As most local service providers know, preparing your business for the holiday blitz is the first step towards a successful end-of-year.
To get good exposure ahead of the holiday season, you should employ online advertising.
Today, there are many different platforms to choose from, but Facebook is the go-to for both marketers and local business owners.
Why? Well, it’s easy to use to start with, and with over 44M users in the UK alone, you’re sure to reach a worthy chunk of potential clients. Plus, Facebook can help you present your message to a target audience based on the information they have about their users.
Say you want your ad to appear in front of women near you aged 21-35 with an interest in hairstyling. Facebook can do that.
But creating fun and engaging advertising articulated by cut-through copy is not as easy as it sounds. And targeting the right audience is its own challenge. For these reasons, 62% percent of small business owners say their Facebook ads miss their targets.
To help you avoid being in the unsuccessful majority (and as an early-bird Christmas present from yours truly), here are a few tips to help you boost Facebook advertising for your local business throughout the holiday season.
(The best part is, you can still apply these tips all year long.)
To take the Facebook advertising of your local business to the next level, you need to first understand who your audience is.
Meaning: you need to find out what they’re into, where they are, and what needs they need met.
For each ad you create, you can define the target audience in Audience Insights – the tool that allows you to hone which people will see your ad on their newsfeed. This gives you a lot of info, that can be helpful for your business even if you’re not advertising.
For instance, if you want to advertise a women New Year’s eve hairstyle, make sure you target your ad for women only.
Or, say you want to promote your after-Christmas party cleaning services. There’s no point targeting customers living in Manchester if your business only operates in London.
Target by demographic and region to start. Big broad strokes.
But you can up your Facebook advertising game even further by narrowing your audience by their interests.
Say your gardening service is advertising a new snow shovel in prevision of all of that snow we’re likely to get. You’d probably assume that targeting ‘gardening’ as an interest is a good way to put your ad in front of the right person.
But if you go to Audience Insights and look at the Page Likes tab, you’ll find that the audience for ‘gardening’ is also liking other stuff (let’s say baking or pottery or something), and you might be wasting your time advertising your shovel to them.
So, instead of using generic terms like ‘gardening,’ be as specific as possible.
Check out some relevant gardening pages in the Page likes section of Audience Insights, and use these pages to see the page likes they reveal.
This will help you come up with a list of hyper-relevant interests to create your ad, and make sure it’ll only be seen to people who are really interested in your snow shovel.
If you decide to create several ads for your Christmas products, you also need to make sure audiences don’t overlap. Say, if you advertise similar products, like a slick toy truck PLUS a cool wooden stacking train, you’re in fact targeting the same audience (parents looking for transport-themed toys).
This means your ads would be competing each other. In this case, it’s probably best to consolidate your two ads into one, like ‘awesome wooden toys’.
In addition, to show your ad to the right people, Facebook also takes into account how people react to your ad.
To elicit the best reactions, keep an eye on the duration of your ad. For instance, if you’ve created a Santa ad at the beginning of your Christmas campaign, your customers might get bored; they’ve probably been inundated with holiday-themed digital marketing. Why not create a brand new design? Forget Santa all together. Go with zombie snowmen!
Or whatever strikes your fancy. As long as its new and grabby. Remember that attention is a precious and fleeting thing, especially online, and even more so when you’re vying against so many other posts in the same newsfeed streams trying to accomplish the same thing.
According to Facebook best practices, you should create a new ad — with new text and image — once a week to keep your customers engaged with fresh material.
Test different versions (with short versus long text, for example) until you find what works best. Just be sure to let whatever you’re testing run for at least a week before making significant changes. You’ll need that long before you can assess whether it’s working.
Facebook advertising allows you to set any budget (even just a couple pounds). So you can spend efficiently and within your limits.
For this reason, you should start with an idea of what you’re willing to spend for each set of eyeballs. Facebook charges by the ‘impression,’ which is a fancy way of saying ‘someone saw your ad.’
Before you launch your Christmas campaign, determine your budget and stick to it.
Remember that your ads may be more impactful around key shopping days, such as Small Business Saturday or Black Friday. It may be worth it to plan a special promotion in conjunction with these, or just to dedicate a few extra quid to boost your ad’s visibility.
The holiday season is a hectic, holly-decking period. Everyone wants a piece. Your ads will not only be battling against your immediate competitors — there will be thousands of other local services providers, as well as big businesses.
To make sure your ads don’t get buried, select an amount you’re willing to pay to make it work.
Remember what Henry Ford, automobile magnate, had to say:
‘A man who stops advertising to save money is like a man who stops a clock to save time.’