The Shopable Series: How Brick-and-Mortar Brands Can Supercharge Local Facebook Marketing

May 23, 2016         By: Erika Napoletano

If you’re a merchant looking to dive into Facebook marketing or seeking to make the most of your current Facebook advertising efforts, the opportunities are plentiful. With more than 1.9 billion users and over 900 million daily logins, smart brick-and-mortar merchants are increasingly using the social platform to find potential customers in their neighborhoods.

Local Interest Ads: A Primer

Businesses have a powerful tool in their Facebook advertising arsenal: Local Awareness Ads. These ads allow you to reach individuals within a certain geographical radius of your physical business location. Now, you can reach people in your area who are glued to their mobile devices – and all with a few simple ad settings.

Facebook has a handy page to help guide you through setting up your Local Awareness ads, including screenshots of what your ads will look like on desktop and mobile newsfeeds. There’s even the option to add a Call-to-Action (CTA) button to your ad, which can be anything from “Get Directions” to “Call Now” (only available on mobile) or “Learn More.”

Targeting Local Interest Ads: Best Practices

John Mackin, Growth Leader for Curaytor, suggests some best practices to help brick-and-mortar merchants get the most out of their Facebook marketing efforts. With a little strategic thinking, you can drive customers from online to in-store in no time – even for businesses with more than one location. Here are his top tips for spending your Facebook marketing dollars wisely:

  • Advertising Radius: This will vary. Businesses with locations in urban areas like Chicago or New York (walking cities) should consider drawing a smaller radius. Suburban businesses, where the majority of residents own cars, can play with expanded radiuses. A good rule of thumb is to consider how far customers will realistically travel to visit your location. A 1-3 mile radius is recommended for most businesses.
  • Most Effective Use: Local Awareness Ads work best for businesses with a lower financial point of entry. In other words, a restaurant with a $9 lunch special will likely have more success than one with a $149 fixed price menu.
  • Targeting: Use no more than one to three interests when building your ad, because every interest you add decreases your reach. Also, go a bit wider with age range – a few years older and a few years younger.
  • Clear Call to Action: Your ad should have a clear call to action as a headline. What do you want people to do? What are you offering in-store visitors? Some examples are, “Stop by today and save 15% on your purchase,” or, “Show this ad and enjoy $5 off $20.” Give customers an idea of what they’ll get from stopping by your store.

It’s important to note that each Local Awareness Ad can only serve one physical location of your business. If you have multiple locations, you’ll need to create a separate ad for each location.

Reaching Local Customers: Facebook Marketing Rules to Live By

Mackin has been building successful Facebook ad campaigns for brick-and-mortars for a long time. The most important thing he wants to impress upon businesses? There’s going to be a trial-and-error period. You’ll have some ads that work, some that don’t. But Facebook ads are a powerful tool that let local merchants compete with other businesses of any size. Even those bigger businesses will have a trial-and-error period.

When you choose to run your ads is also important. Mackin has seen the greatest levels of success for businesses that run Local Awareness Ads Thursday through Sunday (the highest social/shopping days of the week). Try running ads on different days and at different times to see when your ideal audience is most active. This way, you’re gathering data that helps you build better ads for the future.

And finally, there’s your budget. While there’s plenty of advice floating around that says you can start Facebook advertising with as little as $5, Mackin says that’s not really going to do the trick for most businesses. He recommends thinking in terms of the value that comes when a customer responds to your ad and steps into the store. A $40 ad budget to bring in 3 new customers is perfectly reasonable – and a veritable bargain – when you start thinking about the lifetime value of a customer.

Build ads. Be flexible. Ask your customers what they want and value, and build campaigns to speak to those needs.

And never forget – Local Awareness Ads can help your business bridge the divide between time spent on social media and valuable time spent in your store.

Want to learn more? Visit Facebook’s guide to help businesses drive in-store sales.

This article is brought to you by Discover Network and does not reflect the opinions or views of Facebook or its affiliates. To read more from Discover Network, visit Discover Network Perspectives.