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A Guide to Facebook Ads for Small Business Owners

Dakota Shane
Aug 10, 2016 · 6 min read

Josie owns a small coffee shop in Oakland, California. The coffee shop is called Josie’s Cup of Joe. The cafe is quaint and homely. Like many cafes, there is a sense of warmth and comfort the moment you walk in.

Note: Characters in story are fictional.

Josie’s Cup of Joe is situated 2 blocks from a commercial hub. The center has three buildings filled with successful companies and startups. Flooding with tired, caffeine-hungry business professionals.

Additionally, her cafe is only a 10 minute walk to a nearby community college.

While Josie adores her current customer base, she would like to see a few more business professionals in her shop in the mornings, and college students late at night. After all, why shouldn’t she be take advantage of this amazing location?

The situation bugs Josie for a while. She wants to reel in those customers. She wants a line out of the door. So she does something about it.

She learns. And learns. And learns some more.

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After a week of Lynda courses, Udemy courses, scouring marketing blogs, and watching YouTube tutorials, Josie discovers some invaluable strategies her business will benefit from.

She realizes the power of advertising your business on Facebook. The service which provides business owners with indispensable insights, targeting capabilities, and data about potential customers.

She learns Facebook enables you to make sure (if you target correctly) only the people likely to use your product or service will see your ad. She learns Facebook allows you to filter by age, gender, interests, by members of Facebook groups, people who Liked specific Facebook pages, by where someone lives, by where someone works, and much more.

Best of all, you pick your price. You only pay if people click on your ad. For $5 to $10 per day, Josie’s advertisements could be in front of thousands of prospects.

So she does something about it.

Josie creates three campaigns.

Campaign #1: Josie targets employees of the nearby commercial center.

With a quick Google search, she finds out which companies are in the commercial center right down the street from her cafe. She then adds employees of this business to her list of targets. All with a couple clicks.

Her ad reads, “Want to stay awake during your meetings today? Stop by Josie’s Cup of Joe? We’re only a couple blocks away :)”.

By using targeting methods, Josie is telling Facebook only people with interest X and interest Y should be seeing her ad. It’s as if she is creating a highly personalized, extremely nuanced billboard on a freeway where only her customers are allowed to drive on.

Campaign #2: Josie tests a more general audience for her advertisements.

To do this, she targets people who live in Oakland, San Francisco, and the rest of the Bay Area. Specifically, people with interest like coffee, tea, and food.

While talking with one of her regulars, Josie discovers there is a sizable Facebook Group called Bay Area Coffee Drinkers. The group meets regularly at cafes, then writes blog and Yelp reviews about their collective experience.

So she adds this Facebook page to her targets.

Campaign #3: Josie targets students at the nearby community college.

For her last ad, Josie targets students at the nearby community college.

At the college, it’s midterm season. Josie swoops at the opportunity by creating an ad that reads: “Josie’s Cup of Joe: Helping Students Dominate Midterms since 2005”.

For all three ad campaigns, Josie uses an exclusive 20% promo code available to ensure she can track who came into her store through Facebook.

Now that the targeting is complete, she must to create the ads themselves, and ads need pictures and/or graphics to be successful.

Josie is not a a photographer, so she finds websites like Unsplash and Pexels which provide you with beautiful images to use for the ads. FOR FREE!

Josie is not a graphic designer. She finds tools like Fiverr that allow users to connect with artists to create beautiful designs for cheap (AS LOW AS $5 TO $10!). While she doesn’t need an infographic or design for these campaigns, she knows she will down the road.

The grand total for all three campaigns: $90

Josie sets a $10 daily budget for three days on all three ads ($10 x 3 days x 3 ads = $90).

This is less than what she spends on printing out poster ads (typically $9.99 each), which usually reach the wrong people, and only reach a fraction of the people her Facebook Ads do.

She will collect the data and see which ad performed the best, then put her attention and price into that ad.

When Josie is done, she takes some time to relax. She’s thinkin’ tonight will be a wine-and-Netflix type of night!

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She is happy with her work. With the number of clicks. With her research. And of course, with the little money spent!

The outcome is not instantaneous. It takes some time. Employees need to tell their coworkers about that hip spot right down the street. Students need to host a couple late-night cram sessions in the shop before it was established as a go-to study spot.

But in just a few months, there is a steady line throughout the day. Mornings and lunches are filled with professionals, and evenings and nights are filled with community college students.

Josie even had to hire a couple new baristas to help manage the influx of customers.

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And this was all because of a simple mindset shift, a little research, a lot of creativity, and $90.

So what is the point of all this?

The point of this story is to explain how social media has the potential to transform any business. No matter the size or location of that business.

It’s important to realize social media is not just for online businesses and middle schoolers any more. It is for any business. It is for your business.

Anyone with an internet connection can now benefit from social media. Facebook Ads are just one powerful example of this.

Okay, so what next??

If you would like to learn more how to use Facebook Ads, check out these resources to get started. They are my favorite 3 resources for Facebook Ads:

Facebook’s Guide to Facebook Advertising

Buffer Blog’s Always-Updated Guide to Facebook Ads

Ad Espresso Blog

If you’ve made it this far, can you do me a huge favor and send this article to anyone you know who would benefit from it?

They could be a small business owner, a solopreneur, or any one else. I want as many people as possible to gain value from this :)

Thank so much for reading!

A network of business & tech podcasts designed to accelerate learning. Selected as “Best of 2018” by Apple.

Dakota Shane

Written by

I help make content marketing simple. Columnist: Co-Founder: Copy Buffs (a copywriting agency). Follow me on Twitter.

A network of business & tech podcasts designed to accelerate learning. Selected as “Best of 2018” by Apple.

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