For retailers, the holidays can comprise as much as 30% of their year’s sales. Which drives businesses to begin planning their sales strategy and advertising during the doldrums of late summer while consumers are still wearing flip-flops and lounging by the pool. Sometimes, however, things don’t always go the way we planned or new information spurs us to consider new options for advertising as the season barrels upon us.
The great part about social media advertising is you don’t have to meet a deadline a month before a publication goes to print. You can decide right now to schedule Facebook ads for your business and have them running in less than an hour. We encourage you to put a bit more thought into your content, audience, and strategy than that, but nonetheless, it can be done. Whether you’ve run Facebook ads in the past or you’re a newbie this season, take time to think through these six questions to develop a strategy before you launch your social media ads.
Who are my customers?
Every business has multiple target markets. Who are the people most likely to purchase your product or service for themselves or someone else this holiday season?
Look first at your current customers. Create a custom audience in Facebook based on email addresses of those who have purchased from you in the last year. If you can further segment your list into smaller groups for specific types of products or brands, look at that as well.
Your second audience should be people who have visited specific product or service pages on your website in the last 3 months. Why 3 months? Early shoppers begin their Christmas shopping in September. You may have website visitors considering a purchase from your company as a gift but they haven’t pulled the trigger yet.
A third audience encompasses a more general audience made up of people in the geographic and demographic area most like your current customers. These ads will reach many people who may not have heard about your product or service but would be interested if they knew about it.
What’s the best Facebook ad objective to reach my goal?
When you set up Facebook ads through the business platform, you have eleven objectives from which to choose for your ads. For reaching your current customers and people who have visited your website, we strongly encourage using conversions or catalog sales as your objective. Both require the addition of the pixel to your website (which we hope you’ve already added) and track when people actually purchase from you. Catalog sales requires you to have a database of products available. You can use traffic as the objective if you really want to drive people just to your website, but the conversion and catalog sales will target people most likely to actually purchase.
For the third audience we mentioned above, your “cold call” audience who may not know anything about your business, a reach, awareness, video or traffic objective may be appropriate. Although reach and awareness do not show an ad with the intent on driving traffic to your website, you will still have the option to include a link and we highly suggest you take advantage of that option.
Video and traffic require a little more of your audience than reach and awareness, so those options are a happy medium between paying just to show your ad and paying strictly for purchases. If you drive traffic to your website through these ads, those visitors will be added to the audience of people who have visited your website and then shown those ads.
How many ads should I run?
As many as you can. Not exactly the answer you want, right? We’ve suggested segmenting your target market into three audiences. At a minimum, we’d suggest running two ads per audience group. This allows you to test which images and content resonate the most highly with each group.
It’s possible to use the same two ads for all three (or more) audience groups. Your most important objective in creating ads is to create an ad that will resonate with your audience. If your ad image features a product and no people, the ad may be more flexible than one featuring people. If your ad features actual people, you’d want the people in your image to reflect your target audience as much as possible, which means you may need different ads for each target audience.
What should I budget?
The best and worst part of digital marketing is you can set your own budget. Instead of being locked into a specific price for ad space, you decide how many people you want to reach and how much you are willing to spend. We’ve seen cost as low as 2 cents per 1,000 video views and as high as $11 or $12 per 1,000 people reached. What’s the value of your product or service and how many do you need to sell in order to make it worth your dollars spent? Most marketers are willing to spend more to sell a $1000 necklace than a $10 one.
For local retailers in rural areas, $300-500 can provide sufficient reach for one ad group. Regional or national retailers or retailers in larger metropolitan areas will find it necessary to spend $1500+ on one ad group due to the competition.
What should I include in my ad copy?
Urgency--Create ad campaigns around each holiday event or sale. Have special discounts for Black Friday or Cyber Monday? Run ads with that date as a deadline. Holiday shoppers are looking for hot sales and want to buy before the sale ends. A specific deadline creates the urgency you need to induce shoppers to buy.
Call to Action--Every ad should have a link to your website and a call to action. Ask for the purchase and make it easy to buy.
Emojis--Emojis make your ad and eye-catching. Facebook allows you to use emojis in ads so take advantage of it to set your ad apart from the others scrolling through your shoppers’ feeds.
Compelling image--Whether you use a stock image from the manufacturer of your most popular brand or a graphic you’ve created using Canva, your ad’s image will sell your product and service. Simple is better.
How can I use Facebook ads for post-season follow-up?
First, market after-Christmas sales to your audience of people who visited your website over the last 3 months. Some of those may not have received everything they wanted from you and may have received cash as gifts that they will want to use with you.
Second, use the data you’ve gathered through your holiday ads to influence your future marketing plans. What images received the best response? Which audience met your objectives the best at the lowest cost? Which products or services appealed to which audience the most? You can also view insights for your Facebook page to see how your follower demographics may have changed through the holiday season.
If you’re bummed about the amount of time it takes to put together a digital ad strategy, we can help, not just for Christmas but all year long. Schedule a 30-minute call to talk about your goals for the coming year and how digital marketing can help you win.