Facebook and Instagram ads are all the rage. And there’s a reason for that: they can be incredibly effective. Having said that, it is not at all necessary for you to pay to advertise your freelance business. So if you’re not interested in social media ads, you’re off the hook!
But, if you’re intrigued and you really want to experiment with ads, there are definitely some things to know.
First, advertising on Facebook and Instagram (both owned by Meta) allows you to target your ads according to flexible criteria.
- You can identify target demographic information like age, gender, relationship status, career, etc.
- You can also target ads to people based on their interests, or the pages they like or follow.
- And advanced features allow you to retarget people who have interacted with your website or socials, or identify a “lookalike” audience based on those who visit your site.
And while all those variables are exciting, they also make it incredibly complicated to build, test, and track your ads. If you really want to advertise your freelance business on Facebook or IG, we recommend investing in a training program first.
And we also recommend being careful about what you pay for in your business. Money you spend on your business needs to pay for itself and then some. Every investment you make—including software, office supplies, and advertising—ultimately needs to give you more money in your pocket.
Does this sound obvious? It should! But it’s also surprising how many business owners set up ad campaigns and never analyze their ROI (return on investment).
Yes, Facebook ads can help you build an audience and maybe even a client base. But they’re also a quick way to lose a lot of money if you don’t know what you’re doing.
An Example Using Numbers
Note: these are averages. If you choose to advertise your freelance business on Facebook or IG, your results will vary.
Okay, let’s say you plan to run ads driving people to sign up for your email list. And then you send an automated nurture sequence to subscribers to get them to hire you on for a freelance project.
(Side note: a cold audience who’s never heard of you before is unlikely to buy from you. So you’ll need to warm them up with a nurture sequence to get them ready to invest in your services.)
In this hypothetical situation, the goal of the ad is to get people to sign up for your list. A “conversion” happens when you get their email address. You run the ad, a few people click through to your landing page, and a few of THOSE people actually subscribe, or convert.
When you analyze your results, you find that you get one subscriber for every $3 spent on advertising.
Again, this is just an example. You could find it costs much more or less.
Each subscriber then automatically receives your sales email sequence. But, not everyone will actually read these nurturing emails. It’s typical to see an open rate of about 25% or 30%.
In other words, only 25% to 30% of the people on your list will actually read the material you’re sending.
The next step is the purchase conversion. In most industries, it’s common to see a purchase conversion rate of 1% or 2%. Which means that, if 100 people read your nurture sequence, only 1 or 2 of them will buy.
So, if you spend $600 and get 200 subscribers (that’s $3 per subscriber)…
About 30%—60 people—will actually read your message.
And 2% of the people who read your sequence will make a purchase.
Which is ONE person. And that means you’ve spend $600 to get one sale.
Now, any of these numbers could change and completely skew the ROI on this example. And there’s no way to predict what will happen when you decide to advertise your freelance business.
(As of this writing, the average cost for social media ad conversions is around $7 or $8. Much more expensive than in this example.)
Is it Worth it to Advertise Your Freelance Business?
Social media ads sometimes make sense for high-ticket items. Or even for low-ticket items if the seller targets impulse-buyers.
And some businesses run ads at a loss. They do it intentionally because their goal is to grow their visibility.
It’s completely up to you to decide whether or not to try it out. But remember that you MUST:
- Fully understand what you’re getting into. Take a course that teaches you about tracking pixels, testing, and analyzing metrics.
- Be able to read your metrics well enough to make adjustments. If you don’t, you’ll likely lose money.
- Check in on your ad performance daily. Results change, and you should test new ad content to keep things fresh for your audience.
- Monitor the comments. Not only to answer questions, but to delete anything offensive or nasty.
Can you run Facebook and IG ads? Sure! But do so with caution.
And if this post sent chills down your spine, remember: You certainly don’t have to advertise your freelance business on social media. In fact, the other tactics we mentioned (pitching, networking, and getting referrals) will give you a much better bang for your buck.