It doesn’t matter how many campaigns you try, if you’re a studio or family photographer that’s running Facebook Ad campaigns, and you aren’t getting these 2 fundamental things right, then your campaigns are likely to disappoint you.
Paid Advertising is a crucial part to a photographer’s marketing strategy. Your industry isn’t the most widely searched on Google (which is why it’s vital to be at the top) so having a strong paid strategy helps to create awareness of your business in your local area, and pull in leads from a cold audience.
Let’s not hold back any longer. The 2 most important parts to every Facebook Ad campaign you create are Ad Creatives and your offer. Make unattractive or bland Ad Creatives and nobody will stop scrolling when they see your ad. If your offer isn’t compelling, it means that even if they do stop scrolling to look at your ad, they will continue their scrolling shortly after.
On this page you’re going to learn what a bad creative is, and why and how it affects the performance of your ads. We’re also going to look at the different types of offers you could be using in your Facebook Ads to bring in leads, and how different offerings can change the quality of your leads.
Before we start you need to have a good understanding of the types of Ad Creatives available to you when planning your Facebook Ad campaigns. Ad Creatives are the images, videos and carousels that you create in order to stop someone scrolling. Whilst we do need to create ad text as well, we don’t tend to include this as this is something they will look more into, if your ad image stops them.
Most of all your Ad Creative needs to be eye-catching. Use big fonts and big images that separate it from the rest of someone’s news feed. Be clever with your use of colour to make your ad stand out.
Speaking of colours, your branding is also important to include. You should often include your logo but at the very least, use your brand colours, this will create consistency across your marketing strategy. Having this consistency, and by using your logo, you’re going to be building up trust and awareness of your business. It’s unlikely that someone will immediately become a lead when they see your ad for the first time, but by creating consistency they will begin to notice and build a subconscious relationship with you.
It goes without saying but make sure that you include at least one image from your portfolio. You’ll want to experiment with different images to see which gets the best reaction. We have a number of clients that use the same image every time because they just work! If you want to know more about how to test different Ad Creatives, you can read more here.
You’ll find that depending on the creative you’re making, you’ll have opportunities to use more images. For example, a single image ad is, you’ve guessed it, a single image. You’re very limited to space in this instance and you’ll want to focus on one very good image that demonstrates your service. Compare this to a carousel ad where you can use up to 10 cards that someone can scroll through horizontally on their device, this is a great opportunity for you to show off multiple examples of your work. The same goes for videos!
Another thing you need to do with your Ad Creatives is to make sure your offer is very clear – we’re going to discuss more about your offer below. If your offer isn’t clear immediately, then nobody is going to engage and become a lead. You may also create a headache for yourself when contacting leads who think they are getting something else.
This might seem like an odd thing to include but this is more important now, at the time of writing, than it used to be. Facebook recently removed the ability to target people “Living in this location” meaning we used to be able to target only local people living in your area. Now we’re left with one option “Living and recently been in this area,” this means anyone passing through could also potentially see your ad.
If you’re in a tourist-heavy location this could prove to be a problem To combat this annoying change we have to be very clear on where you are based. Say something like “Studio based in Solihull.” This doesn’t need to take up lots of space, just have it somewhere and also mention it in your ad text.
This is less about the design of the ads and more about the technical side of placements. Placements are all the places your ad can appear across Facebook, Instagram and the Audience Network. You’ll notice that Ad Creatives in a newsfeed are a different size and ratio to those in a Story or Reel. If you want to make sure you have a highly optimised ad campaign, then you’ll want to create your ad in all the different dimensions.
Ad Images (1:1) – 1080 x 1080 pixels.
Stories/Reels (9:16) – 1080 x 1920 pixels.
These ratios will generally cover you but some placements also support 4:5.
If you’re wondering where the best place to create your Ad Creatives is, then look no further than Canva – there is no question about it.
The second fundamental part to any of your ad campaigns is your offer. This is crucial to work out because you’ll mostly be serving your ads to a cold audience. A cold audience requires a very appealing offer in order to reduce the need to build trust.
We break offers down into two types, competitions and direct offers.
Many photographers we speak to are sceptical about running competitions because it can lower the quality of leads. Whilst this can be true to an extent, we have photographers on our books that run weekly competitions and their return on investment is some of the highest we see.
Whilst you might think that quality is lost using competitions, you will see a higher number of leads per campaign. Having a higher level of leads gives you control. Control over the types of people you want through your door. Using the information you collect, you can filter out those that you don’t think will be a good winner, in terms of customer spend, and those that might spend higher.
Who you filter out of your leads will depend on how you want to run your business. If you have lots of overheads with a studio and staff, you might want to consider being open to more competition winners. This will give you more opportunities to sell, otherwise known as bums on seats.
If you’re looking to build a lifestyle that gives you flexibility and just a few shoots a week is enough for you, then you can afford to filter out more people from your competition entries. Using pre-qualified questions in your instant forms will allow you to pick winners based on their answers.
If you want to go even further you can use an introductory email or phone call to collect some additional information, such as where they live. You can use this to determine the type of area they live in and their lifestyle. A word of caution though, affluent areas don’t always mean someone will spend more with you and that’s the trouble with filtering out more people, you never know what opportunities you could be throwing away.
Your competition will be an “Enter to win” format. They would typically win a free photography experience and an artwork voucher that you can choose the value of. We have some clients who giveaway £150 and some £250. It’s entirely up to you but think about your pricing. You should consider a voucher that covers one print/item and there should be some money left over for them to put towards something else.
You might think giving away a session and an entire print is risky but this is where you need confidence in your sales skills. We can provide you with these skills!
Some of you reading might be wondering why we don’t give a print away. The trouble with this is that your winner’s expectations will be set at winning the session and print – that’s what they’ve won, that’s what they’ll come in to collect. This will make it harder for you to upsell.
The next offers you could use are direct offers. This is typically a half-price session fee or late availability discounted session. It’s worth noting that we will always include an artwork voucher with this too.
When compared to a competition campaign you will likely find you’ll get fewer leads but this is offset with an increase in quality (usually). The quality is generally better because their mindsets are already set on spending, they know that they will be paying for their session and in order to pay they will need some disposable income.
You’re going to hate the answer because there’s no wrong or right, it’s up to you and how you want to run your business. Competitions always attract more leads and, in our opinion, more leads is better. Whilst quality can be lower, it gives you more opportunities to at least have an initial conversation to tell them about the experience and gauge whether you think they would spend. Some of our most successful clients only run competitions.
The return on investment for competitions can also be very lucrative. Not only do you tend to get more leads, but leads are often cheaper. It’s not uncommon to earn returns of over 1000% when you have a working formula for your ads.
If you’re worried about running competition after competition you can stop people who have entered from seeing your ads for the next 90 days. You could also run your ads on a rotating basis. Either you could run a different competition every week for a different photoshoot type, or you could alternate between direct offers and competitions.
Start with a competition, see how you get on in terms of numbers, conversions and sales and then come to us with your findings – we’re always available to give our thoughts and advice.
If you want to know what your budget should be for these campaigns you can read more about it here.