I’ve been a fan of Facebook marketing for a long time, but had only dabbled in it until recently — as it was simply a low priority relative to other things I had going on in my company. Recently I stopped dabbling and took a dive into it. On top of the re-marketing campaigns I have been using with mild success for the last year, I built out conversion campaigns, and lead generation campaigns aimed at turning cold traffic (users who had never seeked out my services) into customers. I’ve had to learn a lot and try a ton along the way. The more I learn about it, the more exciting, interesting and appealing it becomes. The platform lets a local service business like mine reach well targeted customers in a unique way and engaging ways for an extremely low cost. It technically does the same for businesses of any type but I find that the type of business makes for some challenges. Challenges that might leave other small business owners questioning whether it’s even worth it or, whether they are doing it right. Here’s what I’ve struggled with
Over 85% Of Those Seeking Our Type of Services Are Not On Facebook.
Everyone who sells online marketing or has written a book on the subject is going to come out swinging with something to the effect of ‘YES they are, you just haven’t found them yet’. Let me get to the hard numbers.
We can all agree that organic Google and Adwords traffic is sending people looking for something about our services to my website. My website gets around 20,000 unique visitors per month from these sources. According to the Facebook custom audience of ‘all of my website traffic’, only 2,900 people have been tagged by Facebook. Facebook has identified less than 15% of my website traffic, that’s it! Of those 2900, over 50% fall into the 65+ age bracket. If we were running a website on electronic music, that was frequented by millennials, Facebook would likely identify nearly 100% of the traffic. Starting off from the get go, with this small sample of a customer base leaves a very uninspiring feeling.
Its Hard To Identify Targeted Web Traffic For Re-marketing.
My company website gets a toooon of traffic from all of the world, as I explain here. However we just cover a small area in Southwest Florida. On top of that, a lot of the content marketing traffic is just looking for ‘content’. They’re looking for how to’s, and ideas — in other words, they can generate no profit. In many cases they cost us money, as they make calls to our office seeking free advice (I explain more about this problem here). In order to make the Re-marketing effective, we have to identify users that are actually looking to buy, AND our within our service area. The best way I’ve found of identifying users looking to buy, is by identifying landing pages that typically lead to sales. A page that is frequently served as a landing page for ‘my service companies’ would be used for re-marketing. The second problem is location. Facebook does allow you to identify users who live in a certain area, however SWFL is a common seasonal location. Many of whom own houses here and might need our service call another part of the country home. Using Facebook location targeting will get those that live here, but won’t get those that list a far off city as ‘home’ on their Facebook profile.
Tracking User Behavior & Sales Funnel Is Difficult
One of the big perks of Facebook ads is the ability to quickly and easily get content to prospects at different stages of the sales funnel. For example for someone with no personal interaction might get just some informative content well written to encourage them to contact us. Someone else who’s already gotten an estimate needs some content to push them to closure. It sure sounds great, and isn’t too difficult to set up if you are strictly an ebiz. It’s a different story though once you have a phone number. Interactions via phone can’t be tracked by Facebook, so in order to get the people into the right audience on Facebook, we must send them a custom URL (and hope they click) to pages created solely for the purpose of tagging and identifying Facebook users. This means a lot of time creating pages, and then on boarding staff to get those links sent.
You’re certainly going to want to know which ads and / or campaigns are performing well, and what’s not, so you can make continual improvements, and cut the junk. The traffic sent to your needs to be tracked for this. Unfortunately, Google analytics can’t report all the details without customizing the Facebook URLs. It’s not terribly difficult but takes some time to get set up.
If you’re going for the goal of capturing cold traffic and turning them into leads, tracking their behavior is even more crucial. When you’re already running multiple campaigns, with multiple audiences, it gets real difficult to tell who is who, and what is what. For this I’ve found the best solution is to set up a copy of the website, on a sub domain, exclusively for the Facebook traffic. With this however comes the extra hassle of maintaining 2 separate websites.
Is It All Or Nothing?
The steps I’ve taken to overcome the challenges and run prosperous Facebook Ads are not easy to pull off, and borderline impossible for someone without ‘web marketing’ experience. I sometimes wonder, would Facebook marketing even be worth it for a small business? Sure you could outsource it, but in my experience, I couldn’t trust the results. Even as a the company owner, with high level of experience in development, and online marketing, I still make mistakes and find errors in my data as a result of my implementation. Get one of those custom URLs wrong in the Facebook ads, and you’ve unknowingly got a mystery in your analytics. Set up an audience wrong, and you’re whole campaign is useless. When I have my developer do things, I find even more mistakes in the data from his implementations. Paying per lead is one option I see.
The other option, for re-marketing, is throwing one decent ‘dragnet’ campaign over everything. Say to hell with target audiences and sales funnels, and just re-market to all your website traffic, that lives in your area regardless of where they came from or what they are after. Give them content that keeps your company front and center in their mind, and that presents you as a leader in your market. This type of campaign could be set up relatively effortlessly and wouldn’t cost you a ton to run, and you would need to rely on intuition to determine how effective it is. Sure it’s not going to win any marketing awards, and someone will tell you that you can do better, but in all reality it is the most practical option for small business owners.