objective. There are several options, but for the purposes of this guide you’ll want to pick “Send People to your website”.

Facebook Ads

After adding your website URL, the next step will be to set your audience and budget. Here you will use the information you previously collected when you were researching your Facebook audience.

Setting a Target Audience

Start by selecting a location. If you are running a local business you should select your city and surrounding areas, but if not you can start by focusing on your country. Note: don’t target a super large area or multiple countries – this will hurt your targeting and your ads may not be hitting the right people for your campaign.

Facebook Ads

After that, you will be sent to select very specific parameters for your audience like gender, education level, consumer behavior, family information and more. Facebook ads allow you to get very granular with audience targeting, but don’t spend too much time going through targeting options or you will run the risk of jeopardizing the reach to potential customers.

If the purpose of your campaign is to lead customers to your website and create sales and marketing leads, then a good way to start is to target people that are spending money online (ex. above 24 years old, has a credit card, etc).

And now let’s put the pieces together. There is a field called “Detailed Targeting” where you will want to add the Facebook pages you used when researching your audience. Here you will find two important fields: Exclude People and Narrow Audience. With Exclude People you can select people who like page A and don’t like page B, and on Narrow Audience you can pick people who like page A and page B. This will be immensely helpful for your targeting efforts – the more defined and targeted your audience is, the higher the click conversion rate will be.

Facebook Ads

When doing this, you will notice that your potential reach will decrease in an icon to the right. The potential reach is an important metric because it will help you set lower budgets.

Setting a Budget

Facebook ad budgeting lets you start at $10 per day! Analyze how many clicks you are getting, how much you are spending per click and if your visitors are taking the desired action to change your budget as needed.

Facebook Ads

When setting your daily budget you will also notice that your “estimated daily reach” will change. At this stage, it’s helpful to experiment and try different parameter variables to see if you can reach more people with the same budget. You will notice that just by changing the age of your target audience you can increase your reach at no extra cost.

Creating your ad

Note: even if you are driving traffic to your website you are going to need a fan page to be linked to your current ad campaign.

This stage is pretty straight forward. And to create a great ad you must use the knowledge you acquired when researching your audience. You can start by selecting your image. Remember, pick the type of image that is popular on big Fan Pages and don’t forget to use your logo to customize the image. If you don’t know how to do that you can use a tool called (among dozens of other internet tools) that can help you edit images to make them look more professional.

You are almost done! Just add a headline based on your promotional research (refer back to the beginning of this article) and use a text that relates to what you read on Facebook groups. This will help you to get a low cost per click and increase your click through rate. Those two metrics go hand in hand, so always keep your eye on this.

After that, you just have to choose the placement:

  • Desktop New Feed
  • Mobile New Feed
  • Instagram
  • Desktop Right Column

You should test each placement to see which will perform better. And remember: the main two metrics to control are CTR (click-through-rate) and CPC (cost-per-click). To optimize the campaign, always start by changing the image, then headline and only then should you change the text. This is one of the best methods to get started on Facebook ads. It will help you understand the platform, see how things work, understand your audience and give you a chance to improve your metrics in the middle of a campaign.

This article is a guest contribution from Felipe Kurpiel, an internet marketer with a passion for SEO and affiliate marketing. 

6 (Truly Amazing) Tools to Help Grow Your Small Business

Business owners are constantly bombarded with online tools and services that claim to boost productivity and help manage the growth of their business, many of which fail to deliver their promises. This is a list of tools that do deliver, and truly help small businesses get to that next level.

Business owners are constantly bombarded with online tools and services that claim to boost productivity and help manage the growth of their business. In fact, a simple Google search for “online business tools” gives you close to 700 million results – quite the marketplace to choose from. 

But how often do those tools actually help a business grow? And how often do business owners find themselves signing up for those tools, only to never use them? Probably more often than not. Which is why Shoeboxed did some investigating and curated an eclectic list of helpful, wide-ranging tools for growing small businesses.


Phone System Automation

1Grasshopper is perfect for businesses looking for a full-service virtual phone system. Their services include customizable toll free 1-800 or local phone numbers, main greeting messages (with the option to include information like hours and address, among other customizations), departmental and employee extension numbers, voicemail to email transcriptions, and more. If you have a sales or support team, or just simply want to automate your business’ main line to make it easier to communicate with your customers, Grasshopper has you covered. Pricing starts at $12/month.

Plus: Grasshopper has a free app that turns your smartphone into a business line, allowing business owners and entrepreneurs stay professional even when they’re not in the office.


Online Bookkeeping logoIf you’re looking for a cheaper way to outsource a  bookkeeper, Bookly is the way to go. Their software automates dreaded bookkeeping chores by reconciling transactions with your connected bank and credit card accounts. Users can also create customized reports and compare balance and transactions trends in real-time. Additional features include invoice delivery and multiple user account collaboration. Pricing starts at $99/month.

Plus: In addition to the software, Bookly provides users with a dedicated bookkeeper who can look over your data and make sure that finances stay up to date.


Project Outsourcing


Need someone to rebuild your website but have zero-to-little design or programming experience? Want to increase traffic to your blog or social media, but don’t have enough time to write the content? Or do you simply need professional marketing advice and have no idea who to reach out to? Whatever your business needs, Upwork helps you find freelance talent to get the job done. Quality work resonates with existing and potential customers, so the next time you’re contemplating whether or not to outsource the job – consider Upwork. There is no plan to sign up – all you pay for is the work done by the freelancer.

Plus: Upwork allows you to customize the talent you are looking for, including filters like location, specific skill-set, experience level, and more.


Online Insurance Agency


If you think it’s easy to hunt down cheap, reliable, and quality insurance for your business, then you’ve obviously never run a business before. But that hunt is exactly what Insureon does. Insureon is an online agency dedicated to helping small businesses find the best insurance protection. All you have to do is fill out a quick online application, and Insureon does the rest – they calculate your risk, leverage relationships with top-tier insurance companies, then email you the best quote on the market, including coverage and cost options. Quotes are free.

Plus: Insureon matches you with a specialized agent experienced in your specific industry, and work with you to identify the unique challenges and insurance types of your business.


Marketing Automation

If you are a small business owner who absolutely dreads the marketing side of things, OutboundEngine will be your hero. They’ll help you run fully-automated marketing campaigns, highly-targeted to your specific audience. Services include professional email marketing campaigns, automated social media updates, lead-generating referral programs and custom-tailored content writing. It’s like having an entire marketing department but at the fraction of the cost. Pricing starts at $179/month.

Plus: Everything is personalized, so the pros working on your campaign dive deep into your market and industry before testing anything.


Receipt and Expense Management


Keeping track of receipts for bookkeeping and tax purposes is an exhaustive, daunting task. But for business and financial reasons it’s a highly scrutinized part of running a business — all business owners have to do it. The problem is, business owners absolutely hate doing it! Cue Shoeboxed. Shoeboxed scans, organizes and categorizes receipts and other business documents so that all of your important paperwork is fully searchable and accessible in the cloud. There is a free DIY plan and premium plans start at $9.99/month.

Plus: All receipt images are IRS-accepted, with vendor name, total amount, date of purchase and payment type automatically extracted once its submitted to Shoeboxed.

This list is not exhaustive, but we hope it provides a holistic approach to the types of useful services and tools that every small business owner needs as their business grows.

Continue reading “6 (Truly Amazing) Tools to Help Grow Your Small Business”

The Definitive 2014 Small Business Toolkit

Free time is hard to come by as a small business owner. With tax season right around the corner, it’s more important than ever to rely on specialized tools that save you time and make your workday more productive. Check out this small business toolkit from our friends at BoostSuite to find your new favorite small business app!

This guest post is brought to you by BoostSuite, the easiest way to increase your website traffic and earn more marketing conversions.

Can you believe that we’re already more than halfway through January? Seems just like yesterday we were talking about the holidays and New Year’s resolutions. Speaking of, are you sticking with them so far? I hope so, but if you need some encouragement, let me know! :)

Free time is hard to come by as a small business owner. Things are only going to continue picking up speed this year. With tax season right around the corner, it’s more important than ever to rely on specialized tools that save you time and make your workday more productive.

That’s why I’ve prepared the definitive 2014 small business toolkit for you. Try using these tools this year, and you’ll be able to grow your business and find more free time in the process.

1. Constant Contact

If you’ve got a business, that means you have customers, and you have to stay in touch with your customers on a regular basis.

One of the best ways to do that is with email. Think about it. How many times do you check your email every day? It’s often the first thing people do when they wake up and the last thing they do before going to bed.

This habitual checking makes email marketing of the easiest and most effective ways to alert your customers of company news, specials, promotions, events and other items, all at once.

Constant Contact offers an awesome email marketing software tool that allows you to easily build beautiful email newsletters. They have thousands of templates for you to choose from. They also have some powerful social media integration, analytics and survey features that keep your finger on the pulse of your dedicated customer base without taking up too much of your  time.

2. Hootsuite

With more and more people actively reading and posting on social media outlets like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, it makes sense that the need for social media marketing in the B2B and B2C spaces is growing rapidly.

You may already be active on social media. That’s great! If you’ve never used a tool like Hootsuite, you probably know from experience that you’re always having to switch from one account to the next, just to post the same info. This means your efforts can quickly become disorganized, disjointed, time-consuming and ineffective.

That’s no way to run a social media marketing campaign.

Hootsuite allows you to plug all of your social media accounts into one aggregated area, and easily post and monitor social activity across them all. You can even save time by scheduling posts in advance during the times you know your target market is most active.

Social media marketing with Hootsuite is a great way to engage and collaborate with your prospects, customers and other people interested in your company!

3. BoostSuite

If you have a website, an email newsletter and social media accounts, you have to constantly publish content and promote said content to build awareness and drum up new business. This is called content marketing. And yes, you guessed it, it takes a lot of time and effort to be effective.

To make things harder, you usually have to work on your marketing all by yourself: a tactic that just doesn’t work.

Luckily for you, there’s BoostSuite.

Besides actually writing your articles, newsletters, social media posts and other nuggets of knowledge, one of the toughest things about content marketing is figuring out what topics to write about.

BoostSuite analyzes your website’s marketing strategy, identifies your most valuable keywords, helps you fix on-page SEO errors, optimizes your conversion funnel, and allows you to collaborate with 13,000+ other small business marketers to collectively build your authority.

These benefits are all extremely important for small businesses that need to streamline their marketing and generate real results.

Bonus: BoostSuite integrates easily with Bigcommerce e-commerce websites allowing you to easily promote and sell your products!

4. Shoeboxed

I’m sure as a small business owner you’re constantly fighting a war of attrition for deskspace with mounds of paper and receipts. Oh, and tax season is here, so now you’ve got THAT to deal with too!

With Shoeboxed, you can fight the paper clutter battle and win the deskspace war. Their service helps you go paperless, allowing you to generate and send expense reports with receipt images right from your computer or mobile device.

You can also virtually manage your contact list without having to keep that unsightly Skechers box full of business cards on your desk. Just send them in with their prepaid envelopes and they’ll take care of the rest.

Don’t stress over taxes either. Their tool organizes your receipt data making it ready for export in case of an IRS audit. Need some extra financial help? Shoeboxed gives you access to unlimited tax advice through 1800Accountant (select plans).

Bonus: Shoeboxed has an awesome Evernote integration!

5. oDesk

You probably wear a lot of hats as a small business owner, but let’s face it, you can’t wear them all. You don’t have the time to fulfill every business responsibility, especially if you plan on maintaining a high-quality product or service.

That’s why if you ever need to outsource any work, you can find some first-class freelancers on a site like oDesk. You can get developers to build cool apps for your website, find copywriters to produce powerful marketing content, and procure the right help for pretty much any odd job you need completed.

With their recent merger with Elance, they now have an enormous base of professionals for you to choose from.

Keep in mind that it’s usually more cost-effective to hire a freelancer to make changes to your website than an agency. Plus the agency may try to upsell you or make you pay a retainer for their services.

You don’t have to deal with all that fluff with freelancers. They get in, do their job to your specifications, get paid, get out, and get started looking for the next job. They build their business through word of mouth and referral, so quality and performance usually isn’t an issue.

Do you have any other must-have tools you would add to my small business toolkit? I know there are a bunch I didn’t mention, so feel free to share your favorite tools that save you time and money to this list.

I hope you utilize all of these tools and have an organized, productive year!

About the Author

Ryan Kettler is Director of Communications for BoostSuite. Ryan is an internet marketing zealot, sports fanatic, devoted runner, avid golfer, beer connoisseur, and live music enthusiast. When he’s not helping BoostSuite customers he can be found running 5ks, sampling IPAs, and cheering on his North Carolina State Wolfpack.