The holy grail of advertising is to create an ad that people like and actually want to share with friends, while at the same time including an offer to drive leads and sales.
Watch a few Geico commercials to see how it’s done.
However, most ads fall well short of that lofty, 2-pronged goal. They typically focus on just 1 goal, at the expense of the other…
For example, here are the most common ads you’ll see when surfing around Facebook.
Ad Type #1. Engagement Ads
Everyone loves to read relevant information or watch an informative, entertaining, and/or inspiring video. That’s why Engagement-focused Facebook Ads get so many likes and shares.
However, there is a big catch…
Engagement ads do not directly generate leads or sales! In fact, the more you try to sell, the less effective these ads become because no one wants to share something with their friends that ultimately leads to a hard sell.
That brings us to the 2nd ad type…
Ad Type #2. Direct Response Ads
Direct response advertising is all about driving leads and sales (aka getting a response). You know you’re looking at a direct response ad when you see an offer and a call to action like “sign up” or “call now” or “get offer”. The offer and call to action are two critical components to successful direct response advertising.
Of course, there’s also a catch with this type of ad, particularly on Facebook…
Most people don’t click “Like” or share purely direct response type ads! Plus, there’s a greater risk that your target audience will provide negative feedback on your ads by clicking “Hide” which hurts your relevance score and leads to higher ad costs.
So how do you do both? How do you create an ad that encourages sharing, as well as encourages conversions?
No, the answer is not to hire Geico’s ad agency. :)
One way to do this is to stop thinking in terms of just one ad… Instead, use more than one ad to create an ad sequence.
Introducing the 4-Step Facebook Ad Sequence
Again, the goal here is to find a way to leverage the power of sharing on Facebook, while at the same time generating leads and sales.
Here’s how we can do that using a 4-step Facebook ad sequence.
Step 1. Engagement Ad
It all starts with an engagement ad that promotes relevant information or an informative, entertaining, and/or inspiring video.
The goal in this first step is to get your ad in front of as many of your ideal prospects as possible for the least amount of money. To accomplish that goal you need a very compelling ad that encourages Facebook likes, shares, and clicks through to your website to read or watch.
That brings us to step 2…
Step 2. Shareable Webpage
When people click through to your website, then your webpage should encourage more sharing. Again, the goal here is not to sell (yet). We’re trying to get as many people as possible to read your article or watch your video.
I should clarify at this point that I’m assuming your ads are targeting your ideal audience and not just every Facebook user… There are a lot of targeting options in Facebook you can use to narrow down your audience and ensure you’re getting your ads in front of the best possible prospects.
If you are in fact targeting the right audience, then everyone that clicks through to your website now meets the following criteria:
- They match all the characteristics you selected that make them an ideal prospect
- They click on Facebook ads and will likely click on more ads in the future
- They visited your website and can now be retargeted with additional ads (click here if you’re not already familiar with retargeting ads)
- They know, like, and possibly even trust you if you’ve provided great information
That last criteria is critical for obvious reasons and it brings us to step 3…
Step 3. Direct Response Retargeting Ad
Step 3 is where the rubber meets the road. The reason this Facebook ad sequence can work so well is because your focusing your direct response ad copy on exactly who is most likely to respond positively to the ads.
The direct response retargeting ads will only target the people that already clicked on the engagement ad in step 1. This significantly reduces the risk that your ads will receive negative feedback and allows you to write better sales copy that relates to the article or video that was previously advertised.
Once your prospect clicks on this direct response ad, then she lands on step 4…
Step 4. Conversion Webpage
The 4th and final step is the conversion webpage that is 100% focused on generating the lead or sale. The beauty of using this 4-step sequence is that you don’t have to compromise.
When you try to do everything with just one ad, then you’re always balancing the “like-ability” and “share-ability” of the ad/landing page versus the “convert-ability” of the ad/landing page. With this 4-step sequence, you can focus each step on exactly what you’re trying to achieve at that given moment in the sales cycle.
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