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Facebook Ads for Retail and Service Businesses

For Retail and/or Service businesses with local customers, in this article you’ll find some important tips on how to make Facebook ads work much better.

Most Facebook Ads consultants are focused on helping larger businesses and online businesses with Facebook Ads. Not very many focus on helping the smaller retail and service businesses. The ones that do local business with local customers. The reason is probably because it’s less lucrative to work with those smaller businesses. It’s also harder to track sales because offline purchases are hard to track. Sales in online businesses are easier to track because you can set up tracking to record purchases that take place online. You can then see all those statistics right in your Facebook Ads manager which easily tells you which ads work and which don’t.

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Many small businesses have not used Facebook advertising. Facebook estimates there are 65 million businesses with a Facebook Page but only 5 million have tried Facebook advertising. I know a lot of small businesses that have tried it or are very interested in trying it. Many of these businesses would definitely do it if they knew how to get started, or had the time to do it.

Procrastination is one of the problems. Many have good intentions but they don’t get it done. They never get started.

Many of these businesses would like to get started with Facebook advertising. That’s why I’ve been working on a method to make Facebook advertising easier to understand and easier to deliver as a service. A method for those who can’t or just won’t do it themselves.

Facebook has made it about as easy as possible for businesses to handle their own advertising. But it still takes some time and effort to learn how to do it right, or even just to do it at all.

R-A-R-E Conditions for Successful Facebook Ads

R-A-R-E can be applied to any business but in this case we’re focused on retail businesses and service businesses with local customers.

R-A-R-E stands for:

  • Reach
  • Attention
  • Resonate
  • Effective

Breaking up your thoughts about Facebook advertising into these 4 sections should be helpful when working with Facebook advertising for local retail and service businesses. Hopefully it will make it both easier to understand and easier to succeed.


How many people see your ads. How many can you reach and which people can you reach. With Facebook advertising you have a lot of control over who sees your ads. In fact you have so much control that it can be hard to find the right settings to get the right audience. However, with local businesses looking for local customers, you won’t want to narrow down your choices too much. You need to keep your audience size large enough to make things work. Usually you’ll be setting your location to your city with a radius of up to 50 miles away. Then you’ll have your age and gender choices. If you live in a densely populated city you can narrow down the audience with more settings by specifying interests and behaviors that apply to the people you’re trying to reach.

The “Placement” options allow you to choose where your ads show. Places include on the newsfeed, the right column (on desktops), the audience network (outside of Facebook), and on Instagram. There are a few other choices too. But the biggest one, the one you’ll always want to use, is the newsfeed.

The objective and optimization settings you choose will also make a difference on how many people you reach. A common setting for the campaign objective when boosting a post is the “engagement” setting. This makes your ads show to people who are more likely to engage with your ad. If you want to remove the brakes and just reach more people you can use the “Reach” objective instead of the “Engagement” objective. The optimization setting can have a similar effect. You can reach more people by choosing the “Reach” setting or the “Impressions” setting. For businesses in smaller cities and towns they might want to use either the Reach or Impressions setting instead of the “engagement” setting so they reach more people.

The budget and schedule will also have an effect on how many people you reach. If your audience is large you may not reach everyone in it if your budget is too small. You get to choose either a lifetime budget for the ad or a daily budget. You can also select a schedule for when to run your ads.


Do your ads get attention. If no one notices your ads they won’t do you much good. They have to be attention getting. This involves making your ad stand out and look different. It must also resonate with your audience (that’s the next step). It should offer help and be giving. It should not be trying to sell.

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Why should your ad not be trying to sell? Isn’t that what ads are for? Generally yes, but on social media you don’t want to be selling. You want to be making connections and building relationships. You sell later but not from Facebook.


Do your ads resonate with your audience. Does your message resonate. Does it have meaning to your audience. The picture and text that convey your message must resonate with your audience. It has to relate to them in some way. Of course it won’t resonate with everyone who sees it. You just need to resonate with some. The more the better of course. What makes an ad resonate with people? First you need to be showing your ads to the right audience. This involves guesswork and testing. Your ad and message should also be giving rather than asking for something. It should be all about the audience’s needs. The focus should not be on your business solutions as much as it should be about your audience’s problems. Then secondarily how your solutions can help solve the audience’s problems.


How effective is your Facebook advertising. The goal is to make your advertising effective and get a positive return on investment. Basically, does it work.

Give it a fair try. Don’t just one ad for one week and then quit. Try 4 ads per week all running at the same time and keep them going for 2 months. Look at the results. Which ads did better and which didn’t do so well. You can tell by the likes, comments, and shares. The most important statistic is sales. We’ll talk about that in a minute. Stop the ads that don’t get good results and keep the others running.

Build up your awareness and your following. You will build up more marketing power with more likes, fans, followers, engagement, comments, shares, website visits, video views, and email addresses. As you get stronger your Ads get cheaper. Your reach gets bigger. Your return on investment gets better.

To really know how effective your ads are you have to look at sales statistics and match that to your Facebook advertising. For non-online businesses it’s harder to do than for online businesses. But there is a way. It’s called “Offline Events” tracking.

As a non-online business (A.K.A. brick and mortar business) you can track sales with what Facebook calls “Offline Events”. Offline Events allow you to set up an event and tie that event to your ads. Then you collect data from your customers who bought from you. The data includes email address, name, phone, etc. You put this data in a file and upload it to Facebook on an ongoing basis. As you make sales you record who those people are by getting their name, phone, address, and email address. Facebook will match up the data you collect with their own user data and with who clicked on your ads. This process determines which people clicked your ads and which of those purchased. The sales show up in your Facebook ads account so you can see how many sales resulted from each ad.

In addition to getting accurate tracking information with Offline Events, you also get the ability to show ads to your customers, the people you uploaded in your data files. And that’s not all. You can also optimize your ads to find more people who are just like your customers. In other words, you’ll be showing your ads to people who are the most likely to become customers. That’s exactly what you want to do with Facebook ads.


This isn’t part of the R.A.R.E. conditions but it’s hugely important. It’s optional but it’s highly recommended. Facebook gives you the capability to build followers. The simplest version of this is your Page fans. People who like your Page are your fans, or followers. They are people who are very likely to become buyers or customers.

Facebook also gives you the capability of building up what they call “custom audiences”. Within your ads account you can create custom audiences that will include people who have engaged with your page or posts or ads, viewed your videos, visited your website, and a few other things.

What’s so great about this? You’re gathering your potential customers and filtering out the rest. This gives you a very small section of people who are easier to reach, cheaper to reach, and more likely to buy from you.

What Next?

Go to and set up your business manager. This is optional but preferred. In the business manager you’ll be able to manage all your Faceboook ads and your Page. You’ll also be able to assign people roles and give access to others, even consultants so they can do your ads for you.

Got questions or comments? Enter them below. I’d love to heard from you!

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