And I’ll be the first to admit–I think advertising on Facebook is pretty amazing. I meant, think about it–in the “old days” of running a business, you had to pay $5,000 for an ad in a magazine or the Yellow Pages and hope for the best. But with Facebook ads, you can spend $20, test an ad, see how it performs, and decide if it’s worth investing in.
The truth is, Facebook ads are a hot topic for a reason. They can be pretty awesome and an incredible tool for building your business… when they’re done right. But the problem is, most bloggers don’t know how to use them correctly. Especially bloggers who are just starting out.
The Facebook Ads Mistake Most New Bloggers Make
A lot of new bloggers look at Facebook ads and think, “Hey! This would be a great way to drive traffic to my blog!” And while I totally understand that way of thinking, the truth is, traffic isn’t the right reason to use Facebook ads.
When you run Facebook ads, the very first thing you need to think about is Return On Investment (ROI). Your goal shouldn’t be more traffic. It should be more revenue. And while getting more traffic might be a happy side effect, when you’re running ads, your top concern should always be your ROI.
But you’re not going to have a great ROI if you’re simply using ads to drive traffic to your website. You just won’t be able to earn enough from the ad networks and page views to make up for your ad spend.
The real ROI comes from other monetization strategies, like selling your own product or someone else’s product with an affiliate link.
Start With the End in Mind
A lot of people get started with Facebook ads because they’re such a popular advertising option right now; there’s that sense of “Everyone’s doing it… so I guess I should do it too!” But the truth is, there are only three good reasons to use Facebook ads:
- To sell a product (which I just mentioned);
- To build your email list (which won’t show ROI immediately, but will definitely help to boost your revenue down the line); or
- To promote a brand new Facebook page in order to get more followers and build social proof. (This one should be used sparingly!)
And what do all those three things have in common? They are all different ways to help you make more money.
When it comes to Facebook ads, you need to start with the end goal of driving more revenue. It doesn’t matter what Tom, Bob, or Mary are doing or how cool their ads are; it’s about creating an ad strategy that’s ultimately going to put more money in your pocket, whether it’s through expanding your reach, building your email lists, or selling more products.
So what does that look like in action?
Let’s say you want to create your own products and promote other people’s products through affiliate partnerships, so you need to build out your email list. It’s okay if you don’t have a product in place or know which products you want to promote. You can run Facebook ads to grow your list and start building that relationship. The point is you have a plan of how to monetize that list in the future. You have an idea of what you’re eventually going to sell, and the ROI from your Facebook ads will happen down the line when you launch your product and affiliate partnerships. It’s an upfront investment that will pay off later.
Long story short: when it comes to Facebook ads, you should always, always, ALWAYS know how they’re going to make you money – now, or in the future. If your goal is page views, with no bigger plan in mind, turn off your ads right now and don’t turn them on again until you’ve figured this out.
Facebook Ad Basics
So, now that you know the purpose behind Facebook ads — to put money into your pocket — let’s very briefly talk about the basics of getting started with Facebook ads.
What Kind of Facebook Ads Should You Use?
A common question from beginner bloggers is, “I see tons of different ads on Facebook… How many different types are there?!”
The answer is: well… a lot. There are a lot of different ads in a lot of different formats, from video ads to multi-product ads to canvas ads to dynamic ads. But don’t let them overwhelm you!
When you’re first starting out, you want to take your time to learn the ins and outs. Your first foray into Facebook ads doesn’t need to be super complicated, like a professionally scripted and edited video. Instead, I highly recommend starting simple with a boosted post.
A boosted post is a Facebook post you “boost” to get it in front of a larger group of people. You create a post that has some sort of revenue driver (like a blog post that includes an affiliate link or an email capture) and share it directly to your Facebook page, just like you would a normal post. As long as you have an ad account on Facebook (and if you don’t, you can learn how to set one up here), you’ll see a button that says “boost post”. Click that button, and it allows you to set a budget and targeting parameters for your post.
Your targeting parameters describe who you want to see your ad. One of the major draws of Facebook advertising is that it allows you to target your ads to specific audiences, which can help your conversions. Start by targeting people who like your page, and their friends; if you don’t have a following, you can target your boosted post based on interests you know your target audience has in common (for example, if you were selling a knitting product, you could target your boosted post to people interested in knitting).
Boosted posts are a great way to dip your toe in the water and see if Facebook advertising is a good fit for your business. Start with a small budget until you get a better handle on what’s working; you can start as low as $1 a day! Then, when you start seeing results and know your post is working, you can increase your budget.
At LWSL Inc., we still use boosted posts all the time. If we have a post that’s performing well organically or driving a lot of people to our email list, we’ll boost the post to get even more engagement. It’s a great strategy no matter what stage you’re at in your blogging journey and it’s super, super useful.
When’s the Right Time to Start Using Facebook Ads?
Should you run ads the day your blog goes live? When you are ready to roll out a product? When you have a certain number of Facebook followers?
We touched on this above, but the answer is this: the right time to run Facebook ads is when you have a clear idea of how they’re going to make you money.
There’s never a perfect time to get started with Facebook ads, and unfortunately it’s not as cut and dried as, “Well, when you’ve been blogging for 150 days and you have 1,000 people on your email list, you should start running Facebook ads.”
The most important part of Facebook ads is the ROI. If you just launched your blog yesterday but you understand how Facebook ads will give you a solid ROI and put more money back into your pocket, then you should run Facebook ads. If you’ve been blogging for a year but aren’t sure how Facebook ads will boost your revenue, then you shouldn’t run Facebook ads.
Before you run a Facebook ad, reverse-engineer how it’s going to add more revenue to your blogging business, whether it’s through immediate revenue (like affiliate or product sales) or long-term revenue (like growing your email list or building out your Facebook page).
If You’re Not Ready To Use Facebook Ads…
If, after reading this post, you feel like you’re not ready to start Facebook ads, that’s okay! Don’t feel like you need to hop on the Facebook bandwagon. It’s much better to wait to launch your ad campaign until you’re ready and have a solid strategy in place than to launch before you’re ready and end up wasting a ton of time and money on ads that don’t put cash back into your pocket.
If you aren’t ready to start Facebook ads because you’re not sure how they’re going to make you money, brainstorm revenue streams you’d like to explore. Then you can figure out which of those revenue streams would be best supported by a Facebook ad campaign.
So, for example, let’s say you want to launch a product in six months. You could launch a Facebook ad campaign to build out your email list and your Facebook page, which would give you the opportunity to build a relationship with your target audience. Then, when you’re ready to launch your product, you have a built-in audience of potential customers who already know you, like you, and are much more likely to buy your product. The money you spent on your Facebook ads to build out your email list will come right back at you when the people on your email list buy your product.
Facebook ads are here to stay, and when you do them the right way, they can be a super powerful revenue driver for your blogging business. Are you ready for Facebook ads? Leave your answer in the comments below!