3 Types of Facebook Ads to Boost Your Online Course Sales (Even on a Small Budget)

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3 Types of Facebook Ads to Boost Your Online Course Sales

3 Types of Facebook Ads to Boost Your Online Course Sales

Facebook ads are one of the best ways to promote your online courses, and for good reason. With over 1 billion daily active users, it doesn’t matter what niche you’re in, your customers are on Facebook.

And it doesn’t matter if you have a tiny budget or millions of dollars to invest either. The minimum required Facebook ad budget is just $1/day.

I know you’re probably thinking something like “How could I possibly get any kind of meaningful result for a few dollars per week?”

Let’s take a look at some real numbers.

Here’s a screenshot of a campaign I recently ran through my agency. These are results for the last 7 days.

As you can see, we’ve spent a total of $14.11 and that led to 3 course sales with a total sales value of $991.

That’s not a typo, we really are seeing a 7000% ROI on this campaign.

3 Types of Facebook Ads to Boost Your Online Course Sales

We’re able to get results like this by using a few smart retargeting strategies throughout the course sales funnel.

These strategies are easy to implement and extremely inexpensive.

Keep reading to learn how you can implement them for yourself.

Focus on Points of Urgency and Scarcity

Leveraging urgency and scarcity are 2 of the best ways to increase your course sales. In some cases, increasing sales by up to 332%.

Before we keep going, let’s quickly define urgency and scarcity:

Urgency is when a buyer feels compelled to act quickly. If something is time-limited, it creates a sense of urgency because the buyer knows they must either act before a specific time or they will miss out on the offer.

Scarcity is when something is in short supply and is about to run out. Let’s say you open your course to 20 students. This creates scarcity because once all 20 spots are filled, the course is no longer available to new buyers.

The most common points of urgency and scarcity for a course launch are usually:

  • When bonuses are expiring
  • When discounts are expiring
  • When you have a limited number of bonuses to give away. For example, the first 20 customers get a free 1 hour consulting call
  • When the cart is closing

With a few clever Facebook ads, you can emphasize this point of urgency/scarcity and increase your sales.

Here’s a great example by Sumo.com:

3 Types of Facebook Ads to Boost Your Online Course Sales

These ads also give you another channel to communicate with people who may not have opened your emails about an impending deadline or when you’ve almost sold out.

Here’s how you can set up Facebook ads to target everyone in your launch sequence with these types of ads.

1. Remind People When Bonuses and/or Discounts are Expiring

These ads work extremely well when you retarget people who have already engaged with your launch in some way.

This usually includes people who have opened your launch emails and people who have consumed your launch content such as videos, blog posts etc.

To set them up, you need to create a couple of new Custom Audiences.

First, export the contacts from your email list who have engaged with your launch to create a new Custom Audience.

To do that, head over to the ‘Audiences’ section within the Facebook Ad Manager and create a new Custom Audience.

We’ll assume you’re promoting your course to your entire email list. That means you’ll want to upload your entire list to Facebook as a .csv file to create your new Custom Audience.

3 Types of Facebook Ads to Boost Your Online Course Sales

3 Types of Facebook Ads to Boost Your Online Course Sales

Now you’ll need to upload the .csv, select the fields you would like Facebook to use to match your list to Facebook users, and you’re done.

3 Types of Facebook Ads to Boost Your Online Course Sales

Now it’s time to create your new ad set to target your email list Custom Audience.

Go ahead and create a new ‘Website Clicks’ Campaign and create an Ad Set inside that Campaign.

When you’re configuring your Ad Set, select your brand new email list Custom Audience as your target. You don’t need to select a country or region to target in this case so just leave that blank.

If you have an offer that expires, like a set of bonuses or a limited time discount, I also like to enter the date and time at which it expires in the ‘End Date’ field. This will ensure your ads don’t keep running after the offer has expired.

Finally you need to create your ad that tells people that your offer is expiring and links to the sales page. It really is that simple! 

2. Retarget Sales Page Visitors with FB Messenger Ads

Have you ever visited a sales page and noticed the live chat box in the corner?

These are a great way to communicate with potential customers who are considering buying your product or service.

If someone is on your sales page is means they are obviously very interested. Sometimes a quick chat with you is all they need to help them make the decision to buy.

The downside with sales page chat boxes is they are only available when the potential customer is on your sales page. If a person leaves without using the chat box on the page, you might never get another chance to answer their questions for them and make the sale.

That’s the beauty of this relatively new destination option in Facebook ads.

It allows us to set Facebook Messenger as the destination of your ads. When people click an ad with Messenger as the destination it instantly starts a Messenger conversation with your Facebook page.

Here is an example. As you can see, when a user clicks the ad on the left, a new messenger conversation with your Facebook page starts instantly.

3 Types of Facebook Ads to Boost Your Online Course Sales

Re-targeting your sales page visitors with an ad that allows them to instantly start a Facebook messenger conversation with you is working extremely well at the moment.

Once they click the ad, you can answer their questions right there in Facebook messenger.

It’s a great experience for your customers AND it’s an easy, low-cost solution for you to set up.

Because the audience size is usually tiny by Facebook standards it will literally cost most people a few dollars to run an ad like this during a launch.

Here’s how you set up your ads with Facebook Messenger as the destination.

1. Create a new Campaign with the Website Traffic objective

3 Types of Facebook Ads to Boost Your Online Course Sales

2. Select your website custom audience that contains all your sales page visitors. Don’t forget to also exclude your Custom Audience that contains your customers.

3 Types of Facebook Ads to Boost Your Online Course Sales

3 Types of Facebook Ads to Boost Your Online Course Sales

Once you select your daily budget it’s time to move on to creating the ad.

This is just like setting up any other Facebook ad, except for one thing.

Rather than setting the destination as a website URL, you will need to select ‘Messenger Text’ as your destination. 

3 Types of Facebook Ads to Boost Your Online Course Sales

When you select Messenger Text, you also have the option to enter a message. This message will be the first message in your conversation with the prospect.

As you can see in the example, I like to just use something simple to kick off the conversation.

Once you hit publish your ads will be up and running.

A couple of important things to remember here:

  • You need to enable Messages for your Facebook page in order for these ads to work. You can do that via the page settings (on the ‘General’ tab)
  • The faster you respond, the higher the chance of you closing the sale. Make sure you have someone monitoring your page messages so you can reply to potential customers ASAP.

3. Testimonial Ads

Customer testimonials can increase your sales dramatically. Take this example, where adding testimonials increased their sales by 34%.

Once you’ve got a few great testimonials for your course, the obvious next step is to add them to your sales page and checkout.

But why stop there?

If someone is interested in your course, you should be doing everything you can to make sure they see your testimonials. Taking your testimonials and turning them into Facebook ads is easy to do, and it gets big results.

Let’s look at an example of results from testimonial ads we recently ran for a high 6-figure launch.

As you can see, 19 people went on to purchase the course after clicking our testimonials ad. We spent just $107 on this ad, and those 19 sales were worth over $56,000 in revenue.

3 Types of Facebook Ads to Boost Your Online Course Sales

Here’s how to use testimonials in your own Facebook ads:

You only want to show your testimonial ads to people who have already indicated that they are interested in your course. That’s where they will be most effective and deliver the highest ROI.

My preference is only show testimonial ads to people who have visited the sales page.

To do that, you need to do is create a Facebook Custom Audience that contains people who visited your sales page URL.

3 Types of Facebook Ads to Boost Your Online Course Sales

Setting up a Custom Audience containing only your sales page visitors

When you set up your ad set, you’ll target your new sales page visitor Custom Audience.

Before we move on to the ad creatives, there is one more important thing I want to show you in the Ad Set options.

Because we’re targeting a very small, very specific audience, you want to make sure your testimonial ads get in front of as many of them as possible.

You can make sure Facebook shows your ad to as many people inside your audience as possible by selecting ‘Daily Unique Reach’ in the ‘Optimization and Delivery’ settings.

This tells Facebook to show your ads in that ad set to as many people in your audience as possible, a maximum of once per day.

Want to show your ad to people more than once per day? Just duplicate the ad set. Or if you have multiple testimonials, run each one in a separate ad set so that your audiences sees a few different ones each day (this is my preference).

3 Types of Facebook Ads to Boost Your Online Course Sales

What should your testimonial ads look like?

First, you need to consider the type of testimonials you have. Are they video testimonials or text?

If you have text based testimonials (this is most common), then you can either do a regular image ad like this example from Brian Dean:

3 Types of Facebook Ads to Boost Your Online Course Sales

Or you can use a carousel ad and display multiple testimonials in a single ad.

Carousels can work well, but just know that you’re quite limited for text on each testimonial in a carousel which can make it difficult.

For video testimonials, an ad like the example above but with a video instead of an image is all you need.

If you are running videos (testimonials or any other type), you should always add captions to them so people can still watch them with the sound off. I use rev.com to get captions added to all my videos and I suggest you do the same. At $1 per minute it’s extremely affordable and will increase your engagement and click through rates.

Focus on the Facebook Ads that deliver the highest ROI

Too many people focus on using Facebook ads to buy new leads or subscribers and ignore the ads that will deliver the highest ROI.

Whether you’re running a large ad budget or you only have a few dollars to spend, these should be the ads you create first.

Go ahead and give them a try for your own course. They work for both open/close launches or for evergreen courses, so there’s really no reason not to test them for yourself.


Andrew Hubbard helps experts & online course creators scale their product launches and evergreen sales funnels to 6 & 7 figures with Facebook ads. To download his free guide to using Facebook ads visit andrewhubbard.co

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