What Every Small Business Owner Should Know About Facebook Ads: Don’t Waste Money

Facebook Advertising

Facebook Ads For Small Business: Don’t Start Off Wrong

I’m pretty sure the majority of your customers are using Facebook as a way to communicate. It’s your job to get your small business in front of the right audience; I’m going to do my best to break down every step you need to take to start advertising on Facebook.  I want to make something clear, If you don’t know your buyer persona, wasting money is the only thing you will accomplish with Facebook advertising. In my previous blog Social Media Marketing For Small Business Explained, we did a high-level overview of using social media for your business. Now let’s get a little more granular on the topic of Facebook Ads.

What Are The Benefits Of Using Facebook Ads For Small Business

With 2.13 billion monthly active users, Facebook is becoming one of the most effective marketing strategies for small business. It’s not just a B2C environment; if you have the right set of skills, you can generate B2B leads and promote professional services.  Cold calling became a thing of the pass for me; Facebook ads have shown a higher return on investment.

Your Customers Spend Most Of Their Time On Facebook

Let’s face it; there is an excellent chance all of your customers use Facebook throughout the day. Most users check their profile multiple times per day. U.S. consumers spend about 5 hours per day on mobile devices; I’m willing to bet that Facebook takes up a big chunk of that time.

Unmatched Targeting Abilities

facebook ads small business

Facebook gives you the ability to target people in specific locations, country, state, city and postal codes. These are just some of the ways you can find your potential customers.  You can get even more granular with the second layer of location targeting.

You can choose to target everyone in this location  (default targeting option)

Target only people who live in a location – Confirmed IP address and Facebook profile

People who recently visited this location –  confirmed by mobile device usage

People that plan to be in this location – 100 miles away from home location


Facebook Ads For Small Business Include Access To Demographics-based targeting

Age: If your idea customer is between a specific age range, just tell Facebook, and you can target whatever age group you need.

Gender: You can split test ads across gender profiles or just focus on one group.

Language: Do you advertise in a language other than English?


Interest-Based Targeting

Having the ability to target people based off of their interest, gives you an advantage over your competitors that aren’t using Facebook ads.

facebook ads

Personal trainers can target people who show an interest in fitness-related categories. Knowing who your customer looks like, is vital in determining if your Facebook ad campaign will be successful. If your goal is to increase your number of likes on your fan page, you could target other people that share the same characteristics as your current audience.  Below is a list of some of the interest you can target:

  • Yoga
  • Cross Fit
  • Online Shoppers
  • Video Game Players
  • Owners of Labrador Retrievers
  •  Fans of pretty much any movie you can think of
  • Home Improvement Enthusiast



When you create your facebook ad account make sure to familiarize yourself with the interest targeting option, it will become one of the most important choices for your small business.


Facebook Ads For Small Business Help Build Brand Awareness

If your company is relatively new, chances are, most people won’t know about your products or services. Before Facebook arrived, only fortune 500 companies had the budget to do national commercials for building brand awareness. Most small business owners need to put that cash flow towards other things.  If you run a branding campaign, you’re telling Facebook to find the audience that is most likely to remember your brand.  You get the option to choose how frequently this audience is shown your ads. If you’re looking to get sells right away, stay away from these types of campaigns in the beginning. We will talk about optimizing for conversions in a later more granular article.


Those are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the benefits of Facebook advertising for your business.  I’m often surprised that a lot of small business owners are in the dark when it comes to what can be achieved with Facebook advertising.  The ads behave in the same way as most other pay-per-click platforms. Because a wealth of personal information is within your grasps, Facebook ads trump every other ad platform on the market. Again, if you are looking for direct sales right away, you might want to start with AdWords. Most users on Facebook are what I like to call passive buyers. Think about it; people come on Facebook to look at family pictures and to comment on their friend’s funny photos. Nobody is thinking about buying a new motorcycle bike part. Eventually, they will. When you put an ad in front of someone, and that commercial resonates with them, they remember you when they are actively looking to buy.

Custom Audiences For Remarketing

The facebook pixel reminds me of google analytics, but on steroids. You only have to install the tracking code once; now you can keep track of what pages your Facebook users are seeing. Do you currently use a funnel? Facebook ads used with the pixel, make your funnel that much more efficient. Place a pixel on each step of the funnel (page), whenever someone falls off, hit them with a re-marketing ad and send them to the part of the funnel where you lost them at.  You could segment all of your products if you wanted to attack it in a granular way. Create a list of every person that checked out with that product, re-market with similar items and products that compliment. Re-marketing could be a 3000-word article on its own; we will touch on the subject in a future blog post.


Use Your Current List Of Customers To build A Look-Alike Audience.

You could be sitting on a gold mine and not even have a clue. Create a list of all of your customers that have purchased an item from your store. Now let’s tell facebook to go out and find other Facebook users that match the characteristics of your customer list.  Can you see how valuable this can be?

facebook ads for small business


Organic Post Reach Is Pretty Much Dead

Mark Zuckerburg said it himself; we want Facebook to focus more on personal interactions with friends and families. That means, we’re going make it impossible for small businesses to reach their audience with organic reach. You have to spend money and compete with others for our precious attention. My opinion, this will be good for advertisers, will weed out all of the spam tactics. Prices might rise because of increased competition, but overall I think the conversion rate will go up because your ads have to be on point to compete.

I do have a strategy that involves using a Facebook page to promote your Facebook group with ads. FYI Groups will soon outpace Facebook pages, with organic reach gone, the personal interaction will prevail in groups. I will share my case study involving Facebook ads and groups in a future post.


Ok now that you know why Facebook ads are essential for small business. Let’s go through the process of setting up your business manager account and creating your first campaign.

Learn How To Setup A Business Manager Account

What exactly is a business account?  Business Manager allows advertisers integrate facebook ads with other partners and internal staff. You will have the ability to manages your pages and run and track your ads from one central place.

It’s not necessary to create a Business Manager account. I recommend you do.

When to create A business manager account?

  • If your business employs a marketing team: Each person can have a separate login and password, You can delegate access levels to the those who need it.
  • Third Party company is Managing your ads: For privacy concerns, you can give the company access to the account. They won’t have direct access to any of your payment methods.
  • Multiple Ad accounts:  If you need to have 2 or more different ad accounts, then you better open up a Business Manager Account.


STEP 1: Sign Up For A Business Manager Account

The first thing you want to do is create a new business manager account; this is where you will run your Facebook ads.  Let’s navigate your web browser to http://business.facebook.com, now answer any question and follow the prompts to complete the setup of your Business Manager Account. Choose a name that makes sense for all of the pages that you will be managing. (only if you have multiple pages) Click Here   to setup your business manager account,


STEP 2: Add Employees/Third Parties And Assign Roles

The Step above is a significant one, make sure you take your time and add everyone that needs access to your campaigns.

  1. I want you to remember that the Business settings tab, will be your best friend in the beginning. So if you get lost, click on those three little lines in the top left corner. A big pop up menu is displayed, this gives you access to every feature that is available to your business.

small business facebook ads

Ok, so you’ve found your way to the settings page, you’re going to see a list of names on the left-hand side, click on the one that says, people.  There will be a big blue Add button at the top of your page.  Let’s take some time to invite your team members and anybody else that needs to sign up. Remember to send the invite to the email addresses that your team uses to sign into facebook with. Let your people know they will receive a notification the next time they log in to Facebook.  Once they accept, you should be good to go.


STEP 3:  Add Your Facebook Assets That Need To Be Managed

So, you’re currently on the settings page, look at the left column and add any of these items that you manage.  Let’s add in all of your pages first. Click on the Add button in the middle and add your business facebook page. The page will be added immediately, since your using the same profile for your business manager that you’re currently using to manage your page.

Be sure to add all of the pages that you work on. If you’re working with an Ad Agency, make sure you grant them access to the page you own and assign them as a partner. The image below shows you where to click on the page to designate a third party partner.  Now just follow the prompts and complete this part of the setup.


business Facebook advertisement


Let’s Add Your Facebook Ad Accounts To The Business Manage

The next step is to setup your advertisement accounts. It’s almost the same process as adding your pages, use the big blue add button to add your people, partners, and ad accounts.

Next, we want to set up your payment options. Click on the blue sentence that says “View Payment Options,” now follow the instructions and add your payment method. Facebook allows you to use a credit card, bank account, and  Paypal.




Now, let’s go back to the settings page so we can add more of your assets.



A pixel is a small piece of code that you install on your website. It allows you to do some beautiful things with your Facebook ads.

Benefits of using Pixels:

  • The pixel can track people based on what pages of your site they’ve visited. You can see how much time they spend on your page, even how many times they’ve added an item to the cart. My favorite thing about the pixel, it gives you the ability to create lookalike audiences. So let’s say you have a list of every person that has purchased something from you for the past 365 days. You can tell Facebook to go out and find people that match the same interest as the ones on your list; this is the most powerful feature in my opinion.
  • It’s just freaking amazing.


If you haven’t setup up your pixel, you need to get that done right away.  At the top of the business manager, there will be a search box. Type in the word “Pixel,” you will be taken to a screen where you can setup your Facebook pixel and get detail instructions on how to place the code on your website. Make sure you set up a different pixel for each of the sites that you own. Remember, if you don’t integrate a pixel with your Facebook ad account, it’s going to be impossible to create lookalike audiences and track how effective your ads are.



So like most internet marketers, you’re going to want to explore multiple ad platforms. Facebook owns Instagram, so you have access to all of the same options featured on Facebook, this gives you access to a whole other type of crowd.


So I covered most of the primarily used options for the business manager. It’s up to you as a business owner to make sure you play around with it and learn all of the ins and outs.  Next, I will walk you through the steps needed to setup your first Facebook ad account and campaign.

How To Setup You First Facebook Campaign

In the next section, you’ll learn the all of the steps needed to start creating your first ad campaign.


3 options for launching your Facebook ad campaign:




  1. Boot a post from one of your Facebook pages:  So this is probably the easiest and fastest way to get your brand out in front of an audience.  It’s also the one that is least effective when it comes to targeting. So for now, I will suggest you don’t use the boost feature.
  2. Power Editor: The power editor is probably too complicated for a beginner to start out with. It gives you every feature you can think of; it’s not that easy to navigate.
  3. Facebook Ads Manager: In this guide, we will be focusing on the ads manager. It gives you a lot of the same settings as the power editor, and it’s effortless to navigate.



In this section of the guide, we will cover in detail, how to set up your first Facebook ad campaign.


What Is The Facebook Ads Manager:

Facebook gives you two options when it comes to ad management: Power Editor and Facebook Ads Manager.

You have access to both of these tools for free. Since you’re a beginner, I recommend you start off with the ads manager. The Power Editor comes with some complicated devices, it’s mainly used to manage large or multiple campaigns. Agencies often take advantage of the power editor.


By taken advantage of the Facebook Ad Manager, you have the ability to:

  • Target cold and warm audiences
  • Always know the current health of your campaign
  • A/B split testing
  • Manage all of your bids
  • Optimize at both the campaign and ad set level


Let’s Learn How To Use And Navigate The Facebook Ads Manager

You have three different ways to login to your facebook ads manager account.

  1. Click on this link; it will put you at the login for your Ads manager account.
  2. If you look in the upper right-hand corner of any Facebook page, select the drop-down menu, then hit Manage Ads
  3. Facebook has released a mobile app; you can access your campaigns anywhere at anytime.


Below is a graphic that gives you an overview of the Facebook Ads Manager View. It’s a great map; we recommend that you get in and mess around with the tool, learn the ins and outs.


facebook ads small business


Let’s Learn how to Set Up a Facebook Ad Campaign:


Ok, so you’re ready to dive into the world of Facebook Advertising. First, you need to choose a campaign Objective for your ads.  A Facebook advertising campaign has three main parts,  a campaign, an ad set and multiple ads. We are starting at the first level, and we need to choose an objective for the ad.


campaign levels

Facebook gives you three main objective options: Conversion, Consideration, and Awareness.



As you can see, there is an option for pretty much any advertising object you have.  Let’s say that you want to get your content our in front of an audience; you prefer video advertising. So run a campaign with the objective of getting video views for your content. By the way, using a video is the most effective form of advertising on Facebook.

If your goal is to get people to take action, conversions would probably be the best fit for your campaign. Want people to discover your brand? Do a brand awareness campaign.


2. Setup your targeting options. (audience)

Set basic demographic- and interest-based targeting at the ad set level.

If you’re starting with a cold audience, don’t worry, Facebook has plenty of options to find your ideal customers.  Demographic options are the first thing you need to decide on. You can target the country, region, city, and zip code level. So if you idea client is in a precise location, Facebook can find them. Choose the age range, gender, and language spoken all from this screen.


detailed targeting options

Now, let’s take a look at Facebooks detailed targeting section. The magic happens here; your creative juices will be flowing.  Ok, if you know your customer’s buyer persona, you are 100 steps ahead of the game.

I ran a campaign for a SAAS company; they were targeting the Cheif Technology Officers of fortune 500 companies. Their marketing guy had no luck with finding the right audience. The strategy he used involved targeting potential prospects by their job title. Great, we can get in front of everybody that identifies as a CTO, even the ones that run local smoke shops LOL. Facebook is a self-identified targeting company. So you can be whatever you want, who’s to stop you.  I took a different route. I wanted to know what major the prospect did in college, what magazines they read, the likely hood of them being married or not, and so on. Finding the correct audience takes some creativeness, but in the end, your results will cater to the client’s goals.


Use a Custom Created Audience

If you have a list of customers emails, you can start out using Facebook ads for small business with a highly targeted custom audience. The people on this list will be more receptive to your brand. Conversion rates with this type of campaign usually are much higher than using a cold audience. facebook custom audience.

The four categories you can choose when creating a customer audience:

  • Customer File
  • Website Traffic
  • App Activity
  • Engagement on Facebook

custom facebook ads audience

So you’re probably wondering how to use each one. Let’s go into detail so that you can gain an understanding.


Customer File:  If you have a database of your current customers, it’s straightforward to upload a file to Facebook and match the customers with people on Facebook.  In my opinion, the customer file is the most responsive audience that you can create. Your clients are already familiar with your brand; they are more likely to buy any new products that you have.

Website Traffic:  Let’s say you want to sell more of a particular item, with the Facebook pixel, you can build up an audience of everybody who has visited the product page. Next, create a retargeting ad and put it in front of your custom audience designed with the website traffic features.

App Activity:  This applies to the readers who own android or IOS applications. Facebook retargeting ads are enormous for app engagement and gaining new players.  If you have a list of your users that have purchased in-app currency, you can serve up bonus offers; this could entice them to buy more items.

Engagement on Facebook:  Has your engagement rate on your facebook page been on the decline? Use this option to stary in front of your current followers and potential new followers that have liked or commented on some of your content.


Step 3: Build and Test Your Creative


We now need to setup your campaign at the ad level. The first thing we will tackle, selecting the ad format.  You can use images, news feed, call-action(CTA) and link to the URL if you plan on sending traffic to an outside source.

facebook ads



You have five different formats for your Facebook ads.  Canvas, carousel, single image, slideshow, and single video.

social media ads

I want you to remember to make multiple ads for your campaigns. It’s called split testing, you change small variables and see which ones produce the most conversions. You want to test the image, the ad text, the call to action button, and anything else that can be used as a test variable.

split test facebook ads



Now that you know the fundamentals, take some time and write down everything you know about your current customers. Define you targeting based off of that list. I wish you luck and great success in all of your future ventures.























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