If you’re a service-based business, the right approach to advertising online can feel overwhelming and downright frustrating.
Paid search works great for emergency-based services like HVAC repairs, plumbers, and doctors.
But what if you don’t offer emergency services?
You may not be getting the calls and leads you want from a PPC campaign in those cases.
But, Facebook advertising can be an effective platform to help you generate the results you want.
Let’s dive into why this is the case, and some best practices and suggestions for advertising your service business on Facebook.
1. Adapt for Your Consumer Buying Journey
If you’re responsible for delivering a service, whether at someone’s home or at your location, having a great web presence and online reputation are important to your prospective customers.
Consumers want to feel comfortable and confident when hiring a service provider.
These buyers typically spend more time thinking about their purchase decision, so it’s unlikely they will go with the first business that shows up in the paid ads on a search engine.
Potential customers may take some time to check out multiple businesses, look at websites and reviews, ask friends and family for recommendations, compare prices, and more.
Because we established you aren’t in an emergency services-type vertical, the purchases aren’t immediate, and busy consumers may forget about them while they go about their day.
With Facebook advertising, local service providers can effectively remind people of their services and convert more interested leads.
What are the things they consider in their decisions to purchase?
What are your stand-out features versus other options or competitors?
These are the messages that can be highly effective in some simple remarketing ads.
2. Actively Manage Your Facebook Page
While the days of organic reach and putting a ton of effort behind your Facebook Page may be gone, there is still an important function of your Page if you run ads: if a user sees your ad, they’re likely to click on the Page to get a sense of who they are.
If your presence is lackluster – few status updates, no responses to posts, and negative reviews – chances are high they’ll move on.
Think of your Page like your storefront that people are walking by.
What do you want them to see?
Here’s a great example of a business simply liking positive comments, and addressing a complaint.
It probably took just a few minutes, but it clearly shows they care about their audience and are willing to fix any bad experience:
Make sure all your business information is complete, and post regular updates (e.g., tips, offers, specials, photos) so users will form a positive view your business at first glance.
Make sure to respond to reviews and comments you receive on your posts or page.
It shows users you are there, the lights are on, and someone is actively managing the business presence!
3. Get Results: Choose Your Goal Wisely
While Facebook ads look a lot like display ads and work to grow brand awareness and interest from users, many Facebook campaigns can generate tangible results for a service business.
Selecting a Facebook campaign goal that can capture leads, have people contact you via Messenger, or drive web or in-person visits can help you generate inquiries and leads.
You can also pair that with the Offer feature to give potential customers a deal they can save and redeem.
These are set up within your Ad Sets:
This could help them decide between you and your competitors, or push them over the decision line on trying your service if they never have.
Users tend to like to stay on a social platform when they’re there.
Things like Lead generation goals or Message goals can help potential customers communicate with you, without the friction of having to go to your site and contacting you there.
4. Target Ads to Your Ideal Consumers
There are a lot of powerful targeting capabilities on Facebook.
This can make it a challenge to decide exactly what’s best for your advertising campaign.
Start by getting back to basics and understanding who your target audience is.
For a home-service business, there are few key consumer demographics and targeting tactics to think about:
Where Your Customers Live
First, a local service provider should determine the ideal geographic area to target.
Look at your typical service area and how far you’re willing to stretch that area is the first step in targeting your Facebook ads to local prospects.
Facebook allows you to choose one or more locations to target.
It can include specific ZIP codes or a radius around a specific location, a city, state, or country.
Many of Facebook’s advertising programs allow you to show your ad to users in specific demographics or who have desired traits.
For example, if your services have a higher cost, such as pool installation or home remodeling, Facebook’s financial demographics can help you narrow your audience to certain percentages of household income (note: some options may be restricted or unavailable depending on what your services are).
You can also select an age range – such as users over the age of 18 – specific interests, and more to find that sweet spot of your ideal customer.
Relevant Niche Demographics
Users that provide information like their life events can be a goldmine for service providers.
For instance, if you are a lifestyle photographer who wants to reach people who have recently gotten engaged or had a baby, you can do so if they’ve provided that information to Facebook.
This enables your ads to show only to people who have an actual use for your services, and may already be in the market.
You can also exclude certain users based on their demographics, interests, and more if they’re outside your target audience and you don’t want your ads to show to those users.
Retargeting & Custom Audiences
If you’re already getting a lot of visits to your website, you can opt to retarget them on Facebook to remind them of your business.
But if you’re using Facebook to drum up new business, one of the best ways to do this is to target ads to the people who are most likely to work with you.
This can include your current Facebook fans, people who have previously contacted you, newsletter subscribers, and others who haven’t made a purchase for one reason or another.
You can also leverage Facebook’s lookalike audience feature, which uses its data to create a list of new prospects that “look like” the people on your list and target them with your ads.
While there are a vast number of targeting options available through Facebook, you don’t want to narrow your audience too much, as this could severely limit the amount of engagement with your ads and drive up your costs.
5. Command Attention with Great Ads
Creating an eye-catching and effective Facebook ad is crucial to getting results from your campaign.
Remember that your ads are competing in the News Feed with status updates from friends and family, other businesses (including competitors), articles and videos from news outlets, and more, so it’s easy for your ad to get lost among all that content.
Here are a few things you need for your ad to work.
An Engaging Image
Although Facebook doesn’t allow “before” and “after” images, you can still use great imagery that stands out in the News Feed.
Using your own images not only makes your ads look more authentic, but they’ll be differentiated from every other stock photo image in the News Feed.
If you don’t have the ability to take high-quality photos for your ads, use an image that’s a good representation of your business, and encourages someone to take action.
For example, if you have a pool cleaning business, don’t show an empty pool – show people enjoying one.
Short, Yet Impactful Messages
If you are running specials, holding an event, or offering any unique services, include them in your ad’s headline and description.
Your message should quickly describe your service and differentiate your business from your competitors.
Remember: any longer descriptions will be truncated on mobile devices.
The Right Call to Action
Select a call to action that makes the most sense for your ad and your business.
If you’re trying to generate onsite appointments or service estimates, using a CTA like “Book Now” or “Contact Us” might work best to get people to submit an inquiry through Facebook or on your website.
Meanwhile, CTAs like “Call Now” and “Get Directions” are ideal for businesses trying to drive people through the door.
Your Facebook Advertising Strategy
If you’re unsure what will work for your business, try testing different programs, targeting techniques, and creative.
Review your results to see what’s resonating most with your target audience – don’t give up.
You can also work with a trusted partner that understands local business lead generation, and they can help you take the guesswork out of advertising your service business on Facebook.
- 8 Ways to Increase Engagement on Your Facebook Business Page
- A Beginner’s Guide to Google Ads & Facebook Remarketing
- 13 Facebook Ads Features Every Marketer Should Know
All screenshots taken by author, July 2020