How to Create Facebook Ads Funnels

This is the second post in a series looking at how to make Facebook ads work for small businesses.

In the first post in this series we looked at how to make your Facebook ads more effective by starting with strategy. We looked at the importance of identifying your ideal customer and your core message of difference that you will use to target and write your ads. I shared an exercise to help you visualize the transformation that the language in your ad would take your prospect through in order to get them to take the next step. I even gave you a copy of a worksheet to help you do it.

In this post we’re going to look at how to set up a sales funnel using Facebook ads that will really crank up the conversions you get from Facebook advertising. We’ll look at three key areas:

  1. What is a Sales Funnel?
  2. The Problem with Facebook Ads
  3. The 3 types of Facebook Ads You Need

Ready to begin?

What is a Sales Funnel?

Simply put, a sales funnel is a lead generation and conversion system designed to attract a bunch of potential customers and nurture them along towards a purchase. A better funnel also turns those buyers into repeat customers and generates referrals.

Sales funnels can involve live salespeople, but often these days sales funnels are completely automated and online. An automated sales funnel is like a salesperson who works 24/7, 365 and never complains, never asks for a raise, and never takes a vacation. How would you like one of those?

The Problem with Facebook Ads

One of the biggest problems I see with Facebook ads are that they are too far down the funnel, too forward. Like an overzealous admirer, they ask you to marry them on the first date. Have you ever heard the expression, “it never hurts to ask”? When it comes to Facebook advertising, it does. When you ask for the sale too soon, you scare off potential customers who just aren’t ready for that level of commitment yet.

These ads are too far down the funnel. Their messaging is geared toward the person ready to purchase, but they’re usually shown to people at the top of the funnel.

Facebook advertising is what we call interruption marketing. (The exception to this is if you are engaging in retargeting, but we’ll get to that later.) In general, you are interrupting someone while they are engaging with something else. Picture this, you’re talking to a friend over coffee and I come up to you, tap you on the shoulder, and say “hey, my chocolate shop is the best in town, why don’t you stop what you’re doing and come buy something?”

What are my chances of success?

Same chances your ad has if you’re asking for the sale too soon. That’s a big reason why so many Facebook ads fail. And websites, too, for that matter. That’s why you need a sales funnel.

There are different levels of customer engagement with your brand and your ads need to account for where your customers are in the sales funnel, or customer journey. There is a much more detailed version of the customer journey that I talk about here, but for the case of this blog, we’ll simplify it down to three phases.

  1. Awareness, or cold
  2. Engagement, or warm
  3. Action, or hot, they’ve visited your website

The 3 Types of Facebook Ads You Need

Awareness Ads

What the ad says

When you’re creating awareness ads, you’re speaking to people who know nothing about you. These ads need to be educational or entertaining to grab their attention.

You should be using the customer’s language we discussed in the last post to acknowledge their problem. Let them know you “get it” and that you can help. Offer them something like a checklist or an ebook that offers some value that they can download by giving you their email address.

How you target

With the knowledge of your ideal customer in hand, use Facebook’s audience segmentation abilities to create custom audience lists that match your ideal customer’s persona.

Pro Tip

Use Facebook’s ad platform and the Facebook Pixel installed on your website to tag those people who engage with your ad. You will then use this for retargeting them in the next phase and also to create lookalike audiences you can also advertise to. Pushing your ads to people who match the characteristics of those who have already shown they respond to them will increase your conversion rates.

Engagement Ads

What the ad says

In your engagement ads, you are inviting prospects to take the next step in the journey. They’ve now identified you as a potential solution to their problem. Offer them a free sample, a consultation, a trial, or a discount on one product, or one aspect of your service. It will depend on your business what the offer is. But make it compelling and make sure it provides more value than the investment you are asking for (whether that investment is monetary or just time and effort based).

How you target

You should be targeting everyone who saw your Awareness ads.

Pro Tip

In addition to retargeting ads, make sure you are also reaching out by email to those who responded to your Awareness ad. Create a series of emails that you can send out to this group that will nudge them towards that same trial offer.

Action Ads

What the ad says

These ads are now going to people who have shown a definite interest in your product or service. It’s time to close the deal. Show them testimonials, reminders of a special offer, use Messenger ads. Drive them to a landing page on your website and really present your core difference. Show them how they will be transformed into the person they want to be.

How you target

These ads go to everyone who engaged with your Engagement ads and also anyone who has visited your website. This is why it’s so important to get that Facebook Pixel installed on your website.

Pro Tip

Make sure you are still using email to nudge people along to this step as well. These are bottom-of-the-funnel prospect so you can also try some Google Ads with the same language to target like-minded prospects.

Once you have set up a funnel for your business you then need to spend time monitoring it and tweaking it. Don’t worry about getting it perfect right off the bat. Just get it going. Then watch the numbers and see where it’s not performing well and fix that.

No leads coming in? Adjust your Awareness ad or audience. No one taking the next step? There’s something off about your Engagement ad. Test some variations there. And just keep going. This is a never-ending process, but it will constantly improve the results of your Facebook Ads sales funnel.

You can eventually have a funnel for every product or service you offer, and multiple funnels for each of those targeting unique customer personas for each.

Funnels are incredibly powerful tools for your business.

Thank you for taking the time with me today. I hope you found this post helpful. If you have any questions, I’m happy to answer them for you. Either contact me or leave them in the comments.

In our third post in this series, we’re going to take a look at how to get started Facebook Ads Manager and share some tips for setting up a campaign.

Do Facebook Ads work for a Small Business?

If you’ve ever boosted a Facebook post to drive a little more traffic to your website or Facebook page, you’d be forgiven for asking yourself, do Facebook ads work for a small business? Facebook is espoused as a sea of potential customers just waiting to be plucked, but so many small businesses find the only customer in the process is them. When they send their money to Mark Zuckerberg.

And still, a quick Google search will show you hundreds of experts espousing how they built a business on Facebook. Are they lying? How can they have such drastically different results from you?

To know exactly why Facebook ads worked for some these experts, you’d have to read some of their story and decide for yourself if their method works for you. What I’m going to share with you today are some tips and best practices that can help make Facebook ads work for a small business.

This is the first of three posts I’ve written to help small businesses get better results from advertising on Facebook. Be sure to subscribe to the blog to be notified when parts two and three drop, In this post, I’ll show you where to start, how to make your ads more meaningful, and tell you why funnels are important to Facebook ad success.

If you’ve read this far, you’ve already accepted one truth that I also believe in. That Facebook, as a platform, provides you access to such a massive audience, it’s very hard to ignore. Still, to success with Facebook advertising will take more than just boosting the occasional post that you feel was really good.

Start with Strategy

If you’ve read anything I’ve written, you’ll be familiar with that expression. With Facebook ads, as with anything in marketing, it’s critical to start with strategy.

Facebook gives you the ability to reach a ton of people. Your challenge, to be successful, will be to narrow that audience down as much as possible. You do this by spending some time identifying your ideal customer. If you want more information on how to do that, you can check out this post.

  • Once you go through this process, you should
    Understand your customer’s wants, needs, or frustrations intimately.
    Know what language they use to express those needs wants, needs, and frustrations
    How they frame the issue

Knowing that, you can now look at your business and get very clear about how you solve for that problem and what differentiates you from every other business. More on how to do that can be found in my ebook, 7 Steps to Small Business Marketing Success.

You will use your core difference to craft an offer to solve for your customer’s pain point. Now, and offer is not your actual product or service, but how you position that product or service. That can be a little hard to grasp at first, but think of it this way: Aylmer’s makes glue. All glue does the same, basic thing: it sticks two things together. But all Aylmer’s did was shout at people and tell them how much better their glue is than other glues that wouldn’t get much attention in a Facebook ad.

If, though, they spoke about how their glue could repair a broken china figurine so no one could ever tell it had been damaged, that would sure get the attention of a teenager who had just had a big house party while his or her parents were out of town. Or maybe that’s just me.

Taking Your Customer on a Journey with Your Facebook Ad

Now that you’ve documented what your customers are looking for and how you uniquely solve for their problem, you can begin to craft an ad that will speak to them. And to do that, you want to take them on a journey from their BEFORE state (which is their current reality) to their AFTER state (which is where they’ll be after buying your solution).

Here’s something important to remember: people don’t buy your product or service; they buy a transformation to a better version of themselves. Your advertising should show them how that can happen by letting you solve their problem.

Here’s an exercise I like to use to map that out. It helps me visualize the story my ad needs to tell, so I can put that into words and images for Facebook. Get copy of the Transformation Worksheet.

In the first column you map out their current state. What they have, how they feel about their situation, what an average day looks like, the status that their current situation gives them (or denies them), and the evil of their current situation. Your product/ service and your ideal customer’s descriptions sits in the middle. On the right fill in what they have after you solve their problem; how having that problem solved feels; an average day in this new reality; their new status; and good side of the good vs. evil statement.

Do Facebook Ads work for a Small Business

In your ad, you should be sure to tell a story that captures not just the HAVE, but the FEEL and the AVERAGE DAY.

If you can get clear on this transformation, writing your Facebook ad will be much easier and the end result much more effective.

This brings us to the end of the first post in this series on Facebook advertising for small businesses. You can read part two here and the third installment here.

In the meantime, use what you’ve learned here to get clear on your ideal customer, your core difference, and then worth through the Transformation Worksheet.

I hope this installment was useful for you. Thank you for taking the time to read it and, if you have any questions, feel free to reach out or leave a comment below.