15 Sure Fire Facebook Ad Targets for SMBs

by Toby

March 12, 2015

15 Sure-Fire Facebook Ad Targets Small Medium Businesses

As you’re probably aware, Facebook took away most of its organic reach for your posts. That’s right, almost nobody sees your posts without paid ads.

But let’s move on – in spite of an almost total loss of organic reach, Facebook has a fantastic ad platform that offers very creative means for small businesses to reach potential customers, or to target existing customers.

Facebook Ad Targeting Ideas

Here are 10 great ideas you can implement for your small or medium business to create more awareness, and more leads for your business with Facebook ads.

  •  Target Current Customers:

With Facebook Custom Audiences, you can load your customer database straight into Facebook. This gives you direct access to your customers on an ongoing basis to market to them, whether that’s your latest promotion, a sale or a new product. Or what if you sell gift cards during the holidays? Facebook ads targeting your past customers can be a very effective way to sell gift cards.

Benefit: brand awareness, mind share, repeat visits. 

  •  Target Website Visitors

We have a client in the massage therapy industry, and we use this type of targeting to serve ads to website visitors that have visited specific pages. For example, someone that visited the couples massage page but perhaps did not convert, we can use Facebook ads promoting couples massage to them after they have left the site because we know what pages they visited. Or in my own case, one of the most-read posts on my blog is a post about Yelp advertising. So in this case we use Facebook ads to promote a related blog post titled, Top 10 Reasons Google Ads Beat Yelp Ads, to anyone that has visited that page within one to three days. That ad has greater than a 20% click-through-rate (CTR)!

Benefit: Close longer sales cycles, increases repeat visits.

  • Leverage Lookalike Audiences

Facebook has far more information and data than we have access to. Using Lookalike Audiences we can leverage Facebook’s algorithm to find new customers for us based on the profiles of our current customers (through Custom Audiences), or based on the profiles of customers that have visited our website already.

  • Target Site Visitors Coming from Traditional Ads

If you’ve set up a vanity URL in traditional media that redirects to your real site using Google URL builder, then you can target just those traditional media website visitors using Facebook ads. I wrote a post here detailing that process.

Benefit: Higher ROA (return on advertising) by extending the life of traditional ads on Facebook..

  • Target Your Email List

Some estimates put a 30% lift in response or greater from using Facebook ads targeting customers that are also on your email list. You can achieve this targeting through Custom Audiences and loading your email list into Facebook and running ads before and after your email goes out, or by using Google URL builder and UTM variables for any links in your email that go back to your website. Google UTM variables can be targeted with Facebook ads.

Benefit: Increased email marketing response

  • Target People Coming from Social Media

Through using the Google URL builder and UTM parameters you can target Facebook ads towards people that are coming from the social media content you post that links back to your site (including Facebook). For example, if you tweet your latest blog post, or utilize Twitter ads to promote that latest blog post, you can use Facebook ads to target those same visitors with Custom Audiences.

Benefit: Marketing integration across channels, close longer sales cycles.

  •  Community Events

Does your small business attend local community events? Perhaps you have rented a booth or table. For example, maybe you sponsored a local 5k fun run or a local festival. If these events are large enough there’s a good chance you can target Facebook ads towards people that will be attending the event to create awareness of your company and to drive people to your booth or table.

As an example, we had a client in Houston that had a booth at a local crawfish festival in his neighborhood. We were able to find an audience inside of Facebook that likes the Texas Crawfish Festival. We narrowed this down to people within his zip code and found 2,000 people we could target with ads several days before and during the event – he was swamped with visitors. We also had a microbrewery client that had a booth at an event in downtown San Diego. However, in spite of the event not being on Facebook, we did narrow it down based on geography and interests (you can read that post here).

Benefit: Increased awareness, increased sales.

  •  Tradeshow Targeting
    If your company attends trade shows, Facebook ads can be used very effectively to create more awareness of your company. As an example, we had a client that was introducing a new product. Part of the marketing strategy included attending the American Academy of Family Physicians tradeshow in Washington DC. We ran ads several weeks prior to the tradeshow to create advanced awareness, and ads while the tradeshow was on. Below you can see the size of the audience. The ad created awareness with tradeshow attendees and had a call to action to visit the company’s specific booth to see a live product demo.

Tradeshow Targeting With Facebook AdsBenefit: Awareness, tradeshow booth visitors, more prospects in the top of the sales funnel.

  • Target Ads Towards Your Competitors’ Customers

Perhaps you can lure your competitors’ customers away and over to your product or service. In Facebook, you can target people that have an interest in your competitor’s brand and then narrow that down to where your competitor is actually located. As an example, we have a client with a competitor not too far from their location that is not doing well so we’re running ads in one zip code where the competitor is located using a combination of interests, Lookalike audiences, and geo-targeting to narrow that down.

Benefit: More customers, more prospects in the top of the sales funnel.

  • Target International

Do you have a business that targets people in other countries? Facebook ads can be used very effectively to target potential customers in other countries. Oftentimes the advertising costs are incredibly low too. As an example, we have a client in Houston that is in the hospitality business (temporary furnished housing). Houston is a major destination for upper-middle-income Hispanics from Latin America that come for shopping and vacations. So we run targeted Facebook ads towards potential customers in the three major cities in Mexico (Mexico City, Guadalajara, and Monterrey). Below you can see the metrics of this ad. We also get website clicks for $0.28 each!Facebook Ads Targeting Mexico, Latin America
Benefit: Lower cost advertising, low competition, increased prospects

Have you tried any of these Facebook ad targets?

Leave a comment or question below as it helps the community and everyone else learn.

About the author 

Toby is the co-founder of 39 Celsius. He has over 20 years of digital marketing experience and has started several companies throughout his career. He's an expert in SEO, Social Media Ads, Google Ads, Marketing Automation, and more. He has a BA in Chemistry/Biochemistry from UC San Diego and an MBA from SDSU.

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