When you’re working on a small budget, it’s important to be smart about where to spend your advertising money. If you’ve decided to advertise on Facebook using paid social ads, you’re not alone. Over 3 million businesses advertise on Facebook, and with the average American spending over 40 minutes per day on Facebook, the audience is huge. If your business isn’t utilizing Facebook marketing, you could be missing out on great opportunities to build brand awareness in your community. Even if your marketing budget is small, you can use Facebook marketing to bring in more leads at your facility. Read on to check out our five tips for making the most of your Facebook marketing budget!

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1. Learn tricks of the trade.

Don’t go into it blind. If you’re brand new to paid social ads, read this blog post for a more detailed, step by step guide on how to create Facebook Ads. If you’ve created a Facebook Ad before, you know that there are many objectives to choose from when marketing with Facebook.

For self storage businesses, the most common objectives are:

  • Brand awareness - get local people to recognize your brand

  • Clicks to website - send people to important sections of your website

  • Lead generation - add a form to your ad to collect info from people interested in your business

  • Offer claims - create limited-time discounts, coupons, and promotions that people can use to rent a unit online or on site

  • Website conversions - optimize your ad to get people to take specific actions on your website, such as filling out a form, reserving or renting a unit, or buying retail items

All of these objectives give marketers plenty of options for image or video choices. After choosing your objective, you can specify whether you want your ad to be displayed across mobile or desktop, or even choose to display the ad on Instagram. (Facebook bought Instagram for $1 billion in 2012.)

One of the best ways to get some creative inspiration for your ad is to browse Facebook’s marketing success stories. You can view marketing success stories sorted by objective, industry, business size, and more.

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2. Set a budget for your bid.

We often get questions from clients who are wondering how much Facebook Ads will cost their business and how the payment process works. Because there is a limited amount of space on Facebook for ads to run, Facebook Ads are purchased using an auction system. Facebook puts strict limits on the amount of ad content they feature: Facebook Ads must provide value to users and bring positive experiences to Facebook.

Whenever there is an ad space available, Facebook will find all of the ads bidding for that specific space and auction the spot. The winner of the auction will get their ad shown to the end user. Facebook holds billions of these auctions every single day. Check out this complete guide to Facebook Ads pricing for more information on budgeting your Facebook Ad.

Here are some things to consider when setting a budget:

  • Time of the year: Holidays are a particularly expensive time to advertise. Thanksgiving Day, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Christmas, Post-Holiday Sales, New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day are extremely competitive for advertising, and thus, very expensive times to run a Facebook Ad.

  • Audience size: Called the ‘Super Bowl Ad Syndrome’ by marketers, the quickest way to waste your business’s advertising dollars is to attempt to target a mass amount of people all at once. While your storage facility is probably not throwing Super Bowl-esque marketing dollars at your ad campaign, you’re wasting a similar percentage of your budget when you attempt to target all Facebook users in your metro area. Know who your real customer is, and target to that specific group of people.

  • Referrals: One of the best groups of people to target are your current customers. By using refer a friend deals and discounts, you’re getting leads that not only fall into your specific target market, but are also motivated to rent a unit in the near future. Refer a friend discounts and specials are a win-win.

  • Split testing: Split testing (or A/B testing) basically means creating two versions of the same ad to find out which one performs better. If the first ad does better, make it visible again and hide the second one, or vice versa. Your goal with split testing is to find out what your target audience responds to best in order to make the best use of your marketing dollars.

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3. Go mobile-first.

Smartphone and tablet use make up over 60% of all digital media time, so focusing on desktop users means you’re missing the majority. More and more marketers are focusing on mobile adverts over desktop. In 2015, the average mobile ad had a higher click-through rate and a lower cost-per-click than desktop. In general, Facebook advertisers are getting a better return on investment (ROI) from their mobile marketing dollars than they are from desktop marketing dollars, and the mobile trend isn’t expected to slow down anytime soon.

To make sure your ad performs well on mobile, use these tips:

  • Keep it short: Mobile ads are not the place to be long-winded. One to two short sentences are ideal for mobile ads. Always use Facebook’s ads guide to determine the ideal word count, image size, and link specifications for your ad.

  • Test your link: If your link goes to your website, make sure it displays well on mobile devices. Quick page-load time is essential - links are automatically opened in Facebook’s in-app browser unless users specify otherwise, and the in-app browser has previously been notorious for slow load times.

  • Use an attention grabbing video or image: Users scroll through Facebook quickly, so your image has to be strong to stand out enough to get noticed. Use a high-quality, entertaining video or image that relates back to your brand. Be careful that your image doesn’t mislead users - we don’t recommend clickbait tactics for lead generation.

  • Target specific device users: Facebook lets your further specify targeting based on mobile device, such as Android, iOS, Windows, and etc. This is especially important if you know that your website isn’t compatible for viewing across all mobile devices. It’s also helpful for narrowing your audience.

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4. Promote owned content

Before you run a Facebook Ad, your business has to have a Facebook Page. Whenever you post something on your Facebook Page, pay close attention to notifications that tell you when a post is performing well. If a certain post is outperforming the others by a significant percent, that post might be an ideal candidate for the ‘boost your post’ option.

A boosted post is a post from your Page that you can pay to have appear higher up in your audience’s News Feeds. The cost depends on how many people you want the post to reach. These are different from Sponsored posts, which are essentially Facebook Ads disguised as posts. Like Ads, boosted posts allow you to set a max budget and timeframe.

The best posts to boost are limited-time campaigns that are bringing in a lot of views. Still not sure what posts you would boost? Here are some examples:

  • Limited time deals: If you’re near a college or university, this could be something like offering a special on new rentals around the beginning and end of the school year.

  • New products or services: If you just started selling boxes at your office, post it and make it known to your current clients.

  • Updates to your facility or website: This could be anything from a website facelift to an expansion at your facility - anything that might expand your target market or bring in new customers.

A toddler football player and a high school football player standing by a field.

5. Partner with a local business, charity or community organization

We know that Facebook Ads that evoke emotions from users perform better, so why not partner with a beloved local business, charity, or organization on your next ad? The possibilities for community outreach are endless. Make sure to tie in the local business or community outreach with an offer that makes new customers want to take action now. Need more ideas? Check out these great examples we’ve seen from clients over the years:

Work with pet rescues. If you’re an animal lover, make connections with pet rescues in your area and find out how you can support their cause. Run a month-long promotion encouraging donations. At the end of the month, snap a pic with your team dropping off all the donations you collected or pose with a cute dog from the animal shelter.

For this month only, get one month free rent on new storage rentals if you bring in a donation from the donations list of (insert the name of your local no-kill pet rescue here).

Offer deals with a complementary business. Build relationships with complementary businesses that you can recommend to customers and that can recommend customers to you.

Welcome new (your town here) residents! For a limited time only, receive 15% off closing fees from XYZ Realty with three months pre-pay for new storage rentals.

Host a food drive. As a self storage manager, your customers will often be going through a financial crisis spurred by divorce, loss of their home or job, death of a loved one, or even a natural disaster. Your storage facility is in the perfect position to help. Reach out to people struggling in your community by working with local food banks, homeless shelters, and housing assistance programs.

(Your storage facility name here) is dedicated to helping the child hunger problem in (your community here). This holiday season, donate at least five non-perishable food items for one month free on a new rental. All items will be matched by (your storage facility name) and donated to (your local food bank here).

Sponsor a little league team or Girl Scouts troop. Or any other community program that you and your community can rally around. By consistently getting involved year after year, you’ll build relationships with community members and give them a great reason to choose you you over a competitor.

It’s that time of year again! (Your storage facility name here) is proud to sponsor (Team Name Here) Little Leaguers for the 2017 season. Tell us you saw our name on the jersey of your favorite player and get ONE MONTH FREE on new rentals throughout this little league season.

Choose something that both you and your target audience is passionate about, and put some effort into executing the campaign to the best of your ability. Community partnerships are great for building brand awareness and getting a little positive PR for your business. For more tips on community outreach, check out these blog posts: PR and Crisis Management: A Comprehensive Guide for Managers, How to Build Credibility as a New Storage Facility in Your Community, and How Your Facility Can Give Back Around the Holidays.