If you have a brick-and-mortar location for your store, potential customers may be all around you. Even as you read this, your customers could be walking past your business, wondering where they will get lunch. They could be in a local coffee shop, fueling up on caffeine to prepare themselves for a day of Christmas shopping. They could be at a nearby bar, finishing up a pint and wishing they had a late-night snack. Their car could have just broken down, and they are now deciding where to go to get a repair. These potential customers could be steps away from your shop, restaurant, or business, but unless you have a way of reaching out to them, they might just pass you by.
Facebook’s Local Awareness tool poses a solution to this problem. The recently launched application allows businesses to reach potential customers within their area. If you start a Local Awareness campaign, ads for your business will appear on the Facebook pages and mobile apps of people who live in or who have recently visited your neighborhood.
How do Local Awareness ads work? Let’s imagine a campaign in action. A visitor to your neighborhood is scrolling through their Facebook newsfeed on their phone. If their location-service is activated, and they fall within your target age and gender, they will come across a compelling ad for your business with a cheerful photo and engaging message. This message could offer a special offer or discount, or simply share information about your goods and services. Prominently displayed at the bottom of this ad is a “get directions” call-to-action, which will direct them right to your business’s door.
How to Create a Local Awareness Ad
If you’ve been following my previous blogs, you probably already know how you can use Facebook to promote your business online. You can create a variety of ad campaigns for specific objectives, such as sending people to your websites, raising attendance at your event, getting people to claim your offer, and more. But if your objective is to reach out to people who are physically near your brick-and-mortar business, a Local Awareness ad might be your best bet.
Local Awareness ads are wonderfully easy to create, thanks to Facebook’s handy step-by-step campaign creator. You can design an attractive and effective ad in three easy steps.
Step One: Decide on Your Audience.
Select the page of the business you want to promote, and enter its address if you haven’t already. Facebook will automatically select a target area around your business. You can choose the size of the radius to which you want to advertise, which can be as small as one mile. You can also specify the age range and gender of your target audience. For instance, if you sell men’s business shoes, you might want to specify men, ages 18 through 65 as your target demographic.
Step Two: Set Your Budget
You can decide the amount of the money you want to spend, and how long you’d like your ad to run. Depending on your budget and previously specified target demographic, Facebook will provide you with an estimation of how many people you can expect to see your ad. The bigger the budget, the more reaching power your ad is likely to have.
Step Three: Customize your Ad
Next, you can give your ad a personal touch by uploading a picture of your choice. If you don’t have a photo you want to use, you can pick one out of the million high-resolution stock photos Facebook offers for free.
What your ad offers is up to you. You can choose to advertise a discount to people in your area, or promote a future sale. If you want, you can simply sing the praises of your products and services.
You then have the option of including a “get directions” button. This type of call-to-action works wonderfully, since it doesn’t come off as pushy or aggressive and helps your audience find your business without any hassle.
When your ad looks the way you want it to, you can submit it for approval. As soon as it’s approved, it’ll start appearing in the news feeds of your target audience all over your neighborhood.
Why waste money advertising to customers who are hundreds of miles away from you, or who don’t fall under your target gender and age? A Local Awareness campaign targets potential customers who are a short walk, bike ride, or car trip away from your business, driving foot traffic to your physical storefront. It’s an effective, cost-efficient alternative to many other locally focused internet and mobile services, such as Groupon, Foursquare, and Yelp.
Some Limitations to Consider
Like any recently launched service, Local Awareness ads aren’t perfect. If you are considering using this kind of ad campaign, here are some limitations to consider:
Local Awareness ads are not active in real time. These types of ads appear to Facebook users who live in or have recently visited your area. If they don’t live in your neighborhood, they might leave before they get a chance to check Facebook and see your ad.
Local Awareness ads are location-service reliant. In order for local Facebook users to be presented with your ads, the location-service setting must be activated on their phone. Studies indicate that many Facebook users keep this feature deactivated for privacy reasons.
Local Awareness ads cannot replace your other advertising platforms. Since Local Awareness ads can only reach a very specific group of customers—namely, people who use Facebook, have their location-service setting activated, and travel within your area—it should not replace all your other types of advertising. You should consider adding Local Awareness ads to supplement additional Facebook campaigns and other forms of online marking. This should be easy enough, as Local Awareness ads are inexpensive and can be made within mere minutes.