7 Facebook Ad Strategies For Local Businesses To Start Right Now

When scrolling through their Facebook feed, your potential customers are probably not organizing their next visit to your coffee shop – or your book store. Chances are, however, that an ad from a near-by local business near will stick in their mind and next time they’re out looking for a coffee (or a book!) they’ll remember it.

In this article, we’ll go through a number of strategies that you can use to increase awareness for your local shop as well as in-store visits and purchases.

In order to figure out each of these three areas, we’ll first take a dive into the customer value journey, and understand why it’s important to know which step your customers are at. Then, we’ll look at how to move them to the next step of the journey.

Disclaimer: I know for some of you this is marketing 101, but bear with me – even if you’re familiar with the customer journey, a short recap will come in handy when we’ll get to the juicy part. Just a couple more paragraphs to the 5 Facebook ad strategies for local businesses.

Before You Start: Audit All Assets, Identify Your Audience And Build Your Facebook Ads Funnel

There are a few steps you need to take before clicking on “Place order” and starting your Facebook ad campaign for your local business. Having everything ready and optimized will ensure you don’t waste money on your first campaign and are clear on what you have and what you need to create in order to get started.

The first step is to audit all the assets you have and optimize them. Then, you need to understand who your ideal customers are and find out a way to reach out to them and turn them into real customers.

Audit Your Assets To Get Started With Facebook Ads For Local Businesses

Having your assets in order before you start your campaign is as important as the campaign strategy you choose. Facebook has found that “at least once a week, nearly 2 in 3 people on Facebook visit the page of a local business or event.” It will only take some time to review what you have and to create – or optimize – what you still don’t have, and it’s totally worth it.

Facebook Ad Strategies For Local Businesses - optimize your FB page
Le Bar de la Marine in Bordeaux, France customized their Facebook page with the look and feel of their Bistrot
  • Create and optimize your Facebook page. You probably already have a Facebook page for your local business but are you taking full advantage of the features available for free? Set aside some time to add images, a call to action, and explore all the special content you can add to customize the look and feel of your Facebook page and make a space that your customers will recognize when they walk through your physical door.
  • Build your presence on Instagram. Instagram is all about visual. That’s a great place where to showcase your products and consolidate your business voice. By creating an Instagram business account you’ll be able to get insights about your organic posts and audience to better optimize your marketing strategy. It only takes a few minutes and it’s completely free. Being on Instagram will also be beneficial for your Ads strategy as it will allow you to tap into its 1 billion active users (2019 data.)
  • Set up a Facebook ad account. It may sound obvious but there are a few steps involved in creating your Facebook ad account. Even if you own a small local business, and have only one page, we strongly suggest using the Business Manager. This option will allow you to have full control over who accesses your Facebook page and account. If you’re considering working with an agency, this is the best possible option as you’ll be able to grant and/or revoke permissions at any time.
  • Create a website and implement the Facebook pixel. If you’re running Facebook ads and don’t use the Facebook pixel, there is only one thing you need to do: start using it! There are so many reasons why it makes sense to implement the pixel, among which the fact that is easy to set up and free. Some Facebook ad strategies for local businesses include the use of the Facebook Pixel, for example, to remarket users that have visited your website or shown interest in your products or services with relevant offers.

Find Your Ideal Customers And Create Your Perfect Audience

Here’s a million-dollar question for you: who is your audience? When you have a brick and mortar store you can be inclined to only rely on the people who walk through your door as your sole type of customer – and that’s qualitative data.

Successful Facebook ads strategies for local businesses, on the other hand, are also based on informed decisions on quantitative data that you have at your disposal through Facebook native tools and Google Analytics. With these tools, you can understand exactly who your ideal customers are and target that audience with your ads.

Additionally, when you run your advertising campaigns on Facebook, you have a plethora of tools that you can use to make sure you are targeting the right people at the right time.

The first distinction that you can make is whether you are targeting a cold audience or a warm audience. The difference between these two audiences is that the first one has never heard about you while the second one has been at least served your ad and has interacted with you in some way.

Facebook has different tools that you can leverage when targeting each of these audiences and you can use them both in order to implement successful Facebook ads strategies for local businesses.

Cold Audience Facebook Ads Strategies for Local Businesses

Cold audiences are made of people that have never heard about you (at least online) and have never interacted with your brand or product. In order to find the perfect cold audience for your Facebook ad campaigns, you can use a number of tools:

  • Facebook Page Insights. You’ll find it as a tab on your Facebook page and it will allow you to view your page’s performances as well as demographic data about your audience and how people are responding to your posts. Some of the data (age, gender, and location) will be available to you only when you’ll have 100 or more likes on your page.
  • Facebook Audience Insights. Available in Ads Manager, you can use it to research your audience among the total Facebook population. This will help you create laser-focused audiences and target the right people with your ads. That’s crucial in your quest for the perfect Facebook ad strategies for local businesses so as to maximize your results.
  • Google Analytics. What if you could use data you already have about your website visitors to create your customer avatars? This will inform you of who the people that are visiting your site are and you can complement your Facebook data to create your killer audience.
Facebook Ad Strategies for Local Businesses - Facebook Audience Insights
The Facebook Audience Insights allows you to analyze everyone on Facebook or people connected to your page

Warm Audiences Facebook Ads Strategies for Local Businesses

Among Facebook targeting options, you’ll find Custom and Lookalike audiences. These audiences are made of people that already know you and your brand on Facebook or are similar to those audiences. There are different Custom Audiences you can create that will help you build some of the Facebook ads strategies for local businesses that we’ll see below.

Facebook Ad Strategies for local businesses - FB Audiences
  • Engagement Custom Audiences. When people interacted with your ad – either by liking, commenting, or sharing it or viewing your video. Facebook offers you the ability to retarget them by creating an ad hoc audience.
  • Custom Audience Using Pixel Data. If you have the Facebook pixel implemented on your website, you’ll be able to create audiences based on actions users did on your website. If you have an e-commerce, for example, you could retarget people that have added an item to the cart but never proceeded to buy.
  • Lookalike Audiences. These audiences include people who are similar to those in your Custom Audiences. You can create your Lookalikes based on your existing Custom Audiences.

Create Your Facebook Ads Funnel: TOFU – MOFU – BOFU

I bet the first time you stumbled on one of these terms, you at least raised an eyebrow. As a green marketer, I know I did. But these acronyms – and the concepts behind them – are very useful to identify where your customers are in their journey from strangers to rooting fans of your brand, and how you can move them from one step to the next.

There are mainly three stages all customers go through from the time they first hear about you to the day they decide to purchase – or to come to your local store. Each stage is identified as part of a marketing funnel. That’s because you’ll always have more people in the first stage and fewer people in the third.

That’s how things go: many people will look at your content, some of them will evaluate your offering and, among those, some of them will choose to buy from you.

This is important to bear in mind when we’ll look at different Facebook ad strategies for local businesses because each step of the funnel has a different main focus and for each stage, there will be different ways to elicit action from your customers and move them through the funnel.

You’ll find below a simple definition of the three steps of the marketing funnel. We’ll use these definitions to build the foundations of our Facebook ad strategies for local businesses in the next paragraph.

  • Top Of The Funnel (TOFU). Your prospective customers don’t know you yet – or they may even not know they need your products or services. What you need at this step is to make them aware of your shop and services.
  • Middle Of The Funnel (MOFU). Now your potential customers know you, you’re part of the offering and they’re evaluating you – but they still need to overcome any objections that are stopping them from making the next move.
  • Bottom Of The Funnel (BOFU). This is arguably the most exciting step of all. Your prospective customers have now moved away from the evaluation stage and are now ready to do the most logical next step: become buyers. They only need a final push to purchase.

BONUS: how much should your campaign cost?

There is no fixed rule on how much a Facebook ads campaign should cost, but if you’re just starting out or you are uncertain of how much you should spend on advertising, the first step you’d need to take is to identify your KPIs and run them against Facebook Ads campaigns benchmarks.

We’ll now see how you can create different Facebook campaigns for each of the three stages to move prospective customers along the marketing funnel. These will be Facebook ad strategies for local businesses you can apply depending on where your customers are and what action you wish them to perform next.

Top of the Funnel Facebook Ad Strategies For Local Businesses

This is the first stage. At this level, the customer needs to become aware of you and your products. If you’re new to the business or just getting started with Facebook advertising, the audience you’re aiming to reach may not even be aware that you exist – or indeed that they need you.

The top of your marketing funnel should be the one with more people in it, so at the awareness step, you are aiming at reaching as many people as possible, in order to make them aware of your store but you’re also aiming at reaching people that are likely to interact with you and get engaged by your content.

The following two Facebook ad strategies for local businesses will help you build awareness for your brand and product and increase engagement.

#1 TOFU Facebook Ad Strategies for Local Businesses: Build Awareness

With this strategy, you’re aiming at showing your ad to as many people as possible in order to make them aware of your store. You’re not necessarily selling something to them but you’re giving them free content to consume.

What you’ll need here is to give them value and start building a relationship based on trust. In real life, f we don’t know each other, immediately making a move would make me look weird – and that’s the same in marketing.

Facebook Ad Strategies for Local Businesses - Reach
  • Objective. You can either choose Reach (this will optimize your ads to be shown to as many people as possible) or Engagement (in this case, Facebook will optimize for your ads to be shown to people that are more likely to engage with your content.)
  • Targeting options. As this is a cold audience, you can use interests and refine location to include only people that are near to your store and can come by.
  • Ad format. Don’t get stuck here to find the perfect picture or video. This is likely the first contact you’ll have with your customers where you’re building trust and showing your true self. Try and avoid stock images but use an image that represents you.
  • Type of content. At this stage of the funnel, when you’re building your relationship with your customers, you need something that can grasp their attention and interest, it can be a nice pic of your shop or an infographic or a blog post.
  • CTA Learn more is the most used here, as you don’t want to pitch a sale but catch people’s interests in your content.

#2 TOFU Facebook Ad Strategies for Local Businesses: Video Views for Engagement

With this strategy, you serve two purposes: on one hand, you’ll increase awareness of your brand and services and build on the trust you need to move them to the next stage of the relationship and on the other hand, you’ll be planting the seeds for your remarketing campaign – which we’ll cover few paragraphs below, in the bottom of the funnel Facebook ad strategies for local businesses.

Facebook Ad Strategies for Local Businesses - Video
Use Facebook Creative Hub to create a video or a slide show
  • Objective. For this ad strategy, we’ll use Video Views. With this objective, Facebook will optimize your campaign for people that are likely to engage with your video content, and, as a bonus, you’ll be able to create Facebook custom audiences based on people that have watched a certain percentage of your video.
  • Targeting options. As for our #1 Facebook strategy, you can use Facebook Audience Insights and Google Analytics to find out your prospective customers’ interests and target them. When selecting locations, don’t forget to take into consideration delivery: if you’re delivering to a certain area, you don’t want to miss that out!
  • Ad format. As you may have guessed, for this Facebook ads strategy, you’d need to use a video. There are many reasons why – not least because Facebook loves videos. In this case, by using video you’ll combine this with the ability to retarget users that viewed your video.
  • CTA. Use the Watch more call to action to ask viewers to further engage with your video. If you’re also adding a URL, you could use Learn more to get people on your website but this will get them away from your video content.
  • Type of content. Some ideas you can use for your videos are a take tour of your shop, introduce your employees, show a behind-the-scenes moment, or even run a Facebook Live session and re-use it in your ads.

#3 TOFU Facebook Ad Strategies for Local Businesses: Giveaways

Giveaways are an effective way to increase engagement for your account and get new followers but also to move your prospective customers to the next step of the marketing funnel.

Giveaways are an established reality on Instagram (and we have written an entire guide on how to become a pro at Instagram giveaway!) and you can leverage that to expand the reach of your giveaway to Facebook by putting some money behind your organic giveaway.

  • Objective. You can choose whether to boost your organic post or create a brand new dark post using the engagement objective. What you’re aiming at here is to increase the reach to people that are likely to engage with your post.
  • Targeting options. For this strategy, you can use a brand new interest-based audience or a Lookalike audience based on the Custom Audience you created in strategy #1. It will include people that are similar to the ones that have interacted with you – so they’ll be more likely to do the same. Don’t forget to define locations to include only people that can come by.
  • Ad format Use a slide show to present your giveaway but make sure not to include too much text in the images – Facebook has different rules for organic posts and ads.
  • CTA Be coherent with the giveaway CTA – people viewing your ad will instantly know that to do.
  • Type of content. When you create your giveaway, you can check our article on 8 Instagram Giveaway Examples To Be Inspired By

Middle of the Funnel Facebook Ad Strategies For Local Businesses

Now your prospective customers are starting to know you and your services and are evaluating them to make the decision to come by and purchase from you. At this step, they’re also looking at overcoming any objections that are stopping them from making the next logical question: buy.

In addition, they’re comparing your offering to those of your competitors to see which one will make more sense – or would be more convenient to them.

What you are aiming at here, in the middle of the funnel, is to cement the trust you started building at the awareness step and to increase even more engagement with a twist – that is taking advantage of Facebook tools to get people to your physical store using coupons and event responses.

The following two Facebook ad strategies for local businesses will help you increase engagement and encourage people to visit your local store and offering coupons.

#4 MOFU Facebook Ad Strategies for Local Businesses: Event Responses

With this strategy, you’re aiming at bringing your prospective customers to your physical store. There’s no doubt that it’s easier to close a sale in person, and you can create events to promote new products, incentivize sales or to create a sense of community around your store – think of a book club or a workshop on how to use your products.

Facebook Ad Strategies For local Businesses - Events
  • Objective. In order to promote an event, you’d first need to create one. Only after that, you’ll be able to promote it.
  • Targeting options. You can use Custom and Lookalike audiences based on engagement from your Facebook page. In the first case, you’ll reach people that have engaged with your page and in the second case, you’ll reach people who are similar to them.
  • Ad format. You can add an image and a description to your event but event ads are quite standardized. Don’t forget to add your flare in the image thou, it will do miracles.
  • CTA. There are two calls to action you can add in your Event ad: Buy tickets or I’m interested. What you choose will depend on the event you are creating – we suggest starting with free events, as you want as many people as possible coming to the store.
  • Type of content. You can add multiple assets to the event itself, you could have a teaser too if you want, thou in the ad image, date and time will have more relevance.

#5 MOFU Facebook Ad Strategies for Local Businesses: Offers

With this strategy, you’re using an incentive to get people to your physical store by offering a discount they can redeem in person. This is another way to close a deal in person, plus you’ll giving them a good reason to choose you instead of the competition: an offer that will save them money.

Facebook Ad Strategies For local Businesses - Offers
  • Objective. You can create it organically and then boost it or create a dark post with the Store Traffic objective. In the first case, you’ll be able to use the social proof you gather organically but you have limited options on the design of your ad. When you’re starting out, we suggest the first option.
  • Targeting options. As for strategy #4, you can use Custom and Lookalike audiences based on engagement from your Facebook page. You can use Custom and Lookalike audiences based on engagement from your Facebook page. to reach people that have engaged with your page and people who are similar to them.
  • Ad format. Image is the best option to show what your offer is about.
  • CTA. Once they click on the offer, people will be able to save your offer and redeem it once they get to your physical store.
  • Type of content Choose an image that describes the offer and entice people to click and which will complement your description.

Bottom of the Funnel Facebook Ad Strategies For Local Businesses

You’re now in stage three of your Facebook ads funnel. Your customers have decided to buy and they only need a small push to do the action you are asking them to do.

At this step, you’re going for the sale – that is your campaigns should be optimized to maximize in-store visits and purchases, either in-store or via your website. Targeting the right people here is even more crucial (if possible!) – you are looking for the ones that have shown engaged with you in the past and are likely to do it again.

The following two Facebook ad strategies for local businesses will help you retarget those customers and optimize in-store visits.

#6 BOFU Facebook Ad Strategies for Local Businesses: Retargeting Video Views

Among Facebook ad strategies for local businesses, this is my favorite. With this strategy, you are remarketing to people that have already shown interest in your brand and services by watching your video content. You can then retarget them with a special discount or a dedicated offer.

Facebook Ad Strategies For local Businesses - Retargeting Audiences
  • Objective. Even if we are at the bottom of the funnel, use Engagement for this one in order to have Facebook optimize for people who are likely to engage with your ad.
  • Targeting options. Use the Custom Audience you created in strategy #2, it will be made of people who have watched a certain percentage of your video.
  • Ad format. As this is step 2 of an ad sequence, you can reference back to the video you created in the first step. You don’t need to create another video, but you can use the same graphics or repurpose a frame so that users can recognize you from the ad they saw in the past.
  • CTA. You’re going for the sale here, so be as clear as possible with what you are asking your prospective customers to do.
  • Type of content. You can create a dedicated offer for these users so that you can track the results of your advertising effort for your sales process. It can be a free gift they can get if they come to your store or a special discount.

#7 BOFU Facebook Ad Strategies for Local Businesses: In-store visits

With this strategy, you’ll be able to market multiple stores at the same time. In particular, this Facebook ad strategy for local businesses will give you laser-focused geotargeting and will allow you to show your ad to people that are within walking distance to your store. If you only have one store, you can still use this – but instead of in-store visits, you can use the reach objective.

Facebook Ad Strategies For local Businesses - In-store visits
  • Objective Use in-store traffic if you have multiple stores or reach if you have one store.
  • Targeting options. Geotargeting people within walking distance will show your ad to people right when they are near you, maximizing the chance for them to stop by.
  • Ad format. Use an image or a short video that shows the look and feels of your store so that people walking by will recognize your store.
  • CTA. Use Get Directions so that your prospective customers can have a smooth experience from their device to your store.
  • Type of content. You can leverage urgency here and devise a limited-time offer.

In this article, we have covered 7 Facebook ads strategies for local businesses and how you can implement them in the framework of your Facebook ads funnel. Have you tested some other strategies? Let us know in the comments!

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