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A Facebook Ad’s Role in Inbound Marketing

Published: October 15, 2014

Author: Franco Puetz

After this year’s INBOUND conference, I really started thinking about where Facebook advertising could fit into the inbound marketing picture.
On one hand, Facebook ads are generally used to push users into your funnel, whereas most inbound marketing tactics are focused on drawing people into your website by offering valuable content first.
There are a number of synergies that can be used between the two, but I wanted to cover the three that I found most valuable.

Retargeting Helps Accelerate Exposure

In the world of online marketing, exposure is everything. If a tree falls in the woods and no one is around, did it actually happen? If you write a blog post and get zero traffic to that page, what’s the point?
Retargeting allows you to speak directly to the people who have already had a touch point with your brand – this is powerful stuff!
Whether it’s through Facebook’s retargeting platform, or through a third-party retargeting source like AdRoll, making a move to get started here after you have some relevant traffic flowing to your site is a great idea.
Another wonderful option is Facebook’s Custom Audience targeting. Let’s pretend you have a list of users subscribed to your blog, or perhaps a list of people who have downloaded a piece of gated content from your website. You are missing a HUGE opportunity if you don’t use upload those emails into a Custom Audience list on Facebook. They’ve already indicated interest in your content by downloading or subscribing, and if you’re bidding on a CPC basis for these ads, it should be a no-brainer.
The omni-present ‘they’ say that it take approximately seven touch points to make a sale; why not automate a few?

Provide Value to the Right People at the Right Time

The first thing we have to do here is define the right people. For the most part, every business in every industry will be targeting different personas. When all is said and done, sending the right message to the right person at the right time is the key to a successful marketing campaign.
You can take the deep dive into Facebook analytics reporting, or even Google Analytics, to help identify with whom your message is resonating.
This is huge because it allows you to not only craft and optimize the messaging in your Facebook campaigns, but the messaging in your marketing campaign across all mediums.
I wrote a post a while back about getting more out of conferences with Facebook ads, and I feel like that approach is definitely a product of the findings you generate through data you collect running these campaigns. You will be able to better define who your consumer is and put that information into play during your outreach at conferences.

Headline Testing and Audience Data Extraction

The value of data is going to be different for each person. If you make a lot of data-driven decisions in your company, the value can be tremendous. Regardless of how often you reference your web data, it is undeniably helpful to the growth of your company and execution of future initiatives.
In the world of content marketing, bad headlines are any contributor’s kryptonite. Fortunately, setting up headline tests with Facebook ads is super-easy to do. Simply make two ads that run at the same time, with the only variable at play being the headline, and voila – data!
This is incredibly important if you are planning on launching a new gated piece that will be responsible for a number of future downloads. A solid headline can make or break the success of your published content, so use Facebook ads as a great way to test the waters. You can collect a ton of valuable data with a budget of less than $20.
You can also use ad data to determine which content is getting picked up the most by your target audience. If a certain topic is generating a higher click-through rate, or a higher download rate in some cases, make more! With any A/B testing, it’s important to keep as many variables constant as possible, so in this case you would simply be testing different offerings among the same audience.
If you really want to take it to the next level, combine your Facebook data with Google Analytics data to gain awesome insight on geographic location, browsing patterns, and even device preferences to make informed decisions with your content moving forward.
For instance, if you notice that most of your content is being picked up on mobile devices, optimize your content to look amazing for those devices, and reap the benefits of increased readership, subscriptions, and leads.
There has been a great divide between paid advertising and inbound marketing, when in reality you are only shooting yourself in the foot by not leveraging both sides to make your overall digital marketing strategy more effective.
Facebook ads are a great tool for enhanced reach and research, and finding ways to make your inbound campaigns work harmoniously with your Facebook ad strategy should be a top priority.
What other ways are you using Facebook ads to leverage your inbound strategy?

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