Facebook is just one of many marketing channels every dealer needs to test. For that reason, this is the one we will focus on in this article. Facebook marketing may give water dealers access to unique consumers in its market. Maybe reaching prospects that it might not be able to reach through any other medium.

Step 1: Create a Facebook page

The first step to advertising on Facebook is to create a Facebook page for the business. Learn how to set one up at facebook.com/business/products/pages/.

Once your Facebook page is up and running, it’s time to start working on your ads. You can create Facebook ads to reach different audiences and meet specific business goals. Globally, 1.591 billion active users exist on Facebook. There are more than 169 million users in the U.S. With such massive audience reach, Facebook is an attractive platform for many types of businesses. It is also generally regarded primarily as a business-to-consumer-focused (B2C) marketing channel.

Step 2: State goals & create budget

Start by establishing goals, and then decide how much money to budget to reach them. If the goal is lead generation, decide how much each lead is worth. Use this as a guide through the Facebook advertising process.

Facebook uses an auction system for determining which ads are placed where and when. This is similar to Google AdWords and many other social advertising platforms. For example, it costs more to place an ad in the center of the page than on the side. You can test and tweak your strategies. You can turn campaigns on and off at will. By doing that, you maintain control of the campaign budget. The budget can be set on a daily, monthly, per-ad or per-campaign basis.

It is easy to spend a huge amount of money on social media. While it is exciting to plan these ads and post your boosts, it may not be as exciting to see how many people actually clicked. Furthermore, it may be a shock as to how much money was spent and how many actual leads were generated. For that reason, I suggest  you start with a low budget as you learn the ins and outs of Facebook advertising.

Step 3: Define a target audience

Who are the dealer’s best customers? Can they be defined by demographics, needs, life stage or lifestyle? Where are they?

Many experienced business owners know who their clients are. They can (and do) rattle off a customer profile the same way I can deliver my elevator pitch. Others I work with tell me that they target “anyone interested in my services,” which is code for “I really have no idea.”

Facebook does a lot to help marketers find their ideal audience online. Amy Porterfield, co-author of Facebook Marketing All-in-One for Dummies, believes the targeting capabilities on Facebook are far more advanced than any other social media platform. She suggests that Facebook allows people to get in front of their perfect audience on a more regular basis.

For example, she said that if a Facebook business page has been built up and has a few thousand fans, start by targeting them. It is the cheapest way to target on Facebook because it does not charge as much to target a page’s fans versus a cold audience.

Can you target look-alikes?

The next thing to do is create a look-alike audience of the business’ own fan base. Tell Facebook about these fans. Then you request targets who are similar in likes, interests, activities and behavior. Facebook will provide an audience that is very similar to the one already attracted to the page.

Also, target fans of other Facebook pages. By this I mean your competitors or people who are aligned with the business. It takes patience to find these sites, but keep experimenting.

Businesses can target audiences in lots of ways. Demographics (age, gender, home ownership, education level, income) are most widely used. Interests (activities, hobbies), online and offline buying habits, and other information are also available.

Many water dealerships have specific markets. In this case, they can target their geography using Facebook’s options for selecting users by zip code, city or a radius around a given location.

Facebook marketing basicsStep 4: Shape the message

The driving force of any social media campaign is solid marketing content. This content needs to contains a relevant message targeted to a specific audience.

In the water treatment industry, dealers can post content that focuses on family health and well-being or local water treatment issues. I always suggest that dealers participate in programs such as World Water Day or National Drinking Water Week. This gives them access to great content. Additionally, by incorporating their involvement, it gives dealers a chance to look bigger than they are as they become part of a national initiative.

Consider creating a post that offers statistics about water. Consider the amount of water an individual should drink each day to stay healthy and hydrated during the summer months. As part of the message, discuss quality water in addition to quantity. This way you can frame your dealership as the expert in providing that quality water. This is the kind of information fans might like and will share with others.

Make the most out of posts and re-purpose content from the business’ blog and website. Lastly, remember the old saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words?” In Facebook advertising, the picture is what gets noticed first. In terms of copy, the simpler and shorter it is, the better.

Step 5: Plan a campaign

In terms of campaign objectives, Facebook offers many different ways to advertise. These options range from boosting the reach of individual posts to using ads to increase conversions on the business’ website. Setting up ad campaigns has also been streamlined and simplified, so it just takes a little practice.

Let’s go back to the example I used  about the amount of water an individual should drink to stay hydrated. You can post this article in the spring, as summer approaches. Then the marketer can boost this post. This means paying Facebook to put this post in front of different Facebook users. You can also advertise the post to your fans and look-alike audience. In addition, you can increase your reach by pulling prospects using Facebook demographic targeting options.

Facebook will also provide a suggested bid per click. It that does not have to be used and I recommend starting with the minimum bid as you get used to the system. A dealer can set its budget as well. When learning the way around the system, be cautious with the spend until you see consistent results.

Step 6: Measure results & refine program

Digital marketing offer marketers easy access to campaign performance data that can be used to help tweak and refine a strategy. Facebook advertising is no different.

The campaign reports provide real feedback that will tell you what is working and what is not. Information from these reports can also help refine your program.

I want to go back to the post about drinking water for health and hydration during summer. For this post, the campaign goal was to increase lead generation. When the post was boosted, the dealer saw an increase in visits to its website. However, the reporting showed no conversions. That meant that no one completed the lead generation form. Sure, it’s great to have a lot of new people visit your site. But, if they are not completing and submitting the lead generation form, which was the goal of the campaign, you may need to change course. Review the form to make sure it is working correctly. Test different versions to try to improve its response.


Test and tweak, test and tweak. When you find the magic formula, invest more of the marketing budget towards Facebook advertising.

To learn more about advertising on Facebook, visit facebook.com/business/products/ads/.

As one final caveat, know that every business is different. Facebook advertising might not be the best marketing channel to generate leads for a water dealership. It could be a total bust and send you  back to more traditional lead generation channels. Consequently, the only way to know is to try!

Dale "Data Dale" Filhaber

Dale “DataDale” Filhaber is president and listologist supreme of Dataman Group Direct.  Dataman Group is a Florida-based direct marketing company founded in 1981. She has trained water quality dealers in direct marketing and lead generation techniques. She is a WQA member and a guest lecturer at the annual WQA conference. Her new book Lead Generation for Water Quality Dealers will help kick-start lead generation programs and boost leads. She may be reached at [email protected] or 800-771-3282.