Funnel on Facebook.jpgby Mari Smith


In today’s noisy digital world, prospects and customers need between 13 and 20 touchpoints before committing to a purchase. You can’t just publish a piece of content on Facebook and hope for the sales to come.


Sure, these touches include social media posts, but also email communication, watching videos, and browsing your website or store, as well as live interaction, such as speaking by phone and engaging via direct message.


Call it TLC or your customer service journey, the act of giving your prospect the care and information they deserve is a process called a ‘funnel.’ And, when you have the right one in place, incorporating organic and paid touches, you have set your small business up for success.


The Facebook Mix: Organic vs Paid Reach


Facebook’s platform can be frustrating for many small business owners. They may experience difficulty in properly identifying and finding their perfect audience, and more often than not, get very low organic reach on their Facebook business page. Then, when they try to understand how to optimize paid campaigns, they don’t quite know where to focus for maximum results.


Here’s the thing: since 2014, organic reach has been at an average of 1% to 6%. Since many small business owners do not realize this, they continue to post organic content with no paid campaigns, and their content gets very little reach, engagement, and results.


The secret is to find the right mix between organic and paid. Investing even in a small Facebook ad budget can make all the difference. It’s counterintuitive but it does work. You could get at least a 2, 5 or even 10 times return on your investment. 


I always recommend crafting organic content that is “boost worthy.” That is, create posts that you’d happily convert into a paid placement once you see your audience is responding.


Your good content gets noticed and then more people will notice your good content. Win-win!


Facebook Audiences


Before you jump into the funnel, be clear on who your audience is. Customers? Prospects? Is it everyone who likes or follows your Facebook page? Or not?


Map out your customer avatar, often called a persona. This includes likes, interests, demographics, etc. It’s anything and everything that will help you hone in on everyone you want to reach.


Think of the funnel with three distinct stages:


  1. Top of funnel – TOFU
  2. Middle of funnel – MOFU
  3. Bottom of Funnel – BOFU


Whether you do your Facebook marketing completely organically (no ad spend) or you invest in paid campaigns, you’ll want to lead your audience through all three phases.


To make things super-easy, inside Facebook Ads Manager, there are three clear categories of ad objectives. And each of them maps perfectly to the top, middle and bottom of the sales funnel.


  1. Awareness (TOFU)
  2. Consideration (MOFU)
  3. Conversion (BOFU)


Think of the sales funnel in these 3 buckets. People go from Cold to Warm to Hot Prospects … and then onto Paying Customers.


Cold Audience:

There are people who have never heard of you. They are complete strangers, so you need to make them aware of your business, brand, products, services, offers, and so on.


Warm Audience:


These people are already familiar with your business and what you do. They have not yet made a purchase, but are considering it.


Hot Audience:


These are your hottest prospects. They are now very familiar with you and are about to make a purchase. They’re on their way to convert from prospect to buyer.


Facebook enables you to target all three audiences, so you can very easily walk people through each stage of your funnel.


A Custom Audience


Facebook also gives you the ability to create what are called Custom Audiences. You can upload your own opt-in email subscriber list to match with Facebook users and retarget these people. Facebook hashes the data and it’s a perfectly normal practice, used for years by small and large businesses alike.


Alternatively, when you have the Facebook pixel installed on your website, you have the ability to retarget specific landing page visitors. For instance, if someone lands on your product page but does not make a purchase, you would retarget them to nudge them back to the product page.


Another way to retarget is by building an audience of people who have engaged with your content on Facebook and/or Instagram. People who have watched three seconds or more of your videos can be “reminded” about your business or service.


Expand Custom Targets


Facebook also lets you create what are called Lookalike Audiences. This is an extremely powerful tool. You start with a core Custom Audience and the magic Facebook algorithms go out and build you a fresh new audience, often in the millions, of potential leads and customers.


Here are some examples of Custom audience type:


  • Cold: Saved audiences from demographics and interests you’ve selected. These could also be from website visitors, e-mail lists and video views audiences.
  • Warm: People who have engaged with your Facebook or Instagram Page in the past 7 to 30 days, and viewed your videos.
  • Hot: Those who visited your website landing page, messaged your page, interacted with a Lead Form ad, or opted-in to your lead magnet.


Once you have your custom audience created you can use Facebook’s Lookalike Audiences to expand to similar users and capture more potential customers in your sales funnel.


The Funnel Strategy


Here’s my recommended Facebook ad strategy for leading your target audience through your sales funnel with paid campaigns.


Top of Funnel:


  • Content: Create a 30- to 60-second video that captures attention instantly. Be sure to place your brand, logo, and message within the first 3 seconds. First, publish it as an organic post on your Facebook page, and allow up to 24 hours of organic reach. Then make it into an ad using Ads Manager. (By the way, even a small budget on promoting a post can increase your organic reach as well!)
  • Purpose: You want to build awareness. This content - focusing on storytelling - should educate, inform, inspire or entertain.
  • Ad Objective: Video views, reach, or engagement. Your main goal is to expand your audience and build awareness so you can retarget in the next two phases.
  • Cold Target Audience: Saved (what you created using all your specific customer demographics) and/or a Lookalike Audience
  • Budget: Allocate approximately 25%


Middle of Funnel:


  • Content: Create a 15- to 30-second video that includes much of the same visuals and narrative of your TOFU video.
  • Purpose: The idea is to continue the same storytelling narrative, and entice the audience to want to know more … now! With this piece, you may want to include customer examples, highlight benefits, and/or show solutions.
  • Ad Objective: Video views, lead generation, messages (get people to DM you on Facebook), or traffic (send to a unique landing page for this campaign).
  • Warm Target Audience: These should be people who watched your first video. You may also want to include people who have engaged with your Facebook page and/or Instagram profile.
  • Budget: Allocate approximately 50%


Bottom of Funnel:


  • Content: Create a 5- to 15-second video continuing on the same narrative. You want to use a subset of visuals from your TOFU/MOFU videos - familiar content that gets right to the point!
  • Purpose: Here you want to promote a special offer with a strong CTA (call-to-action).
  • Ad objective: Conversions, Traffic, Catalog Sales or Store Traffic.
  • Hot Target Audience: Use Custom Audiences, based on your e-mail list of interested prospects, or from your Lead Form ads, Messenger ads, or visitors to a specific landing page. Your focus is on converting people into customers or clients who are now familiar with you, your company, campaign and offer.
  • Budget: Allocate approximately 25%


You’ll notice the suggested video lengths get shorter as you move prospects through the funnel. This is similar to television advertising where you might see a longer commercial then the same ad keeps repeating but it gets shorter and shorter.


That’s because advertisers know you don’t need to keep seeing the entire long ad. Repetition and retargeting really does work.


A Final Thought


One big mistake I see Facebook advertisers making time and again is they want to go straight to the bottom of the funnel. They think they can get that sale right away.

When they use all their budget on a cold audience, it’s typically a waste. Facebook ads rarely work well that way.

When building your funnel, remember:  You want to turn prospects into loyal customers by creating a bond between your strangers and your brand. Introduce audiences to your business, your products, and/or services. Allow them to get to know, like, and trust you.


Build that interest and engagement, and loyal customers with higher lifetime value is sure to follow.




Bank of America, N.A. engages with Mari Smith to provide materials for informational purposes only, and is not responsible for, and does not guarantee or endorse any of the third-party products or services mentioned.  All third-party logos and company names mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners and are used under license from Mari Smith. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.


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