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6 Steps to Creating a Successful Facebook Ads Campaign for Small Businesses

Spending money on Facebook is now undeniable if you want to reach your targeted audience. We talked about the decline in organic Facebook reach in our previous post, and ways to get your posts seen in newsfeeds without paying for it. But how can you leverage Facebook ads for your small business on a smaller budget? Is it even possible?

In this article, we break down the elements of a Facebook advertising campaign in 6 easy steps. Make sure you’ve got your Ads Manager account setup! If you don’t, there’s a great tutorial here on how to create one. Now, let’s begin.

Step 1. Define Your Goals

What are you looking to get out of your Facebook advertising? Are you looking to reach a wider audience? Perhaps you’re wanting to generate local awareness, or get people to take advantage of a special promotion you’re running. Whatever your goal is, you can bet there’s a Facebook ad for it.

Facebook ads allow you to choose from these different marketing objectives – and they’ve already aligned them with the sales funnel!

Let’s dive into each of these marketing objectives a little more:

  • Brand Awareness is for reaching people who are likely to be interested in your brand
  • Reach will show your ad to the maximum number of people allowed by your budget
  • Traffic will send people to a website link
  • Engagement campaigns will be optimized for people to interact with your post
  • App Installs will help get more people to install your mobile app
  • Video Views are to get more people watching your video content
  • Lead Generation helps you drive more sales leads by collecting email addresses from a target group of people
  • Conversions help drive valuable actions on your website or app
  • Product Catalog Sales allows you to automatically create ads from your product catalog and show them to each target audience
  • Store Visits are aimed to get local people into your brick-and-mortar locations

Step 2. Select Your Target Audience

This is where many businesses get lost. Let’s think about this: there are 6.8 million people in the state of Arizona, and we’re willing to bet that not every single one of them are your customer. If you’ve got your user personas to guide you, whip ‘em out now! They can come in handy. You’ve got a ton of options when it comes to defining your target audience. You can filter results based on age, gender, geographic locations, interests, online behaviors, and even employers. Figure out who your ad is intended for, and try to get as defined as possible. Define Facebook Marketing Audience

As you set your target audience, Facebook automatically displays estimated daily results on the right hand side of your screen. Based on the criteria you defined, Facebook will tell you the projections for your audience size, selected marketing objective, and total reach. Keep in mind, though, these numbers are estimates based on previous campaign data, allocated budget, and market data. However, your target should be to have that meter read “defined.”

Step 3. Set a Budget

The biggest question small businesses ask is about the appropriate budget for Facebook marketing. The answer isn’t clear-cut, because the question is a lot like asking how much a car is. It depends on what you’re looking for and hoping to get out of the deal.

Here’s some tips on setting a budget for your small business Facebook marketing campaign:

  • Define a tangible goal. What are you looking for? If you’re selling product, how much are you wanting to sell? If you’re looking for leads, set a target number. If it’s website traffic you’re after, take a look at your current analytics and set a realistic target from there.
  • Define your cost-per-conversion rates. It makes sense to set a cost-per-conversion goal so that your Facebook campaigns are as profitable as possible, if you’re looking for direct sales. Obviously, if you’re aiming for brand awareness, you’ll want to keep your cost-per-impression, or cost-per-click as low as possible. Maybe around $0.10 – $0.50.|
  • Consider the fact social media is a touch-point. It’s important to understand that when Facebook marketing is used appropriately, great things can happen for brands. However, Facebook shouldn’t be viewed as the saving grace for your sales and marketing. Social media is merely a touch point – and an important one. Many people use multiple channels when researching a brand before they’ll consider purchasing. If they see your ad on Facebook, perhaps they’ll go to your website, browse around, and exit out. A week later, perhaps they type your company name into the Google search bar. One week later, they type your website address directly into their browser and make a purchase. It all started on Facebook, but your website will attribute that sale to what’s called a “Direct” source, instead of Facebook because Analytics doesn’t track a user’s entire online pathway.

Now that we’ve got a clearer understanding for Facebook ad spend, you’ve got two options to consider when it comes to defining a budget: daily or lifetime. Daily spend is how much you’ll spend everyday, until a defined period of time. Lifetime budget is the total amount you’d like to spend for the entire duration of the campaign.  Don’t worry, you’re also able to set a bid for the cost-per-conversion, so you don’t overspend right away.

Step 4. Choose Your Ad Types

You didn’t think you could skip visuals, did you? Your ads should be creative, captivate your target audience, and immediately communicate your brand’s message. Facebook has 6 different ad formats you can choose from: Carousel, Single Image, Single Video, Slideshow – and the brand new additions of Collection and Fullscreen Experience.

Facebook Ad Types

Step 5. Write Your Creative Messaging

You got creative with the visuals of your ad, and now it’s time to pull out your inner witty wordsmith. Think back to your target audience. What kind of words are they using when they talk about your product or service? What matters to them? What does your offer do for them? Keep it clear and as short as possible.

Step 6. Review Performance & Test

Congratulations! You’ve launched your Facebook ad campaign! While it may be tempting to continuously revisit the ads dashboard to check in on the performance, give it a few days to collect data. This will allow enough time to see what’s working and what’s not.

You’ll be able to see how many people saw your post, keep an eye on the budget, and the actions people took from your ads.

Facebook Marketing Report

Don’t be afraid to test new things such as creative, target audiences, ad messaging, and more – but always allow enough time to collect meaningful data. For example, if you’ve reached a ton of people, but your ads aren’t producing the amount of clicks you wanted, perhaps it’s the ad creative (or visuals). Swap them out! If that doesn’t impact anything, maybe try tweaking your target audience. However, when you’re testing, only test one thing at a time. Otherwise, your data won’t accurately reflect what’s going on within your ads campaign. You can also test multiple variations of the ads within the same campaign! Make sure you allocate enough budget for testing purposes – and see what sticks!


Chalease is the Marketing Manager of Iron Springs Design. A creative juggernaut with a knack for creating mind-blowing digital strategies, social media campaigns, and branding initiatives, she's helped small businesses produce powerful results and attract not just customers, but loyal fans.