10 Steps to create Facebook Ads for small businesses [2022 Guide]

Let’s make great Facebook Adverts

An easy to use guide to Facebook Ads

 This is an easy-to-use DIY guide for accountants, CPAs and bookkeepers who are looking to improve their Facebook advert performance or get started out.

You don’t need a big budget or years of experience to run successful small business ads on Facebook. We’ve taken our learnings from years of helping SMBs from Australia, Europe, RSA, the USA and Brazil and have put together this ultimate guide – 10 steps to create Facebook Ads for small businesses [the 2022 version!]

Let’s dive in.

10 simple steps to create a Facebook ad

Never stop testing and your advertising will never stop improving.

David olgilvy

#1 Set your Facebook Campaign Objective

How to choose objectives in facebook ads

When you first start out with FB ads the platform is confusing and it’s difficult to know if the campaign objective you’re choosing is the right one.

The objectives are essentially broken into 3 stages of a funnel: Awareness, Consideration and Conversion.

Awareness ads are much cheaper and will get your adverts in front of as many people as possible, but you won’t necessarily generate many sales, leads, traffic to your site or any other meaningful actions.

Facebook knows

FB knows a lot about its users

Choose a campaign based on the actions you want people to take - visit a landing page, watch a video, follow your page - and FB will show it to people likely to do just that.

Facebook knows a LOT about our online activity so when you select one of the options under Consideration or Conversion, Facebook will do it’s best to deliver your ads to people who are most likely going to take the actions you want.

With your first few ads (at the top of the funnel) you generally want to drive lots of traffic or engagement so you’ll usually start off with a Traffic Objective. 

Once you’ve got people visiting your site or engaging with your content you can run re-marketing campaigns, targeting those people, who are then more likely to convert. That’s when you would start using Lead Generation or Conversion campaign objectives.

#2 How to target your audience with facebook ads

how to target audiences facebook ads

One of the strengths of Facebook Ads is the ability to really target exactly who you’re after. You can target people who are already engaging with your content, social media pages and website, target existing clients via an email list or create a lookalike audience. 

A lookalike audience is what it sounds like. You tell Facebook you want an audience that looks like your current client email list for example, or like people who are visiting your website, and Facebook will analyze that pool of users and try to match them to similar Facebook users to display ads to. It’s usually fairly accurate. 

You can also target an audience yourself by using interest and behaviour targeting but with this, less is better. Instead of suppressing your audience size by selecting numerous, very specific interests, leave some room for the Facebook algorithm to do its work by learning which people in your selected audience are engaging.

Targeting Tip

Custom and Lookalike audiences

Create custom audiences using an email list of good clients, site visitors, people who engage with your social media accounts and then create lookalike audiences if these audiences work for you.

One method we like to use is to create a lookalike audience off an email list of valuable clients and then refining it by region, ages and specific interests.

Tip: In the early stages or a campaign you need a fairly large audience to allow time for ad testing and for the Facebook algorithm to do its work.

#3 Get the timing right

how to set budget facebook ads

Generally speaking Facebook Ad campaigns have a couple of components to them so you need to allow enough time for the different pieces of the puzzle to come together.

Starting off you’ll be testing ads – copy, artwork, audiences, etc – and you’ll want to give yourself enough time to find some good performers.

You’ll most likely want to leave time for remarketing and conversion campaigns focused on targeting people who didn’t convert the first time.

Note: While you should start seeing results straight away with a Facebook ad campaign you need to give it time in order to optimize the performance and reduce the cost per result that you’re after.

Pro Tip

Run ads on a schedule

You have the option to allow your ads to run all the time or on a schedule. In some cases it makes more sense to run ads on a schedule so you're not spending on hours when your audiences are most likely not online.

#4 Define your budget

You don’t need a massive budget to run a winning Facebook Ad campaign.

Start off by testing your ads to see which ones people are engaging with. Set a minimum budget of $1 per ad per day. If you’re testing 3 ads for a month that’s only going to cost you $90. During that time you could test a number of aspects (artwork, audience, copy, headlines, landing pages etc).  

Once you have winning ads you can gradually increase the budget on those best performing ones which should be giving you results at a lower cost. 

Then remember to leave budget for remarketing to retarget people who clicked your ads, visited your landing pages or engaged with your content. This audience usually converts at a much higher rate and lower cost because they already know your brand and have expressed interest.

Facebook gives you two options to allocate your budget: Campaign Budget Optimization (CBO) and A/B Testing. You can set your budget per daily spend or for the lifetime of the campaign. I prefer lifetime because it gives the Facebook algorithm the flexibility to spend while people are online and engaging and visa versa.

Setting a budget under A/B testing allows you to decide how you want to split the budget across the ad sets. CBO only creates one ad set and allows the algorithm to learn which ads within the ad set are working and then allocates budget accordingly.

Pro Tip

How to divide your ad budget

Testing: $1/day per ad
Scale: Gradually increase the budget on winning ads
Remarketing: Leave budget to retarget engaged audiences

We know marketing for accountants.

MITCO Digital is a boutique digital marketing agency that specializes in helping accounting firms get new clients with online marketing. We grew up in accounting, we understand the lingo, your clients and most importantly, how to generate results for you.

Book a free strategy call with us to chat about your firm’s goals, challenges and how we’ve helped clients, like you, to grow.

#5 Build a simple, effective funnel

Marketing funnels don’t need to be overly complicated and it’s best to start off simple with good execution and then make improvements. 

Take a moment to logically think how someone who knows nothing about your business can become aware of you, become interested and lead to a point where they would engage with you.

You can start off with traffic campaigns which are focused on stirring up interest in your service. At this top of the funnel stage you want to target a large audience because only a small portion will engage and filter down the funnel.

Then retarget users who engaged with your campaign. At this stage you now want to start building trust and confidence. Things like client testimonials, case studies, results achieved, free downloads (ebooks) and other resources can be highly useful at this middle of the funnel stage.

You can then retarget users who engaged with this content to drive them towards conversion. By now this audience is warmed up and ads that are more direct or can help them overcome a final barrier may help. Ads with a deadline to claim an offer or limited numbers available can work. Test alternative methods. Instead of only using a contact form test the option for people to contact you via messenger or whatsapp.

When you’ve designed your funnel make sure you test every step along the way to ensure that (1) the user journey is a good one and (2) your tracking is working.

Pro Tip

We don't trust social media

Most people are unlikely to convert (take the final action you want) straight off the bat. Most of us don't trust social media and don't know your brand, so it takes time and multiple interactions to build trust and drive results.

#6 Build great landing pages

best landing pages

You may have great ads but if your landing pages are not designed for conversion you may be loosing potential clients. Worse still is if you’re not monitoring your performance and don’t realize that users are dropping off your landing pages.

Here are some of the key features of a good landing page: Your page needs to have good, clean, logical design and flow to it. You’re trying to take visitors on a logical journey building trust, confidence, connection and desire for your offering along the way, to the point where they convert at the end. 

You need to convey who the page is for, what the offering is, why the offering should be considered, trusted, accepted, who is making the offer and why they can be trusted.

Your page should start with a clear headline that relates clearly to your ads. Visitors exit landing pages when they click an ad and land on a page that looks and feels nothing like what they were expecting.

Busy pages are confusing and distract from taking visitors on a journey. If this is a landing page early in your interactions with potential clients remember that they don’t trust you yet so resist from trying to sell too quickly. Focus on building confidence through good content – videos, client testimonials, results achieved, free resources etc.

A key component is ensuring you understand your audience well and that your messaging ties into their pain points and desires and that your call to action is appropriate for the stage of the funnel. You can be more direct towards the bottom of the funnel. At the top of the funnel you should ask for minimal information (just an email and maybe a name).

Take a look her for examples of great landing pages.

8 Reasons why your landing page doesn't convert

1. There's too much going on 2. There's no continuity from your ads 3. There's no clear call to action 4. Your content is weak 5. Your page isn't mobile friendly 6. Your messaging is off 7. There's no urgency 8. You're asking for too much information

#7 Artwork is 50%

People browse social media on their mobile devices primarily and do not stop for ads.

Your challenge is to stop the scroll and good artwork is critical for that.

Good creative catches the attention of the user and connects with their interests, desires, pains – this is where your audience targeting comes into play.

Most users won’t read even the first few lines of your ad copy unless the artwork speaks to them so a good practice is to include a small piece of text on top of your artwork so that the user can immediately identify the purpose of the ad.

Common FB Ad Image Sizes

1200 x 628
1080 x 1080
1080 x 1920

It's important to customize your image sizes to improve performance.

#8 Connect with copy

The first two lines of your ad are the most important.

That’s because when you do manage to get people to stop scrolling they’ll only see the first two to two and a half lines. If you don’t grab their attention they won’t click to read more.

Try to include things in these first two lines that connects with your audience (who they are, their interests, pains, desires) as well as with the artwork to ensure continuity. Don’t be afraid to use emojis, where appropriate, to break up text.

A simple example of an opener for an ad we did for a personal tax provider during tax seasons that performed really well:  Did you work from home this year? What can you claim, what can’t you claim? Find out with this free guide!…

You can test different lengths of copy but from our experience we’ve found that copy that captures attention up front and then lays out the key features and benefits in a logical order, supplemented with some social proof (trusted by over 20 000 clients, for example) with a clear call to action at the end, performs well.

Pro Tip

Get their attention early

Facebook only shows the first two to two and a half lines of your copy so make sure it grabs attention up front!

#9 Tracking and goals

facebook CPC analytics

There’s very little point in spending money on ads if you’re not measuring performance.

Two things you must do are set up the Facebook pixel on your site (This guide will show you how) and set up Google Analytics goals within your Google Analytics account (See how here).

Setting up the Facebook pixel will allow Facebook to measure actions on your site and report them back in Facebook Business Manager so you can easily view the performance of your campaigns. The Facebook Pixel Helper can help you check if the pixel is working correctly.

Note: the Facebook Pixel is the very basics of tracking and goal measurement. If you have some technical ability you’ll want to set up event conversions and custom events that are important to you.

Setting up goals in Google Analytics allows you to track actions that are important to you on your site, in one location. You can see how many users came to your site via your Facebook Ads, how much time they spent on your site, what pages they went to, how engaged they were, whether they converted, the value of those conversions to you and more.

Use Campaign URL Builder to customize the links in your ads so you can see them clearly in Google Analytics.

Pro Tip

Test first

Before you launch your campaign test that all your tracking is working correctly.

#10 Measure and optimize

The data you’re collecting gives you insight into the performance of your funnel and enables you to make changes that save you money and bring better results.

Look for ways to improve the performance of your ads and landing pages. You can improve artwork, copy, call to actions, audience definitions, landing page layouts and content. 

Look at the important metrics for your Facebook Ad campaign (like click through rates, cost per result, etc) and try to improve them. They will differ slightly depending on what your campaign objective is.

With regards to your landing pages look at the conversion numbers and the engagement data (bounce rate, pages/session, average session duration). If your engagement numbers are poor then users are not engaging with your content or feeling compelled to stay.

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FAQs - Facebook Ads for small businesses

Do Facebook Ads work for small businesses?

When you know what you're doing Facebook Ads can work for just about any business, in any industry, no matter the budget. This 10 step guide to create Facebook Ads for small businesses should get you started.

What are the benefits of Facebook Ads for small business?

With a relatively small budget you can start generating valuable actions for your business - like leads or sales. Facebook Ads enables small businesses to test ad variables and learn what is working before committing large budgets into ads.

Are Facebook Ads effective for small businesses?

Facebook ads are one of the most effective advertising platforms available to small businesses - if you know what you're doing! This 10 step guide should help get you started and improve your current Facebook ads.

How do you run Facebook Ads for a small business?

1. Set you objective. 2. Define your audience. 3. Get the timing right. 4. Set your budget. 5. Create a winning funnel. 6. Design killer landing pages. 7. Artwork is 50% of the win. 8. Write text to connect. 9. Set up tracking and goals. 10. Optimize performance. Check out this 10 step guide for more details!