I firmly believe that the ability to attract new qualified prospects to your business is the single biggest bottleneck factor to a healthy growing managed services business—or any business for that matter. If you can attract new qualified prospects on demand, it enables you to hire more, spend more and scale your backend to keep up with your newfound growth.
Now, there are many methods for marketing and attracting these qualified prospects online, but let’s hone in on one platform that has proven to be very useful in generating B2B opportunities: Facebook.
In previous years, you may have thought of Facebook as just a B2C marketing platform. However, Facebook has grown to become one of the great marketing machines for businesses today. This post will serve as your ultimate guide to Facebook advertising. I’ll try to keep this as succinct and action-oriented as possible, so you can implement it yourself or hand it off to whoever does marketing at your business to create new campaigns or improve existing ones. Also, it’s important to note that this guide can work for you whether you have a team of five people or a team of over 100.
Typically, advertising should fall under the first steps in the MSP sales process. This is when you’re reaching out to a target audience and allowing those who might be a good fit for your services to come forward and start a conversation. Not sure where to start? Let’s break down the key factors that make a successful Facebook ad campaign.
7 Key Steps to Building a Successful Facebook Lead Generation Campaign
Step 1: Pick One Vertical and Service
Start off with what you know best: your business. You most likely offer multiple IT services, but pick only one for the purpose of each campaign. As an example, say you’re selling an intrusion prevention system (IPS) or security monitoring.
Next, you need to niche it down and keep it simple. Never target just “business owners” on Facebook. What kind of organization are you looking for? What’s the vertical you want to target? Going along with this example, let’s say you’re looking to help accounting firms.
Step 2: Define the Decision Maker
“Buyer Persona” is a concept spoken too often, implemented almost never. I think businesses don’t implement buyer personas not because they’re difficult, but because they don’t see the practical value, so here it is.
The clearer you are on who your prospective client is, their needs, pains, issues, frustrations and wants, the easier it will be to target them, write words that engage them and conduct sales conversations that yield results for you. It’s that simple.
To make things easy, start with following questions to roughly build your persona:
- What’s their industry? (i.e. Accounting and Finance)
- What’s their official job title?
- How old are they?
- Where do they get their news?
- What are their biggest concerns tech-wise? (For an accounting firm, this might be an article that directly speaks to this.)
- Are there any big events or shifts happening in their industry or lives? (i.e. new security regulations)
- What is it about your product that matters most to this prospect?
- How do they perceive your services to better their business/lives? (i.e. more effective workflows, improving client relationships, etc.)
- What other software or services do they use?
- Do they belong to any associations or trade groups? (i.e. American Institute of CPAs (AICPA). This is important for targeting on Facebook.)
- What major events do they attend?
The last thing you can do is do some research for the industry you’re targeting. You can use this list to find a specific industry’s associations, publications and relevant events. Another great tool for industry research is Buzzsumo. Simply enter “URL + keyword,” or just the URL of a website your prospective clients follow and you will see the most shared articles from that domain. Skimming through these articles is so important because it gives you a window into your prospect's brain. It shows you what they’re reading, thinking and sharing, and it will also help you learn their language when creating ad copy.
Step 3: The Message
Good ad copy is measured by how well your prospects feel understood by you, not how well you explain what you have to offer and why it’s great. There’s a pivotal point in any interaction between you and any prospect, whether talking in person or through the words of an ad, and that’s when a person feels fully understood—is opens new levels of trust and opportunity. In the case of a managing partner at an accounting firm, your ad copy might say something like this:
“You’ve spent years (or even decades) working hard to establish and nurture valuable relationships with your biggest clients. When the stakes are this high, a single breach of private client data can wreak havoc on everything you’ve built in one hour. We understand that it takes a lot of time to build this kind of trust and reputation, so let us show you how our accountant-specific security packages will go as far as humanly and technologically possibly to ensure you don’t become a victim of a breach.”
A prospect who is concerned about their IT security can now let out a mental sigh of relief and say to themselves, “you really ‘get’ my situation, and I’m open to hear more.”
This approach is far more powerful than trying to explain how many layers of security you can provide their network. Now, don’t get me wrong, that part is important too, but it certainly must come after establishing a mutual understanding and letting them know that their priorities are also your priorities. Here are a couple of quick tips that will make your ad copy most effective:
- Every headline and paragraph should be made of simple and direct benefits that people get by working with you. No one wants to buy a mattress; they just want a good night’s sleep. In the MSP space, this is truer than ever. No prospect wants a patched server; they just want their systems to work and assurance that their data is safe. So, let your ads talk about these factors and don’t focus on the tech talk.
- Market statistics are very powerful. They are hard facts that prospects will believe and can confirm for themselves. Include statistics whenever relevant to your vertical or service.
- End with one call-to-action and keep it simple. You could say something like, “If you’d like to discover how we can help your accounting firm operate securely, please click ‘Learn More’ below and one of our security advisors will be in touch with you shortly.”
Step 4: Ad Imagery
Imagery is of vital importance when it comes to advertisements. It’s the difference between grabbing your prospect’s attention, or scrolling past your ad entirely. To avoid this, stay away from boring, tech-looking stock photos and opt for something that invokes action. Remember, to comply with Facebook guidelines, the text shouldn’t occupy more than 20 percent of the ad space. You can use this tool to test for this.
Now, this might sound counter-intuitive, but your ad’s visuals should have more to do with the prospect than it has to do with you—the goal is to peak their curiosity to read further. So, in the case of an accountant, if your persona research shows that the average CEO at an accounting firm is male and over 40 years old, you might use imagery that looks like this:
Step 5: Ad Format
My favorite ad format for this type of lead generation is called “Lead Ads.” This allows an interested prospect to submit their info with one click, so you don’t need to worry about having a landing page or how well it’s converting. To learn more about how lead ads work, watch this informative video.
Step 6: Following Up
It’s best to contact a prospect as soon as possible after they’ve submitted their information. I recommend using an automation tool like Zapier to setup SMS notifications so that whenever you get a new lead, your sales staff get notified and call them right away.
If the lead is not available to take the call, try again next day or the day after. But remember, you’re not cold-calling here. They asked to be contacted by you and submitted their info.
Always use a CRM to keep your leads organized and know who needs to be followed up on and what's happening with each prospect. I've tried a dozen different CRMs over time, from the simplest to the most complex. My favorite is FreshSales, but you can use any CRM that works best for your business.
Step 7: How Much Should You Spend?
ROI is the only thing that matters here—this campaign is not to get your name out there or establish brand-name recognition. I believe brand building should be an added bonus of successful marketing, however the primary purpose here is to generate prospects, clients and ROI.
On Facebook, I recommend starting slow with a budget of $1500-2000/month, because even if you generate one new client every three to five weeks, the annual revenue from that one contract could easily pay for an entire year of advertising. To put this in perspective, an AdWords strategy will cost you $25 per click on the low-end, and up to $35-50 per click on the high-end. So, you’d be spending $2500-5000 per month to generate 100 clicks to your website... Not leads, not clients, but clicks.
I hope you found this guide useful and actionable, and feel free to share your feedback in the comments below. In the coming weeks, we’ll be diving into other components of the sales process and going deeper into how to turn your MSP into a sales powerhouse, so stay tuned!