Fifth in a series
Targeting prospective customers is essential for developing effective online advertising programs. After all, there are very few products or services with an equal appeal to consumers of all ages, backgrounds and locations. It doesn’t make sense to advertise farm tractors in Manhattan or luxury Italian sports cars to families with modest incomes.
Fortunately, Facebook provides an easy-to-use platform for online retailers, with dozens of ways to connect with your top prospects. In fact, Facebook levels the playing field, giving small businesses the same advertising tools as the largest national retailers without having to make an expensive investment in technology.
Once you have set up a Facebook “campaign” for all your advertising programs, developed “ad sets” for targeting specific audiences and designed your first ads, the next step is understanding Facebook’s powerful targeting options. Here are several ways to reach your customers, and you can get other great ideas from online firms like AdEspresso or Social Media Examiner.
- Demographics. If your online store caters to customers in certain locations, you can advertise to Facebook users in those the geographic areas. You can also select target ages, gender and language preferences. Using just this one panel, you could focus your ads on women in their 20s in Chicago or Spanish-speaking men in Texas over age 50. This tool alone can ensure that your ads are seen by the right target audience – but that’s just one of Facebook’s options.
- Income. If your products appeal to consumers in a certain income range, you can select that option under the demographics panel. This can be an effective way of reaching consumers with higher incomes who are interested in designer fashions, jewelry or other luxury goods. You can also target users with a certain level of net worth or liquid assets.
- Interests. Facebook users “like” many different kinds of products and services. After capturing that wealth of information, Facebook allows advertisers to reach out to consumers who may be interested in similar products and services. If you sell books, music, jewelry, or shoes, for example, putting your store “in front of” a consumer who has similar interests increases the likelihood of a sale. Facebook also lets you advertise to users who are actively seeking a certain product, such as a new household appliance or automobile. With this option you can invite active shoppers to visit your site before making a purchase decision.
- Connections. This targeting option is a great way to extend your Facebook presence. Basically, you can build on your existing network of fans and friends, and market your store to their friends. It’s a 21st century approach to word-of-mouth advertising that lets you control the process, such as inviting them to like your store, subscribe to your newsletter or receive a special offer.
- Special events. With Facebook, you can target users with upcoming birthdays, anniversaries or other special events. Depending on your store’s offerings, you could advertise products that would be ideal gifts or a gift certificate that could be redeemed after the event.
- Custom audiences. Facebook recently introduced this option, which allows you to upload a list of email addresses, phone numbers, or Facebook users. This versatile targeting tool can help you strengthen your connection with online fans and friends, and increase sales from current customers.
Finally, Facebook makes it easy to combine these targeting options so you can advertise to a very precise audience. Of course, you can also reach out to a wide audience through more general target parameters. In fact, many Facebook advertisers use both approaches to see what delivers the best results. After all, the success of any advertising program is measured by the lift in sales.