I’m a big advocate of Facebook ads and think that they are an absolute necessity when promoting your business in the very crowded marketplace that is Facebook. But one thing that people often overlook is how they can use Facebook adverts to start building loyal customers, capture email addresses and convert Facebook fans into customers down the track. Putting some strategy behind this kind of thinking is essential to really get the most out of your Facebook adverts.

Today I’m going to use a fictional local florist as an example of a big goal. I’m actually modelling her on a real florist I met once called Rosie (no joke) who was so chic and cool. Infinitely cooler than I could ever hope to be. The least I can do is use her as my made up case study.

Anyway, say Rosie throws some Facebook adverts out to try and draw attention to the Mother’s Day bouquets she’s selling. What Rosie has to remember is, people aren’t on Facebook to buy Mother’s Day bouquets. They’re on Facebook to chat in their groups, stalk ex partners, peruse the latest baby and wedding photos or check in at a bar. Chances of them clicking ‘buy’ there and then on a Mother’s Day bouquet that’s popped up in their newsfeed are slim, even if Rosie’s got the targeting just right (she has because she’s cool like that). At the end of the day, the people those adverts reach don’t know Rosie and her business. There’s no loyalty or trust there and they’ve got other things to be doing.

But say Rosie’s advert drives people to a competition where they can WIN a bouquet with no buying commitment required, are they more likely to turn their eyes away from looking at photos of their ex-boyfriend’s new girlfriend’s cat and show some interest? Absolutely they are.

That’s all well and good Rosie might say but what’s in it for her? She’s not getting any direct sales this way and she can’t let everyone win a bouquet. She wouldn’t have a business for much longer if she just gave away all her product for free. Well here’s where the strategy comes into play. To enter that competition there’s one tiny thing they have to part with. Their email address. That’s how Rosie’s going to make her sales and create the loyalty and trust that you don’t get with trying to close a sale directly from one Facebook advert. All for the cost of one bouquet and a Facebook advert.

The idea is that Rosie pulls her competition entrants into a sales funnel where she captures their email address (you’ll need to use a Facebook competition tool to implement this feature) then emails them to let them know who won the competition they entered and perhaps offer them a special deal to make up for the fact that they didn’t win this time. Rosie will then email them monthly with updates on the latest floral fashions, deciduous delights, chlorophyll creations (can you tell floristry isn’t my bag?) and more. Immediately she’s turned her Facebook advert into something of much more value than a ‘click to buy’ advert would have given her. She can also use those email addresses to create a custom audience on Facebook and fire advertising straight back at those people to remind them that they’re a valued customer (flattery will get you everywhere) and to check out the website for the latest offerings.

And what if Rosie doesn’t think she can afford to part with the cost of a bouquet? Well she could write a free PDF guide to wedding flower fashions, tips to keeping flowers fresh for longer, how to brighten up your homes with flowers, the list goes on. All Rosie has to do is offer the guide for free and make sure people share their email addresses in order to gain access to it. This is called a lead magnet because it literally acts as a magnet to pull people in.

The key for Rosie will be carefully planning the process she wants to take her customers through. What will her offering be, where will she direct them, how will she capture their email address and encourage them to opt in and how will she follow up with them? Once a solid plan is in place she can implement the ideas and reap the benefits.

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