One of my very good friends is in the process of setting up Facebook ads for his small business in Sydney.
It’s for his fledging skincare clinic that takes a gut-first approach to treat problematic skin conditions. In short, clearing up the skin from the inside out.
So I decided to write this article, first, for him, then for anyone else who is struggling to write top of the funnel (TOFU for short) ads for Facebook.
Get this right and you can double … triple … even quadruple your return on ad spend (ROAS.)
Before I dive into the nitty-gritty details, let me introduce you to my friend Paul.
Paul and I go way back — 10 years, at least. And during our countless conversations, catch-ups and shooting the sh*t, he often reminded me of his dream of setting up a skincare clinic, then scaling it online with digital appointments via Zoom or Skype.
By day, Paul works for one of Australia’s largest health and nutrition companies. By night, he treats a handful of dedicated clients with troubling skin disorders. Hand on heart, he’s an expert in his field.
However, one thing Paul doesn’t have a clue about is Facebook ads.
More specifically, copywriting for Facebook ads.
While I was able to point him in the right direction to find tomes of information and ‘How to’ guides to set up and structure his ad account, the one thing we never touched on was writing the darn things.
And as any baker knows, if you don’t have all the ingredients right, you don’t have a cake to eat.
So this guide is for Paul—and every other Paul out there who wants to know how to write killer TOFU Facebook ads.
NB: This is NOT a guide on how to structure or run your social media ads. (We all know there’s enough of those videos and books about that topic already). This guide will show you (1) how to write Facebook ads and (2) how to inject persuasion into Facebook ad copy.
Now that that’s out of the way, down to business.
What are TOFU ads, in plain English?
TOFU (top of the funnel) ads are the first set of ads that introduce your brand to ‘cold’ audiences.
To date, a ‘cold’ audience has never interacted with your brand. Which gives you poetic license not to jackass around trying to craft a David Ogilvy-esque ad. No, sir.
Here, you want to crank out a different copy and different angles to test — three to five is a good start. Because Facebook ads aren’t free, you must weed out the ‘winners’ and cull the ‘losers’ ads, fast. Otherwise, your hard-earned dough is going straight into Zuckerberg’s back pocket.
Wouldn’t you rather the cash be in your ad-spend piggy bank – ready to expand winning ads?
How do TOFU ads work?
Unlike direct response, which has a razor-sharp message trained on a specific audience, TOFU ads take a shotgun approach.
The ad copy is designed to appeal to a wide array of people by:
- Channelling an unspoken desire
- Tapping into a hidden emotion or
- Solving a known problem
And TOFU ad copy is written with the sole purpose of grabbing people’s attention like a matador flagging down a raging bull.
So now that you know what TOFU ads are and how they work, let me share the exact method I used to write winning Facebook ads.
How to write kick-ass TOFU ads that convert in four simple steps.
Poorly designed ads, weak headlines and generic templates don’t do the trick in the attention economy. So to eke out high-performing, creative TOFU ads, here are four steps to follow:
1. Never skimp on the research.
The first step to writing any ad is research. Like Paul, if you run your own biz, I strongly suggest you answer these questions:
(a) What’s your biz about?
(b) What problem does your product/service solve?
(c) Why is it unique?
(d) How does it work?
(e) What’s in it for the reader?
The final question is the most important. You want to list out as many benefits (not features) you believe help your audience.
For example, when I wrote TOFU Facebook ads for Midwest Bed Bug—an exterminator—I spent hours researching, reading and fact-finding.
One thing that came to mind during this process is that people simply aren’t scrolling on Facebook for this service. Either you have bed bugs or you don’t. If you do, here’s a discreet service offering a solution. So no verbal twist is required.
Armed with this knowledge, here’s a simple yet effective ad I wrote:
Stops Bed Bugs Crawling Around Your Bedroom In One Hit!
Would you like to eliminate bed bugs quickly, without your neighbours knowing?
If you answered “yes”, then our breakthrough service is exactly what you need. Here’s why.
At Midwest Bed Bug, we use a 100% chemical-free technology that kills off crawling critters and their eggs quickly and easily in one hit!
And the best part, you can return home the same day. No need to book a hotel or stay with friends or family.
✅ 100% discreet service and non-branded vehicles so no one will know!
✅ Preparation checklist for a hassle-free, fast service!
✅ For complete peace of mind every service gets our 90-Day Bug-Free Guarantee!
Lastly, we do a post-treatment walkthrough and discuss what you can do to prevent ever dealing with bed bugs again!
➡️ Click “Learn More” and book your home service today. 📅
A word on long vs short TOFU ads.
One thing I’ve noticed that doesn’t work well for TOFU ad copy is short, bite-sized messages.
Picture a single headline and one, maybe two, lines of copy. In my experience, these types of TOFU ads fall flat and fail fast.
A headline that just reads Bed Bugs? probably wouldn’t have worked. There’s no big promise or windfall solution. Instead, just a statement posed as a question.
Without getting bogged down in the psychology of advertising, customers are smarter than ever before. They are looking to make a connection with like-minded brands that (a) appeal to them or (b) can solve a problem.
And to succeed in any of those options, you need a long-form copy or story-based copy to pull people into your ad.
With that in mind, let’s put a client of mine under the microscope. This client is using Facebook Ads to generate leads for his solar panel business in New Jersey, USA.
Rather than push another ‘get free solar panels on your roof before X date’, I took a different path. A story-based approach.
Once again, after diving into the research phase, I found an interesting point — a new angle to wake audiences from their scrolling stupor.
Here’s Another Homeowner Going Solar
It’s official. A new record.
We have reached our 1,000th home “green install!”
Homeowners in New Jersey are loving our new greener, cleaner solar panels… without having to pay a single cent for it.
Hi, Youssef Heikal here from Trinity Solar.
We finished our 1,000th solar panel install three days ago.
Now we’re looking to help another 1,000 more homeowners in New Jersey make the solar switch while saving 30-50% off your utility bill.
Sounds crazy, right?
But for some of our past clients, it’s a reality they can bank on. Every single month.
Then there are the other benefits you enjoy by making the solar switch…
⚡ Receive up to $4,000 in federal and local government subsidies.
⚡ Reduced monthly power bills.
⚡ Immune to skyrocketing energy costs.
⚡ Increase your home’s resale value.
⚡ Supporting clean energy.
So, if you want to do your part to help the planet, without spending a cent along the way, take our super-quick 60-second quiz to find out if you’re eligible.
It’s 100% free and you’ll know if you qualify in less than a minute.
As you can see, it’s nothing too taxing. As long as you avoid sounding like a shoddy, late-night infomercial selling diet pills, folks will stop, read and click on your ads.
Now, once you’ve done your research, you’re ready to start crafting headlines.
2. 40% headline, 60% creative.
Perhaps we should step outside?
Every time I watch a video or blog post on Facebook headlines vs creative, a verbal assault ensues in the comments section. People argue for superior creative (image and/or video). Other people argue that the words matter most.
To be honest, I’m somewhere in the middle. Both headline and creative are important.
But when it comes to TOFU ads, creative is king. This doesn’t mean you discard the headline like a used napkin. The headline’s job is to support and expand on the creative. Let’s further examine our client, Midwest Bed Bug.
For this ad set, I crafted around 40 different headlines. These are the lines that didn’t make the final cut:
- R.I.P. Bed Bugs!
- Bed Bugs? Forget Doing It Yourself … Do This Instead
- Eliminate Bed Bugs For Good
- Don’t Let The Bed Bug Bite, Literally
- Are You Sleeping With The Bed Bugs?
Because when I put pen to paper and scribble down whatever trickles out, I begin to see things with a 20/20 vision. It’s from this point onwards I can develop headlines with a sharp eye and clear mind.
Now that headlines are done, it’s time to move on to the body copy.
3. The meat and potatoes of your ad.
The body copy is where you expand on your headline and visual.
First, you start with a lead sentence to hook the reader in. Next, you have to substantiate your claims to the reader.
The key here is to gather four to seven product features and craft them into mouth-watering bullet points.
Every bullet should be a bite-sized ‘fascination’ about whatever it is you’re advertising. And they should flow in chronological order — most important to least.
Let’s return to Trinity Solar as an example. The bullet copy reads:
Then there are the other benefits you enjoy by making the solar switch…
⚡Receive up to $4,000 in federal and local subsidies.
⚡Reduced monthly power bills.
⚡Immune to skyrocketing energy costs.
⚡Increase your home’s resale value.
⚡Supporting clean energy.
There are a handful of directions you can go with your body copy. Yet when it comes to Facebook TOFU ads, I’ve found a bulleted list generates maximum results with minimal fuss.
4. You’ve led readers to the water, now entice them to drink.
People are hooked on your image and headline … they’ve read the body copy. So what’s next?
If you answered “to reel ‘em in” you’re on the money.
It’s time to bring home the bacon with a call-to-action (CTA). Because no one will say, “Oh, that’s a lovely advert. I better remember to come back tomorrow and take some action then.” When pigs fly.
If you don’t tell your audience exactly what to do, the likelihood is they won’t do anything at all.
Let’s revisit my buddy Paul and his skincare clinic. If he had a free offer or something else of value he could trade for people’s name and email, the ad could go something like this:
Secure a free 30-min skincare consult (valued at $89). Spots are limited. Book your consult on the link below.
Or if Paul was offering a quiz to attract new leads, he could use a CTA like this one:
Want to know what your skin health score is? Take our quiz to find out and can claim a free 30-min skin consult with one of our specialists (valued at $89). Hit the Learn More button below to start the quiz.
Each CTA tells readers that if you do X you’ll get Y.
And it doesn’t matter if you’re a dentist, lawyer, mechanic, plumber or real estate agent. The copywriting principles of these TOFU ads don’t change. Only the content does. So now you know how to craft high-converting Facebook TOFU ads that sell.
In the next instalment: How To Write MOFU Facebook Ads That Convert, I’ll dive into middle of the funnel ads and how to create them from scratch.