Podcast #29: 5 Lessons Learned from $21,572 in Facebook Advertising

By now you know I’m a HUGE fan of Facebook for psychotherapists. It’s been my #1 source of new clients since 2010.

But until now, I haven’t talked much about advertising on Facebook. It’s time…

In 2016, I spent $21,572 advertising on Facebook, and I learned a LOT from it. In this episode I give you my top 5 lessons learned. Some of it was money incredibly well spent, and some of it was money just kind of thrown out the window. My goal is to help you avoid the mistakes I made!

Whether you’re already running Facebook ads, but want to improve your results, or if you’ve been wanting to dip your toe in the water, these lessons will increase your effectiveness with Facebook ads.

(NOTE: Click here to download “The Perfect Facebook Ad Template for Psychotherapists”.)

Lesson #1: Test, Test, Test, and then Test Some More

Reality check: you are not going to knock it out of the park your first time at bat. The first time at bat you’re probably going to strike out, but you’ve got to go through those strike outs in order to get the home run.

The way you do this is with benchmarks that you set for yourself. Your first job is to establish the standard and then you’re always trying to outperform that standard.

What are you going to test? You’re going to test different images. Let’s say you leave the text of your ad alone, but you change and you put a different image out there. What are the results that you get there? Let’s say you leave the image the same but you put different text around the ad, what are the results that you get there? Or maybe you leave the ad exactly the same but you change where they’re going, maybe instead of going to a sign-up form they go to a blog post. You want to be testing the different elements of the ad and see what, and compare against each other to see what makes the difference.

You don’t want to change a lot of things about the ad at one time, otherwise you’re not going to be able to predict what is working and what isn’t working.

The idea behind testing is it’s never a win or lose, it’s a better than or worse than.

Lesson #2: Get Your “Back-End” in Order

What the heck does this mean? The back end is everything that happens after somebody clicks on that ad. In marketing terms this is called “ad scent”. When somebody clicks on your ad does the page they go to look like what they thought they were going to get, or, is there a mismatch here?

Be really careful because you’re going to spending a lot of time and money getting people to your website and if your website is not performing then the ads can never do their job. The only thing the ad can do is get them to click. A Facebook ad can never get you a client. A Facebook ad can only get a click.

If your focus is on the Facebook ad, but that backend piece is not what it needs to be, if there’s poor ad scent, or your website isn’t focused on what you’re talking about, or there’s no call to action, whatever could happen on the backend then the money that you’re spending on your Facebook ad really is not money well spent. A real life scenario where I hear people talk about this, is I spent three hundred dollars on Facebook ads, I got six hundred visitors to my website and not one single client called.

That’s not a problem with your Facebook ad, that’s a problem with your website.

Your Facebook ads and your website work in conjunction with each other to attract clients. If your website isn’t designed to support the traffic coming in, you’re not getting email sign ups, and you’re not getting phone calls it doesn’t matter how much money you spend on Facebook ads, they can’t get you clients. That’s the job of what comes after the click, or the back-end of the ad.

The way you can diagnose this is to determine how many people are taking action once they’re on your website. If they’re on your website and they’re not taking action that’s not an ad problem, that’s a back-end problem. If they’re clicking and then they’re taking action, perfect, you’ve got your benchmark and now you can just compete against yourself to improve that benchmark.

Lesson #3: Scale Slowly

This was a hard one for me. I tend to rush into things and that does NOT WORK with Facebook Ads. Let me give you an example of how I went wrong in an ad campaign last year. I started an ad for $5.00. (I always start my ads for five dollars a day to see how they do.) I  was getting 23 cents per click, which is fantastic. Since it was performing so well, I went into Facebook ad manager and raised it to $40.00 per day. It’s a fantastic ad, it’s performing really well, why not maximize it?

The next day I was at $3.96 per click. Something had gone terribly awry.

When you have an ad that works well the strategy here is to scale it slowly. I now scale up my ads over the course of five days.

When you scale slowly like that you will get very different results. Allow ads to scale slowly, don’t ever more than double your budget in the course of a day. 

(RELATED: “How to Get Started with Facebook Ads for $5 per Day.“)

Lesson #4: Know Your Ask

What are you asking your clients to do? What you ask them to do depends on how well they know you. Often what I see is an “ask mismatch”, and that results in poor results from your ads.

If you are working with a “cold audience”, people that don’t even know that you exist, don’t ask them to make a big commitment, or take a big action. With a cold audience, the most effective ads are help potential clients get to know you better and position you as a trusted authority.

For people that are already familiar with you and your work “a warm audience”, it’s okay to ask them to take an action of some sort. They’re ready for more of a commitment because they already know you and your work. This action could be to sign up for your email list, to register for a training class, to download your client magnet, or to take a quiz.

Finally we have what’s called a “hot audience”. These are people that already love you and your work. It’s okay to for a “big ask” here, like asking them to call you for therapy.

The key here, the takeaway is know the ask that is appropriate for the audience that you are marketing to. One size does not fit all on ads and you need to have the appropriate objective for this specific group; that you are marketing too.

Lesson #5: Your Secret Ingredient: Targeting

This is like the secret ingredient that makes Facebook work so powerfully; this is targeting. The better you can get at targeting your ads to exactly the right audience the better your results are going to be with your ads, even if the ad itself is not that great. Great targeting can cover up a lot sins in the other aspects.

Ready to create more effective Facebook ads for your practice?  Click here to download my FREE template now.