In recent years, video ads on Facebook have become an important part of online advertising. Video ads are simply more engaging and interesting than standard image ads.
The only problem is, they also take more time, effort and resources to produce.
Even big, international businesses sometimes struggle to produce good Facebook video ads. So how are local businesses supposed to take advantage of this important advertising opportunity?
Well, I have good news for you. While video ads certainly take more time and effort to create than standard image ads, in many cases, it’s actually easier for a local business to produce an effective ad than it is for a national corporation.
Why? Because the expectations are different. When Target puts out an ad, everyone expects it to be highly polished and professional. After all, Target has entire teams dedicated to making video content.
But a local business? People know that the mom and pop store down the street or their neighbor’s restaurant don’t have those kinds of resources. In fact, if a video ad for a local business seems over-produced, it can actually hurt it’s performance. It feels too corporate and makes the business seem distant and corporate—instead of familiar and intimate.
So if the prospect of creating a Apple-like commercial seems out of reach, don’t worry! As a local business, you don’t need (or want) to create an ad like that. Instead, there are a variety of ways to create video ads that will work great…even if you don’t have a gigantic budget.
1. Your Brand Story
Why do people buy from you? Is it because you have the widest and cheapest product offering? Probably not. Is it because they can’t get your services anywhere else? Unlikely. Is it because you have the biggest advertising budget? Not a chance.
Most of the time, people use local businesses because they like you. They want to support their local community, like what your business stands for, want to support their friend or love the work you do. You’re a part of their community, and people buy from businesses that they feel connected to.
That’s something that Walgreens and Burger King simply can’t duplicate.
As a local business, you have an inherent connection to your customers that makes you special in their eyes. And, by telling your brand story, you can help customers new and old discover that special connection.
People love to hear the brand story of local business: the “how” and “why” behind the business. So, if you’re looking for an easy way to get started with video advertising, why not start with your brand story?
To help you, here are a few types of angles to consider:
- What drove you (or the founder) to start your own business?
- Why do you love what you do?
- What are you trying to accomplish? What are you passionate about?
- How has your business affected your local community?
- Who has your business helped? How do people feel about your business?
- What makes your business special, unique or worth a visit? Do you have any interesting “behind the scenes” or “how it’s made” stories to tell?
The point of this sort of video is to spread the word about your business. While you hopefully have a loyal customer base already, if you want more customers, you need to let more people know what they’re missing out on!
For example, here’s a brand story video for a grocery store:
Now, this sort of video ad is fairly high-funnel. The goal is to create awareness. Don’t expect a sudden wave of customers after launching this kind of ad. It takes time for people to become familiar with your business and curious enough to give you a try.
As more people see your brand story ads, though, you can start running more specific ads like this one (from the same store as before).
Can you see how simple and easy video ads for local businesses can be? It doesn’t have to be a whole production, just something interesting and relevant to your potential customers.
Since you’re trying to build awareness in a new audience, make sure that you keep your brand story videos short and to the point. You want people to feel good about your business, so focus on what makes your business interesting and keep your ad to 30-60 seconds.
For giant chains and big box stores, testimonials can be a bit tricky. Unless it’s someone well-known like Oprah, most testimonials are just statements from random people. Heck, they could even be actors for all anyone knows!
As a local business, though, you don’t have to worry about any of that. If you’re getting testimonials from locals in local places, that immediately feels “real” to your potential customers. After all, they can probably pick up a phone book and look up the person in your testimonial, so if that person is willing to put their reputation on the line for your business, you’re probably not running a scam.
A good local business testimonial should feel organic, natural and professional, like the following video:
Now, as great as testimonial ads can be for your business, it’s important to run them in front of the right people. Most of the time, testimonial-focused ads work best when people have already heard of your business. The goal isn’t to build awareness—it’s to turn awareness into action.
Because your audience is already interested in your business, testimonial ads can run slightly longer than brand story ads, but you still want to keep things under 60 seconds. If you have too many testimonials for that, break them up into separate ads.
Here’s another example:
One of the simplest ways to do this is to start video advertising with a brand story campaign. From that ad, you can create an audience based on people who watch at least half of your ad or click on the ad. Then, since that audience is already familiar with your business, you can target your testimonial ad to that audience.
3. Offer Information
No matter what your business does or sells, people always have questions. They can be simple, stupid or strange, but people always have questions and concerns.
The good news is, if you can answer those questions in a clear, straightforward, friendly and helpful way, people will feel a lot more comfortable with your business and buying from you. After all, if people are asking questions, they’re thinking about making a purchase…and people prefer to buy from businesses that seem to care about them.
So, why not use those questions and concerns as a marketing tool?
Odds are, you get a lot of the same questions over and over, so creating a video ad that answers those questions can be a great way to get people to buy.
“How-to” explainer videos, FAQ videos and other informational videos can go a long ways towards turning lukewarm prospects into paying customers. As you probably guessed, these sorts of ads work best when people already know something about your business, but for those potential customers, this kind of video can be pure gold.
Whether it’s a local rodeo, festival, convention, 5k or something else, events are one of the easiest, best ways to connect with your local customers. And, they also happen to be great source material for Facebook video ads.
Even if your business isn’t hosting an event or sponsoring something, you can still piggyback on excitement over the event to get people to pay attention to your video ads.
For example, here’s an incredibly simple video ad that does just that:
This ad runs on the long side. As with the rest of the ads we’ve discussed in this article, you really want to keep event ads to less than 60 seconds.
However, as you can see, an event video ad doesn’t have to be extraordinary to be effective. People are already excited about the event, so you can use that halo for your own business. It’s another excuse to get in front of your target audience, build familiarity and show that you’re a valuable part of the community.
As an added bonus, events are also great source material for footage for future video ads. Simply by attending and being involved, you’re building connections. If you can snag some footage of a booth, your employees running in their company jerseys or other shots that show that you’re an involved local business, it can make your other ads that much more compelling.
Can video ads be intimidating? Sure. But as a local business, you don’t have to create a marketing masterpiece. You just need to feel real, friendly and helpful. If you do that, a simple, even underproduced ad can do wonders for your business.
Plus, if you’ve been feeling overwhelmed by the prospect of Facebook video advertising, odds are that your competitors feel the same way. If you take the plunge and start creating the ads outlined in this article, it won’t be hard to outdistance the competition.
Generally speaking, as long as your Facebook video ads are interesting and relevant, people in your community will respond well. Most people want to feel connected to their community and supporting local businesses is one of the easiest ways to do that.
Boostability is covering the COVID-19 outbreak through a series of posts designed to help you and your business succeed during this time. You can read the rest of the coverage here.