• Lauren Quibell

How to Increase your E-Commerce Store Sales Using Facebook Ads

The marketing principles behind Facebook ads as a means to grow sales for an e-commerce store is like any other form of advertising. Awareness, consideration, purchasing and repeat purchases are all phases in a Facebook ads funnel that we, as marketers, take the audience through using targeted and customized ads which are specific to the target market for that particular e-commerce store. Essentially, a Facebook ads sales funnel is designed to capture the attention of the audience and continuously remind them of your product using specific key messaging at each stage of the funnel, until they are ready to make a purchase decision. Facebook allows advertisers to optimize the delivery of their Facebook ads for a specific objective at each step, resulting in businesses only marketing to those consumers who are most likely to engage and eventually purchase.

Not only is using a Facebook ads sales funnel a highly effective way to grow your audience and therefore your customer base, it is also one of the more cost effective ways of marketing your products and services. By using the highly refined targeting options available in Facebook Business Manager, marketers are able to refine the target audience down to the people who are most likely to purchase based on their online behavior, interests, demographics and similarities with your business’s current/past customers. Facebook ads can have a significant impact on the growth of e-commerce stores specifically because of the additional targeting options available and the seemingly endless strategies available to influence online behavior. However, launching a Facebook ads campaign without a proper strategy in place could leave you with disappointing results and no budget left to improve the campaign. Before starting your campaign, there needs to be a carefully designed strategy in place in order to increase sales effectively and stretch your marketing budget as far as possible when using Facebook ads. This strategy must include a carefully planned Facebook ads funnel that first grows your potential audience by informing your target market of your product, reminding interested audience members of your product, converting and then encouraging repeat purchases to keep those sales coming in.

A standard Facebook ads strategy will generally have four phases. Levels or phases to any Facebook ads strategy can be reduced or extended depending on:

· the type of e-commerce store you have

· the actual size of your target audience

· the budget available

There are also many ways to approach each phase depending on what is best suited to your audience and the strategy around each phase needs to be planned with the audience’s needs in mind. An important factor to consider when planning your strategy is the copy and creative that will be used in each phase, which will heavily influence the way in which your audience responds to your Facebook ads. Generally, there are a few guidelines that you can keep in mind when designing your copy and creative such as whether to promote a video instead of an image. However, at the end of the day, it’s all about creating content that is suited to your audience and you need to have a clear understanding of that audience beforehand.

Let’s look at these four phases in more detail and a few standard things you can do as a marketer to maximize the effectiveness of each phase in your Facebook ad campaign:

Phase 1: Generate Awareness using Facebook Ads:

This phase is focused on increasing awareness for your product and expanding your potential customer base. Facebook ads can be optimized for awareness, allowing advertisers to run ads that are aimed at reaching as many people as possible within the budget provided, at a low cost per person reached. As this audience will consist of people who have potentially never heard of your brand before, don’t try to sell your products to them right off the bat. Use your Facebook ads in this phase to introduce your brand and educate this audience on the key benefits of using your product. Lookalike audiences of your current social media following and website visitors will be an effective addition to using cold audiences in your targeting criteria during this phase. Adding a lookalike audience will help your Facebook ads to reach the right people, meaning more conversions later in the funnel, at a lower cost during your Facebook ads campaign.

Phase 2: Use Facebook Ads to Promote the WHY Behind Your Product:

Now that your target market knows a bit more about your brand, they may still need more convincing as to why they absolutely need your products. During this phase, you can start to retarget those who showed interest in your Facebook ads from the awareness phase with a new ad that further emphasizes the reason why your products exist. Here, the content of your Facebook ads should address your audience’s pain points and how you can solve them. Promote certain key features and benefits of your product which you know solves a problem for your audience or that your audience cannot go without. Providing additional information on this topic further encourages the audience to identify reasons why they need to buy your product, moving them further down the Facebook ads funnel. This would also be a great opportunity to promote a lead magnet to further encourage the audience to engage with your Facebook ads and therefore your brand. Continue to target those Lookalike audiences as well as audiences of people who have spent 50% or more time on your website and who have visited specific pages such as certain product or catalogue pages.

Phase 3: Run Facebook Ads That Offer an Incentive to Purchase:

Using your Facebook ads strategy from phase 1 and 2, you now have a refined audience of people who are most likely to purchase your products based on their high-quality interactions with your brand thus far. As many people in this audience have most likely never used your product before, offering a discount or special offer with their first purchase is a great way to encourage them to make that final decision to buy during this phase. Here, run retargeted Facebook ads aimed at audience members who engaged with your previous Facebook ads and website during stage 2, promoting a special discount or limited time offer that is valuable enough to encourage your audience to purchase. This stage is all about rewarding the consumer for showing interest in your product all the while providing an incentive for the audience to convert. Placing a limited time frame or deadline on your offer evokes a sense of urgency and further encourages the audience to take action. As an additional step in placing an expiry date on your offer, you could adjust the content of your Facebook ads to include a countdown closer to the time that the offer is ending. For example, include in your copy: ‘only 5 days left to receive your 20% discount on your purchase.’ Each day you would adjust the copy from 5 days to 4 days and so on until your offer has expired. This draws attention to the limited time offer and reminds the audience of when the offer expires. As the goal is to keep your costs as low as possible by only targeting a highly refined audience of people who are most likely to convert, restrict your targeting criteria to the audiences of people who have engaged with your Facebook ads, social media pages and website. Only if you have extra budget available, target a lookalike and cold audience based on very specific parameters to reach anyone who you might be able to convert in this sales phase of your Facebook ads campaign.

Phase 4: Continue to Push Sales and Encourage Referrals Using Facebook Ads:

Ultimately, as much as one sale from a customer from your Facebook ads is great, multiple sales from one customer is even better. Increasing the lifetime value of your customers will help to ensure the long-term sustainability and success for any business. With your captive audience of consumers and customers created from the previous 3 phases, you have a great opportunity in this 4th phase of your Facebook ads strategy to continue to sell other products to this audience and encourage referrals. This audience has shown some level of interest in purchasing your products or has successfully bought a product already, thereby taking the first step to becoming loyal customers. Create retargeted Facebook ads which display other products that this audience have shown an interest in while browsing through your e-commerce store, using dynamic ads or offer a discount to your loyal customers on their next purchase. In addition, advertising a referral incentive to your loyal customers will encourage word-of-mouth and simultaneously add value to those clients. This phase is a great opportunity for you to retarget your previous and current customers with new products, discount offers or special incentives to keep them engaged and your brand top-of-mind.

One of the great advantages of using Facebooks ads is the ability to save audiences which can the retargeted at any point in the future. Advertisers can continue advertising to their attentive audiences and continue to build on this audience as time goes on. If you decide that you would like to retarget audiences from phase 2 with a different ad to see the affect that alternative copy and creative could have on converting that audience, that audience will always be available to do so. Another fantastic advantage is the fact that Facebook ads run in real-time (this could turn into a disadvantage very quickly, if your ads are not managed correctly). Advertisers can make adjustments to their Facebook ads at any point if they see that certain aspects of the ads or the targeting are not working, and the changes will reflect almost immediately. However, advertising in real-time can become an issue if advertisers are not continuously monitoring the performance of their ads and therefore not making the necessary changes to optimize performance.

There are potentially millions of people who will form part of your target market on social media and with such a large variety of targeting and retargeting options available to business owners and advertisers, Facebook ads presents a unique opportunity for growth and optimization. The correct strategy combined with the continuous analysis of your Facebook ads performance, will help to ensure that your marketing budgets are optimized and sales for your e-commerce store are growing day-by-day.

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