facebook ppc for retailMany companies with tight budgets are just now jumping on board the Facebook PPC train, thanks to case studies with solid results and retargeting options. It can be daunting for many smaller companies to make heads or tails of the system, and particularly how to get the results all those case studies mention.

Luckily, it’s not that hard to do if you follow 4 basic principles.

1. Spend Smart

The most powerful features available to advertisers on the Facebook platform are the myriad ways in which targets and budgets can be set. You can set your targets by ZIP code, geo-radius, interest, and now with the custom targets within the Power Editor, you can even target by profession and purchase history.

At first glance it can seem as though the potential audience is limitless. On the contrary, it is by limiting the audience to your most relevant subset that the successful case study results happen.

Think of the campaign not so much like “how many people can I hit with THIS message?” but rather, “how specifically can I use targeting to make this message compelling to THIS group?” Thinking in this way, you can run multiple ad variations to multiple audiences. Now you are lowering your spend by limiting your target audience, all the while driving higher numbers by targeting your message to the exact right people.

2. Use Consumer-Centered Messaging

Which brings up our next principle: focus your ad copy and images based on the target market and audience instead of around your own brand.

This principle should be central to any Facebook strategy, whether we are talking content or advertising. The bottom line is that Facebook’s currency is relevance. With Facebook’s advertising tools, it is possible to get a good read on the people who will see your ads. Why not go ahead and take the time to ask yourself, what would they like to see and read?

If there is any question on that front, just do A/B tests. Use the same target audience and use varying images and copy to see what gets the biggest results. This gives you content insight as well, allowing you to turn ad reach into research, and in turn give your new fans the kind of content that they desire most.

3. Leverage inbound marketing

To set up for long-term success, it’s also highly recommended that you build an inbound strategy to stretch your ad dollars.

Facebook is still a pay-to-play venue, and establishing good inbound marketing without some outbound advertising is pretty difficult. However, if you focus on capturing email addresses, building loyalty programs, and the like, you extend the power of the campaign in two ways: first, holding onto the audience you gained with your advertising with relevant content and deals; second, empowering them to share those messages with their friends. (More reach for your brand!)

Unfortunately, many local retailers forget this step and find themselves always fighting an uphill battle, forced to spend advertising dollars for every sale. Ad dollars can often be stretched tremendously just by giving your customers the power to receive the messages they want, and making these messages as shareable as possible.

4. Build agile management and react to the data

Perhaps the most important thing to getting those killer results is agile management.

Pay attention to the data coming in on your Facebook analytics, and respond accordingly, both in-store and on Facebook. As you gain traction, notice what products are causing response and adjust the store accordingly. If something is selling well in-store, post it to Facebook. Others would probably want it too if they knew it was there.

The biggest struggle for retailers on Facebook is just feeling lost as to what to post and what not to post. However, if you are thinking in terms of what is moving and what the data is saying, you have a real chance to close that knowledge gap and provide pinpoint relevant data to exactly the right people.

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Cody Vest
Cody Vest is the creative director at Vest Advertising in Louisville, KY. A second-generation Ad Man, he bridges the gap between digital data and ad strategy building campaigns across every kind of media outlet from Facebook to broadcast TV. Cody's interests include building easy ways to get key marketing data from the open systems of the social web, and strengthening traditional campaigns with digital insights.