How to win with Facebook advetising and marketing in general.

This is the beginning of something much larger. We’ve been running Facebook ads for a long time now. We’ve used ad partners, ad dashboards, launched full campaign kits with very little capital and ones with thousands upon thousands of dollars. We’ve seen it all and done it all. We know first-hand that facebook advertising can and does work, but we’ve also seen it fail miserably.

Most of the time Facebook fails when clients want to just throw cash at their target, assuming that just because an ad displays to them, it will resonate with them. Those are two very different things (That’s the whole “relevance” score Facebook gives you). The hard part here is that most churches are marketing to a demographic that is predisposed to hating them, or at the very least, not be very interested in what they have to say. Throwing cash at a target won’t get the job done.

Others think that narrowing their target demographic down to the smallest factor will be the ticket to winning at Facebook ads. While that can help, your audience may be too narrow to display to a large enough section of your demo to have it make any impact. At times, this is where Facebook lead pages comes in, where a person sees an ad and becomes interested, they can take their next right step with you and complete a contact form. The bonus here is that you only pay for what you get in return, so every well-qualified lead is roughly $35-$65 for a church. That makes sense, but even adding a form at the end as your metric isn’t the best way to win at Facebook ads.

This is not how life is done, is it?

We have our favorite restaurants, right? We check out this hot new joint on the other end of town, Yelp the place and check-in on Facebook, and then say how good or bad it is. Do you ever wonder why restaurants respond so fast to negative reviews on Yelp so quickly? It’s because Yelp is the accepted standard for restaurant ratings for our current generation. A restaurant can sink or swim on Yelp reviews. The same thing can be said for a church, especially for the church audience on Facebook.

You see, we throw thousands of dollars at our target audience on Facebook, thinking that just because our curated message is intended and aimed at them directly, it will automatically connect. That’s not life, and it’s just not how it works. While it will connect with some of your audience, the best bang for you buck isn’t swingy wildly for the fences; it’s laying down the perfect bunt on that sweet changeup (yes, we are excited for the first day of baseball season).

The best Facebook ad is one that gets you your intended results. The best strategy to do this is an event driven ad, targeted at your key demographic, specified to the audience that is friends of those that have already liked your church, and then placed with a lead form at the end. That way your audience is a narrow focus and you only buy when someone is truly interested.

How do we know this? We’ve done dozens of ads just this month. We’ve done even more over the past several months. We know that people will click the stink out of anything and everything, but will largely disengage after that first click. But if you can stoke someone’s interest in an event that meets them where they are at, and if you allow them to take their next right step with you online through a lead form, you have not only targeted only those who are interested with you, you have targeted those who most likely already know of you through their friends. In marketing, this would mean that you just jumped from one point of contact, to three points of contact. That means you are almost half-way there to a 90% likelihood of someone becoming an engaged audience member (in this case, it would be the transition from an online visitor to an in-person guest, and possibly returning guest).

This is Marketing 101 folks: Your best audience is your current audience. Your second best audience is the audience that already knows about you and has a strong connection to you through someone else who is already connected. If you can effectively reach that audience where they are at and give them a way to take their next right step with you online, then you can partner with their friends to help them navigate their way from online to in-person more effectively.

We’re not saying you can’t reach your audience just by throwing cash around. If you have enough cash and a captivating enough story to tell, then you can eventually land your buy. But no matter what you do, it will never compare with a strategy that involves the whole church and the individuals that make it great. You can spend money on impressions and clicks all day long. You can sign up for the latest and greatest Facebook ad dashboard and hire the biggest and best ads team money can buy, but if you can’t connect with your current audience and their friends, then you will never help them make the move to step four and five in their journey. But if you can tell a good story, give people a reason to check things out, provide a navigator for their journey, and make it easy for them to ask questions, then you are more than halfway there to adding more people into your church, and ultimately, heaven.

Quick tips on making Facebook ads work for you. 

  1. Get to know what make your current audience tick.
  2. Grow your own base before you consider ads.
  3. Narrow your target demographic as much as possible.
  4. Drive ads via event campaigns and local audience buys.
  5. Always end with a lead form.
  6. Make sure your follow-up team responds to leads as they come in.
  7. Stay tuned-in on social media. It’s where your audience is at.