December 19, 2018

Write effective Facebook ads – part 2

We were talking yesterday about Facebook ads. Many people seem to be looking for the optimal ad format, or tactical hacks.

In my experience, the best ads have a great offer that is easy to redeem, and a great ad concept (a strong tie between image and ad text). The story and copy then supports the offer and concept.

I do have a story framework I often use as a starting point, but before I tell you what it is I need to reiterate that this is in no way prescriptive. It’s more of an aid, or a starting point.

The story structure I use follows the ‘closed sandwich’ format, where you open and finish the ad text with content, and sandwich the story in the middle. You can and should experiment with different story structures (don’t just take what I suggest here as gospel), but I usually include a story that contains one ‘up’ and one ‘down’.

(An ‘up’ being a positive event, a ‘down’ a negative one.)

Which isn’t to say the story has to be necessarily short. It could be a very detailed up, and a very detailed down. But if you’re advertising to a cold audience and you include more than one up and one down, you increase the risk of the reader giving up and scrolling on by.

Consider this ad for example:

Re-engagement ad

Headline: Send a Dead List This Email

**Free Re-Engagement email template – Word doc format**

Discover how to bring a cold email list back to life, without mass unsubscribes…

One of my earliest email lists was a hobby site, about archery. Over five years I built up a list of 5500 names. When people would opt-in, I sent them my five best articles on traditional archery, one day after another. People loved these emails! The feedback was great, but after the fifth article my readers fell off a ledge…

No more emails. Nada. Zip.

In 2013 I decided to re-engage the list. The problem? Most of the people on it had forgotten who I was. I needed an email to reintroduce myself, and offer them something of value…

This free email template is what I sent them. It follows a very particular, carefully crafted structure to maximise engagement and minimise unsubscribe.

If you have a cold list, I’d love you to put it to the test. Grab a copy at https://www.magneticexpertise.com/reengagement-template

Walkthrough

**Free Re-Engagement email template – Word doc format**

This line is effectively my headline. I’m including a clear offer in the headline – I’m appealing heavily to self-interest. I prefer using the double asterisks to draw attention, rather than using emojis.

Discover how to bring a cold email list back to life, without mass unsubscribes…

This is the opening ‘bread’ in the sandwich – my initial line of content. People make a split-second decision whether or not to read your ad. So unless the audience knows you well I suggest you tell the reader where you are heading, rather than launching into a story.

One of my earliest email lists was a hobby site, about archery. Over five years I built up a list of 5500 names. When people would opt-in, I sent them my five best articles on traditional archery, one day after another. People loved these emails! The feedback was great, but after the fifth article my readers fell off a ledge…

This is the ‘up’ in the story, and also a little context for the reader.

No more emails. Nada. Zip.

In 2013 I decided to re-engage the list. The problem? Most of the people on it had forgotten who I was. I needed an email to reintroduce myself, and offer them something of value…

This is the ‘down’. I could go into more detail here. At the time I actually had subscribers emailing me, asking where I had gone.

This free email template is what I sent them. It follows a very particular, carefully crafted structure to maximise engagement and minimise unsubscribe.

If you have a cold list, I’d love you to put it to the test. Grab a copy at https://www.magneticexpertise.com/reengagement-template

This is the closing section of content, or the second piece of ‘bread’ in the closed sandwich format.

Is this an optimal ad? No. Did it do okay, to a cold audience? Yes. Likes and shares on the ad is also a very good sign. Facebook rewards ads with high engagement rates.

Notice the story is there, but it’s not exactly ‘epic’. It’s fairly offer driven. The colder the audience, the fewer liberties you can take with their attention, and the more direct your offers should be.

Notice also that the landing page repeats the image from the ad. This is important. If you’re sending people to a page on your website, there needs to be a consistent visual element with the ad they just clicked on.

The secret to writing Facebook ads – in my opinion – is to test very different ads in a prolific way, and quickly kill ads that fail. It’s easy to get emotionally attached to an ad. Which is arguably why running Facebook ads is never a one man job.

There will be more examples of Facebook ads in the revised version of Simple Story Selling, coming early next year.

Rob Drummond

Rob Drummond runs the Maze Marketing Podcast and Maze Mastery. Rob specialises in content production, ad creation, storytelling and CRM systems. He has two published books, Magnetic Expertise and Simple Story Selling, affordable on Amazon.

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