The world of marketing has changed beyond all recognition over the past twenty years thanks to the emergence of new technologies and new marketing platforms such as Facebook and other social networks. As this video shows, there are now a myriad of ways that marketers can get their message in front of potential customers who browse the internet in search of information or just to pass the time of day.
One very effective way of finding your target customers and channelling them to your website is to use Facebook Ads.
Facebook’s popularity has continued to grow over the past few years. According to statista.com, Facebook had 2.41 billion monthly active users as at the second quarter of 2019, and the numbers are projected to grow further as more and more people get the access to the internet.
Businesses, including those in financial services, that have embraced the opportunities offered by Facebook advertising have been able to acquire customers in large numbers and at a comparatively low cost per acquisition.
Facebook Ads is a pay-per-click (PPC) advertising platform where, as with Google Ads, you can choose to only pay if and when someone clicks on you ad. This is known as CPC (cost per click) bidding. You also have the option of paying for your Facebook advertising on a CPM (cost per mille) basis were you pay for each 1,000 impressions (appearances) of your ad irrespective of the number of clicks they get.
Facebook Ads work on an auction basis whereby the amount you bid per click or per 1,000 impressions will affect how often your ads are shown.
Advertisers on Facebook can generate the ads themselves through the Facebook self-service interface or can hire the services of a Facebook Ads manager.
There are different types of ads available on the Facebook Ads platform and these enable advertisers to choose whether they want to promote their Facebook page, individual posts on their Facebook page, or their own websites.
Ads can be made up of images, text, and video and they can appear in people’s newsfeeds or, on desktops, as ads in the sidebar.
As well as appearing on the main Facebook site, ads can also be set to appear on Instagram (which is owned by Facebook) and within Facebook Messenger.
One of the reasons that Facebook Ads are so effective is because they allow you to target people based on a huge range of factors such as: location, age, relationship status, occupation, hobbies, interests, companies they follow, income level, parental status. This degree of targeting is possible because Facebook has a vast amount of data about its users, both from the information they supply in their profiles and from analysing their online behaviours.
So, if you want to advertise to men in their 30s who are based in London, work in the travel industry, have a degree, and are in a long distance relationship, then Facebook will allow you to do that.
Paid search advertising (e.g. with Google Ads) helps businesses to reach potential customers when they are searching on Google for keywords that the advertiser is bidding on. For example, by bidding on the keyword “best mortgage rates”, a mortgage broker could have his advert seen by people who are on Google right now searching for information about mortgages.
By contrast, Facebook Ads helps businesses to put their ads in front of people who are not actively searching for anything at the moment but who are likely to be interested in their services. For example, if a mortgage broker shows ads on Facebook to people who have shown an interest in Rightmove, there’s a good chance these ads will get clicked by people who are currently looking to move house and will therefore require a mortgage soon.
Google Ads tend to have a higher CPC than Facebook Ads. However, that’s balanced by the fact that people who click a mortgage broker’s ad on Google are actively searching for a mortgage and so are more likely to turn into a warm lead on their first visit to your website.
Costs on Facebook are generally lower. However, the quality of traffic is lower too and you might need to pay for someone to visit your site multiple times before they convert into a lead.
Running Facebook Ads to generate mortgage leads is essentially the same as running them for any other type of business, but there are a few specific things you should bear in mind if you're a mortgage broker who is looking to use Facebook Ads.
Property buyers are likely to be more emotionally involved in their purchase than customers who purchase everyday items such as clothes or electronics. This will have an impact on the type of advertising strategy you need to adopt.
Mortgage brokers who use Facebook Ads will also need to be able to adapt their approach to suit different types of potential clients. For example, a first time buyer is likely to need more guidance and hand-holding than an experienced property investor who is looking to buy the next property for their portfolio.
Here are some tips for mortgage brokers who want to use Facebook Ads to generate mortgage leads.
In order to show your ads to the right people and get the best return from your advertising budget, it’s vital that you understand your target audience.
The clearer you can be as to who your ideal customers are, the better job you can do when it comes targeting your Facebook Ads to reach the right audience. This is one of the times when focusing on one or more specific niches can pay dividends.
You should also look to segment your audience into different client types and use different messaging in your ads for each type of client. For example, the Facebook Ads that you use to target pensioners will probably need to use different imagery and ad copy from the ones you use for getting in front of buy to let investors.
Even if you have a great website with compelling landing pages, not everyone who comes to your site is going to submit an enquiry during that first visit. Some of these potential clients may be just browsing the web for comparison purposes at this stage, whilst others may not be sufficiently convinced by the content on your landing page.
You can use a Facebook Ads retargeting campaign to stay in front of these people who fail to convert on their first visit – even if their initial visit to your website was not as a result of clicking on a Facebook ad.
The more times someone sees your ad on Facebook following their initial visit to your site, the more likely they are to return by clicking on your ad. And there’s a good chance that on that subsequent visit they will end up converting and submitting an enquiry.
When you are trying to start a business relationship online rather than in person, potential clients will mostly form an opinion of you based on the content provided on your website. Your chances of converting visitors into leads and then into sales will depend very much on the quality of the content on your website.
Your content should be designed to provide solutions and not be a big sales pitch.
A good landing page should predict the questions that your potential clients will have and provide them with the answers. There are various types of content you can use to present this information, such as: blogs, videos, presentation slides, podcasts, e-books, and webinars.
Your content should be laser-focused to resonate with your ideal customer. For example, if your ideal client is a first time buyer then you should provide content that explains the whole process of buying a house and highlights the things (such as buildings insurance) that someone might not know about if they’ve only ever rented a property.
If you’re ideal client is someone with credit problems who wants a remortgage, your content might include information on how to obtain a copy of your credit file and the quickest ways to repair a poor credit score.
If you can, you should try to include some video content, as this is often more engaging than written articles. You can also use videos to help you identify the warmer prospects amongst the traffic you receive from your Facebook Ads campaigns. A person who watches more than half of one of your videos is likely to be quite interested in your services and should be a prime candidate for retargeting.
Make sure your content is unique and that it adds value. The internet has a lot of content about mortgages (and everything else!), so think about how you’re going to make your content stand out. Making it highly specific and niche is a good way to do this.
Facebook Ads has a feature called Lookalike Audiences. By using it, you can enable Facebook to show your ads to people who are likely to be interested in your services because they share characteristics with your existing clients.
Once you have enough data, Facebook’s algorithm can look at who has submitted an enquiry whilst visiting your website (regardless of how they found your site) and then identify Facebook users who it believes are similar. You can then choose to advertise solely to these people who, in theory, are more likely to convert into leads.
Often you can get the best results by combining two or more Facebook targeting strategies in order to really hone in on the type of user who is most likely to respond to your ads.
For example, suppose you’ve established by looking at your existing client bank that your ideal client for a remortgage is someone who is married and runs their own business. You can find those married business owners on Facebook quite easily, but that’s going to give you a huge audience and there’s no guarantee they’ll all be interested in remortgaging at the moment.
But what you can do is create a second audience, this one being made up of people who have shown an interest in the Facebook page for Money Saving Expert. These people clearly have an interest in finances and saving money.
Facebook will let you combine these two audiences and advertise only to those people who fall into both of them – i.e. the married business owners who are also fans of Money Saving Expert. These are the people who fit your ideal customer profile and who are also likely to respond well to an advert that suggests they find out how much money they could save by remortgaging.
When you’re dealing with major financial decisions like a mortgage, you need to take your prospects through a multi-step funnel if you are going to have the best chance of converting them into clients.
It’s unlikely that someone will be killing time on Facebook, see one of your ads, click on it, go to your site, and request a mortgage quote all in the blink of an eye.
Not everyone likes filling in online forms. Not everyone likes talking on the phone. Some people like texting and some don’t.
Because everyone has different communication preferences, you’ll increase the chances of your Facebook Ads being successful if you offer a variety of ways for people to engage with you once they’ve clicked through from Facebook to your website.
So as well as making sure your phone number is clearly visible on your landing page and that you have got a simple enquiry form, you should also consider adding a chatbot and perhaps a facility for people to contact you via WhatsApp.
Facebook Ads offer a great way of generating mortgage leads for your business, so long as you understand how to target your ads effectively and so long as you don’t expect every ad click to immediately result in a sale.
Driving clients to your landing page using Facebook Ads is just a starting point on the road to converting these prospects into clients.
Your landing page must have content that will help you stand out from your competitors. And you should make sure it offers an enticing lead magnet so as you can build up a mailing list of prospects who can be nurtured with useful follow-up emails.
As a digital marketing consultant, author and trainer, I specialise in helping businesses in the financial services sector use the internet to get more enquiries and increase profits.