The Pros & Cons of Facebook Ads: What You Need to Know as a Boudoir Photographer
We all know that Facebook ads can funnel in traffic and get more eyes on your offers. But honestly, that’s just depending on your industry. While I do genuinely believe Facebook ads can work for some businesses, I don’t think they’re right for everyone — especially not boudoir photographers.
They can really eat into your profit margin and don’t always attract the right clients. Yet, I’ve noticed in recent years there are many educators promising a “million-dollar marketing and business strategy” by using ads.
What’s the deal with that?!
And listen…I’m not trying to say that my strategy is a million-dollar strategy. It’s not! Because another thing I believe is that what’s for one person isn’t for everyone.
Still, there are general rules of thumb I like to tell my clients…and one of them is to stay away from ads if you can. Let’s dig into why — here are some of the pros and cons of Facebook ads!
RESOURCES MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:
- Episode 2: The Ready-to-Automate Boudoir Photographer | Marissa Ruth Studios
- Send me a DM on Instagram: @itstracylynn!
- 5 Tips to Book Photography Clients Without Using Facebook Ads
The Pros of Running Facebook Ads
Before I give you my opinions, I want to give you the chance to formulate your own. While I don’t think that as a whole, Facebook ads work for photographers, I do think there can (in some cases) be a benefit to them.
PRO #1: THEY CAN BRING IN A LOT OF CLIENTS
If you have a great ad, with a great offer, and know exactly who you want to target, you can really fill up your schedule with clients (but that doesn’t always mean they’re the best ones…more on that later though).
A client of mine once did a “40 over 40” portrait campaign and got 100% booked with the help of Facebook Ads. In total, that brought in about $80,000!
Was all of that pure profit? No. And remember, ads are a “pay to play” kind of game. But, it just goes to show you that ads can be really effective for getting more eyes on your offers/campaigns.
PRO #2: THERE’S A CHANCE YOU’LL BRING IN MORE REVENUE
When you’re booking a lot of clients — and you have a pricing guide that helps you hit your sales average goal — well, you can easily bring in six figures (or more) with your photography business.
If you’re wanting to use ads to increase your revenue, here’s my recommendation: make sure you’ve got your pricing model town to a T!
Otherwise, you run the risk of paying too much for ads, and not enough in take-home pay. You have to really make sure you budget for this kind of thing and stick to it.
And really, advertising should be NO MORE than 4-5% of your total budget. Meaning if your total revenue is 100,000, your TOTAL advertising budget is around $4-5,000. And this is for ALL advertising, not just ads.
But when you’re mindful of this, there’s a good chance you’ll bring in some decent numbers where profit is concerned.
The Cons of Running Facebook Ads
While Facebook ads can generate a lot of traffic, that doesn’t mean it’s always beneficial for your boudoir photography business.
CON #1: THEY’RE EXPENSIVE
If you go back and listen to episode two of the show, my friend Marissa tells her story about how she built her business by relying on Facebook ads to bring in traffic. She paid about $35K on ad spend in 2020….and only paid herself $20K.
Now, I get that this was a few years ago, BUT, the ad system has only gotten more complicated, NOT easier. You have to pay to get seen. That’s just the name of the game.
But, we don’t want to build a business where we’re paying our advertising platform more than we pay ourselves, right?
Like I said earlier, your advertising budget (in total, not just on ads) should only be about 4-5% of your revenue. Otherwise, your profit margins start to get a little unhealthy.
CON #2: THEY CAN BRING IN UNQUALIFIED LEADS
Remember how I said earlier that Facebook ads can generate a lot of traffic? Well, that doesn’t always mean each of those leads are qualified. In fact, I’d say that more often than not, those leads aren’t the type of clients you want to work with.
Do they bring in great clients for other businesses? Sure! But with a boudoir photography biz, that becomes a little more tricky to pull off. From my experience, they tend to be price shoppers.
Again, nothing wrong with that, but it can become tricky to make money as a photographer.
CON #3: THEY LEAD TO A LOT OF CONSULT CALLS
Depending on your personality, this can be either good or bad. But if you’re introverted like me, chances are sitting on the phone all day talking to strangers isn’t exactly your cup of tea. I know when I have a day full of calls, it wears me out.
And if you’re getting more traffic to your offers, you’re going to get more inquiries, which means more calls. It’s just basic math. So it’s sort of like a double-edged sword. Great for traffic, but not so good for morale.
On top of that, a lot of times you end up waiting by the phone because only about 10-20% actually show up for the call. And I’m willing to bet you don’t like wasting your time!
CON #4: IT’S HARD TO GET RESULTS UNLESS YOU SPEND A LOT OF MONEY
If you’ve got the budget to spend a lot of money on Facebook ads, then go for it! There’s nothing to say that you shouldn’t do that. It’s your business.
But I will say that from what I’ve seen, ads don’t work super well unless you spend a LOT of money on them. This is happening for lots of reasons, but those don’t really matter.
Because regardless of the reason, they’re still expensive. And as a boudoir photographer, you could be spending your time, energy, attention, and money, on something that is more beneficial for your business — like building a great website, hiring an assistant, or investing in growing your skills.
My Take? Spend Your Money Elsewhere!
Personally, I think that the cons of running Facebook ads really outweigh the pros of running Facebook ads.
A lot of my photography coaching clients have come to me through the years because they are in a circle of high ad spend, very little profit, and spending sooo much time taking consult calls.
None of which are actually following through and booking a session.
Their Facebook ads spend is very high, with not a whole lot of payout. They’re making money, but they aren’t happy. In fact, they are just downright exhausted from running in the ad spend wheel.
It’s a bummer for sure.
See why I’m not a huge fan of Facebook ads? It’s a lot of risk for not a whole lot of reward.
So, is there a solution to all of this? What can you do instead to drive traffic and convert qualified leads? Organic content!
Use Organic Content Instead of Facebook Ads
Right now, content is where it’s at with a marketing strategy. And all of that content is geared toward driving traffic without costing you your entire revenue stream.
But not just content on socials — what I’m talking about is content like blogging and email marketing, too. These are what I use for my long-term strategies that help keep my schedule full of AMAZING clients who are excited about working together.
And even better, when you drive traffic through organic content, your potential clients get warmed up to what it’s like to work with you. Meaning, they feel more confident and comfortable purchasing from you than a total stranger from an ad would.
I am a big fan of content marketing, and that’s where I spend most of my time and energy (and money, at times!) when it comes to my marketing strategy.
How to Rock Your Own Organic Content Marketing Strategy
If you want to see how you can create your own content strategy without the use of paid ads on Facebook, I’ve got you covered! In my FREE guide, 5 Tips to Book Photography Clients Without Using Facebook Ads, I’ll show you how.
You have my word — ads aren’t the only way to get new clients on your books. I’ve been operating for YEARS without paying much, if anything for Facebook ads. And now, I teach other boudoir photographers how to do the same.
This free one-pager has five easy-to-implement tips, so wherever you are in your photography biz, you can get help to increase your bookings without spending all of your money doing so.