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There are so many “You’re doing it wrong” articles floating around the internet these days. For example, see part 1 of this series: The Biggest Mistake Photographers Make with Facebook Ads.
So when I see someone doing something right, I mean totally nailing it, I want to shout it from the rooftops and do a little happy dance. And that’s what happened the other day. (Except I was at work and shouting would be rude; plus I reeeally want to avoid the possibilities of my coworking making an embarrassing meme of me dancing.)
I was scrolling through a photography group on Facebook, and a post by Amanda Lacy of Authentic Portrait caught my eye. She had popped into the group to help buoy the spirits of other group members who were struggling with their marketing. Her mention of Facebook Ads piqued my interest because I’ve seen a lot of photographers struggle to use them effectively; but Amanda’s strategy was spot on!
So I decided to reach out to Amanda to ask her about her Facebook Ad strategy, how she went about targeting her ads, and what her ultimate results were. Amanda was kind enough to share a deep look into not only the Facebook Ad that she had been running, but also let me interview her to understand the work that she did before launching her ad, what her exact results were, and what her next steps are.
First let’s take a look at a screenshot of that initial post that caught my eye. I want to dissect what she said that clued me into knowing that she had a solid strategy, and then talk about how you can implement a similar strategy to help you start getting leads who are excited about working with you!
The first thing we know off the bat from this post is that Amanda’s strategy is working. Wahoo indeed! She’s getting the coveted “bums in seats,” so let’s talk about why.
Amanda’s strategy is a holistic, client-focused one. She is thinking about the kinds of things that her clients would be interested in, and provides that content in her social media curation. She has a healthy mix of her business content and outside sources, so that her social media doesn’t seem like she’s on a megaphone preaching about her services. She’s got a regular email newsletter that she grows consistently. Finally she’s using Facebook Ads to help grow her email list by providing something every single client of hers would want, and she’s not trying to sell directly to them in the ad!
If you just heard that record scratch sound effect in your head, hear me out: I’m not telling you that you can’t sell to people using Facebook Ads. I’m not even going to tell you that you can’t get bookings using Facebook Ads. But I will tell you that if you implement a strategy like Amanda’s first, you’ll have a lot more success booking, not only through Facebook Ads, but also through organic Facebook interaction and on your website. And it’s going to be a helluva lot cheaper.
You see, Facebook Ads shouldn’t be your stand alone online marketing strategy. You shouldn’t create a single ad or boosted post and expect to get leads clamouring to book. For something as expensive and non-essential as a photoshoot, you have to expect that the time between someone being interested in having a photoshoot, researching various photographers to find the right fit, and then finally booking is going to be long. Rarely is a photoshoot an impulse buy.
In fact it can take anywhere from 7 to 13+ touch points before a customer is ready to buy! Those touch points can be social posts, blog posts, newsletters, and ads. But none of these should stand alone. They work together to become a part of the larger, integrated strategy that we mentioned. Once you have those various pieces, then you can launch ads to help show potential customers the next piece of content or the next step to help them in the research and decision making process towards booking.
So let’s slice out a piece of Amanda’s strategy and look at it from the Facebook ads perspective (remember: it’s tied to her blog and her email list, so it is integrated into her overall strategy):
Amanda created a free ebook geared towards women, promising them insider secrets on how to look gorgeous in photos. Then she created a blog post to advertise the ebook, offering the download in exchange for an email address. Already, without the added benefit of using Facebook Ads, this is a brilliant piece of marketing. She has identified a concern that her potential market has (looking terrible in photos) and has offered a solution! This helps develop the know, like and trust factor that is so important in both marketing and connecting with your client during a photoshoot.
As a benchmark, she noted that prior to her creating her ad, she had already had 9 organic shares on the blog post. After running her ad that number had jumped up to 273! Prior to launching her ad, she had installed the Facebook pixel on her website and was able to use that to create a Lookalike Audience in Facebook based on female visitors to her site. This means that Facebook was able to match people who were similar to Amanda’s website visitors and serve her ad up to that larger audience.
Then she launched a Website Clicks ad to drive traffic to the blog post offering her download. Here’s a glimpse at the ad she launched:
She ran this ad for a little over a week, with a daily budget of $5 per day, spending a few cents over $38. So how effectively was her money spent? Lucky for us Amanda was nice enough to share her results:
From a screenshot of the Facebook Ads Manager we can see that she was able to reach 3,005 people and get 55 clicks to her website. While Amanda mentioned that she should like to improve her click-through rate, which was 1.83% for the run of the ad, according to a study by Wolfgang Digital this is actually very close to the average click-through rate of 2% for Facebook Newsfeed ads. And considering that these are ads that people are not searching for, like ads we see in the Google search results, anything near a 2% click-through rate is pretty good.
From the 55 clicks through to her website, Amanda received 25 email signups from women interested in downloading her ebook. That’s a whopping 45%!! And, now not only is she able to offer these potential clients value through her e-book but she is able to stay in communication with them via her newsletter. And for $1.52 per person that’s pretty cost-effective!
And as a bonus Amanda was able to get four inquiries out of these ads, because she had provided so much value through her e-book. For an ad that was not designed to drive inquires right away, she is still getting inquiries at a rate of about 7%. If we look at the cost of these four inquires, Amanda paid less than $10 a piece. Will they all book? Maybe not, but they were interested enough to reach out. And if even one books a session, Amanda has more than covered her advertising cost and gotten a return on her investment!
So now let’s review and talk about how you can take cues from Amanda’s strategy and employ them in your own business? We can take Amanda’s initial post in the In Bed with Sue group for inspiration:
- Get to know who your ideal client is, where they hang out, what their interests are and what their aspirations are.
- Share content on your blog and social networks that is relevant to them and that provides value.
- Identify at least one pain point of theirs as it relates to your business, and provide a solution.In Amanda’s case she created an ebook that helps women feel more confident in front of the camera, because their biggest pain point is feeling insecure about how they look in photographs.
She also broke down the exact things that women would learn in the book – from learning how to get rid of the dreaded double chin to stand to accentuate their shape. She was organically advertising her ebook on her Facebook Page. In this case she used Leadpages to create a Facebook Landing page:
- Build you ad with laser focus in terms of targeting.Amanda used the Facebook pixel to help her identify who was going to her site, and then find a Lookalike audience that could potentially be interested in her information.
Notice that I said interested in her information and not necessarily interested in her service. Yes, she did get inquiries from this ad. But that was the cherry on top for having created a killer piece of content for prospective customers.
Offer your freebie but ask for an email address. You want to be able to continue offering awesome value to these potential customers before offering booking deals.
Continue to send out great content on your newsletter, blog, and social channels.
Yup, marketing is a long term strategy. And you’re in business for the long haul right?
Even Amanda, who had amazing results from her ad, admits that there is a learning curve to Facebook Ads and that you can’t just launch an ad and expect people to come banging down your door. You have to keep testing and see what works.
So don’t get discouraged if your first foray isn’t stellar, and remember to keep testing what works and keep making improvements. In fact Amanda has already launched two new ads for that very same reason! She’s testing ads to compete against each other, varying her messaging, so that she can see what her audience responds to. In each she is focusing her messaging to appeal to her potential clients, helping them alleviate their worries about stepping in front of the camera:
So now that we’ve looked at what a successful Facebook ads strategy looks like, I would love to hear from you! How can you take learnings from the strategy we’ve discussed and employ them in creating Facebook ads that will delight your audience, and make your prospective customers fall in love with you – all before they book.
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