How Facebook Ads Almost Broke My Index Finger … and how to make sure Facebook Ads don’t break your wallet. By Reece Epstein

We stood in pairs that cold day in the gym at the University of Virginia. It was my turn to hold a fake gun to the head of my sparring partner, Keenan. Keenan raised his hands slowly, as if in surrender, and then suddenly pushed the fake gun away from his head and took it from my hand. And he almost broke my finger in the process. I wasn’t there yet in the gym when the Krav Mega instructor said very clearly, “whatever you do, do not put your finger inside the trigger guard or you might get your finger broken.”Oops. As president of a pro-Israel advocacy organization on campus, it was my job to make sure everything ran smoothly for our Krav Mega event.  

I had been rushing to get some last-minute things together right before the event. When I finally got there and opened the heavy iron gym doors, I was blown away by what I saw. 

Normally, ‘Hoos for Israel had anywhere from 5 to 25 students in attendance at events. This time, we had over 80 students. The year was 2009, and I had just learned about this cool new thing called Facebook Ads. It let you advertise to students on Facebook based on what school they were attending.I called our sponsoring organization, the Zionist Organization of America, secured a budget of $150, and placed some ads. 

Viola. 80 people in attendance at our event.[Text Wrapping Break][Text Wrapping Break]Since that event I’ve come a long way with Facebook Ads. I’ve been able to: 

  • Help medical and therapy clinics double the number of new patients they see 
  • Increase ecommerce sales 
  • Take a financial advisory from around 150 leads per year, to 1,258 
  • Fill seminars and events with attendees 
  • Help B2B businesses acquire new clients 
  • And much, much more… 

How to Run Profitable FB Ads Campaigns 

Facebook Ads probably won’t ever break your index finger… but if you’re not careful, they could break your wallet. 

If you don’t know what you’re doing with Facebook Ads, you will probably waste a lot of money. 

If you want to waste time and money, follow the herd and treat social media advertising as an activity to engage in simply because “everyone else is doing it,” with “likes,” “comments,” and “shares” as the criteria of your success. 

The objective of a Facebook Ads campaign ought to be no different from the objective of any other advertising campaign: sales. 

Facebook Ad campaigns that generate 200%,3%, or better return on investment start with a clear path to getting people to move through your sales process.  

There are two categories of businesses that might use Facebook Ads: those that sell through their website, and those that don’t.  

Examples of the former would be an ecommerce store selling clothing, or a fitness coach selling an information product through their website. 

Examples of the latter include most professional services, expensive items, and local businesses.  

Let’s take a look at each category in turn. 

Businesses That Sell Online 

Products sold online fall into two categories: things that people buy on impulse, and things that they don’t. 

Selling impulse purchase items is straightforward: show people something desirable or novel about your product in the ad, and then send them straight to the product page on your website.  

Selling products that prospects need to consider or research is more complicated. Such products generally require marketing funnels that: 

  • Catch the prospect’s attention 
  • Get the prospect’s contact info 
  • Develop a relationship with the prospect through carefully crafted marketing materials 
  • Encourage prospects to attend a “conversion event,” such as a webinar or sales call whose goal is to make the sale.  

A long sales cycle can create cash flow issues for smaller businesses. 

One way to address the cash flow issue is to create an impulse purchase product at a low price point (such as $7) whose purpose is twofold: 

  • To liquidate some or all of your advertising costs 
  • To identify people who, unlike most of your prospects, want to buy something today (so you can upsell them other products right away) 

Note that each step of your marketing funnel is something that you can split test to make better. You might start off spending $4 in ads for every $1 that you make for the first few weeks, and end up spending only $0.30 for every $1 that you make three months later and for a long time thereafter, just by testing variations of each element in your funnel. 

Businesses that Don’t Sell Online 

If your business doesn’t sell online, what you are looking for from Facebook Ads is sales leads (or, if you’re local, perhaps coupon redemptions). 

Facebook Ads make it easy to collect sales leads because they allow you to create ads that have contact forms built right in, so people never have to leave Facebook to give you their contact information and enter your sales process. 

The key to generating sales leads is to figure out what problems people in your target market are having, and then offer them something that gives them value in exchange for their time with you on the phone or in person. That is usually some variation of a free consultation, but the specifics of what form the offer takes depends heavily on what you sell. 


Reece Epstein runs marketing consultancy Reputation Elevation and is the director of marketing

at Wealthpoint.  

For more information or inquiries into the services Reputation Elevation offers, contact or visit their website at 



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