Hey Print Hustlers!
This week, we have a special guest post from Jupmode founder John Amato.
You may have read his previous article about SEO for screen printing shops.
If you don’t know John and Jupmode, here’s the scoop: they’ve mastered online advertising and branding. John has generously decided to spill the beans on how he approaches Facebook advertising.
When John speaks, you should listen! This is a free lesson from someone that’s paid their dues.
Thanks to John for sharing his knowledge. Enjoy!
You are a screen printer. That’s why you’re here.
If you run your own shop, chances are you got into this business because you like working with your hands, you’re creative, and you like making a physical product.
You probably didn’t set out to run an online marketing company or spend time analyzing the returns on advertising budgets. But like myself, if you’re trying to grow your business, you’ve likely realized that increasing your customer base is as important to creating quality products.
Learning to screen print is difficult and learning to run a successful custom decoration business isn’t any easier. There are so many things that you need to learn and so many moving parts. In the beginning, most of what you learn is technical.
When I first started, my focus was on learning how to burn a screen, how to properly cure ink, how to make a smooth print. It was all about the basics of the art and science behind screen printing, of which I knew next to nothing.
There was enough to master on the production floor, I was not paying attention to the fundamentals of running a successful business.
Like so many other one to five man shops, I was buried in quick turns, managing deadlines, and customer service. My attention was too focused on this week to even think about the sales I should start cultivating for next three, six or twelve months down the road.
It took me a couple years of establishing my print shop before I had the bandwidth to start running a small business. It’s the old cliche that I was stuck in my business.
My experience with paid ads
One thing that makes Jupmode a little different from a lot of shops across the country is that we have a retail brand in which we sell direct to consumers (DTC). We have two retail stores and an online store with apparel and gifts for people who love the Midwest.
This was a small part of our business but created a lot of synergy for our custom business. Most of our social media and our website is focused on our retail brand. It has been a great tool for acquiring new customers and staying relevant with existing customers.
At the beginning of 2020 it became a priority of mine to grow the DTC side of my business. I knew that it had more potential than we were realizing and that we couldn’t justify the overhead expenses for it much longer if it didn’t bring in more revenue.
Although I have never worked in an official marketing role, I did get a degree in it. This has helped me build a strong foundation for our marketing efforts. While we never did a great job in one specific area, we were solid in social media, SEO, PR, and email marketing.
Despite our best efforts and despite the regular compliments on our social media from customers, we struggled to organically grow our DTC brand to scale.
This realization led me to paid acquisition.
Prior to 2020 I had merely dabbled in paid advertising. We had boosted a few posts on Facebook, created a handful of standalone ads, and even tried Google PPC. But I never made it a priority.
So in January of last year I set out to learn how to run successful ads on Facebook and Instagram.
My biggest educational breakthrough came through Twitter. It turns out, the DTC Twitter community is strong and there is no shortage of Facebook Ads specialists who freely share information on the platform.
Once I realized how readily available educational information was, I searched out more structured forums for business in paid, online marketing. I quickly found Foxwell Digital and their online courses. Tip #1 from this article is to take advantage of these courses if you want to learn about Facebook Ads. I started with their scaling course. I can’t recommend them enough.
As I dove deeper into the online community of advertisers, I found private Facebook groups (like our screen printing groups but for paid ads), podcasts, email newsletters, and companies that focus on ecommerce and social media marketing.
The amount of information available can be overwhelming and confusing at times. But it quickly helped me scale my ads at a time when I needed it more than ever.
Today we are spending over $600 a day on paid advertising. That’s a combination of Facebook and Google ads. Most of our ads are focused on our DTC retail brand but we serve ads for custom screen printing as well.
Think about your sales funnel
Jumping into the ads game made me really think about my sales funnel for the first time.
A quick refresher on the sales funnel for anyone who needs: you are taking your customer on a journey from awareness to consideration to intent to purchase to loyalty. The path isn’t always linear and there are different definitions depending on who you ask.
Regardless of how you define it or which ideology you subscribe to, it makes you think more intentionally about your customers, current and potential, how you retain them, and how you find them.
On a very basic level this is important for ads because you have to decide what your goal is with your ads. Are you trying to acquire new customers, engage latent customers, or retain existing customers?
In our custom decoration B2B industry, I would argue that on Facebook you should focus the majority of your attention on customer acquisition.
Focus on customer acquisition
Social media is best suited for branding and community building, not sales. If you want to grow your business, you need to accept that unless your company and social media is an anomaly it will not lead to new sales growth.
If social media is not a sales tool, that leaves SEO and paid ads as primary avenues for growth. In my experience, the most immediate return is going to come from paid sources.
You need to pay to play.
With standard social media posts you don’t have the ability to control who the post is seen by. You post and hope it goes out to your current customers and if you’re lucky they’ll share it or comment and it’ll be seen by someone new.
This is even more challenging and frustrating as Facebook has continued to update their algorithm. If you are relying on comments and shares to expand your posts beyond your current audience, it is going to take a long time to achieve any meaningful growth.
With paid Facebook and Instagram ads you are able to identify your target audiences and even exclude customers, engagers, and purchasers. This means that you can create an ad and only send it to new potential customers and exclude people that you’ve already worked with.
Use other channels for customer retention
Ads should focus on customer acquisition because you have other tools in your belt for customer retention and loyalty.
From email marketing to video to social media posts to old school sales tactics like phone calls, hand written notes, and personal visits, you have myriad ways to stay in touch with your current customers and build those relationships that are free or have a lower cost than ads.
Why you should never boost a post on facebook
I get it, boosting posts is attractive. It’s super simple and the reach and engagement from boosted posts looks amazing.
As I mentioned previously, we boosted posts before we learned about ads. I get the appeal.
The problem with boosted Facebook posts is that it does not reach new customers. It is only boosting your post to your current followers.
Focus your ad spend on acquiring new customers and use other tools for retention and loyalty.
The right way to boost a post is with an ad
Don’t worry, if you have a Facebook or Instagram post that you absolutely love and want to reach more people with, there’s an easy way to do this.
I’m going to show you how to boost your post and also direct it to new customers so you reach new people. Gotta feed that funnel.
The first thing you need to do is get set up with Facebook Ads Manager. I’m not a pro at this so here is a link to help you.
One important note is that you want to make sure you set up the ad account under your business. It’s possible that if you’ve boosted posts in the past that they were boosted under an ads account associated with your personal account.
The second thing you need to do is to make sure your Facebook Pixel is set up. Here is an article explaining how to create and install your pixel.
Your pixel is what tracks customer information and connects it with Facebook. The sooner you have this connected the more data you’ll have. I’ve never wished I had less data when faced with decisions, marketing or otherwise.
Once you have your Facebook ads and your pixel set, you’re ready to create ads.
The first step in ad creation is to identify the post you want to promote. Next, click on the timestamp and you’ll be taken to an individual page for that post. The URL will end in a string of numbers (highlighted below).
Copy those numbers. Then head over to your ads manager.
From there you’ll need to build out your ad. Facebook has three levels for ads – campaigns, ad sets, and ads.
I’m not going to dive deep into this, but the simplest way to think about it is your campaign is your objective or goal (conversions, brand awareness, etc.), your ad set is the audience (web visitors, lookalike, email subscribers, etc.), and the ad is the specific product or service you are advertising.
In this example, I already have the campaign and ad set defined. My audience is an interest based audience and I’ve excluded people who have been to our website in the last 30 days and have viewed our content on Facebook and Instagram in the last 15 days.
All I need to do now is name the new ad I’m creating. From there, you build out your ad. I’ve highlighted the three key areas in the image below.
In the ad setup dropdown menu select ‘use existing post’. Then take the numbers from the URL that you copied earlier and paste them into the post ID. This will automatically generate your post.
The final thing that you can do is add a call to action. This is a great feature that is not available when boosting a post.
One great thing about creating an ad from an existing post is that all of your social engagement on the post is carried forward into the ad. This provides valuable social proof for potential customers who are unfamiliar with your company.
Learning Facebook ads takes a lot of time, effort, trial and error, and research. It’s an effective tool for acquiring customers when used correctly.
Learning how to create ads out of your Facebook and Instagram posts will provide a better tool for promoting your services, while still capitalizing on every like, comment, share and bit of brand equity you’ve cultivated on social media.
If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask in the comments or shoot me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org).