Using Facebook Ads to Promote Your eCommerce Store

Do you have an e-commerce store? If so, you’ve got some competition. According to Quora, there are over 100,000 e-stores online. One of the most popular reasons to create a website is to sell a product of service.

This could be a virtual product, physical product or subscription service. Even if you have a brick-and-mortar store, you’ll still want a robust online presence.

So, how do you stand out from all this competition?

Facebook Ads are an effective – and often under-utilized – solution. I’ve been using Facebook Ads with great success for years now. This is a big topic, so I’ve broken this guide down into two sections.

Here’s Part One, where we look at how to create News Feed Ads:

Step 1: Identify Your Customers

As an SEO pro, you already know no product is ever marketed towards “everybody.” You need to define your likely target audiences, determine what their needs are and address those needs with your marketing.

This is called creating a Buyer Persona. If you want a refresher course on how to make these, check out my guide The Power of Buyer Personas.

Don’t forget to bring your Buyer Personas when developing your Facebook ads. One major strength of advertising on Facebook is the number of advanced targeting features you have access to. A detailed, well-developed Buyer Persona can be put to good use when buying Facebook ads.

Step 2. Research Your Customers’ Other Interests

Facebook’s Audience Insights Tool lets you easily learn even more about your target audiences. Traditional Buyer Personas involve a fair amount of guesswork. But Audience Insights gives you real world in-sight about your potential customers.

First, start with a general, fairly obvious interest of your target audience. This is the interest you use to start your Audience Insights search. Click on Page Likes to see other interests which overlap with your original topic.

These topics will show you new categories to market in. You’ll also be able to further develop your customer profile based on actual marketplace information.

There’s another benefit here. You might be able to reach an audience of potential customers which your competitions haven’t discovered yet. Not only will this give you an edge with marketing, but the ads in any under-served area can actually be pretty cheap.

Step 3. Create Compelling Ads

Now that you’re able to “seed interests” and identify your potential customers, it’s time to create some ads which will appeal to them.

Facebook ads have three parts:

  • Copy – What you’re saying
  • Image – What the ad looks like
  • Format – How the ad is displayed

Facebook has three types of ad formats. They are News Feed, Video Ads and Sidebar Ads. Let’s take a look at the most popular format first – News Feed Ads:

News Feed Ads

These are probably the most visible types of ads. Your brand will appear in a user’s news feed, right among the day-to-day posts of their Facebook friends.

These ads need an image, headline and some brief intro copy. Each aspect needs to speak directly to your target audience.

Images are what will grab the viewer’s attention first. If you have a physical product, display it in your image. For services, use an illustration which represents what service you provide.

Your copy needs to speak to directly to your Customer Persona. This means using language they respond to, and addressing their needs. If you’ve developed your Customer Persona correctly, you should have a pretty good idea of how to connect with your audience.

Make your copy as detailed as possible. People respond more to specifics. Of course, you need to make sure your copy directly connects to the content on your landing page. Potential customers will bounce from your page if they feel they’ve been misled.

Facebook News Feed ads have pretty strong competition. Namely, the posts from the person’s family and friends. But if you identify your target market and detail your ads directly to them, you’ll see an increase in your conversion rates.

I recommend starting your Facebook advertising campaign with News Feed ads. They’re the most popular, and creating them is relatively easy once you’ve developed a customer profile. For info on creating Video and Sidebar Ads.

Let’s Learn about Video Ads

Facebook video appears in the user’s News Feed. These are similar to News Feed ads only with video instead of static images. There are three general types of Video Ads:

  • Ads which showcase the product directly, highlighting the various features
  • Ads which feature real people talking about how they’ve directly benefitted from your product
  • Ads which tell either a real or fictional story

Product Showcase Ads

Basically, you’ll want to make a claim about your product and then show video of that claim in action. Is your brand of pet food the one dogs love? Show a few dogs happily eating your dog chow.

Testimonials

Find a real customer who represents your target market. People respond very well to testimonials, even from someone they don’t know.

Testimonials are a great way to demonstrate how the product works in a real world setting. You can even directly compare your product to the competition. Explain why your product is the better alternative.

Storytelling Ads

Videos which tell a story are always a popular type of video. Help create a personal touch by showing the people behind your brand. Explain the history of your product and why your team is so committed to selling it.

Some products have an interesting manufacturing process. You can show the product being made, which can helps highlight the quality craftsmanship, top-notch materials and other benefits.

How to Create Facebook Ads that Connect

First, visit the Facebook Ad Manager.

  • To create a Video Ad, select “Get Video Views”
  • To create a Newsfeed Ad, select “Send People to Your Website”

You’ll then pick an age range, gender and geographic location. This should be information you can pull from your Customer Profile. Need help creating a Customer Profile? The Power of Buyer Personas has everything you need to know.

Your Buyer Persona will also be used in the next section. This is “Detailed Targeting.” Try to pick a small to medium sized group of interests. If you pick a lot of interests, your ads will target too large of a group to be effective. You want to focus your ads in on your most likely buyers.

There’s a big advantage to finely targeted ads. A lot of variables are eliminated. If your ads are targeted to your potential customers, but your ad campaign is failing to connect, you know there’s a problem with your message. This makes correcting a potentially bad marketing strategy relatively quick and easy.

Next you’ll need to select “Placements.” Personally, I leave the Instagram option selected unless I’m planning to create a separate Instagram campaign. If that’s something you’re interested in, check out Say Cheese! Seven Ways to Instagram Marketing Success.

Now it’s on to the finance stage. “Budgeting” is where you decide how much you want to spend. I choose “Manual” for the “Bid Amount” and start my campaign with a low daily figure. I’d rather increase my daily spend than start out by overspending.

I also start my campaigns with “Link Click CPC.” This only charges your campaign when people actually click on your ad.

The other option is to charge you whenever your ad is shown. This is often a waste of money. You’re really only interested in people who actually express an interest in your brand.

Facebook Ads are a great way to boost sales and awareness for your online store. Although there is a cost up-front, the long-term benefits often justify the expense.

When your marketing efforts feel like they lack “oomph” or sales at your store have otherwise been slowing down, a Facebook ad campaign can be just the kickstart your e-business needs.

Do you use Facebook Ads? Under what circumstances have you found them to be effective? Please share your thoughts in the comments below: