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by Mike Vestil 

Facebook Ads For Local Businesses – A Step-By-Step Guide

Are you a local business owner seeking to grow your business super fast?

Then you better run Facebook ads for local businesses. 

Facebook is one of the most popular social networks in the world. It’s used by billions of users daily around the world. Because of its wide reach, Facebook presents an enormous opportunity for smart local business owners. By advertising on the platform, you can get more new customers and increase your profits as many local businesses have discovered. 

In this article, we will look at some important aspects of Facebook advertising, and how you can use it effectively as a local brand.

What Is Facebook Advertising?

Facebook ads are paid messages companies put on FB to promote their goods and services. 

You pay for them whenever someone clicks on your advert. This is called Cost Per Click (CPC) advertising model. You’ve seen this type of online advertising when you log into your Facebook account or open an application.

Small business owners can show advertisements in different places of the Facebook interface, depending on the settings of the promotion itself, which are set by the advertiser.

Restaurant owners can use Facebook ads to show their customers that they offer a new menu, for example. Or, if you own a clothing store, you can advertise special sales and discounts on your products.

Why Run Facebook Ads?

Good question.

The simple answer is because Facebook ads work.

FB advertising is often quite a profitable investment for local brands because it provides a lot of advantages for advertising goods and services, which we will discuss below.

3 Types Of Facebook Ad Objectives For Your Local Business

We build all Facebook adverts around objectives. 

So it is important to choose the right objective for your business at the start. Having a simple goal helps you to create an aligned advert that produces results. FB ad objectives fall into 3 broad categories:

  • Awareness.
  • Consideration.
  • Conversions.
Facebook Ad Objectives

Source: Social Media Objectives

Let’s look at each category in turn, shall we?

Awareness Objectives

Awareness objectives help create an interest in your company and product at the top of the funnel. By providing valuable information connected to the problems you solve, you help clueless prospects understand your business and what it does.

Awareness objectives include:

  • Brand Awareness: increase people’s recognition of the existence of your brand and what it does.
  • Reach: displaying your ad as far as it can go so that as many people as possible in your target audience see it.

Consideration Objectives

Consideration objectives make people reflect on your business and reach out to you for more information.

  • Traffic: drive people to your website, blog, landing page, or app.
  • Engagement: reach out to people who are likely to engage with your posts through comments, likes, and shares. 
  • App installs: drive people to your store so they can download your business app.
  • Video views: share your company’s videos with Facebook users who are most likely to watch them.
  • Lead generation: collect leads for your company by crafting ads that collect contact info from customers-to-be who show an interest in your product through booking a call or signing up for a webinar.
  • Messages: communicate directly with potential or current clients via FB Messenger, Instagram Direct, and WhatsApp.

Conversion Objectives

Conversion objectives seek to drive action on your Facebook pages, app, or website. These actions include:

  • Conversions: urge people to take a specific desired action on your site, e.g. download your app, add products to cart, schedule a demo, or book a discovery call.
  • Catalog sales: showcase your e-commerce store’s catalog to land more customers and sales.
  • Store traffic: market your brick-and-mortar business outlets to local people who live in the neighborhood.

Once you’ve identified your digital marketing goal, you are ready for the next step, choosing the right ad format for your specific campaign.

4 Types Of Facebook Ads For Local Businesses

Different Facebook ads can help you achieve different marketing goals.

After picking a goal, you will customize your ads in line with the selected goal, since each goal has its characteristics in the settings.

Let’s now consider the types of advertising on FB.

Image Ads

The first type of Facebook ad campaign you can run is image ads.

As the name implies, an image ad is a still graphic image that’s displayed on Facebook and Instagram. 

You can display them on the:

  • Facebook News Feed.
  • Facebook Right Column.
  • Facebook Instant Articles.
  • Facebook Marketplace.
  • Instagram Stories.
  • Instagram Feed.
  • Audience Network Native.
  • Sponsored Message.
  • Messenger Home.

Facebook supports all the popular ad formats like PNG, JPG, JPEG, TIF, and more.

Image ads are great for delivering a simple message to generate interest in your brand or service or inspire people to take action, e.g. book a call.

How’s this for a specimen image ad?

Facebook Ad example

Source: Facebook

Simple, yet powerful.

A pic of cheerful people enjoying ice cream and coupled with a captivating question-based copy.

Video Ads

Next up are video ads.

Adding motion and audio to still images makes video a more powerful medium. Like images, video ads can also be shown on FB and Instagram. You can use video ads to boost Facebook posts.

Plus, you can also create a slide show that can be played as a video. The platform allows you to use 360 videos. 

You can show video ads:

  • Facebook News Feed.
  • Facebook Instant Articles.
  • Facebook Marketplace.
  • Facebook Watch.
  • Facebook In-stream Video.
  • Facebook Stories.
  • Facebook Search Results.
  • Facebook Video Feeds.
  • Instagram Stories.
  • Instagram Feed.
  • Instagram Explore.
  • Instagram Reels.
  • Instagram In-Stream Videos.

Here’s a specimen of a video ad.


Source: Facebook

West Elm, an Australian brand, used video ads and a slide show like the one above to increase brand awareness and online sales. Here’s a summary of their results.

Video Ads

In short, let’s just say they killed it.

Carousel Ads

Carousel ads are like slideshow ads.

Carousel ads display up to 10 images or videos in one ad. You can create a link for each image so users click on it to find out more. Carousel ads are popular for e-commerce brands selling a variety of products.

You can place carousel ads on the:

  • Facebook Feed.
  • Facebook Right Column.
  • Facebook Instant Articles.
  • Facebook In-Stream Video.
  • Facebook Marketplace.
  • Facebook Stories.
  • Facebook Search Results.
  • Instagram Stories.
  • Instagram Feed.
  • Audience Network Native, Banner and Interstitial.
  • Messenger Inbox.

Here’s an example of a carousel ad.

Carousel Ads

Source: Instapage

The series of images enables Foodpanda to showcase four products at once.

Collection Ads

A collection ad is built as an online catalog to lure people to buy.

Collection ads feature a dominant video on top plus 4 small product images underneath. These are specifically tailored for mobile users and are perfect for discovering e-commerce goods. 

There are 4 templates for this type of ad:

  • Instant Storefront

This template is superb for organizing your products into groups to make it easier for consumers to identify what they are looking for. You can also use this template to:

  • Drive users to your online store so they buy.
  • Showcase products in an easy-to-browse grid style.
  • Display a catalog with over four products.
  • Display one prominent product together with its related products.
  • Instant lookbook

Pick this template when you want to:

  • Show your product in use.
  • Share your brand story powerfully while driving sales.
  • Duplicate your print catalog online.
  • Instant Storytelling

Choose this template if you want to mobile users an immersive, highly engaging full-screen Facebook ad campaign experience that:

  • Captures users’ attention instantly when content pops up full-screen.
  • Tells your brand story unforgettably complete with helpful links, descriptive text, and CTA buttons.
  • Showcase your products or services in a powerful visual experience.
  • Adds depth to your brand story by merging two or more Instant Experiences.
  • Instant Customer Acquisition:

Instant customer acquisition is what you are looking for if you want to:

  • Showcase your products using first-rate images or videos.
  • Increase conversions on your mobile landing pages.
  • Encourage people to take a specific action on your app or site

You can show collection ads on:

  • Facebook Feed.
  • Facebook In-stream Video.
  • Instagram Stories.
  • Instagram Feed.

Jewelry brand, Pura Vida posted impressive results through a collection ad.


Source: Facebook

Here are the numbers of their campaign.

Instant Customer Acquisition:

I’m sure you agree with me that this was an exceptional Facebook ad strategy that produced a good return on their ad spend.

What To Do Before You Start Facebook Advertising For Your Local Business

To get started with Facebook ads for local businesses, you need two things:

  • Set up a Facebook page

To advertise on Facebook, you must have a FB page. Creating a page is easy. Go to your FB page profile: Pages > Meta Business Suite  > Create A Facebook Page.

 Facebook page

Image credit: Tailwindapp.com

After clicking ‘Create a Facebook Page’, you will arrive on a new page. Provide the needed info:

  • Page Name: the name of your business.
  • Category: choose the type of business you do from the categories.
  • Description: summarize what your business does.

Click on ‘create page’ to launch your page. You can fine tune the page later by adding contact info, images, and other info.

Facebook Ad Targeting Options For Your Local Business

Identifying the EXACT audience you want to reach is one of the biggest benefits of Facebook ads. Small business owners can benefit immensely from the platform's powerful targeting features.

Here’s how the audience section looks in Facebook Ads Manager.

Facebook Ad Targeting

Let’s now look at the targeting options in detail.

Core Audiences

Using Facebook's basic audience targeting features, you can target a wide audience by location or age, as well as narrow your audience.

The primary audience is determined by the following parameters:

  • Location: promote your business in the neighborhoods, cities, and countries where you want to get customers.
  • Demographics: demographic targeting is picking the audience you are after based on gender, age, education, and job title among other things.
  • Interests: finding the right audience to do business with based on the things they enjoy.
  • Behavior: shape your ads based on customer behavior like items they bought previously and the devices they use. 
  • Connections: decide to include or exclude people you’ve already linked up with through your Facebook page or event.

Custom Audiences

Custom audiences are people who’ve already been in contact with your business and shown interest in your offerings or what you do.

Marketing to these people is easier since they already know your business.

Custom audiences include:

  • Contact lists: use info on your email list or CRM to link up with or retarget clients on Facebook.
  • Site visitors: use the Facebook pixel to display targeted ads to people who visited your website but did not complete the desired action, so they come back and do so.
  • App users: use the Facebook SDK to drive in-app actions like buying a product or viewing an item.

Lookalike Audiences

Lookalike Audiences is using reaching out to a new audience on FB that shares similar characteristics with your best current clients.

There are three major benefits of using Lookalike Audiences.

First, you can adjust the audience size you are targeting. You can narrow down the audience you are after by increasing the number of shared interests between the source audience with the new audience to, say, 95%. Or you can reach a broader audience by reducing the shared traits.

Second, Lookalike Audiences tend to drive higher conversion rates. This is because you are targeting people with the same interests as those who have already bought your products. Another advantage is that it’s easy to monitor in Ads Manager, so you tweak your ads as you go to improve results.

You can use this option if:

  • You are an established brand with a proven, clearly defined buyer persona.
  • You want to scale fast: simply import customer data from your CRM system and let the Facebook super engine do the rest to find people most likely to respond to your ads.

4 Tips For Creating Fantastic Facebook Ads For Your Local Business

After selecting the target consumers and objective, move on to the creation of the ad.

A well-made advertisement should include:

  • Attention-grabbing visuals.
  • Concise, action-oriented ad copy.
  • Clear call to action.
  • Smart geo-targeting.

Let’s look at each one.

Grab Attention With Stunning Visuals

Visuals are at the heart of any Facebook ad strategy.

Here’s why. 

Studies reveal our brains process images 60x faster than words. So by using visuals, you will have higher chances of grabbing people’s attention fast.

Below are a few guidelines for creating visual content:

  • Text on images should be minimal: let the image do the talking. Using too much text can blunt the impact of the message communicated by your image. 
  • Using vertical or square video: since most people like holding their phones vertically, it’s best to use vertical images which will fill up most of their screen for a more delightful user experience.
  • Be creative: for your ad to pop out of packed feeds, be creative. Animate your ad for eye-catching movement. You can also edit the colors to make them bolder and brighter.

When you are selling food services, looks are everything, as the ad below shows.

Grab Attention With Stunning Visuals

Source: Facebook

Mami’s Catering Services made sure the food dominates the ad. The text is minimal, so all attention goes to the food. 

TF Cornerstone, a pet grooming service also used visual content intelligently.

Use the right visuals

Source: Facebook

What’s better than showing off an excellently groomed dog when advertising a grooming service? That’s what makes this ad powerful—the lovely dog takes center stage.

Clearly Communicate Through Your Facebook Ad Copy

Copy is at the core of your ad creative. 

It’s the mortar that binds everything together. So you must craft your advertisement text with utmost care for it to yield remarkable results. 

A few tips on how to create captivating Facebook ad copy:

  • Be concise: it’s tempting to squeeze as many words as you can into your ad to get value for your money. Don’t give in to the temptation, otherwise you will meander and people won’t engage with your advert. Be incisive. Captivate them with a clear headline. Spell out your product’s benefits in the body and conclude with a powerful CTA.
  • Use numbers: an eye-tracking study by the Nielsen Norman Group revealed that numbers pop out on an online page, thus drawing people’s attention. Besides, people associate numbers with facts. So including numbers in your text not only draws people’s attention but also makes them see your copy as being factual, something that’s invaluable when promoting goods and services in a world riddled with false marketing.
  • Throw in some emojis: when potential buyers visit a page, the first thing their eyes see is the visuals, not the text. That’s why adding emojis is important. It makes the ad eye-catching, so users stop scrolling and check out the ad. Not only that. Emojis are now a popular online language with 5 billion emojis sent on Facebook Messenger alone. So using them will make your ads get your message faster.
  • Sprinkle emotional words: words aren’t the same. To connect instantly with your audience and touch them, use emotional works aka power words. Power words trigger an emotional response that moves people to act, exactly what you want when advertising because it boosts conversions as people click on your CTAs. 
  • Persuasive CTA: your advert’s call-to-action should clinch the conversion by persuading people to click it. First, your CTA must use verbs that drive action. It should be clear, not complex. Also, write it in the active voice because it’s more convincing than the passive voice

Here is a very good example of ad copy local businesses can learn from.

Persuasive CTA

Source: Facebook

The Get Response advert ticks many boxes:

  • It attracts readers with an emoji.
  • It uses a number to draw users' eyes
  • It has an easy-to-understand headline.
  • It’s written in a direct conversational tone.
ad example

Source: Facebook

Why does this advert work?

First, it’s User-Generated Content (UGC). Content that comes from fellow customers generates interest because other customers find it appealing. Research by Tint shows a whopping 93% of customers trust content from consumers more than content produced by brands.

Also, it’s simple, so prospects get it straight away. Next, it uses social proof as they tell readers they’ve sold over 300,000 quilts. The massive number convinces Facebook users to become paying customers. 

The ad seals the deal with a simple direct CTA ‘shop now’.

Close The Deal With A Strong CTA

Writing a call to action is a crucial part of an ad.

For your advertisement to succeed and drive the desired action, it must have a strong call to action. The CTA must be:

  • Clear, not clever.
  • Direct, not evasive.
  • Short, not long-winded.

Above all, include a verb, since your goal is to drive action.

That’s exactly what MRS Heating And Cooling did.

Close The Deal With A Strong CTA

“Call now”. 

Simple. Instructive. Effective.

A homecare brand, The Pines Of Mount Lebanon used a concise CTA to boost engagement on their FB page.

great CTA

The CTA ‘like page’ is succinct and unambiguous. Users know exactly what’s required of them, which makes it more likely for them to act.

Set Geo-Targeting For Your Local Business

An excellent way of attracting local customers is via geo-targeting. 

It’s pivotal for a local company to set geographic targeting. Get it right and you will have a steady stream of potential customers coming to your brick and mortar store.

You can set geo-targeting in the audience section at the advert group level.

Besides setting the geographic location, you can choose what type of people to target with your advertisements:

  • Everyone in the location.
  • Everyone who lives in the area.
  • People who have recently been in the place.
  • People travelling through the location.

Here are your location targeting options in Ads Manager.

Set Geo-Targeting

Source: Adexpresso

The best part?

You can both include and exclude placements and set the radius around the location point that the advert will target. This gives you total control of the people you want to reach. You can zoom in on a particular radius in the neighborhood and target a specific gender and age range.

Geo-Targeting options

Source: Adexpresso

Physical location targeting is a marketing heaven for local businesses because it allows them to create personalized adverts that boost store visits significantly.

How To Track Facebook Advertising Results

Facebook provides marketers with a lot of data for gauging the effectiveness of advertising campaigns. Here are the top ones and why is vital for you to track them.

  • Impressions: impressions are how many times your advert appeared on the screens of your target audience for the first time. It’s an important metric if your campaign objective is brand awareness because it tells you how many people are exposed to your message.
  • Unique Outbound Clicks: this is the number of clicks that move people away from Facebook properties to other platforms outside the platform, e.g. a click that takes someone to your app or website. Outbound clicks help you see if people are taking action and clicking on your offers.
  • Unique Outbound CTR: this is a percentage metric that tells you how many people clicked on a link in your advertisement, contrasted with the number of people who saw the ad. CTR reveals if your adverts are engaging enough for people to take action. A high CTR shows high engagement levels, while a low CTR shows disinterest.
  • Cost Per Unique Outbound Click: calculates how much it costs you to get someone to click on a link that takes them off Facebook properties to your digital properties. A lower cost per unique click is good news because it means you spend less on your daily budget. A higher number is unwelcome because it depletes your ad budget fast.
  • Frequency: the average number of times a person has seen your promotion. If you are a small business owner running an awareness campaign, the more someone sees your advert, the higher the chances they will remember your brand. But, if the frequency is too high you may weigh down people with ad fatigue… change your creative so it's engaging.

Drive Fast Growth With Facebook Ads For Local Businesses

Facebook advertising is a huge opportunity for local and small businesses.

It’s all about finding what works best for your brand.

Don’t follow the crowd because your company is unique. Experiment with the different types of advertising available on Facebook to see which one produces excellent results for you. Once you find the advert types that work for your business, double down on them.

Soon, you’ll have people banging on your door in search of your product or service.

Keep reading on MikeVestil.com: Even if you're an author, you can use Facebook ads to sell more stuff. Check out this article on Facebook ads for authors if you want to sell more books.

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About the author 

Mike Vestil

Mike Vestil is an author, investor, and speaker known for building a business from zero to $1.5 million in 12 months while traveling the world.

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