This article was originally published on Holony Media by Gere Jordan.

Facebook ads are a popular way to market products and services. Many business owners believe that Facebook advertising will help them reach their audience, and in many respects that’s true. However, it’s common for marketers to run a Facebook ad and then sit back in frustration as nothing happens. Before you waste time and money on an ill-conceived Facebook ad, you should know the most common reasons that they don’t work. By avoiding these pitfalls, your ad will stand a much better chance of being successful and increasing your sales and conversions in the long run.

Lack of Targeting

If you’re not targeting your Facebook ads to a narrow population, you’re doing yourself a disservice. Knowing your target audience is just as important when it comes to creating a Facebook ad as it is in any other area of business. Make sure you have a clear idea of who your ideal buyer is. If you haven’t taken the time to draft a buyer persona yet, do so. Then, make sure the characteristics of your Facebook ad’s target market and those of your ideal buyer or buyer persona are complementary. Facebook is not the place to try to reach everyone; narrow, highly targeted ads perform best.

Spammy Content

Facebook is remarkably efficient when it comes to minimizing spam, so if your ad falls into this category, it will probably get deleted anyway. However, it’s worth stating that overly spammy content is a bad idea in marketing, especially when it comes to Facebook ads. People on Facebook are there to hang out, talk to friends, and see things that interest them. Bright lettering, text in all caps, and multiple exclamation marks are all things you should avoid when drafting the text for your ad. Keep it friendly, targeted, and natural, and you’ll have a better chance of catching your customers’ attention.

Images That Don’t Match Your Audience

Sometimes you’ll hear people say that it’s not OK to use stock images in your Facebook ads, but that’s not true. Stock images are widely used across social media, blogs, and site content, and they’re a legitimate way of illustrating your message. However, the problem many marketers run into is using the wrong images. Before you post your ad, make sure your images reflect the mood, theme, and demographics of the ad and its audience. For instance, if you’re selling caskets, don’t include a picture of people dressed in bright colors dancing under a disco ball. Similarly, if you’re targeting 20-something hipsters that enjoy travel and vegan food, using an image of a 50-something man in a sweater vest isn’t going to do you any favors.

Unclear or Missing Call to Action

The point of running a Facebook ad, or any ad, is to get your audience to do something. Maybe you want them to watch a video, purchase a product, download a free e-book, or sign up for your mailing list. Whatever it is you want your audience to do, make sure you tell them. So many times marketers have amazing ads that fall short because they never included a call to action (CTA).

Facebook ads have a unique feature wherein you can choose a customized button. Some options include “download now,” “shop now,” and “sign up.” Don’t overlook that feature. Make sure you’re choosing the appropriate CTA, and that you repeat it in your text. It’s worth noting that you can, and should, include the CTA at both the top and bottom of your text. This is particularly true if your text is lengthy. Don’t make your audience read a 2,000-word wall of text just to get to the call to action. Make the action you want your audience to take clear and unmistakable.

Wrong Purpose

Finally, understanding how Facebook ads work best will work to your advantage. Many people think that the goal of a Facebook ad should be to elicit a sale. However, that’s not always true. For most members of your audience, your Facebook ad is the first interaction they’ll have with your company. Asking for a sale during the first interaction is like proposing on a first date. It’s much better to use Facebook ads as a vehicle for gaining email list subscribers. These subscribers are likely to make up the bread and butter of your client base, and will be more likely to purchase from you later on.

Instead of asking for a sale when you create a Facebook ad, offer something of value that’s free and easy to download. Be sure it’s something your target audience would find useful and desirable. Your incentive item could be an e-book, a coupon, a video tutorial, or another similar item. Have your audience give you their email address in exchange for this free item. If they like the item, they’ll stick around as your email subscribers, meaning that whatever you offered them was interesting enough for them to want to hear from you on a regular basis. An active email list is the best marketing tool you have, so focus on building your list when creating your ad, not selling your product.

Facebook ads might seem confusing or complicated, but they don’t have to be either. Instead, see them as a way to connect with your target buyer by offering them something of value and adding them to your email list. That way, it’s much easier to create a simple ad that’s effective and powerful, and delivers results long after the ad run is over.

This article was originally published on Holony Media by Gere Jordan.

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