How to Run Facebook Ads for Local Businesses

In this guide I’m going to show you how to create a simple Facebook ad funnel for any local business.

Whether you own a gym, restaurant, bricks and mortar store, or a 100% online business serving your local area, you’ll be able to apply this Facebook ad strategy to your business immediately.

Do Facebook ads work for local businesses?

I know quite a few local business owners and they don’t use Facebook or Instagram because they think the following:

You need a big budget – You can run Facebook ads from as little as $1 per day. The screenshot below shows a Messenger campaign for my own local business running at $10HKD ($1.27) per day, which has driven over 62 Messenger leads at a cost of $7.69HKD (98 cents per lead).

Facebook doesn’t work for my business – Maybe you’ve ran ads in the past that didn’t work, or perhaps you think your products don’t match up with Facebook or Instagram.

The fact of the matter is that everyone with a smartphone has either Facebook or Instagram (usually both).

Doctors, parents, singles, teens, working professionals, dog lovers, homeowners, yoga lovers, pizza eaters, online shoppers, vegans, plumbers, and business owners ALL use Facebook and Instagram.

The point I’m making is this: whatever your ideal customer looks like, if you had a chance to look at their smartphone they will have Facebook or Instagram installed.

Your ideal customer uses Facebook and Instagram, so both platforms are amazing places to find new customers when you learn how to use Facebook ads.

Understand the Facebook algorithm

If you’ve ran unsuccessful Facebook ads in the past, it’s probably because you didn’t understand the Facebook algorithm.

For example, did you know that after 500-1,000 ad impressions are served, Facebook uses the following data to determine how much you pay for your actions:

  • How many of the 1,000 people clicked your ad?
  • How many of the 1,000 people stopped scrolling to view your ad?
  • How many of the 1,000 people commented, liked, saved, or shared your ad?
  • How many of the 1,000 people clicked your ad and then stayed on your website for longer than 20 seconds?

The algorithm takes into consideration dozens of factors and then provides your advert with a relevance score from 1-10 (the higher the score, the cheaper your ads will cost).

Facebook wants to serve the right ads to the right people so their users stay on Facebook to consume more ads (it’s how Facebook makes its billions). Bad or poorly targeted ads annoy users, and they spend less time on the platform.

Relevance score is a measurement used to gauge whether your ads are on the right track or not.

The higher your relevance score, the cheaper your ads will cost and the more profitable they’ll be. The lower your relevance score, the worse the experience users are having and the more Facebook will charge you per click or impression.

Studies have shown that higher relevance scores do lower ad costs.

With that in mind, to create winning Facebook ads you need to base your strategy around providing value to the right audience.

Here’s a two-step funnel that can help you run successful Facebook ads:

1. Build awareness

Unless you’re an experienced Facebook marketer, the fastest way to burn a hole in your pocket with nothing to show for it is to run Facebook ads asking people to visit your website or buy your product/service right out of the gate.

Your first interaction with a lead should not be a cold sell, but to create a connection.

I’m sure you get cold emails every day from cowboys pitching you SEO or web services, and what do you do? You delete them.

The same principle applies on Facebook and Instagram. If you ask people to buy your product right off the bat, they won’t. Not only that, but because they don’t know your business or product, they won’t click on your advert or engage.

That crushes your relevance score and drives up costs.

What you should do is say:

Hey, Facebook users. This is my business, this is what we offer – I think it may be of interest to you, so take a look.”

You can do this in a number of ways.

For example, if you manage a yoga studio aimed at mothers, write a blog post about 3 Yoga Stretches Moms Can Do with Their Children and run the advert on Facebook targeting mothers.

Or maybe you own a local restaurant or bakery. Serve a number of food-porn-like images with a cool catchphrase and target couples as they will tag their other half to visit if your creatives are on point.

You could run a short video showing your product in use or a short 30-second story that your audience can relate to (e.g. a lifestyle video).

Blogs, creative images, and videos all do a great job in getting your audience’s attention.

That’s what you’re paying for: attention. Once you capture their attention, selling becomes easier.

Whatever content piece you use, it must provide value.

Value can be:

  • information – 3 Yoga Stretches Moms Can Do with Their Children;
  • entertainment to cure boredom – amazing food pictures or videos, as people tend to log in into FB/IG when bored; or
  • solving pain points – content that helps your audience with a problem (i.e. a video showing your product in action solving a problem for someone).

Value can come in many forms. By providing value, you get the user’s attention.

This example is one of my favorites. It’s food delivery service Paleo Robbie leveraging the Bangkok heatwave to reach new audiences:

It’s a funny image that makes people laugh and, more importantly, they are providing great advice on how to stay hydrated.

Here’s a video from Bangkok Helper, a service that helps expats find apartments and set up bank accounts in Bangkok:

2.jab them in the face

Your content piece, if done right, should have achieved three things:

  1. Built a positive connection between your business and the lead.
  2. The lead clearly understands you’re an authority in your industry (by the value provided).
  3. They are ready for the next step.

The next step is to pitch them with an offer (a.k.a. a jab to the face).

Facebook ads are great in that they can tell you who clicked your advert or watched your video, allowing you to show your offer ONLY to people who consumed your content first.

For example, I’ve told Facebook to create an audience of users who have watched 50% or more of the Bangkok Helper video.

Anyone who has watched 50% or more of the video are then shown an advert to make a booking via Messenger:

When I show them the call to action above, they are more likely to stop and consume the message because they’ve viewed 75% of the first video and are most likely interested in the service (as why else would you watch 75% of a video?).

I’ll get more clicks to ads, which will increase the relevance score and lower ad costs. As you can see, they are paying $7.52HKD per message, which is equal to $0.96USD.

The content piece also helps qualify leads, as a person will only click through to your blog post or watch your video if they are interested in your service. People who stop watching the video after three seconds or leave your blog post after five seconds can be excluded from targeting, thus saving you $$$.

A simple method to get started

This is a simple two-step funnel to help local businesses get started with Facebook ads.

Your second step doesn’t have to include an offer for your flagship product. If you sell high-ticket items that are priced at $500 or more, your offer may be a free eBook where you ask for the lead’s email address and nurture them through email marketing.

Each business is unique and comes with its own set of problems. You need to put yourself in the customers’ shoes and ask yourself which message they need next. This guide is just to give you the theory behind running successful Facebook ads; you’ll still need to test ad copies and audiences to create winning ads.

Need help running ads for your business? Click here to see the coaching I provide or enter your details below and I’ll get back to you within 24 hours.

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