Startup tips: The advantages of using Facebook ads as a centerpiece of your growth strategy

By Editor July 2, 2014

Scott Brandt, SurePayrollBy Scott Brandt, vice president of marketing, SurePayroll

One of the challenges that startups and anyone marketing a startup faces is how to expand their reach. They know how many customers they have, they have an idea of how they got those customers, and what it is about their business that attracts them.

But how do you scale? How do you grow not just incrementally, but 10x?

Obviously, you have to reach a bigger audience, and it just so happens that outside of Google, Facebook has the biggest advertiser base in the world. Hundreds, thousands, millions of your customers are there, you just have to figure out the right way to approach them.

We’ve all attempted to use social media to our advantage and I don’t think anyone has perfected the formula, but it’s clear that Facebook desperately wants us to use it as a vehicle to sell our products and services; and by ‘us,’ I mean startups and small businesses in particular. This is, after all, the vast majority of businesses, and when all of them start using it the way so many use Google, the profits will be enormous.

At SurePayroll, a survey we recently conducted found that half of small business owners see value in Facebook advertising, and one in three are already using it.

I’m not trying to be a Facebook evangelist or suggest it’s the key to startup success, but it appears more-and-more likely it will be a piece of the puzzle.

Here are three undeniable reasons why:

1.  You can target whoever you want

With such a big user base and so much data about those users, Facebook gives you the ability to super-target your audience. You can target based on age, location, gender, interests, what magazines and shows people like, whether or not they’re married, if they’ve recently graduated, and almost any other combination of factors you can construct. You can also create custom audiences with email lists, or what they call ‘Lookalike’ audiences that take the characteristics of your Facebook fans or a set of emails and match those to a new, wider audience. Again, we’re talking about broadening your scope.

There’s also the ability to remarket, and target people who have visited your website or even a specific page on your website.

2.  You can go at your own pace

No discussion of advertising should exclude cost and what you’re getting for that cost. While many outlets require a significant buy to advertise on their site or in their publication, on Facebook you set your own budget. If you want to test an ad with $50 or $5,000, it’s completely up to you. This gives small companies that typically don’t have big ad budgets the ability to test what’s working—which ads are giving you a high click-through rate, getting likes and shares, and/or bringing people back to your website—before spending a bundle.

Also, the way Facebook optimizes its ads, the more engaging the content of your ad is, the better rate you will pay. If you’re hitting the mark with your messaging and your targeting, you could be paying a few cents per engagement (clicks, likes, whatever you set as your goal).

3. It’s easy to use

The barrier to entry is very low for Facebook advertising. You log into your account, you go to the advertising section and you start building ads. Or, you take what you’ve already posted and quickly turn that into an ad.

Online advertising/marketing can be intimidating for a small business owner or entrepreneur who doesn’t have the experience or expertise, but here there’s no training, no complicated platform that requires a rep to walk you through it. It can be very do-it-yourself, very self-directed, which entrepreneurs tend to like.

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Scott Brandt is responsible for all aspects of SurePayroll’s marketing efforts. Prior to arriving at SurePayroll, Scott spent 13 years with Monster Worldwide, helping build the consumer relocation division,, and most recently, directing the online advertising and lead generation efforts for Monster’s family of websites, including and Prior to joining Monster, Brandt worked with Monster’s then parent company, TMP Worldwide, where he was the vice president, strategic marketing, for a new business group, helping sell national yellow pages programs to Fortune 500 companies and small businesses.

Brandt holds a bachelor’s degree in marketing from Indiana University and an MBA from DePaul University.