The first date is always a little awkward (queue the sweaty palms and cliché, over-asked questions). It’s all part of the process, and can lead to great conversation. And, if sparks fly, you go on a few more dates that get increasingly easier and less awkward. When it comes down to it, the first date isn’t just about selling yourself, but also about connecting to see if there’s potential for a relationship.
In today’s evolved world of marketing–especially on Facebook–your ads need to do more than just sell. They should tell a story. It’s 2016 and people want relationships with brands. They want to connect. It’s that relationship that keeps brands top of mind, and increases a customer’s lifetime value (LTV). So, how do you cut through the noise and effectively move users through the path to conversion?
This is where sequential marketing works its magic. Unless you are a well-established company with brand equity, you shouldn’t expect someone to click-through the first ad they see and immediately convert. Love at first sight is rare, after all. In this way, think of social advertising as a marathon, not a sprint. The audiences you’re reaching likely have little or no intent to convert at that very moment, so it’s up to you to build that intent.
Facebook is the perfect place to introduce a “layered” advertising approach, since its reach is so vast with a highly engaged audience. Not only that, but Facebook’s advertising offerings are increasingly expanding with robust targeting options and new ad unit offerings. Together, these features can help your brand tell a better story.
Step 1: Introductions | Brand Awareness
Whether you’re a new brand or already have an established social media following, you should always introduce yourself before promoting your product or service. It’s only polite.
This is a great opportunity to communicate to your potential customers your value proposition and competitive advantage; why would someone like me be interested in someone like you? Even if you’re looking to become very direct response focused, a little brand awareness can go a long way in building a relationship with consumers.
Some things to consider during this stage are:
- Creative: Never underestimate the power of beautiful imagery. Don’t bombard creative with text or promotional offers. There’s plenty of room to say what you need to say in the ad copy, and no one likes intrusive ads.
- Copy: Keep it simple. Brand awareness ads should introduce your brand in a succinct way that sparks interest. If you don’t feel like you can successfully communicate your brand’s value in 110 characters or less, see number three.
- Video: Facebook has been pushing video hard lately, and for good reason. Not only do Facebook Video Ads receive nearly twice the engagement as standard posts, but Facebook also recently rolled out the ability to retarget users who engaged. Everyone wins.
- Community Management: When building brand equity on social media, the comments you receive can prove equally as influential as the post itself. Responding to both the good and the bad can help to further build that relationship by establishing credibility with your audience.
Step 2: Sell Yourself | Direct Response
Direct response (DR) is the main reason marketers have flocked by the thousands to Facebook in recent years, cash in hand. Whether it’s for site traffic, leads, purchases, app installs–you name it–Facebook has proven successful in helping brands of all verticals achieve their KPIs.
While DR ads can be wildly successful, it’s important to recognize that some verticals have a longer path to conversion than others. To maximize your chances of success, keep the following tips in mind:
- Audience Insights: If your Facebook page has garnered enough likes, or if you have a CRM list, you can tap into the Audience Insights tool to discover demographics, location, purchase behaviors, and more. This is immensely beneficial for new brands or first-time Facebook advertisers who may not know what targeting to use.
- Lookalike Targeting: Creates an audience with similar interests or online behavior as your specified audience. Although Lookalike targeting doesn’t give you as much insight into your audience, it can sometimes drive better performance than interest or behavior targeting with far less effort on your end. In the Facebook algorithm we trust.
- Video (Again!): If you used video to drive brand awareness, here’s your time to shine. With new Facebook targeting options, you can qualify your audience by building a target group of users who watched up to 95% of the video. The higher the %, the more likely they are to be interested in your brand, and therefore pay attention to a DR ad.
- Carousel: Not only does this ad type allow you to showcase multiple products at once, but also typically drives 30-50% lower CPAs than single-image ads. Getting creative with carousel is encouraged too! Think outside the box and use it to create a larger canvas for a single image, highlighting different features.
- Canvas: The newest ad format on Facebook–and a stunning one at that. Keep in mind you’ll likely need dedicated assets for canvas, since it’s essentially an in-platform webpage showcasing your products. If you have the resources, it makes for an extraordinary m-commerce experience.
Step 3: Keep Them Coming Back | Remarketing & Re-Engagement
In the wise words of a small indie band called Daft Punk, “Our work is never over”. As marketers, our job is to continuously engage with customers and keep them coming back for more. That is how the most successful brands gain massive followings, and how brand advocates are born.
So here’s your chance to seal the deal for those who are teetering on the idea of purchasing your product, comparison shopping, or just plain afraid of commitment.
- Dynamic Remarketing: Automatically promote relevant products based on what users have viewed, added to cart, or previously purchased. For those that have not yet converted it’s a great opportunity to remind them about the product (attention spans are short), and for previous customers it’s the perfect chance to cross-sell.
- Special Offers: Offering a promo, such as free shipping or gift with purchase, can sometimes help potential customers take the plunge. Because who doesn’t love free stuff?
- Don’t Be Creepy: Bonus! This applies to both digital marketing and dating. No one likes to feel like they’re being followed–especially on a platform where they post so much personal information. This can easily tarnish the relationship you worked so hard to build. Making sure ads are relevant and non-intrusive while keeping your brand top of mind is key. Watch frequency (3x is okay, 25x is not) and be smart about remarketing windows (no, I don’t still want those shoes I looked at last spring).
Sequential marketing is a powerful multi-faceted tactic that is proven to move the needle far more than any one-dimensional campaign. As Facebook continues to evolve, it provides the optimal tools to engage, sell, and re-connect with your target audience in a unique way that no other platform offers. When storytelling meets strategic selling, sparks fly. The rest is history.