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How to run Facebook Ads for Local Small Businesses in 2023

August 16, 2020

“Facebook ads are dead!”

Have you ever heard a fellow small business owner bemoan this statement? Maybe you’ve even dabbled in Facebook advertising yourself and didn’t get the results you were looking for.

What if we told you that Facebook ads are KILLING it in the advertising space right now? Facebook boasts 2.27 billion monthly users and accounts for roughly 25% of all online advertising at the moment. That’s a whole lot of advertising money to be made. 

What if we also told you that you don’t have to be a huge company or brand to grab a slice of the pie? Facebook ads, when done right, can rake in leads and new customers for local businesses.

In this article, we’re going to show you how you can generate insane results with Facebook ads for your local business. If you’re new to advertising on Facebook or have had subpar results in the past, then this guide is for you.

Why Do I Need Facebook Ads For My Small Business?

The simple truth -- You’re leaving a lot of potential money on the table if you don’t expand your advertising to include Facebook ads.

Facebook advertising is a game-changer for finding your target audience. Instead of wasting ad-spend on people who aren’t interested in your product or service, Facebook ads allow you to target only those who fit the bill as your ideal customer. 

So you’re getting your business in front of people who are already looking for what you have to offer and you’re doing it in the most cost-effective way-- every marketer’s dream!

Plus, you’re able to advertise your business in a way that doesn’t annoy your customers. 

Think about why people use Facebook. Most of the time, they just want to kill time or unwind after a long day. They’re most likely not using Facebook to shop around. Take a look at what a typical Facebook ad looks like: 

You’ve probably seen this scrolling through your newsfeed, right? The only way you can tell it’s an ad is the “sponsored” at the top right-hand corner. You can choose to keep on scrolling and ignore the ad completely-- and you won’t be interrupted in any way!

Now compare that to a YouTube ad:

After the first few skips, you’re stuck watching an ad before you can resume using YouTube. Not only is it annoying, but it also won’t make people listen to what you have to say. 

With Facebook, your customers can choose to either click on your ad or ignore it with no consequence.

We’ll show you later how you can get customers to click on your ad and take action with no hesitation.

Now that you’ve seen how powerful Facebook for local businesses can be, let’s dive right into setting up your Facebook Ads Manager account.

Understand Facebook Ads Manager-- Even if You’re a Total Newbie!

Let’s face it-- many people shy away from Facebook ads because they seem too complicated.

We’re going to make setting up your ads account and understanding your ads manager super simple. You don’t need to be a marketing expert or Facebook genius to get started.

In fact, not only are we going to teach you the secret to effective Facebook marketing for your small business, but we’re also gonna help you run your first ad later on in this article!

But first, here’s an easy breakdown of the Facebook Ads Manager.

To run ads on Facebook, you’re going to need a Facebook business page. Something that looks like this:

It’s the virtual store-front for your business. Getting a Facebook business page up is pretty easy. You can follow this guide for instructions on how to set one up if you don’t already have one.

Once that’s ready to go, click on the drop-down menu in the top-right corner of the home page.

You’ll see your business page listed under “Business Manager”. Note you can also access the business manager by typing into your browser.

Go ahead and click on it. You’ll be taken to this page:

You will also need to add a method of payment to your ads manager to start running ads. Just click on ‘business settings’, scroll down and add your card here:

Great! Now let’s explore around the ads manager a bit and break down the important things you need to know to hit the ground running.

Your ad account is where you will find all of your campaigns and ads.

A campaign is made up of the ads you run to reach an objective. The best practice is to name your campaign according to your objective (engagement, product awareness, video views, etc).

Your campaign is made up of ad sets which are different versions of the ad you’re running.

Let’s say you want to target two different groups of people with the same ad. So you might have Ad Set A targeting people 18-30 and Ad Set B targeting people 40-65+.

KPI’s or key performance indicators tell you how effectively your ad is running. Don’t worry too much about understanding every single one. When it comes to using Facebook for local businesses, you only need to worry about conversions and engagement which we’ll talk about later.

Here are some examples of different KPI’s that Facebook uses to analyze your ads:

  • Conversions

  • Leads

  • Reach

  • Engagement

  • Growth

As you can see, the Facebook Ads Manager isn’t too difficult to navigate around. The next step is to simply create your first ad. But before that, you need to know the #1 success strategy when it comes to Facebook ads for a small business.

The Super Simple Secret to Killer Facebook Ads for Local Businesses

What I’m about to tell you will seem almost too easy. Running successful Facebook ads can’t be that simple, can it?

Yes, it is that simple.

The number one reason local businesses fail with Facebook ads: they don’t have the proper strategy in place. Small business owners tend to:

  • pour cash into boosting useless posts

  •  target the wrong people

  • run an ad without a clear objective

Luckily for you, you’re going to learn how to follow a proven ad strategy from the start. Chances are, you don’t have a huge budget to blow or tons of time to waste until you get past the learning curve. If you want to do things right the first time around, then keep reading for the good stuff.

You might have heard of Apple-- a pretty well-known company that makes phones, tablets, and computers that dominate the electronics market. When Apple puts out an ad for a new product they generate millions of sales with relatively little effort. 

The same goes for most major brands and companies. So then you should spend time studying the images, words, and layout of Apple’s ads to mirror their success right?


The strategies that work for Apple, Nike, Adidas, and other major companies wouldn’t be the right approach to advertising for local businesses. 

That’s because local businesses just don’t have the budget or awareness to match these competitors. There’s a different approach you need to follow:

Lead With An Offer

As a local business owner, your main focus is to make your business known in your local area. People are unaware of your business and unsure of the quality of your services or products. You need to reel in their attention and offer them a chance to ‘try you out’ with low risk and commitment. 

Come up with an irresistible offer too good to refuse. Maybe it’s a gift card, a hefty discount, or a free consultation. Something like this:

Facebook Ad Donald Trump Example

This is a good one too. Check out good ol' Taco Bell using Facebook ads to push its partnership with Grubhub:


This strategy still works well even if you have a small budget. Don’t worry about making money off of your ad initially. The most important thing to focus on here is getting people in the door with your offer in the hopes of converting them to long-term paid customers. 

Start with a small budget to test things out, let’s say a $10-$15 limit per day on ad-spend. Compare your monthly Facebook advertising cost to the average lifetime value of one customer. Now, multiply that by the number of new customers you hope to pull in with your awesome ad. 

We’d say the initial investment is more than worth it, wouldn’t you?

Get Inspired

In case you're somewhat of a perfectionist or over-thinker, we included this section where we break down a few examples of Facebook ads run by local businesses.

We'll go over different elements of each ad and how it works well.

Afterward, we'll get you set up and get your first Facebook ad going. Sound good?

Local Business Ad Example 1

FB Ad Ex 1

This is a simple yet effective Facebook ad ran for a local kickboxing gym.

The image is bright and the colors pop out. It also includes the main offer text within the image to emphasize and bring more attention to it.

Everyone wants a 'dream body.' The copy used appeals to the desire to lose weight and the ability to start now with an easy offer.

In this ad, the gym instructs its customers exactly what to do now. Sign up by either clicking this link or the 'sign-up' button and 'use code Take25 today' to claim the offer.

Local Business Ad Example 2

Apparently, this guy is the personal trainer for Michelle Obama, which is a pretty solid selling point to emphasize.

This trainer chooses to use a video featuring this aforementioned star client to demonstrate the methods he uses when working with clients in action. It's a pretty versatile way to showcase his expertise and interaction with clients.

Though not much in the way of copy, the benefits a customer will receive are pretty clear: you'll get an on-demand physical trainer 'wherever and whenever' you are.

Local Facebook Ad Example 3

Facebook Ad Ex 3

An awesome example for an initial video view or engagement campaign.

Most people looking for a kid's dentist are in it for the long-run and the relationship matters immensely.

So what better way to start the introduction than a personal and friendly greeting from your smiling local dentist? A video just captures intimacy and connection in a way that a simple image wouldn't do justice.

The end goal here is to develop ongoing rapport with potential parents and get them to either click the website link or the "learn more" action button.

Local Facebook Ad Example 4

Local FB Ad Ex 5

This is a product-centered ad from a local skincare studio.

The image used of the advertised product is aesthetically pleasing. Notice how it's also focused in while the rest of the background is out of focus, making the image stand out even more.

It seems the copy is targeted towards a younger demographic such as high school or college students. The product's benefits are outlined with detail given to its natural and safe ingredients.

The call-to-action button directs leads to the first page of their lead magnet/funnel, denoted by "sign up."

Local Facebook Ad Example 5

Local FB Ad Ex 6

Here's yet another example of an awesome lead magnet to get leads in the door: a completely free offer. While this company isn't exactly a 'local business', it's a small e-commerce store and the product-based advertising process remains much the same.

Instead of an image, a short 12 second carousel video showcases the various flavors and benefits of the toothpaste. 

The copy is both amusing and conversational with an emoji utilized to add to the lightheartedness.

Again, the publishers of this ad tell users exactly what to do next: claim this offer now by simply clicking the 'get offer' button.

Local Facebook Ad Example 6

Local FB Ad Ex 7

This video highlights a laser skin procedure which this particular clinic specializes in. Aesthetic dermatology is all about results, results, results. While images often work well, videos work even better for these types of businesses. 

Who doesn't want a flawless 'Instagram face' for those perfect selfies? The tone of the copy may be geared towards women, especially younger woman 18-25 (the selfie generation). The awesome skin benefits you'll get if you book treatment here are spelled out with green check mark emoji's organizing this list clearly and concisely.

This clinic makes sure to hit all the key elements of a perfect Facebook ad, throwing in the offer for a 'free consultation'- a chance to speak with professionals to see if this would work for you. To find out more information, just click the 'learn more' button.

Let’s Set Up Your First Facebook Ad!

Since you know the secret strategy to conquer Facebook marketing for your small business, the only thing left to do is create your ad.

Step 1: Create your ad and choose your ad campaign in Ads Manager.

Head back into your Ads Manager and create your ad.

You’ll get to choose the ad type you want to create. You want to focus on engagement and conversion campaigns when starting. 

These two ad types will help you :

  • Build awareness and credibility for your business
  • Leverage social proof (likes,comments,shares)
  • Get eyes on your offer
  • Pixel and collect emails and phone numbers of leads

In this example, we’re going to walk you through setting up a simple traffic campaign. Traffic campaigns are great for driving traffic to your website or offer page, especially if you’ve never had traffic before.

Note: Make sure your Facebook pixel is installed FIRST.

You’ll need to have Facebook’s pixel installed on your website to track when customers land on a certain page or take some sort of action. Facebook has an awesome and easy-to-follow guide on how to do this.

The pixel allows you to track when leads land on the web page you’re driving traffic to, which helps tremendously with creating a custom targeted audience.

Step 3: Select the Data Source You Want to Pull From

As we mentioned, there are so many different ways to mine that golden data of customer data.

If you have an existing email list or leads spreadsheet with customer contact information, pull from this source. 

Facebook makes it easy to import your own data. Here's a screenshot from their own easy-to-follow guide:

Facebook Ad Email Import

If you've already collected some pixel data because that's one of the very first things you set up (round of applause), then it's best to use this data.

Step 4: Create Your Ad Set and Narrow Your Audience

Once you’ve installed the pixel and selected the ad type, create your first ad set. We talked about this briefly in another section but we’ll go over it again.

An easy way to remember what an ad set is? It’s the custom audience you want to target. Being super specific only just makes your life easier. Title your ad set something like this:

Now we’re getting into the nitty-gritty: targeting your audience.

Facebook gives you the option to narrow in on your ideal client and create a ‘custom audience’. This is helpful if you already have an established audience online. We will be able to do exactly this after this campaign is run.

But initial advertising for local businesses follows a different formula. 

Set your business address as the location you want to target. Expand this to include nearby areas you may service within a certain radius limit (15-35 miles for example). Identify the general demographics of people who are most likely to be interested in your product or service. 

These can include:

  • Demographics: age, gender, location

  • interest in your industry, product, or service

  • behaviors

Beyond that, it’s best to keep your target demographics very broad. You don’t want to miss out on an entire group of customers by focusing on just a few. 

You also don’t want your target audience to be too large either.

Narrow this audience size with the general demographics we talked about. Ideally, you should be aiming for a potential reach between 50,000-250,000 people.

As with any good marketing tactic, it’s a good idea to test a few things out to see what works best. You can then “split test” the effectiveness of your ad by creating a new ad set targeting a different audience. 

It’s a good idea to split-test 2-3 variables to start out. After running the ads for 3-5 days, you should be able to determine which ad sets are the most profitable and scale accordingly.

Facebook provides a handy tool to help you find out what to test: Audience Insights.

In the dashboard Facebook provides you with data that helps narrow down what you want to target. For example, if you were a personal trainer you could see if your target audience shows an interest in pages like Jenny Craig or SlimFast and create a split-test comparing these two options.

We won’t go too much in depth about split-testing in this guide, but this is a great guide that helps explain further.

Step 5: Choose Your Ad Placement, Budget, and Delivery Schedule

Afterward, you’ll be directed to choose the placement of your ad and the schedule you want your ad to run on. Newsfeed ads perform well and are great to start with, so you’ll want to select that option.

Next, input your daily budget information. This amount will vary depending on your budget size, but you’ll want to make sure you spend enough to get results that don’t break the bank. Like we said before, $10-$15 daily is a good rule of thumb to follow. 

Multiply your daily budget by the number of days you plan to run your ad. Start with 2 weeks (14 days) when testing your first ad. You can always stop or scale your ad sets after 3-5 days.

As far as an ad delivery schedule goes, try to only run ads during your normal business hours. This prevents ad-spend when you’re inactive and unable to respond to leads promptly.

Leave everything else alone. It’s time to design your ad and then your offer.

Step 6: Design Your Ad

You don’t have to go crazy designing your Facebook ad. We’ve found that the most effective Facebook ads for local businesses follow a pretty simple set-up.

Image- The image or video you select needs to showcase your amazing products or finished work. Naturally, customers will want to see a sample before they decide to spend their hard-earned money on what you have to offer. Use your own images as much as you can and avoid free images from the web.

Facebook Ad Image Ex

Headline- The headline doesn’t have to be complicated. Just state exactly what you will be offering to potential customers. It can be something like "Free Starbucks Gift Card with purchase of $20 or more!”

FB Ad example 3

Copy- Don’t overthink when it comes to writing the ad copy. The easiest way is to lead with an emotional question that covers your customer’s pain points. Follow the question with how your business can solve that problem. Expand on your offer a bit once more and then end the ad by telling customers exactly what you want them to do (known as a CTA or call-to-action). Short, sweet, and to the point.

 You can read more about effective ad copy in this guide.

Here’s an example:

Step 7: Create a Simple Funnel to Optimize Your Offer

We've talked all about effective lead magnets to drive your offer home. ClickFunnels makes this entire process a breeze. No, you don’t need to be techy to start using it.

An effective funnel only really needs 2 pages. The first page should advertise your offer once more and have your leads enter their name, email, and phone number. The second page serves as your “thank you” page and leads view this page after submitting their information.

Here's an example of an offer page:

If you’ve never used ClickFunnels before, check out this introductory guide for the basics of funnel creation. Also, make sure you install your Facebook pixel on the results page of your funnel to track these leads.

You can generate an insane amount of emails from a basic funnel to build your email list and implement the power of email marketing alongside your highly targeted Facebook ads.

Note that ClickFunnels offers a free 14 day trial with paid plans starting at $97 per month.

Step 8: Select your CTA Button

The last step is choosing the call-to-action button you want for your ad. You can use the call to action you’ve written in your ad copy to quickly decide.

Step 9: Wait for Approval

Publish your ad and BOOM-- it should now be in the approval process.

That’s it.

You’ve just whipped up your first Facebook ad. Time to sit back and watch the magic happen.

My Ad is Running- Now What?

Don’t stress. Let Facebook do the work for you.

What do we mean?

Well, Facebook’s ‘automatic rules’ optimize ad delivery for you. Which makes your life SO MUCH easier.

Create an automatic rule to allow Facebook to automatically stop underperforming ad sets and scale profitable ones. For example, you can tell Facebook to stop running ads if the cost per purchase exceeds $5 for a single ad-set.

It’s easy to do. Facebook makes it happen with the click of a button:

You’ll still be able to view analytic reports on your ads to see how they’re doing. 

Now, managing your ads doesn’t have to be rocket science.

Well… How Did We Do?

We hope this guide gave you the jump-start you needed to master Facebook advertising for your local business.

Which tactic are you going to try out first? Did you notice anything different you’re going to start implementing in your ads from now on?

Let us know in the comments below.

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Ippei Kanehara

$52K per month providing lead generation services to small businesses is for digital hustlers, industry leaders and online business owners.

His #1 online business recommendation in 2023, is to build your own lead generation business.