“I tried running Facebook local ads, it didn’t work. I spent $20 and nothing happened, except I lost my 20 bucks – I think I should stick to my usual.”
This was the start of a conversation we had with one of our new clients when we asked for more information about the Facebook ad strategy they’d been using for their local business.
It’s something we hear a lot because it’s common for small business owners to have a hard time transitioning from traditional print advertising to Facebook ads.
Success doesn’t often come right away because Facebook ads are different. And one of the main differences is that you can see right away if a Facebook ad is working – with traditional media, it’s much harder to measure.
Let’s dive in.
7 Ways Facebook Local Ads Are Different From Traditional Print Ads
1. Facebook Ads let you see your return on investment (ROI) clearly
With traditional print, like a monthly community magazine, you place your media buy and a few months down the line, “your” issue hits mailboxes around town.
People may call you or come into your location and mention the ad but otherwise you don’t have a clear idea if that few hundred dollar ad spend brought you much return in the way of new business.
With Facebook local ads, in contrast, you have some solid metrics around your ads. It’s one of the best parts of digital advertising in general – we can track the important metrics easily!
For example, say a hair salon wanted to advertise a 20% discount off a hair colour service for new clients which costs $100. For each offer that gets redeemed, they’ll bring in $80 and a potential repeat customer.
From the Facebook ad, they get 3 people to click on their ad and get the discount everyday. Each lead costs them about $4, which Facebook shows them in their reporting dashboard. This works out to an ad spend of $12/day for this promotion (3 leads x $4/each).
If 1 person out of every 3 follows through and books an appointment, that’s about 30 new bookings a month and $2040 revenue (30 clients x $80/appt) minus the $360 ad spend.
With this example, we’re not taking into account lifetime value of the new clients or the fact that there will be additional services, like haircuts and possible product upsells that will happen on a percentage of these visits.
The actual revenue is going to be much higher than $2040 – but whatever it ended up being, you’d be able to calculate revenue, profit and customer value against your ad spend very easily.
2. You can move at the speed of small business
Small businesses move fast. It’s one of the things that makes them so fun to own. If you want to try a new idea or test a marketing campaign – you can without having 16 board meetings.
With traditional print, you’re at the mercy of someone else’s editorial schedule or inventory since there’s actual limits on the printed page.
Plus, if you have an idea on Saturday night about a new promotion you want to run for the following Monday, you can’t get that into a print publication fast enough.
With Facebook ads you can quite literally get an ad up in minutes and you’re not bound by the limitations of another publication’s schedule.
Publishing speed does have its drawbacks. With print, you’re likely to take longer to think about the strategy behind your ad, the offer itself, the creative – but with Facebook it’s easy to slap something up quick that might not be as well thought out as it should.
3. Testing Ideas in Print Have Long Feedback Loops
Remember the Yellow Pages? The paper kind?
Back in the day, if you took out an ad in the Yellow Pages, it was there for 365 days until the next year’s edition came out.
But what if that ad was terrible? What if the messaging was off and didn’t appeal to your target market at all?
There was no way to know until it was too late and you’re stuck with a chunk of money invested and no customers.
One of our favorite things about Facebook local ads is that it lets small businesses test offers and messaging with their target audience easily, while controlling their budgets.
You can try different ad copy, offers, images and demographic targeting all for only a few dollars and up the ad spend when you find your winning combination.
4. Reaching Visitors and Tourists to your community
If your business relies on tourists or visitors to your local community, you know how hard it can be to advertise to them. You may be investing in billboards, signage and local SEO to reach your audience.
Visitors just aren’t walking around with the local community magazine in their hand because they’re looking at their phones!
Using Facebook local targeting features you can actually have your ads show up only for people within 10km of your business location.
That’s not whether someone lives within 10km but whether Facebook has tagged their phone as being within 10km, regardless of where they’re from.
Just think of how powerful that can be. You can create an ad that shows up in the newsfeed of everyone who is in 10km of your restaurant, right before dinner.
Restaurants can offer happy hour specials to people close by, golf courses can offer a discount on green fees to people who like golf that are currently within 20km of the clubhouse. The possibilities are endless!
How could you use this targeting feature in your business?
5. Reach the Right Person with the Right Message
It’s easy to understand that we wouldn’t advertise dental services to children (or the parents of those children) the same way you’d advertise dental services to seniors, right?
You’d use different offers, different images and the copy would highlight benefits that were important to each audience.
Traditional print advertisement gives you some audience control.
You can buy ad space in a community newsletter for moms or a business newsletter that the Chamber of Commerce publishes. You are limited by what publications are available in your area, and if you’re from a small community, your options will be even less.
Facebook allows for this type of audience targeting on steroids!
You can target based on postal code, age, gender, children’s age, interests, buying habits, etc. or layer targeting options so that you get ultra specific about who you want to reach.
6. Low Cost for Those Starting Out
Print and other traditional forms of local advertising like tv and radio spots are expensive and often out of reach for small local businesses.
Local Facebook ads are accessible to every sized business, whether you make millions in revenue or you’re just starting out with a home-based business.
They really even the playing field.
For just $5/day, with the right strategy, you can start to see revenue that far exceeds your ad spend.
That revenue can be poured back into your ads to scale successful campaigns, growing your business while you’re doing all the other things a small business owner needs to do.
7. Retargeting Customers and Website Visitors
Now this last point is almost not fair since traditional media never had a chance here but we’re including it because retargeting is such a powerful feature of Facebook ads!
First, an explanation.
Retargeting is when you serve specific ads to existing customers or people who have been on your website, watched your videos on Facebook, etc. Basically, it’s serving ads to people who have been exposed to your business in some way.
In marketing circles, these types of audiences are described as being “warm” since they’ve been warmed up to your business through some type of exposure or previous purchase.
Warm audiences almost always convert into customers or repeat customers easier than cold audiences (people who have never heard of your business) so it’s a great place to start with Facebook ads to get an easy win.
Some retargeting ad ideas to get the ideas flowing.
- Offer specials to repeat customers
- Offer discounts for referrals
- Advertise a related or complimentary service to a previous customer
- Offer a free report to a previous website visitor in exchange for their email
Retargeting can get complicated but it doesn’t have to. As with all things marketing, we advise simple first and increase complexity only once the simple ads are working!
Next Steps for Your Facebook Local Ads
- Download our Facebook ads checklist to learn everything you’ll need in place before you run your first ads.
- Get your feet wet in the ads manager setting your your first (or next) local ad campaign!