Traditionally, when people think of “outbound” marketing they immediately associate it with cold emails going out to a contact list. This is a big component of it, but layering in other channels in addition to email is becoming a popular strategy. One of those channels is paid ads.
How do paid ads improve outbound performance?
The thinking is coordinating paid ads with an outbound email campaign means more touches, more impressions, and better conversion rates. If your target customer is seeing your name and hearing from you in multiple places, the chances they will engage with you increase… or so the hypothesis goes.
Being an outbound focused company we decided to dip our toes into coordinating paid ads with outbound and share our learnings and tips with you!
We decided to use a traditional 5 touch email sequence we use to reach out to B2B marketers over the course of 2.5 weeks. In this campaign we also decided to try running ads on Facebook’s ad network which includes Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, and their extended ad partner properties.
1. Initial B2B list setup
To make sure you don’t waste money showing ads to people not in your outbound sequence, you need to make sure you use the same list across all of your channels. We also had to enrich our list and find personal email addresses for each contact. Facebook matches your audience with theirs through email association, of which most people use their personal email addresses for. If you simply have a list full of business email addresses, Facebook won’t match your contacts.
- Enrich your list with personal email addresses!!!
- Make sure your team has a single list of truth they are pulling from.
- Make it accessible and easy to find.
2. Uploading your B2B list to Facebook Ads manager
Before you throw your computer against a wall, just know almost everyone we talk to hates the UX and UI of Facebook ads manager. You’re not alone. Once we exported our central contact list as a CSV we had to dive into the wonderful world of Facebook Ads Manager and upload the list as a custom audience in separate area they conveniently bury just to drive you mad.
- Create a custom audience in Facebook ads manager BEFORE you start creating a campaign.
- It takes a while for Facebook to match your custom audience list with their database so be patient.
- You will NOT get to know how many of your contacts were effectively matched. Assume around 50%.
3. Ad campaign setup
After setting up our audiences and getting them matched we created our campaign to put them in. Creating a campaign in Facebook Ads Manager is fairly straightforward, but again, the UX/UI is a bit clumsy and hard to follow. You can easily get lost in a ton of options for placement, objectives, and bidding, so it’s best to keep it simple. We ended up using a short video ad in dimensions that ended up being able to be used across the entire FB ad network. Something like 14 places. We also set our campaign to start and end when our outbound sequence started and ended.
This is incredibly important - If your custom audience list is small (a few thousand people), you need to make sure you aren’t wasting money by showing your ad to each person dozens of times (frequency). Facebook says after your ad is seen by someone 4 times the effectiveness falls off dramatically. So what do you do? The workaround is optimizing your delivery method. Facebook has one option that lets you only show your ad one time per day to each person on your list.
Lessons learned here:
- Stick to default options to start. It’s easy to get into the weeds.
- Make sure to limit the number of times your ad gets shown to your audience in a day!!! If you don’t do this, your CPC and CPL will be MASSIVE. Use the “Daily Unique Reach” delivery option.
Other important tips
- If you are trying to do a true comparison to see if adding Facebook ads to your outbound email campaign increases conversions, you will want to create 2 lists initially. 1 list that gets both the outbound email sequence and FB ad, AND 1 that only gets the outbound email sequence.
- To get statistically relevant results you’ll want to do this test with at least 500 contacts. If you are using a list smaller than that, it’s going to be tough to determine if ads are helping your campaign.
Adding a paid ad channel can add complexity. You need to dive into Facebook Ads Manager, coordinate lists, and come up with a static or video ad to run. However, once you step outside of your comfort zone and iron out the process, your outbound campaigns are going to be on steroids. With outbound competition increasing, this is an edge on your competition.
Think about it, are they running coordinated outbound ads with email? Who is more likely to standout? You or them?
Our recommendation: you need to at least try this once to get a baseline metric. So what are you waiting for? Slam that coffee and get to work!