TCW - Jobs, Money & Opinion

Can Facebook Ads Jump-start Your Business?

FB advertising, take 2.jpg

When university professor Dr. Sara Schwarzbaum opened Couples Counseling Associates in downtown Chicago a year ago, she decided to test Facebook advertising to create buzz - quickly - for her services.

It worked. Today, Facebook ads account for more than one-third of her part-time practice - enough to support herself and two associate counselors. The ads underscore her credentials as an experienced and effective counselor with a downtown Chicago location.

The beauty of Facebook advertising, she says, is that it lets her target prospective clients based on factors such as geographic area, age, marital status, gender, education and even language. Fluent in Spanish, she also created a Spanish language ad. She created several versions based on the market segment she is trying to reach.

The other benefit is the budgeting options. During slow months, Dr. Schwarzbaum has boosted her ad budget to as much as $700. When business is booming, she has the option to put her ad program on "pause."

"The phone calls definitely decrease when I stop the ads," she states.

If YOU want to test this platform to reach new customers, the Facebook Ads "Help Center" offers great advice.  Its "Suggested Best Practices" links you to several tips, including the importance of identifying your goals. You'll need to determine whether you want ad results based on the number of click-throughs to your website or simply, the number of impressions (page views).

Advertisers are encouraged to keep their ads simple, and include visuals, a strong call-to-action and a link to a good landing page. Examples of ads include an "incorrect" and "correct" version.

The Case Studies link focuses primarily on how the big brands have leveraged Facebook advertising, but scroll down to the very bottom if you want to see how small and medium-sized companies have used it.

The Help Center also offers tips on improving your ads' performance and a chance to share your success story - once you have one - that may get you featured on Facebook Ads' own fan page for even more visibility. Fill out their on-line form, and if they use your story, you'll get a $50 Facebook Ads coupon.

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