When I first started using Facebook ads, I had no idea how it all worked. I decided that it might be useful to get more hits on The Early Hour, because I’d heard that once you were getting 100,000+ views a month, you were onto the big money.
So I created an ad account from my Facebook page, which back then was called The Early Hour (I more recently renamed it Annie Ridout Ltd). And I boosted a post, as Facebook suggested I should. It was an article about how becoming a parent can affect relationships.
The ad bombed. I spent about £8 per clickthrough to The Early Hour. And once they arrived on the website, there was no ‘call to action’. I had nothing to sell, and if I’d set the campaign up properly it could have been used to collect email addresses, which would have been useful for when I did have something to sell – but I didn’t.
So I spent lots of money for nothing. And I did this again and again until I thought: this is a waste of money.
I then left Facebook ads alone until I launched my first online course: DIY PR. A Facebook ads manager called Laura offered to set up an ad for me, and I was interested to see if it could work.
She created some copy and used a few images to trial. Once the ad was running, directing people to my DIY PR course, she looked at what image was performing best; getting the most clickthroughs/sales. She then removed the other images and focused on this one.
Next, she trialled different copy. Again, once she could see which copy was doing best, she kept that text, with the best image, and added more funds to that ad. She helped me to sell a few more spaces on my course.
(I’ll be talking more about getting the copy and images right for your Facebook ads shortly).
The audience that Laura had chosen in the Facebook ads manager was the Instagram and Facebook ‘engaged’ audience. So if we go back to what I spoke about in module 1 – about creating a niche following – this ‘engaged’ audience is people who already follow me and know me. Assuming my content is good enough, they should be following me for freelance mum/working mum/women in business stuff.
You probably know that when you put out a post on Facebook or Instagram, only a small portion of your followers see it. So when you pay for a Facebook ad, and select ‘engaged’ audience, it essentially helps you to get your content in front of more of your existing audience.
In fact, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to sell organically to your Facebook and Instagram audience, as (it’s rumoured that) the algorithm picks up on messaging like ‘sale’, ‘selling’ and ‘link in bio’. They don’t want people leaving their app to go to your website, so they penalise you for encouraging your followers to do this by showing less people.
This means you will need to pay Facebook to get your post to reach as many people as possible.
This method – creating an ad about your online course with an image and some copy – is called a ‘direct to offer’ ad. So you are using a Facebook ad to get them to go to your online course sales page and purchase. That’s the idea.
For me, doing ‘direct to offer’ ads to my engaged audience – so my existing following – has worked because I have a lot of followers interested in my niche. This means they are likely to be interested in my courses, which are all for freelance/entrepreneurial women.
Setting up an ad account
If you’re completely new to Facebook ads, you’ll need to set up an ad account. Facebook explain this all very clearly here.
Rich will be covering this in a video, later on in the module.
It’s important to remember that Facebook ads are not going to sell absolutely anything. If a product or service isn’t up to scratch, it won’t sell.
If a product/service is good but the landing page potential customers reach when they click through from the ad is crap – they won’t buy (more on landing pages and testing later).
But if you have a really great course, and there’s an appetite for it, and the ad is set up right… it will sell. So let’s talk about how you can make that happen…