Small business owners, I feel your pain. Deciding what digital marketing strategy to pursue is confusing. I had a conversation last week with a friend asking advice.
“Everyone here knows that we need to do something online for our business, we just don’t know what. The problem is that if we don’t take action then someone else will and we will get left further behind.”
The problem is that when you research various ways and strategies to drive traffic online to your business, you find conflicting information on the following
- Paid Traffic (ppc)
- Social Media Marketing
Now the question is “what is the best option?” or “what should I do?” My answer is whatever works. I have moved away from cornering myself as someone that performs only SEO because in some instances it just doesn’t get the job done.
While I won’t disagree that some strategies are better than others, the following article will show you exactly how we are driving targeted leads strictly with Facebook.
Does SEO work?
This actually started as a case study in SEO. I created a site to test out few theories that I had in regards to ranking lead generation sites quickly for clients. Actually, the intent was two-fold. I wanted to see exactly how long it would take me to rank a brand new site for Utica NY related terms as well as the costs to do so. I asked myself a few questions prior to starting out on this project
- How long would it take to rank in what I consider low volume/high competition keywords?
- Would the cost justify the project?
- How much traffic do these low search volume terms actually generate?
It only took three months to rank page one for the terms that were selected as you can see below.
The problem was exactly what I thought though, despite the effort to rank there was very little traffic.
Despite a successful SEO campaign there was very little traffic to show for our hard work and I started to think that SEO might not even be a viable strategy for this market. You can see that until we starting tapping into an additional traffic source the website received 0 visits. Now before you jump to conclusions, I believe that SEO is always needed. We won’t take on an SEO campaign for less than $500/monthly so where does that leave a small business owner? The scale of the campaign costs needs to be proportionate to the revenue being brought in to a business. I don’t believe in offering services that make no sense to a business despite the feeling that they “need” them. The lack of traffic in this case was a problem and I wanted to come up with a solution.
This is exactly why I love lead generation as it puts the client’s money to work to get them more business. It is also the reason why SEO services can leave a bad taste in the mouth of many small business owners. You paid for what was a successful service, yet business revenue stayed the same. When purchasing a lead generation program, you are forcing us to problem solve and deliver results. If organic traffic won’t deliver the business then I needed to find another source. I thought to myself
Where does this audience hang out?
Utilizing social media traffic
I thought a lot about where my target audience spent most of their time online….the answer was Facebook. We already had the SEO part of the project covered. If someone was searching for the services that my lead generation site was going to offer they would have no trouble finding it. The problem was that there just weren’t enough people searching for those terms to make it a worthwhile strategy on it’s own. We needed to tap into a much larger source of traffic.
But I already have a Facebook page?
Interacting with your audience on Facebook is still important, but when most people think of social media marketing they think about how many “likes” or “shares” their posts get. This is NOT what we will be discussing. Instead, we will talk about utilizing the paid traffic that Facebook can provide to drive business.
Your first step (if not already done) should be setting up google analytics with your website. You need the data to determine where your visitors are coming from and what they do once they reach the site. This guide will not cover how to do so, if you need help with that you can always contact me.
Step 1: Create Your Ad
Head over to canva.com and create a new graphic (Facebook ad)
Canva offers a great platform that will allow anyone to create graphics regardless of skill level. You can select icons, colors, upload images and drag and drop until you see fit.
Pro tip: One thing that is important when creating a Facebook ad that will be used for service types of lead generation is that you include your phone number on the ad. This can help you save bit of money on your campaign as people can clearly see your number without needing to click the ad to call you.
You will need to play with your ad graphic because Facebook has restrictions on the size of the phone number vs. the amount of text on the ad. Luckily, canva allows you to make adjustments with ease to existing saved graphics.
The ad should have a clear call to action and be “eye-catching”, other than that we are having good results with some of the ugliest ads you could imagine. Don’t spend too much time on the graphic design if you are doing this yourself, just put something together the best you can.
Step 2: The Facebook Campaign
We will be creating a campaign with the focus on driving traffic back to the lead generation website. This allows us to track our website conversions as well as re-target any traffic generated.
Start by selecting “create an ad” and then choose “send people to your website”.
Continue to follow the prompts until you have the option to set your audience. This will be the first situation that people can make a mistake with a paid campaign. You want highly targeted traffic rather than a broad range of people visiting your site. Why? Because we are spending money every time someone clicks an ad to visit the site. Facebook allows us to select a very targeted demographic and location to serve up our ads.
Pro tip: The first step is to delete the “united states” location and type in your specific location that you utilize to offer services. In our example we are targeting Utica, NY.
After narrowing down your target location you also have more options including
Depending on your business, this can be extremely beneficial to zero in on the exact people you want to turn into customers. For our example, we served ads to men and women aged 25-65 in Utica NY.
Your next step is to choose a daily budget. This comes down to what you are comfortable with, we kept the budget to under $10.00 a day (300/month) to test the strategy out. I would recommend something close to that to start so that you can get enough data to show if this is a viable option for your business.
Upload your ad
Follow through the rest of the prompts (Facebook is very helpful with setting up an ad) and you will arrive at the page where you actually build out the ad.
Choose the “single image or video in your ads” and click the “images” option under “media”. Here is your chance to upload the image that you created in canva earlier. Add your website URL as well as the information that the ads manager requests you to ad and once set place your order.
You will now be driving traffic to your website via your Facebook ad!
Step 3: Re-targeting Your Traffic
This is where the magic happens and the reason why this strategy is so effective. You now should have a steady flow of traffic from Facebook to your business website. You should also have clear calls to action on your site (visible phone number, email form to submit for a quote etc..) and goals set up within google analytics to track that behavior.
You are going to create a Facebook pixel and install into your website code by following this guide here. Facebook explains it in great detail through that link so there is no need to regurgitate the information.
What is re-targeting?
We are going to create a targeted audience of people that have only visited our lead generation website and serve specific ads to them. Why is this effective? Things happen, people get side tracked for different reasons or might just be in different spots in the sales cycle. For whatever reason, a person was interested enough in our business service and took a look at our website. Maybe they weren’t ready to call yet or wanted to check out the competition. Whatever the reason, we now have their information and they can’t get away.
Create a new ad in canva that says something like “Hey….were you looking for (enter your service)?” and give them your phone number to call. As these potential customers browse Facebook or instagram they will see your new ad. They’ve checked out the website and are already familiar with what you do, now we are strengthening our brand and building more trust and contact points. If that website visitor hasn’t gone with someone else for your service then you stand a pretty good chance of having them contact you now through retargeting. Here is how to set it up.
Create a custom audience
Click on the create a custom audience link and you will be taken to this window
Here you will select “website traffic” and create the Facebook pixel. Follow the prompts on how to install the pixel and reference the link posted above for help. When all is said and done, you can now target only the people that have visited your website to see a new ad. You will need to go through build another ad set to serve only this audience, just follow the same procedure as listed above to create the new ad.
Disclaimer: This is a general overview on how to utilize re-targeting to continually serve ads. If you have specific goals in place on your site (only email submits, purchases etc.) then you can strictly target people that have visited. For our unique situation, we only targeted those that visited the site previously and kept things broad in that sense. For the sake of this article, this is the easiest way to set everything up for a beginner.
Let’s see the results
In the last 30 days (at the time of writing this) we generated over 20 targeted phone calls for our small area. This shows that Facebook is the most valuable source of traffic for the campaign and the highest converting.
What about the costs?
We are also utilizing a PPC campaign in addition to SEO for this project. Our average CPC with PPC is around $3.00 per click from google ads. The Facebook traffic for both the re-targeting campaign and initial ad campaign are between .19- .40 per click. This is much cheaper than a traditional PPC campaign and is converting at a higher rate. The overall ad spend at the time of this article is just over $200.00 to send over 20 leads that generate above $3000.00 per sale to the client.
There are many variations that can be done using Facebook re-targeting to drive additional traffic and increase conversions. For our project, we just weren’t generating enough organic traffic to get conversions. If your website is generating traffic (which you would know through google analytics data) then you could easily skip the first part of this guide and pay only for the retargeted ads to save money from your budget.