“Why isn’t this working?”

I was near the point of tears as I looked at my Facebook Ad dashboard once again, praying that the numbers would magically change into something I could be proud of.

Nope, they stayed the same, showing the money that I had spent and the leads I didn’t get. I’m a bright person, someone who easily sees solutions to marketing problems. What was so special about this?

I recently stopped offering marketing strategies to anyone who doesn’t first have a brand strategy in place. It’s drastic, but something that is 100% the right thing to do.

It wasn’t just me

Here’s the thing. I’m not an outlier here. I’ve spoken to many small business owners with the same experience as I had. And I’ve spoken to Facebook Ad experts to figure out why the ads weren’t working.

Let’s say I ask you who your ideal client is. If you tell me it’s everyone, or “small business owners”, then your brand strategy needs serious work.

The people who should be running ads will say something like “A woman in her mid-forties, who is married with a college education. She has two children and a dog. At night she enjoys a glass of wine while watching The Voice. She reads books like “Live, Laugh, Love” and drives a Honda Pilot.

If you can’t get into that detail, and if you’re level of detail is a guess (rather than gathered from research), then running ads is going to be a difficult task.

Your ideal client isn’t your only client. It’s just the type of person who is going to easily say yes to your offer. It’s the type of person who will become an advocate for you, and keep coming back for more.

These are the people we want to serve in our business. It’s nice when we’re able to help others that don’t exactly fit the profile, but shouldn’t we set our sights to running a thriving business instead of just surviving with non-ideal clients?

Actually running ads

When it comes to running ads, you have to know your ideal client backward and forwards. You have to know what ad creative is going to pique her interest (a meme about The Voice perhaps?).

You need to know the tone of your copy. Is she put off by sarcastic comments, or would it make her laugh and click?

Your product needs to be tested. Otherwise you’re sending these ideal clients to a broken offer and it’s like flushing money down the toilet.

As a brand, you need to know who you are, what makes you different, and who your ideal clients are. You need to have a consistent communication framework and message that makes it easy to come up with topics for ads.

And you need a budget. You need to be able to test multiple ads to different target audiences, with different creative and copy.

You don’t even want to sell in the first ad if someone doesn’t already know who you are. Instead, you want to figure out who might be interested in your offer. After all, we’re not barbarians who propose on the first date.

Only when you can do all of this, should you be running ads on Facebook. Remember, people aren’t on Facebook to solve problems (other than boredom perhaps), but they are on Facebook to see what’s on their newsfeed. Your ad is not why they ended up scrolling on that particular app.

So what’s a small business owner to do?

First, figure out who you are as a business and who you ideally want to work with. This is your brand strategy and it’s one of the key pieces to build your business on (after your business plan).

Next, learn how to market your business organically. If you can’t make headway with a smaller audience, you’re not going to be able to do it with a bigger one.

Finally, hire someone who knows what they are doing. Don’t try to run these ads by yourself. There are so many intricacies, you’ll want someone who does it every day and that’s all they do.

Then, rather than flushing your money, you can put it in a piggy bank instead. They are much cuter anyway!

I stopped trying to run Facebook ads and focused on creating a killer brand strategy instead. Now I could run ads if I wanted to because I know my ideal client. I know her problems, what she’s already tried, and what she needs help with.

And I know what her interests are. Hello fun ad-creative and targeting!

Do you want help nailing that ideal client? Knowing your ideal client backward and forwards is one of the steps in my brand strategy services. I’d love to chat with you about it on a free discovery call! Book now.

What’s your experience with Facebook ads? Let me know in the comments!

About the Author Jennifer Anastasi

I’m Jennifer Anastasi, an Engineer turned Brand Strategist. I empower other service-based businesses to find that clear brand and online presence using my background in tech mixed with creativity (I'm a lifelong creative after all). Unlike courses or group programs, I focus on each business as a unique entity and break down complex and intimidating concepts into easy-to-understand ideas for custom results.

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