Facebook Marketing: Six Steps to Success

05/12/2015 12:16 pm ET | Updated May 12, 2016

I'd guess that nearly all of us use Facebook to share pictures, interesting articles and other personal items of interest. But are you also using it to generate a steady stream of ideal clients to your business? If so, are you making the right moves to maximize the enormous benefits that Facebook can bring to your company?

If you answered "no" to either question, it's time to get on the Facebook marketing train. Here's how to do it -- courtesy of Nick Unsworth, author of The Book on Facebook Marketing. A serial entrepreneur and business coach, Nick is widely recognized as a true expert in helping business owners leverage the hugely popular social media site to generate bigger bottom lines.


1. Recognize the value of Facebook marketing. Buying media online has become the most tangible path to creating results, says Unsworth, and Facebook is the best outlet to make that buy. The reason is its ability to help you generate leads and cash flow in a very short period of time and nurture relationships to create a strong lifetime value with each customer. "For every dollar you spend on Facebook marketing, you can get back $2, at least, with the right campaign," says Unsworth. "I've seen returns that were 10 times the initial investment."

2. Narrow your niche. The first key to successfully generating high-quality leads via Facebook is to get crystal clear on your ideal target market client. Facebook gives you the ability to drill down with surgical precision to find the perfect prospective clients for your business and unique value proposition. Example: Unsworth worked with a health and fitness company looking to expand its online presence. The owners determined that their ideal prospects were women aged 22 to 29 living within 100 miles of the business who were engaged and who liked the TV show The Biggest Loser. "These women were highly motivated to hire a health and fitness coach to make a change in their lives, and finding them via Facebook was extremely easy thanks to their status updates, their page "likes" and so on," says Unsworth.

Targeting a well-defined niche is also cost effective, he adds. "When you drill down in your market you can get very specific on a small budget. On one campaign early on, I targeted chief marketing officers and got high-caliber leads and new business by spending maybe $20 a day with an overall budget of a couple of hundred dollars."

3. Run "lead magnets." Once you identify exactly who you want to sell to, run targeted ads on the pages those Facebook users "like." These ads should speak to the target audience's biggest needs or pain points and get them to raise their hands to explore working with you. Example: The fitness company's ad aimed at young, engaged women offered "7 Tips to Look Your Best in the Dress."

4. Offer free content. Don't try to get Facebook users to buy instantly. "The direct response techniques that we've learned in the past don't work on Facebook," says Unsworth. "People are on Facebook looking at baby pictures or at their ex-girlfriend or boyfriend. They're there to interact for social reasons, not to buy."

Instead, yours ads should send prospects to a landing page on your website where they can access free content and insight in exchange for their email address (thus creating the lead). This type of "conversational marketing" gets prospects to engage with your company and allows you to immediately build trust and rapport.

One of the most effective types of content for generating cash flow rapidly is a free live webinar in which you solve a problem facing your target market. The webinar should offer your tips and advice, and end with a call to action to purchase your solution -- personal training, a strategy session, or some other high-ticket product or service. By giving your target audience something of value for free and then making your pitch immediately afterward, you can generate sales instantly. Example: Unsworth helped an aromatherapy company use Facebook to market a webinar on how to use essential oils to conquer allergies. That approach generated an additional $1.5 million in sales for the firm last year.

5. Stay in touch with customized ads. Facebook's Custom Audiences feature lets you deliver ads to customers you already know. You can upload a list of email addresses of the people who have visited your website or mobile app and viewed your content, and deliver follow up ads directly to them. Say you have a list of 3,500 prospects you would like to convert into a lead or a customer. By "touching" them as part of a follow-up campaign of targeted ads, you can prompt them to take the next step on the conversion path. "They'll see you every time they log on, and you'll become ubiquitous among your niche" says Unsworth.

6. Make it all look great. Pay attention to the design and layout of your ads. This should go without saying, but too often entrepreneurs slap up half-baked ads and landing pages. Big mistake, says Unsworth. "Graphic design creates a perception of you among your prospects, and does so in a split second. If your ads look good, your photo is professionally done and your messaging conveys that you can help solve your audience's problem, you'll create a sense of authority and expertise and trust really fast."

Another tip: Make sure the look and feel of your Facebook ad and your landing page are consistent with each other -- the same fonts, styles and colors are shared among both. Such consistency helps to further reinforce the idea among prospects that you are well-organized and worthy of their attention.

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