How important is the ecommerce market for your business? Before we go any further, let’s look at some numbers to illustrate why growing your online sales is essential.
From just over 1.3 billion online buyers globally in 2014, the number of online shoppers is set to hit 2.14 billion in 2021. That’s an increase of close to 1 billion customers in just seven years. These figures also do not account for the effects of COVID-19 and the associated eCommerce boom.
As the eCommerce customer base grows worldwide, so too does the competition. You’ll have to contend with both other businesses making the transition to online sales and established eCommerce players. Your ability to attract customers will determine your success.
There are four primary marketing channels for an eCommerce store. You have direct traffic, search traffic, social traffic, and Pay Per Click advertising.
Businesses from startups to large corporations use Pay Per Click (PPC) and branded content to acquire customers and expand their reach. This type of advertising covers two significant market segments: customers who are ready to buy now, and those who need nudging towards a purchase.
In this article, I will show you how to use paid social ad campaigns to scale your business.
Why you should invest in paid social ads
If you decide to run paid social ads, two of the first things you will need to define are the channel and objectives. You can set any number of goals for a campaign, and each goal has a differing cost. The graphic below from AdEspresso nicely illustrates the difference in cost for Facebook ads based on campaign objectives.
Though the cost will be a consideration, you should pay more attention to the Cost Per Acquisition (CPA). Below is the formula you can use for CPA.
By tracking your CPA, you can determine if your campaign is making money. If the value of a customer to your business is less than the amount you make from selling a product or service, you can scale your campaign. If the acquisition cost is higher than your profit margin, you’ll struggle to scale.
The Three Levers of a PPC Campaign
For a paid social ads campaign, your CPA is determined by three core factors. They are; your copy and the visuals, your targeting, and the landing page experience. These are the three main variables.
You’ll spend a lot of time tweaking these three levers when running a paid social ads campaign to reduce your CPA. Keep in mind, your CPA will be impacted by the niche you’re operating in, and the product or service you are offering. So, if you want to research CPA, make sure to look for statistics relevant to your niche.
PPC social ads funnel for customers ready to purchase
Most paid ads campaigns are aimed at people who are ready to buy something. Marketers target keywords that buyers use and pay to have their ad promoted on those people’s social media timelines.
The ad usually leads to a landing page that offers added value, like a free trial or consultation, to encourage a purchase. With this strategy, brands pay for those high-quality leads who are ready to buy and then bank on an expected percentage of conversions.
You’re almost certainly familiar with this PPC model.
The “pay me now” funnel is for companies that are looking for an immediate ROI. It can be effective. Here’s an example of a paid social ad that turned up on my timeline. It is for a company called JustReview. Here’s the paid social ad copy.
Click on the ad, and you are sent to a landing page. It’s just the site’s homepage. It’s got an attractive design.
The problem with this model is that if a visitor is not ready to make a purchase, you lose the lead.
It’s a safe bet that most people who are browsing on social media aren’t planning to make a purchase. They’re looking at photos from friends, writing witty comments, and generally just killing time. It’s difficult to make these “instant cash” funnels profitable.
PPC sales funnels for high conversion rates
You can improve your CPA by taking into account that most people aren’t ready to make a purchase when they are browsing social media. Here’s an overview of a slightly different paid social ads funnel designed to acquire more leads.
As you can see from the image, this funnel has four parts:
- PPC copy: Designed to catch readers’ attention and pique their curiosity. Your copy includes images and text.
- Optin page: This is where you offer something for free (the lead magnet) in exchange for the user’s email address.
- Sales page: This is where the 3% of people who are ready to buy will go.
- Email sequence: A series of emails designed to let your new subscribers know more about the product and move them down the funnel towards a purchase.
A quick pro-tip: before you add a new subscriber to your mailing list, check their email address is genuine using an email verification service. This reduces your bounce rate and helps prevent future emails from being marked as spam.
Here’s an example of this type of PPC funnel in action:
OptiMonk, a lead generation tool, advertises a free ebook via a Facebook ad. When you click on the ad, you are directed to a landing page. You can create these types of landing pages using a landing page builder.
When you click on “I want my guide for free,” you go to this page.
Essentially, it’s a two-step opt-in form.
Finally, you are redirected to a page where you can create a free account. This is the sales page. A small percentage of people who completed all of these steps will create a free account.
Many people who download the ebook will even open a free account, much less upgrade to a paid plan. But by capturing their email addresses, OptiMonk can nurture these leads through email marketing in the hopes of converting them into customers in the future.
In the next section, we’ll look at email drip campaigns and how they can help nurture the leads from your social ads into customers.
Email drip campaigns
An email drip campaign is an automated email marketing sequence. Each email is designed to build trust and showcase the value of your product or service.
A simple email sequence for a PPC-driven sales funnel would look something like this:
- Welcome email. If you got the lead’s email address by promising free content, this is where you deliver what you promised and welcome them.
- Context email. Tell the lead more about your business and product line. You could also include a video that demonstrates how your product fulfills a common customer need.
- Proof-of-concept. This is where you prove that your product or service works by providing a case study, a white paper, or a testimonial video.
- Sales email. Hopefully, by now, you’ve gained the recipient’s trust. At this stage, you can make a low-risk offer, such as a free trial or a scaled-down version of your product. Make the offer time-sensitive – a sense of urgency increases conversions.
You can then share your regular emails with these leads.
After the initial drip campaign, you can continue to send the lead your e-newsletter and occasional sales emails. But take care not to email too often, or your recipients will unsubscribe or mark you as spam.
Recovering lost business with retargeted ads
Only 2% of first-time website visits result in a purchase or conversion. Retargeting is a marketing tool that allows businesses to stay in touch with the other 98% who don’t click “Buy Now” on their first visit. Retargeting is a great place to start with your first paid social ad campaign.
Here’s how it works: Your website has a small piece of code, known as a “pixel,” that drops a browser cookie when it detects a new visitor. Later, when the visitor has left your website and is browsing others, the cookie sends a signal to your retargeting provider. The provider then serves up an ad for your business. Only previous visitors will see a retargeted ad.
Here’s an example. I visited Ecomlad’s website and Facebook page recently while researching dropshipping. I didn’t purchase, but over the next few days I saw several retargeted ads like this:
Without retargeting, I probably wouldn’t remember Ecomlad’s name. Thanks to this campaign, it’s the first brand I think of when I think about dropshipping.
If you don’t have retargeting in your marketing toolkit, you’re missing out on potentially valuable leads. Retargeting lets you reach the people who are interested enough in your offering to have visited your website. That’s why retargeted ads enjoy a higher ROI than other channels.
Kickstarting your business with paid social ads
As you have seen, paid social advertising is highly effective and none more so than retargeted advertising. Though it might seem expensive at first glance, the cost per conversion and the return on investment is amongst the best value you’ll see from any advertising channels.
It takes practice and experience to get social advertising right, so don’t be disheartened if you don’t see the results you want straight away. Keep testing and tweaking your ad.
Once your ROI is healthy, you can scale your paid social ads to maximize their effectiveness and reach as many people as possible. Just make sure that once someone clicks through to your landing page, they have a great customer experience.
Paid social ads are proven to be an efficient way to bring quality leads into your sales funnel. From there, it’s up to you to ensure that you nurture those prospective customers.
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