Your email pings.
1 new subscriber to “Your Awesome Email List.”
Whoop de do.
If this were your first subscriber ever, you might jump for joy and bust out the champagne. But instead you think:
ONE new subscriber? Really? That’s it?
Because after all those long hours of pouring your heart and soul into your writing…after doing everything you were told to do to get subscribers…well, you were expecting more.
Your eyes narrow at the total subscriber count on the screen, and for a brief moment, you succumb to wishful thinking…
Maybe if I stare at it long enough, I can make it grow another digit or two through sheer willpower.
Nope. It’s still the same measly old number. In fact, your list hasn’t grown much at all in the past week, or the past month. And it’s annoying as all heck.
All this hard work, and what do I have to show for it?
Know what? You aren’t alone in feeling this way.
But all you need to grow your email list at hyper speed is to get the word out in an entirely different way…a way that most bloggers haven’t even considered.
The “Taboo” List-Building Strategy Almost Nobody Talks About
You may be thinking that nobody cares about you or that you’ll be old and gray before you have a sizable email list. You may even have grown to accept this as a fact of blogging.
But you don’t have to be the norm. Watching your list grow doesn’t have to be like watching paint dry. Nothing’s wrong with you, and your people are definitely out there.
All that you need is a shortcut…a faster way to get subscribers that you haven’t tried yet.
It’s not writing epic posts, mastering SEO, or commenting on popular blogs.
(Those methods are almost always a waste of time for beginners.)
It’s not guest blogging, interviewing influential people, or reaching out to A-list bloggers.
(You should be doing those things, but reaching out to the “big shots” is scary, and it can still take several months to get a few hundred subscribers.)
This method is actually so simple that it almost seems like cheating.
I’m talking about buying subscribers.
Now, you’re probably thinking:
Wait-that sounds crazy! Isn’t that some sort of scam?
Don’t worry; we’re not talking about buying a huge list of email addresses and spamming it with your blog posts.
We’re talking about something far more respectable.
What Subscriber-Hungry Bloggers Can Learn from Pint-Sized Entrepreneurs
Do you remember lemonade stands from when you were a kid?
Well, if you ever had one, you’ll know that location is critical.
For instance, which stand do you think would sell the most lemonade: the stand on a quiet cul-de-sac, or the stand in the busy part of town?
Well, the lemonade stand in the busy part of town, of course!
More people passing by means more potential customers.
And it’s the same for blogging. If you expect to grow your email list simply by adding a sign-up page to your blog and hoping potential subscribers just happen to wander by, it’s like putting your lemonade stand in the middle of a cul-de-sac.
Nobody really knows about your blog yet, so few people can find the way onto your email list.
It’s frustrating, but the solution is simple. Set up your stand in the busy part of town.
And these days, that’s Facebook.
It’s where over 1.44 billion people hang out every month. So at least a small percentage of those people could be potential readers for your blog.
All you have to do to turn those potential readers into subscribers is pay Facebook to put up your “lemonade stand.”
What this means in practice is creating a Facebook ad that gets shown to potential subscribers and entices them to sign up to your email list.
And the more ads you run, the more people will see your offer in their Facebook newsfeed, and the more new subscribers you’ll get.
Why Facebook Ads Are Perfect for Beginning Bloggers (Even If You’re Broke!)
Many bloggers don’t even realize they can get subscribers by advertising their blogs on Facebook.
Those that do know dismiss it for two main reasons:
- They don’t think they should have to spend any money on getting subscribers – it should just happen organically.
- They think Facebook advertising is too difficult and takes too much time to learn.
Ironically, most bloggers don’t have a problem spending on things like conversion-optimized WordPress themes when they started their blog and list-building plugins, but the idea of spending money directly to get subscribers seems crazy. So they just ignore it.
But in fact, if you put any kind of reasonable dollar value on your time, it can be much more cost-effective to spend a little money.
For example, let’s say you spend 10 hours writing a guest post (another popular option for building your list) that nets you 100 subscribers. Even if you figure your time is only worth $10/hour, you’re still effectively paying $1 per subscriber.
True, Facebook advertising is complex, and it does take a long time to master.
But you don’t have to achieve mastery in order to spend some money and get results. Especially with the right guidance. (That’s what this post is here for!)
For example, here are the actual results from one of my first Facebook ad campaigns:
According to this report, I paid a grand total of $227.05 to get a whopping 532 new subscribers to my list in just 43 days. That means I spent an average of just 43 cents per subscriber!
Not bad for a complete beginner, eh?
But here’s the best part: I didn’t spend $227.05 all at once. On most days, my budget was only $5 per day.
That’s the cost of one Venti Frappuccino at Starbucks.
Facebook advertising is perfect for beginning bloggers because it gives you the following:
- Big exposure
- Quick, cheap results
- Powerful targeting (so you can easily reach your perfect audience)
- Subscribers on autopilot (freeing up time for other things, like promoting your content…or just getting sleep)
Are you ready to go to the busy part of town and get some subscribers? Read on.
The 3 Crucial Elements of an Enticing Facebook Ad
For your “lemonade stand” (your ad) to attract lots of subscribers, we’ve already established that you need to set up shop in a high-traffic area (Facebook).
But in order to make your ad as enticing as possible, you need three essential elements:
- A juicy incentive (and a landing page to showcase it)
- An engaging image
- Intimate ad copy
To give you an example of these elements in action, here is the Facebook ad I used to get the results I mentioned above:
My juicy incentive (1) was a free fitness challenge, which readers could access only after signing up for my email list. I also used an engaging image (2) and intimate ad copy (3). (I’ll explain how to create each of these in the paragraphs that follow.)
Let’s find out more about each of these elements:
1. Creating Your “Juicy” Incentive
These days, your email address is like a currency; you don’t give your email address to just anyone without a good reason.
So your incentive should be as appealing to your target audience as a cool glass of lemonade on a hot summer’s day.
But what makes an incentive so good, so “mouth-watering” that people can’t resist giving their email in exchange for it? Jon Morrow puts it best by asking this question:
Find a practical solution to that problem, and you have a “juicy” topic for your incentive.
Next, you need to package that solution in the simplest form possible. You see, when surfing the net, people are in a mindset of avoiding work. And if people think your incentive will take a lot of their time and energy to consume, they’ll bail.
So, instead of writing a 100-page e-book, type up a one-page PDF checklist of tools or resources (essentially, a downloadable list post).
Instead of a lengthy video course, create a mini course consisting of short, actionable lessons delivered via an email autoresponder.
Instead of a 30-day challenge, make it a 7-day challenge.
(7 more irresistible incentive ideas here.)
But whatever form your incentive takes, it must do one thing:
Give them a quick win.
If you can get your ideal subscriber one baby-step closer to solving that problem keeping them awake at night, you have a super “juicy” incentive for your Facebook ad.
Creating a Simple Landing Page to Showcase Your Incentive
Once you’ve created your incentive, you’ll need a landing page with an opt-in form for people to subscribe to your list and get the incentive.
You’ll also need a “thank you” page: the page that visitors land on right after they opt in. That’s because you will place a piece of code on this page for tracking how many people subscribed to your list. (Don’t worry — we’ll cover that later in this post.)
Optionally, you may need some private pages on your website for delivering your incentive.
Here are a few options for creating your landing page:
- WordPress Landing Pages is a free plugin that lets you create landing pages from the WordPress dashboard. The downside is, as with most free options, they only offer limited support.
- ConvertKit (affiliate link; from $29 per month) is an email marketing solution with a landing page builder, designed for professional bloggers. To learn more about ConvertKit, check out Smart Blogger’s in-depth ConvertKit review.
- Elementor (affiliate link; from $49 per year) is a drag-and-drop page builder that can create attractive landing pages – and much more. To learn more about Elementor, check out Smart Blogger’s in-depth Elementor review.
- LeadPages (from $300 per year) is the flagship option for creating landing pages. It’s robust and feature rich, and that’s reflected in the price tag.
Now, once your landing pages are all set up, you can move on to the second element for enticing Facebook ads…
2. Choosing Your Engaging Image
When choosing an image for your ad, you should pick a high-quality, professional-looking photo, right?
Let’s get into the mindset of a potential subscriber for a moment: What is he on Facebook to do? Probably to see what his friends are up to. To look at photos from the latest get-together. To connect with family members from far away.
He is definitely not surfing Facebook to read the ads.
So if at the slightest glance your ad looks like an ad, he’ll ignore it.
Your job is to make your ad look as much like the other familiar items in his newsfeed as possible. Because as he is scrolling down that list of items, he is making split-second decisions about what to pay attention to and what to skip over. And according to Dr. Robert Cialdini’s Principle of Liking, people have a tendency to say “yes” to those they like or are similar to themselves.
So instead of using professional-looking stock photos, use a friendly photo of yourself. That way, your potential subscriber will see you as a regular person just like him, and he will be more likely to stop and engage with your ad.
Here’s an example:
In this ad by Easy Webinar, the smiling photo of a “regular guy” takes advantage of the principle of liking. They also added a warm, grainy filter and framed the shot close to the subject. The resulting image looks a lot like a selfie taken with a smartphone, doesn’t it?
This ad image by Luisa Zhou doesn’t even have any text on it: just a casual photo of the subject leaning toward the camera. This image says, comfortable, friendly, approachable.
It also helps that Luisa is an attractive female…Cialdini discovered that physical attractiveness plays a big role in the principle of liking. (If you aren’t an attractive female, not to worry. You can still use this principle by making your photo friendly and likeable. Just smile!)
3. Writing Your Intimate Ad Copy
If your image needs to be personable (not professional) to be engaging, your ad copy should be too.
How do people talk to each other on Facebook?
Do they use corporate speak? Big power words? Proper grammar?
Of course not!
And neither should you.
Talk to your potential subscriber like a friend. Get into their head, and use the words they use themselves. Make them feel that you understand them.
Get intimate with your copy.
The following ad by Hilary Rushford gets intimate by using casual language and empathizing with her audience:
But another platform to learn, really?! My photos are kinda blah. I’m not sure what to share. What do I post? Why isn’t my following growing after all this work? And how can I actually make money with Instagram anyway?
Trust me love, I’ve been there!
See what she did there?
She took the questions keeping her audience awake a night, and echoed those same doubts and fears. Then she explains how she felt the same way (she’s another regular gal, “just like you”) and how her free Instagram class can answer those questions.
Your copy doesn’t have to be that long. (In fact, Facebook recommends keeping your copy under 90 characters to keep it from being cut off on smaller screens.)
Erin Stutland uses succinct copy in her ad for a free fitness challenge. She leads with a brief, empathetic statement:
If you are her intended audience (i.e., people who want to improve their physiques, but don’t want to suffer through hundreds of pushups to get there), you are already hooked. Then, she briefly describes her quick win and gives a clear call to action:
(Did you notice the colloquial punctuation?)
Facebook also suggests hooking the viewer with a question.
In the following ad, James Wedmore leads with a question that both hooks the viewer and qualifies his audience:
- Use simple, relatable language
- Empathize with your potential subscribers
- Clearly state your quick win & how to sign up
How to Pick the Absolute Best Spot to Attract Your Ideal Subscribers
You’ve gathered your three elements and made the most enticing Facebook ad. But before you run your ad, you need one final component:
Targeting is where you get to choose exactly who sees your ad. Because even the most attractive ad won’t get results if it goes out to the wrong people.
It’s a bit like setting up a lemonade stand outside of a diabetic clinic. It may be in a high-traffic area, but unless your lemonade is sugar-free, those people are probably not right for your offer.
So to find the perfect spot for your lemonade stand, ask yourself this question:
Where are my ideal subscribers hanging out on Facebook?
For the ad campaign I mentioned earlier (the one that got me 532 subscribers in 44 days), my incentive was a seven-day prenatal fitness challenge. So my ideal subscribers were pregnant women wanting to stay fit.
Facebook allows you to target women or men, so that part is simple. But how do you target pregnant women?
Well, on Facebook, pregnant women tend to “like” pages about pregnancy. Thankfully, Facebook offers a targeting option for that. Taking it one step further, you can also target women who “like” pages related to fitness.
To get started, complete this quick exercise:
- Make a list of 10 specific Facebook pages where you think your ideal subscribers hang out. (You can find pages by typing keywords into Facebook’s search bar, such as “pregnancy” and “fitness.”)
- Confirm that each of the pages you choose has a healthy amount of likes (at least a few thousand likes per page).
- Choose the top-three pages from your list to target.
Once you have a short list of target pages, your goal is to display your ad to as many people who like those pages as possible, while keeping your costs low.
The Trick to Getting the Most Subscribers, as Quickly as Possible, at the Cheapest Price
You have your irresistible offer, your engaging image, and intimate copy, and you’ve figured out where your ideal subscribers are hanging out on Facebook. Now it’s time to pull it all together and run your ads.
The trick to getting the most subscribers from your ads, as quickly as possible, and at the cheapest price, is to use something called conversion tracking. Conversion tracking allows you to keep track of how many people see your ad, how many people click on your ad, and how many people actually take your desired action (in this case, entering their email and subscribing to your list).
This way, you will have a detailed report of how much money you spent per conversion (i.e., per new subscriber). You can use this information to get the biggest bang for your buck: the most subscribers in the least amount of time.
This next part is a little technical, but don’t worry…it’s not as scary as it sounds.
To track your conversions (i.e., how much you’re spending per subscriber), you will need to grab a piece of code that Facebook gives you (called a tracking pixel) and place it between the <head> and </head> tags on the “thank you” page you made earlier (the page that shows up right after someone opts in to your email list).
When you set your budget (as shown in the video walkthrough above), Rick Mulready recommends starting with a small budget (I use a $5 daily budget). If you want to spend more money, increase your budget in small increments until you reach your desired budget. This strategy seems to push Facebook to find you inexpensive subscribers, and it gets your campaign off to a good start.
The Smart Way to Measure How Well Your Ads Perform
Now that your ads are up and running, you will probably be tempted to check them every 2 seconds to see how they’re doing. But that’s the last thing you should do.
You see, it takes a little time before your ad goes out to enough people that you start seeing the subscriptions coming in. So don’t freak out and cancel your ad. In fact, you should…
Wait at least 48 hours before making judgments.
After your ad has been running for at least 48 hours, check for one of the following two scenarios:
What to Do If Your Cost Per Conversion is $4 or Less…
If after 48 hours your cost per conversion (cost per new subscriber in our case) is $4 or less, your campaign is off to a good start.
(If $4 sounds like a lot, don’t worry. Costs usually drop as time goes on because the more people who see your ad, the more people will engage with it by liking it or adding comments, which builds social proof and increases conversions.)
So, if your cost per conversion is $4 or less after 48 hours, run your ad at least one week longer to see if your cost goes down further. (In my experience, it pays to be patient.)
After running your ad for a week or so, you may see your cost get lower and lower. Once your average cost per conversion is around $0.60, you are on track to get 500 subscribers in 60 days. If your average cost per conversion is about $0.30, you’re on track to get 500 subscribers in 30 days. (Assuming in both cases your daily budget is still $5.)
Keep in mind, to get your cost as low as possible, it is not at all uncommon to have to refine your incentive, your ad, or your targeting.
That’s because your ad is competing against other Facebook ads in an auction, so how low you can get that cost will partially depend on how much competition is within your selected audience. (If you suspect that a lot of competition exists for your selected audience, try targeting one of the other Facebook pages on your list, and run your ad for another 48 hours to test this theory.)
Your cost also depends on how relevant your incentive is to your selected audience, and it’s not always what you might think. For example, the first incentive I used for my ads was a PDF checklist entitled, The 8 Exercises Every Pregnant Woman Should Avoid. I thought that incentive was quite relevant for my audience, but my cost per conversion went much lower when I switched to offering a free fitness challenge to the same audience.
What to Do If Your Cost Per Conversion is $4 or More…
If after 48 hours your cost per conversion is $4 or more, stop running the ad. Then, come up with a hypothesis for what went wrong. Is the problem your targeting, incentive, image, or copy? Maybe it’s your landing page that isn’t converting well? What can you change to get better results?
If you have more money to spend, try split testing with another ad to see what works best. But if you can only spend $5 per day, just make one tweak and then run your ad for another 48 hours.
The key is to think of all of this as an experiment. Test different theories like a scientist, and be patient! Once you learn what works, you can repeat it and reap the rewards again and again.
The One Simple Tweak that Could Cut Your Costs in Half
So maybe your ads get a decent cost per subscriber, but you just want to hit it out of the ballpark. Here’s something you should definitely try:
Make a video ad.
Facebook advertisers are reporting that video ads are working wonderfully for them, they’re significantly more effective, and they’re getting conversions at a mere fraction of the price of static image ads. For example, Derek Halpern created this epic video ad that landed him over twenty-six thousand views so far!
To make a video ad, follow the steps above, and simply upload a video instead of an image.
For the video itself, that could be a topic for a whole other post. But here are a few tips:
- Apply the same basic principles as your image, and keep it personal and relatable. That means you need to be in the video. You could be talking directly to the camera, or do a voiceover with various shots of you in action (typing blog posts at your computer, for example); it doesn’t really matter, so long as you are the “star” of your video.(Derek’s video ad does a great job of being relatable with self-deprecating humor at 17 secs in.)
- Like your ad copy, what you say in your video should:
- Empathize with your potential subscribers (“You could have the best product in the world, but if you have no one in the room, you’ll still have zero sales.” 0:37)
- Explain your quick win (“The big question is, how do you build that audience? Well, I put together a free training series where I’ll show you how to do it.” 1:02)
- Clearly state your call to action (“All you have to do to gain access is enter your name and email and press, Get Instant Access.” 1:06).
- The maximum length for Facebook video ads is 45 mins. Different opinions abound about what length works best, but Facebook says to worry less about length and focus more on storytelling.
Just keep in mind that the first few seconds of your video will be silent because it autoplays on mute until the viewer clicks to unmute it. You need to entice people to click the video, so get creative. (Derek sparks curiosity in the first few seconds by walking onto a stage carrying a microphone, decked out in a shiny black sportcoat and sparkly red shoes. It makes you wonder, Who is this goofy guy, and what will he say?)
Grow Your Email List on Autopilot for Just a Few Dollars a Day
Imagine waking up tomorrow morning and receiving another notification from your email list provider…
But this time, instead of one subscriber, you got 10 subscribers overnight and even potential affiliates for your side gig. Now imagine that happening again tomorrow, and the next day, and the next.
All without any additional effort from you.
That’s what growing your blog on autopilot looks like. Instead of worrying about getting subscribers, you can focus on what you love most: blogging.
Because if you’re serious about building your blog, but your time is too valuable to waste, spending a little money could be a brilliant move.
After all, what’s the worst that could happen?
Well, you could spend $10 and not get any new subscribers.
(Although when that happens, it usually just means that one of your ingredients is off, and you need to go back and tweak your recipe.)
That $10 is less than the cost of an average American take-out meal. (And c’mon, we’ve all had bad take-out.)
But the more likely scenario?
You unlock a way to grow your list faster and more reliably than you ever thought possible.
So can you truly afford not to give it a try?
166 thoughts on “How I Got 532 Subscribers in 43 Days Using Cheap Facebook Ads”
This is genius. I mean that with a lot of sincerity. Doing internet marketing for other people (agency) I probably know more about Facebook ads than most people, have great equipment to shoot video, and know how to setup a good landing page and yet I never brought them together to grow subscribers in this way. I am excited to test this on my wife’s blog first and will report back on how it goes!
Wow, that’s a big compliment, Matt! Thank you, and please do let me know how it goes for you! 🙂
Will do Mary, thanks!
I see that you are putting a lot of efforts to increase your subscribers. May I ask, what is your opinion on paid subscribers. I mean if you purchase email lists online?
I would stay way away from purchasing lists, Ivailo. You’ll be effectively spamming people because you won’t have their express permission to email them, so it is terrible for your reputation. Also, it is far better for YOU to have subscribers who are pre-qualified… Meaning, if people aren’t interested in what you have to say/offer, then they won’t do you any good by being on your list. Does that make sense, Ivailo?
Yes, it perfectly does. Thank you for taking the time and answer my question Mary.
Oh good, I’m glad to help!
You are right, stay away from buying likes or shares from popular website, do it right, and you will last long
Thank you Mary for the post,
I’ve recently start doing facebook ads for clients and these examples are a great help.
Awesome! I’m so glad the examples are helpful, Faraz. 🙂 Wishing you great success with your client work!
Thank you for this! This is exactly what I’ve been looking for – a really easy to follow step-by-step guide around this intimidating topic (especially when one has a small budget).
I am going to be giving your tips a try!
Oh good, I’m so glad you’re going to try it out! I was intimidated too at first, but if you only take away 1 tip out of this entire article, it would be this: keep your budget to $5 per day, and evaluate after 48 hours. That takes a lot of the risk (and fear!) out of the equation. Let me know how it goes for you!
I agree – the whole idea of FB ads has been intimidating! We hear so many different approaches and different attitudes toward ads.
One thing I’m wondering is, have you gotten not just quantity but quality of traffic? That’s something I’ve wondered about. I’ve heard that quality (i.e., likelihood of sticking around and becoming customers or clients) is lower with Google Adwords, but the jury seems out on FB ads.
Thanks again for this article. I’ve been using free social media and guest posting and this will be next.
YES! I am so glad you brought this up, Cathy. You can acquire especially high quality traffic with Facebook ads, when used correctly…
That is, when your targeting is spot on, your incentive is highly relevant to that audience, and your ad copy qualifies the person you are looking for: you’ll hit the nail on the head. (And your cost per subscriber will be cheaper too.)
To give an actual example: I am currently running FB ads to an offer for free access to my private Facebook group, “Persuasive Bloggers.” The quality of the members who have joined thus far has been astounding. They each have their own experience to bring to the table, and hearing their different perspectives is such a value add for everyone, including myself.
So yes! Due to the many targeting options, I’d say that Facebook ads are one of THE best ways to get high quality, pre-qualified traffic to your blog.
Thank for this fantastic article. I’ve so far used guest blogging as my main platform for generating subscribers. You make this look easy!
One question – does it matter that I don’t have a FB page for this blog yet? I assume not since the ad will go directly to a landing page.
Great question, Jessica: yes, you DO need to have a FB page for your blog. Using your personal page is not recommended because people WILL be able to see and “like” the page connected with your ad, and it can confuse people if you use a personal FB page. Keep up the guest posting, and let me know how adding in the FB ads works out for you!
Hi Mary, thanks for this post. I’ve been wondering about Facebook ads, but they have seemed a bit daunting. I think I might just give it a try following your guidelines!
I’m so glad to hear it, Rhiannon! I didn’t share my backstory in this article, but I resisted FB ads for a long time before I finally gave it a try. Previously, it took me 3 YEARS to grow my list by that many subscribers, and that was by writing posts on my own blog and getting ranked in Google. So imagine my surprise when I found out how quickly I could grow my list with FB ads, and with relatively small effort! Let me know how it works for you. 🙂
Welcome to BBT! You have a busy day packed with comments and reader engagement ahead of you, so hold on tight. 🙂
What an excellent article. And what perfect timing, too. I just started dabbling in Facebook Ads on Monday. So far, so good! My budget has been small, but the results have been great.
There are so many great resources out there for bloggers looking to get into Facebook promotion. Facebook marketing vets like Jon Loomer and Amy Porterfield offer great advice each week, and — if this helpful post of yours is any indication — your Facebook Ads tutorial is a must-read. Well done, Mary.
I’ll definitely be tweeting this one shortly, and you better believe I’ll be sharing it on Facebook, too. I’ll look up your Facebook page and give it a like while I’m at it. 🙂
Hope you have a great Thursday, Mary. Enjoy the ride.
Thank you so much, Kevin, I really appreciate that! Glad to hear that FB ads are working well for you too. Before Monday, what has been your primary source of subscribers?
I agree, Jon Loomer and Amy Porterfield are amazing. I also highly recommend you check out my buddy Rick Mulready. I have been engrossed in his podcast, The Art of Paid Traffic: http://rickmulready.com/category/aoptpodcast/
Hi again, Mary.
You’re very welcome!
Writing great content, offering post-specific bonuses, and guest blogging on great sites like Boost Blog Traffic (Jon and Glen have allowed me to borrow their space twice now!) have been my primary methods for gaining subscribers.
My ads this week haven’t concentrated on gaining subscribers, though. That will be next. This week was about getting used to the system, promoting a couple of my more-popular posts, and getting my previously-neglected Facebook page a little love. Obviously, I have picked up a few extra subscribers along the way. But that wasn’t the goal this week. That’s the goal for next week. 🙂
Thanks for the Rick Mulready tip. I’ll have to check him out.
Just liked you on Facebook, by the way. Hey, since your PB blog is coming soon, might I suggest subscribing to a site that specializes in helping you be a better blogger? I just so happen to know of a good one. It’s beabetterblogger [dot] com, and I know the owner really well. (Hint: it’s me.) 🙂
The BBT comments won’t stop for several days, FYI. Enjoy! 😉
Okay, now I feel silly…
I just tweeted your post, Mary, and seeing the larger version of your bio made me wonder…
“Don’t I know her? She looks familiar.”
Then I remembered. We’d had a Twitter exchange previously! (Just last month, actually.) You had shared something of mine with your FB group. And I think you might even be a subscriber of mine!
Gosh, I feel foolish.
How’s this… I’ll tweet your post TWICE to make up for not remembering you right away. Deal? 🙂
How dare you not recognize me instantly! Well, I suppose you may be forgiven…
Yes, I am subscribed to a great blog at http://beabetterblogger.com/ 😉
No need to tweet twice. However, if you are interested in such things, I do have that FB group, and you are welcome anytime.
Haha. But see, usually I have a really good memory with this sort of thing…
I know what happened. I hadn’t had coffee yet when I left you my comment. Makes total sense now. I didn’t remember you right away because I hadn’t had any brain juice yet!
I’m happy to have you as a subscriber! And even though I can’t take any credit with your successful post here, I’m going to go home today and tell my wife it’s all thanks to me. 😉
I’ll tweet twice anyway. (If nothing else, I like the alliteration of saying “tweet twice.” That alone makes it worth doing.)
Thanks for the FB group link! I actually looked for it during our conversation last month. 🙂
The comments are rollin’ in. I’ll let you get back to them!
“Twweet twwice”– ha ha! Good one. 😉
Thanks for reminding me I haven’t fueled my brain yet either. I’d better go grab a cuppa myself, and some breakfast…
What an epic piece this is.
Wow! Am dumbfounded. I really am.
I think I should start off by answering the question in your last statement. And to that, I say hell no, I can’t afford not to give it a try.
I mean, as a new blogger with great ideas, like you right said, have been faced with the challenge of the right audience and growing my email list. And believe me, when I say it’s indeed blood draining.
And you know what?
When you made mention of buying an email list, the very question (but it’s a scam?) I was asking was what you put forth and did justice to. Great one there.
Hey! Have I mention the fact that I so much love the way you simplify the process and made it appeal to my my emotions? It’s sure did. Else, am sure I would have taken time to read through it all.
Thanks once again. This will be handy, as I hope to launch a Facebook campaign soon, God willing.
I should be generous enough enough to share this awesome piece on my social media time line.
P. S. Do you consider Facebook ad profitable to promote affiliate sale with pre-written detailed review?
Hello Bonire, nice to meet you, and thank you for making my day! I appreciate all the kind words. If you are asking whether I recommend sending a Facebook ad to a sales page, I would say no. Generally speaking, FB ads don’t do too well for selling stuff directly. That’s because people browsing Facebook aren’t in a buying mindset.
I do, however, recommend that you send the ad to an opt-in page for a free incentive, as described above. Once they are on your email list, you can market your affiliate products to them.
I read a great book recently which explains all the fundamentals of email marketing. It’s called DotCom Secrets by Russell Brunson: http://www.amazon.com/DotCom-Secrets-Underground-Playbook-Growing/dp/1630474770
Thanks a great deal, Mary, for that insightful response.
Admitted, I feel silly for not absorbing all your stated points. It’s unlike me.
You said it all in this epic. “Don’t locate your lemonade shop right in front of a diabetes clinic. Except of course, it’s sugar free”.
Wow! I just remembered I didn’t give a shout out to the Big Boss. With every sense of humility, I call him the dwarf that command Giants. When he talks, authorities listen. Except of course, it’s outside the blogging arena. Your words and work is always inspiring. Greetings Jon!!
I hope to be the Nigerian Jon some day, running the Nigerian version of BBT by the name “Bonfem Academy”.
Some few more social share shouldn’t be a bad idea, right, Mary?
Enjoy you stay on BBT.
Oh! And thanks for the link.
Wishing you much success, Bonire! 🙂
You mentioned that you can target people similar to other facebook pages.
I have done about half a dozen facebook campaigns already. I just checked the advertising settings again before posting this, but I do not see that option. The only option I do see, is to target people that like one of my pages or exclude them. But I don’t see anywhere the option for targeting people of a different page that I do not manage.
If you could please help me figure this out, I think it is the missing link I need!
And thanks so much for the article, it was really great and opened my eyes to a new way of doing the ads.
Hi Ethan! Have you looked inside Audience Insights?
I never realized I could free type into the interests box and that would being a page.
Thank you very very much!
Ah I see, yes that part is very easy to miss. Happy I could be of help!
Mary – wonderful post and a great resource! I’ve been thinking about experimemting with FB ads for a while now, but most of the training I’ve seen out there is incomplete. Amazingly, your post filled in some of the gaps for me. Specifically, I was never sure how to measure the effectiveness: was it subscriber numbers, clicks, likes, shares, comments, etc.? The simple metric of calculating the cost per conversion—in your example the $4 per conversion benchmark—gave me a concrete indicator of whether my ad is working or not.
I’ll definitely be using FB ads going forward!
That is so great to hear, Scott! That is exactly the same confusion I had not long ago, and I have to give credit to my mentor, James Wedmore, for teaching me the $4 per conversion (after 48 hours) benchmark. It’s probably the biggest tip in this entire article, so I’m glad you caught it. 🙂 Let me know how using FB ads goes for you!
Great post. Interestingly enough this is something I’ve been looking into more and more.
I tried it last month and did a 7 day thing but my dollar spent per day was low and I know I could have better copy and an engaging image. Yet still I managed to get 30 subscribers. Now I’m just studying on various ways to do Fb ads so I’ll have better results the next time around.
Your post is timely and full of useful information I could use. Thanks for this info.
30 subscribers in 1 week with a low daily budget is killing it, Andrew!! Great job!!
Mary, This is a wonderful article. You just nailed my apprehensions.Currently, I am revisiting my website and once done I would definitely try your method and let you the results. Btw, thank you for sharing your experience. Have a great day!
That’s great, Vani, I can’t wait to hear about how it works out for you! Congratulations on the site revamp! 🙂
Mary, what great writing and tips! Lemonade stands, regular photos vs. stock, and especially the part about targeting $4 per conversion and waiting 48 hours. I’ll definitely be using these tips.
Thanks, Manny! I’m glad you got the lemonade stand analogy. 🙂
And hats off to you on the benchmark you gave. That $4 one! That was awesome.
Skipped to mention this earlier…
I have to credit James Wedmore for teaching me that one! It completely changed the way I look at FB ads.
Hi Vani, I just messaged you on Facebook but it went to your “Other” folder. To see it, you’ll have to go into your messages, and click on “Other” next to where it says “Inbox”.
Done. Will do and respond from there Mary.
Fantastic article. Funny thing is, I know all of the above, especially the Facebook ads part, which is difficult to master – now I just have to put it all together. A nice blueprint to follow. Thanks for sharing this in an organized fashion.
Laurie!! I miss you. I hope we have an excuse to get back together sometime before too long! 🙂
That is a very big compliment coming from a Queen of social media– thanks so much!
Great overview of Facebook advertising.
However, did I miss the discussion of margins? Getting new subscribers for less than a dollar each is nice, but will you make a profit from that ad spend? Before you invest in paid acquisition it’s imperative that you understand the average lifetime value of a subscriber to your blog – in a nutshell, how much money does each subscriber give you. Once you know that, you can decide what your ad budget should be. For most blogs that’s going to be much less than $0.43. Otherwise you’re going to fall victim to the Homer Simpson business model – losing money on every sale but making it up on volume…
Hi Jack, I’m glad you brought that up. I agree that it is important to understand the lifetime value of a subscriber.
If we’re talking about MOST blogs, I’d venture to say that $0.43 per subscriber is being too generous, given that most bloggers don’t know how to really monetize their blogs. However, if you plan to offer coaching services and/or products, Jon Morrow says:
“The money you make as a blogger grows in proportion to the size of your email list. The exact figures vary by niche and your skill with marketing, but a good rule of thumb is you can expect to earn $1 per subscriber per month.” (From his Serious Bloggers Only course, “The Six Figure Roadmap”)
Over the lifetime of a subscriber, that’s a pretty great return on a buck’s investment.
This is full of great tips, even though doing math of any kind gives me a headache. I can count to 10 or so, for a list post, but that’s my limit.
I don’t have a blog that offers anything worthwhile, but this sounds so doable, I might have to rethink my blogging strategy. Thanks!
Ha ha! I hear ya, Gigi, Math was never my best subject either. Thank you for the comment!
gigi – You mix genuine with funny, which not many can pull off. That’s valuable. I’m just sayin’…
Hey there! This is an awesome post Mary. I love the way you simplified Facebook ads. Even a beginner can understand how to make it work.
I want to build a list for my site http://freelancewriteronline.com I have an incentive in place but I was a bit paralyzed to take action. Your post has lifted my spirit and shown me a clear way to go about it.
Your post rocks! I’m off to share.
What’s your incentive, Aisha?
Hi Mary, thanks for asking. It’s a short report titled “10 Free Tools You Need In Your Business To Write Epic Posts For Your Audience Always” my niche is content marketing.
That sounds interesting, Aisha! Just curious, but what does the “always” part refer to? Are you saying that these free tools will help me to write epic posts despite any roadblocks, such as writers block for instance? Or are you saying that these tools will help me to speak better to my particular audience, no matter what topic I’m writing about?
Thanks for your feedback Mary! It’s geared towards the latter as in speaking better to a particular audience. Maybe I should do away with “Always”, Do you think it makes it sound better?
Hmmm, how about…
10 Tools For Writing Blog Posts that Give Your Readers a Thrill, Every Time
10 Tools For Writing Posts that Make Your Readers Laugh Out Loud (Or Grab a Tissue)
That really sounds more captivating! Thank you Mary, I reaaly appreciate your feedback. I am off to make edits and build my list with Facebook ads
Awesome, Aisha! Let me know how it goes. 🙂
Aisha I agree with Mary, as to the new title, did you change it yet? It’s a bit long (the original title) I just checked out your blog/site. Shorter tend to be better for taglines and such.
Agreed, Viv, the more you can say with fewer words the better. My suggestions could be tweaked too… For instance,
“10 Blogging Tools to Make Your Readers L.O.L. (Or Grab a Tissue)”
I’d spend a good 30-45 mins writing out different versions of your headline to figure out what will work best. Most people don’t take that kind of time, but if you do it will really pay off.
Congrats on a great post!
I have been bugging Jon for some time for more info about FB ads, so it’s great to read how you pulled it off.
Did you read that Perry Marshall book? Is it useful? It’s the next book on my reading list.
Hey, Alex! You mean this one? http://tinyurl.com/powqlvz
I haven’t read it yet, so you’ll have to tell me if it is a good one!
Yes, that’s the one I meant.
Will keep you updated! 😉
Awesome article! Thanks so much for sharing. You give me hope! I spent $50 on a single 24-hour trial test of a Facebook ad this spring, just for the heck of it. It cost me just under $4 per subscriber. I stopped because I didn’t really know what I was doing, and needed to focus on other things at the time. And I needed to drop below $1-2/subscriber to break even on potential future sales.
This gives me some solid information on how to get started, though I still really need to educate myself a lot more about Facebook advertising. And I think that using a video ad would work perfectly for my audience and niche, and hopefully help drop the cost per subscriber, along with split testing and tweaking the ads. I’m really looking forward to learning how to use Facebook advertising successfully to help build my mailing list!
Under $4 per subscriber is awesome, Debra!! Definitely have another go at it… especially with a video ad. If you don’t mind my asking, what products or services you are offering, and what’s the price point?
I provide online courses on intensive organic vegetable gardening. My pilot course was $100, but I eventually want to build up my customers’ lifetime value to around $300. This niche doesn’t generally support many high-end courses. My video optin page this spring was converting around 38%, but I think I can improve on that.
Hmmmm… that does sound like a niche that would be difficult to offer high-end courses, although $100 is already on the low-end for an online course… One thing I would say is, could there be another market you could target this to, besides DIY home gardeners?
On the other hand, if you already have customers worth $100 and you are getting them for $4 each, that is great!!
Mary, I’m curious how you got the headline below the photo to run so long. That seems to be more than the wordcount limit for those, which is very small!
I’m doing these, but haven’t done them for getting blog subs — doing one now for instance that’s asks people to take a survey in exchange for a free handout…but I find I’m pretty hamstrung by FB’s limitations. Are you using Power Editor? I hate Chrome and haven’t gone down that road yet, but wonder if it’s worth it. What do you use to create your ads?
Hey Carol! Yes, I use the Power Editor, and that’s how I got the headline that long. It’s totally worth it.
Have you used Qzzr for creating your surveys? It allows you to capture emails at the same time, and it can spit out a fun result upon completing the survey.
Here’s my suggestion: run your FB ads following the steps above, but instead of sending them to a landing page with an opt-in form, send them to your Qzzr survey (make it something fun or useful by giving them a personalized result at the end). Then, after they’ve completed the survey, Qzzr will allow you to give them another incentive if they enter their email address. You’ll be able to track conversions within Qzzr itself, and people will be able to share the survey on social media so it will spread organically as well.
Congrats on the guest post here at boostblogtraffic.com. I just kept scrolling and scrolling and scrolling… there’s so much great actionable material here!
Totally agree that building communities online and making online sales is going the way of the image, or should I say, image combined with text. Thanks for emphasizing that text does still play the main role of creating the “Juicy Incentive”. When you’re an up and coming entrepreneur, it’s not about split testing. The quantum leap you need is from an irresistible offer.
I’ve actually got a FB group that I experimented with a couple years back: https://www.facebook.com/MelbourneCatLovers. By creating a hyper-targeted, hyper-local community of like-minded people, I thought I could build a list and then figure out what to sell to them. Long story short, it sort of fell by the wayside. I got each like for $0.20-$0.25.
I chose that niche because of the Interweb’s ongoing love affair with all things feline but my question to you is, what if you’re in a niche that isn’t very visual? What if you’re not like Luisa Zhou or don’t want to put yourself online? I personally don’t have any problem with associating my face to my brand, but I’m curious what other approaches you would recommend for people who aren’t as comfortable.
Oh BTW, you’re going to be my first RT on my Twitter account ( I opened it yesterday). You deserve it!
-Johnson aka Tribe Guy
Hi Johnson! Do you have a cat you could pose with for a picture? That would be really compelling! But for people who really don’t want to put their face out there… I would say, you could have a mascot, or use a photo of a real customer (or better yet, video testimonials!)… something that people can associate with your brand and relate to.
For your FB group, I highly recommend setting it to “closed” so that you have to moderate who joins, and make them opt-in to your email list first before you give them access. So follow all the steps above, and use the FB group as your incentive.
As a very newbie blogger, there is so much great advice and help here! I’m saving this and putting this to work for me (soon!).
Awesome, Vicky! Let me know how it goes! 🙂
Fantastic article, as is all your work. You may have said something, but the audience segmentation decisions are also important, yes? For instance, some pieces are better to build an initial base through friends of friends whereas other articles might benefit from specific geo / psycho targeting?
Thanks so much, Jennifer! It could be that my brain is fried, but I’m not sure what you’re asking… Are you wondering about when to use Lookalike Audiences, or Custom Audiences from a specific database, versus targeting demographics?
If so, I would say, test them all!
For the purpose of this article, I am assuming that you are starting pretty much from scratch, with 0 subscribers, 0 Facebook fans, and 0 traffic. However, you CAN create audiences out of any of those things and target those people specifically, provided that those audiences are large enough to meet Facebook’s minimum requirements.
For example, you could re-target people who visited your website… which is an excellent idea, because those people already know who you are and are therefore more likely to opt-in to your email list.
Does that answer your question?
I just signed up for LeadPages, created a landing page and started advertising a couple minutes ago – $5/day – we’ll see how it goes. It’s for my food business blog, Gredio.
I LOVE the idea behind your blog, Michael… Help for people in the food business. Great work, and good luck with the FB ads!
You’re a superstar. I loved your post. Found your post just-in-time. I’m happy you explained the whole thing clearly. Now my next FB ads will have a tracking pixel, that was missing and I didn’t realize it.
Good, I’m glad you found the missing piece! Thanks, Hassaan. 🙂
Awesome post Mary I picked up some really helpful tips which I’m going to put into action later today. Thanks for sharing.
I’m so glad it helped, Kerry!
This is really so awesome. Spending a little over $200 to get such amount of email subscribers is really not bad at all.
I’ve always been terrified with this Facebook ad of a thing because i usually see it as a rocket science because it seems like a hit and miss advertising especially when you have no experience on it.
However, this post of yours have really giving me a new hope and i will have to start practising it immediately.
How did you learnt your own FB advertising? Can you recommend any course?
Thanks for sharing.
Hey, Theodore! For beginners, I recommend Rick Mulready’s FB Ads for Newbies course: https://rickmulready.leadpages.net/get-fban-now-reg/
What a great post. I love Facebook and just started giving Facebook ads to boost my page. This is the first time I am reading about tips to get more subscribers using Facebook ads. Thanks for sharing.
I have a question. It would be so kind of you to clarify, please.
As this was my first Facebook ad, I opted for page likes and got 70 likes by spending just $5. This is exciting, but I read it somewhere that these likes are useless.
Now, as you have advised about making a landing page, I need some time to make one because I am not much experienced. Till then, should I continue with ads for page likes or not? Is it worth it or waste of money?
Rajkaran, the bottom line is, what do you plan to do with those Facebook likes? What’s your strategy? For instance, are you going to use those FB likes to create a Custom Audience and re-target your ads to them in your next campaign?
If you have a strategy that makes sense for you and you’re getting really cheap FB likes, then I’d say go for it, with this one caveat: get your landing page up so you can start getting those email subscribers ASAP!
Thank you so much Mary. I will definitely follow your advice. I have started learning how to make a landing page. Till then I will continue with the ads. Thanks again.
Sounds good, Rajkaran! 🙂
Great post, Mary! This came just in time for me, as I was ready to utilize FB ads in my business. One question (after following your very detailed video instructions): I have my ad up and running, I have only 1 ad thus far, but I have 3 audience groups. Will my ad show to all of these groups automatically? I added 2 more audiences after completing my add, and I want to make sure my ad shows to all 3. Thanks!
I figured it out!
Are you using separate Ad Sets for each target group, Sally?
I only have one Ad Set, and I put three different “interests” in it. Is that the right way to do it? I had a hard time with the interests because the pages I wanted to target didn’t show up as options, so I had to go with more vague terms (my niche is fertility). I’m concerned because it seems that my ad isn’t being shown much, but the total audience is supposed to be 64,000. In almost 24 hours it’s only been shown 220 times, but I have a good conversion rate so far of 78 cents with a total of 5 subscribers.
Wow, 78 cents is GREAT, Sally! I would focus on that number, and don’t worry that you are only reaching 220 people. You can expect to get a pretty low reach just because your daily budget is set so low. If you want to increase your reach, I would do a separate Ad Set for each target group, and set your daily budget to $5 for each Ad Set. That way, you will be able to see which target groups are getting you the best cost per conversion.
Thanks Mary! I may do what you suggested in order to increase my reach. BTW, my rate has since lowered to 34 cents, and I have gotten 36 subscribers in a little over 48 hours of having my ad up. I’m pretty excited!
Wow, wow, wow. Just, wow. Keep up the great work, Sally!!! 🙂
Unfortunately, my ad was disproved yesterday. I went in to add more ads with different images but with the same verbiage. All of my ads, including the one I had up the whole time, were disproved. I have communicated with them, and they said the ads didn’t follow their policies. I read the policies over thoroughly and believe they did comply. However, I changed some things that had to do with what they called “insulting or harassing language” as well as verbiage related to age, and basically stripped the ad of most of the value – it still was not accepted, and they won’t help me understand this. So discouraged by this, as I was getting a nice volume of traffic and sign ups. The main point here is that I didn’t change anything to the ad that was initially accepted (and for over 4 days it ran).
Resolved this issue by changing my wording (and was finally able to work with a FB rep). Word to the wise – be aware that they can come back and disapprove your ad after it’s been accepted – so be prepared to tweak as necessary. My ads are now running again very effectively. I’m spending about 27 cents per subscriber. (I didn’t want to leave this thread with a downer post 😉 )
WOW, 27 cents per subscriber is FANTASTIC Sally!! I am very impressed.
Working with a FB rep seems to be the best way to go… I can’t remember where I read it, but somewhere I read some stats that Facebook advertisers who worked with a rep had lower costs on average than those who didn’t work with a rep. So smart move, Sally. 🙂
Don’t be discouraged about getting disapproved, but DO be careful… Each disapproval counts against you, and after so many they can revoke your ad account. And yes, it can get disapproved after it has already been approved because they don’t always catch these things right away.
In general, avoid any wording that implies that you know something about the viewer. For example, you can’t say things like, “Want to meet other surfers?” because the word “other” implies that the viewer is a hiker. But you could say, “Want to meet people who love to surf?” This way, you are still qualifying your audience without implying that you know stuff about them.
I’m not sure what the copy was that got your ad disapproved, but hopefully that helps? Did the rep tell you more or less the same thing?
Hey hey! How did you get to work with a FB rep? I have never even heard of that! Please spill the beans!
I questioned their disapproval of the ad initially through their form, and I got a confusing pat answer that left me not really knowing what to do. So I pushed for answers. She did give some answers why it was disapproved (I asked if the viewer had had a miscarriage, and this was a no-no). I also asked other questions on the initial ad (“are you struggling to get pregnant?”) and had referenced age in the ad.
Anyway, I kept trying to get the ad approved by changing until it seemed hopelessly stripped of value, and it was still not approved. So I got back with the rep who responded initially, and she finally helped me by force approving the ad.
So it was hard to get help at first, but being pushy worked 😉 Thankfully, this ad is doing just as well even though it doesn’t seem as valuable to me.
Just to clarify – the rep didn’t do anything for me except “force approve” (her wordage) the ad for me. I also have a post that I’m paying to boost, which is greatly contributing to the mix as well (4 cents per engagement, and I’m optimizing for those who are most likely to click my ad). I had heard that FB likes ads that point to posts.
Sally, you may not realize it, but your fb ad campaign results are *very* above the norm. Would you be willing to do an interview about it on my blog? I’ll of course mention your site and send a shoutout to my list.
Thanks for sharing your experience, Sally, because this is really valuable for people to hear…
Yes, Facebook wants us to approach advertising by providing up-front value to people, and sending ads to blog posts is one of those strategies that is working really well right now!
I think you have to be spending at least $25 per day for 30 days to get access to a support person on the phone, is that right, Sally? You can chat with someone here: https://www.facebook.com/business/resources/
This sub-thread is epic. I never knew this stuff and I have been a blogger for years. [finds the subscribe button frantically]
Dan – Will consider your request and contact you through your site.
Mary – The “post” I referred to was a FB post that I have boosted on my FB page. I’m paying about 4 cents per engagement (those who see it, I think). I’m calculating my results manually based on who signs up after clicking (getting lots of clicks but a lowish percentage of them subscribing). This method is actually working out to lower my overall cost-per-subscriber.
Don’t want to hi-jack the comments any more, but I’m willing to offer input wherever helpful.
Ha ha! Love it, Dan!! 🙂
Very interesting, Sally… What’s your incentive? And are you linking your boosted post to a blog post, or to a landing page? (If you don’t mind sharing.)
Mary – My incentive is a free 6-part course, and the boosted post links to a landing page. The only problem with my strategy is that it’s not consistent. The posts and ads that have given me the best response (and lowest cost) are ones they are disapproving eventually. I’m truly not trying to “game” the system. The things I’ve learned in marketing (asking questions and striking a cord with the reader) are things FB seems to not like in an ad. Would really like to be able to find the right balance between “blah” and “against FB policies.” I don’t believe I’m spammy at all – just questions like “Are you struggling?” which I believe is empathy – not harassment. BTW, tried to join your FB group but haven’t been accepted yet (I’m on your email list too).
Sally, try what Derek Halpern does. He uses a solid color background with white text in the middle. It ends up being a pure text image just under 20%. I have been trying it and it has been working better than my image ads.
Thanks for the tip, Dan – I’ll consider doing that. However, I believe what’s getting them disapproved is the text *outside* the image. I have only used text within the image on my boosted FB posts, but not within the image of my ads. And the only things I’m changing to get them approved is to change the text outside the image.
I’d prefer to use brevity and just say that this post is “FANTASTIC” but it would be a disservice to the work you put in here. This felt more like a “mini-course” than a blog post. Loved the use of examples and how you dropped the $4 conversions bomb yet backed it up by saying not to panic (I have to say this to my clients regularly). I’m an admitted blog post skimmer. However, I read this one all the way through. It was like eating Lays Potato Chips, just couldn’t put the bag down (blog post in this case). Great job!
Wow, that’s a huge compliment, Darrell. Thank you!!!
Wow!!! Very Interesting Post. Thanks
Glad you enjoyed it, Danial! 🙂
Wow! A massive amount of effort clearly went into this excellent post. Your examples are so great – and really illustrate what needs to be done. It helped me identify some things I have been doing that aren’t working on Facebook ads. I can’t wait to test it out. Thank you.
Oh good, I’m so glad the examples helped you, Julie! Let me know how it goes when you test out some of these tips. 🙂
Thanks for a great post Mary,
This is by far one of the best posts I’ve read on the subject of Facebook ads. Very detailed but easy to digest.
I’ve printed out a hard copy to use as a reference to improve my own ads.
Wow, what an honor to have my post sitting on your desk somewhere! Thank you, Troy!!
Really surprised with this one. Didn’t really realized Facebook Ads can drive that much traffic. So thank you for writing this post.
I also checked out the links included in this post and read about what does not work for new bloggers, really helpful links.
I’d give your tips a try and I know, since you are proof already for this success, that I won’t regret it.
Awesome, Luna! I’m glad you read the article about what not to do as a beginning blogger. If only I had read that post 4 years ago, it would have saved me so much time and grief…
(If anyone reading this is wondering what we’re talking about, it’s this post by Jon Morrow here…
11 Traffic Techniques that Are a Waste of Time for Beginners: //smartblogger.com/traffic-techniques/
This is a MUST READ.)
This is the best advice given to me to grow my email list. I am struggling to grow it.
I now know the potential of fb ads. Thanks for this insights.
I’m so glad this helped you, Pankaj! Let me know how this strategy works out for you.
That was great Mary,you covered all the bases.
I will definitely be putting this into practice at some point in the future. It seems a no brainer – why make so much effort if you can get great results with a killer ad.
Am going to share this now!
Thanks so much for sharing, Joe! I really appreciate that. 🙂
This is a great post, Mary!
As someone who’s just started experimenting with Facebook ads, I was able to follow along quite well with your instructions.
One thing confuses me, though – I can’t find a place in the targeting section to target people who’ve liked specific pages. All I can find is a section to target people who’ve liked my page.
What am I missing?
Hey Felicity! If you get a chance, I would love to hear about your results! Good luck!!
Ah hah! It’s under Audiences. I was looking for it within the targeting for a specific ad.
Off to do my research and play with some audiences. 🙂
Aha! Glad you found it, Felicity. 🙂
So initial results are in for using the ad I’ve been running, and targeting it to fans of a specific page that is home to my precise target market.
Results: 18 email opt-ins in 4 days. It’s a small test, but this test has improved hugely on the previous targeting options I was using!
Now that I know this works better than previous targeting, I’m going to run the ad again for a longer period of time. List building, here I come!
That’s awesome, Felicity!! What’s your average cost per subscriber so far?
$0.79! Definitely way under my previous test. And the page has 220,000 fans, so there ought to be enough there to jump-start my own list. 🙂
Wuhoo!! That is amazing, Felicity!! I love hearing that other people are having the same success. Is this for your travel blog?
An outstanding explanation. Thanks for diving into the dollars and cents of building up one’s email list.
This is a next level strategy that I will look into after I achieve a certain revenue objective.
Hey Bruce, thank you so much for the kind words!
Just curious, but why wait until you reach a certain revenue first? Not judging at all, just curious about what your strategy is.
I have tried Facebook ads to promote webinar for one of my client but i did not get that much response as you have mentioned. I got good clicks but not get subscribers. Subscriber rate is very low. I will follow your step from next time and i hope it will helpful this time. Though while reading your blog i found what mistakes are done by me on previous facebook ads campaign.
Thanks for sharing such a great insight here.
I am glad this article was helpful, and I hope you have better results next time! Good luck!!
This is a fantastic post. I especially liked the part on Derek’s video. I would love to know how much he paid per subscriber with that ad.
If I find out, I’ll let you know, Dan! Thanks for the comment. 🙂
OK, I am sold 😉
Awesome tips and very useful. I personally don’t subscribe to blogs, since I have my inbox already too full with emails from my web design clients, but have noticed that it’s important to have a good subscribers’ list. I’ll try to put these tips into action and hope to get back with some really cool results.
Hey Ramona! Yep– email subscribers = more clients! Glad you are going to give this strategy a try. 🙂
Do you have a website for your design biz? I would love to check it out. Web design is another big passion of mine, and I love meeting other designers!
I recently found this business course for web designers… Have you heard of this? http://www.thedarlingtree.com/flowingandthriving
Many people still to this very day underestimate the power of advertising on Facebook. It’s cost-effective, cheaper than running PPC ads on Google AdWords ad network, and probably converts faster than running ads on Google.
Thanks for this great blog post. Clever idea using fb ads and driving folks to your targetted FB group. I use FB ads to generate leads by offering a lead magnet (free report etc), but have never used them to build a group.
A new initiative I will be introducing soon will be to reach out to people who opt in to my email list, via the chat facility. This is one of the beautiful things about Facebook – it’s easy to connect with people who respond to an ad. My aim is to get a relationship happening asap – the more touch points the better.
Thanks again Mary. Love it!
I’m glad this gave you some ideas, Kim! And thanks for joining my Persuasive Bloggers group on FB! 🙂
Yes, the chat is an EXCELLENT way to use FB. Building relationships with your email subscribers is key to having a responsive lis. And when you use FB ads to get subscribers, you know that those subscribers have a FB profile, which you can then use to communicate with them (either via private message, or in a group). So FB is really a great long-term strategy for making sales, not just for the initial list-building. Thanks for bringing up that point!
The only thing stopping me now is that I didn’t want to make a new FB page for the website I want to run ads to! As I’m bit burnt out on FB. But I know ads work. I got a lot of views when I ran an ad briefly. But your tips and more research means this time I can really get value from it-by building my list.
Hey Viv! Why not just start the new FB page but not post anything to it?
I had trouble getting leads from Facebook on the past.
Good to see a great thorough explanation here, I only wish I had known most of this information back then.
Hey Eric, well you’ve got the info now! 🙂 Let me know if this actually works for you…
Your post really help me out to run successful fb ad campaign. Your examples are really great that you have mentioned in your post. Learning from mistakes 😀 Thank you for the awesome post.
Hi Kamlesh! I’m so happy this helped you!! 🙂
Mary your post is of quite intelligent and smart ways to build email list,but i will disagree with you that is not everybody whom read and apply this strategy are the one that will comment in your blog.We should think also comment of other readers whom did’nt get the piece of the pile(that the fb ad method did’nt work for),do you think these guys are not genius?of course no.
After the research i did i found out that building list or driving traffic to whatever site and in whichever nich,my conclusion is that you dont have to pay a dime to build email list or to drive massive traffic.
Hi Steve, thanks for the comment! True, you do not have to pay with CASH to drive traffic and build an email list.
But in that case, you will be paying with your TIME.
You will either spend time creating content and promoting it (like what I’m doing with this guest post), or you will spend time building relationships with the influencers in your niche…
Any way you slice it, traffic and subscribers never come free.
Great in-depth post. I’m always a bit weary of spending money and blog about couponing and budgeting weekly and I’m finding it hard to justify spending money at all on my blog since one of my major focuses I talk about is saving money. How do you think I could use ads and blog about saving without contradicting myself?
Hi Kari! Let’s think about that… Saving money and spending money don’t have to be mutually exclusive, do they?
For instance, let’s say you’re trying to decide between two washing machines. One is relatively inexpensive, but it uses a lot of water and energy. The other costs $100 more, but it uses less water and less electricity, so it will save you $40 per year on your utility bills compared to the first one. Which washing machine will save you more money over the long-term?
At first glance, buying ads doesn’t seem like a money-saving move, like buying an energy-efficient washing machine. However, they are an investment in your email list that will save you a lot of time and energy.
And if you plan to monetize your blog in the future, you will get back many times the amount you invested initially in your ads… I have a friend who recently spent $18,000 on Facebook ads and turned those subscribers into $900,000 of revenue in just 10 months (http://rickmulready.com/kimra-luna/)! I know $18K sounds like a ton of money, but her first investment in her business was much smaller… in fact, she was on welfare, and used her tax-return money to buy a computer so that she could start blogging.
So no, I don’t think you are contradicting yourself at all by spending on ads. You’re just being smart. And that’s what couponing and budgeting is all about, right? It’s about being smart with how you choose to spend your money. 🙂
This is an extremely awesome post. It’s perfect for people with small lists. You perfectly went through the step-by-step process. I did my FIRST FB ad and received one opt-in after spending about $20. Not so great, but I’m revamping and trying again. Well done on this one!
Thanks, Allyson! Don’t feel bad… For my very first campaign, I spent something like $36 on one subscriber before I realized something was wrong! I know you’ll do better next time. 🙂
Awesome article, and definitely kicked me into the direction of FB-ads. The part about actually putting up a dude’s face to make it more personal really hit some buttons, and I will definitely be trying this out in the coming weeks!
The thing I was wondering about, and no one seems to mention is the landing page providers you use. Leadpages is a huge hassle and incredibly expensive, when something like Thrive Themes goes for half price and has every Lead-analytic function integrated. Is there a reason you didn’t include Thrive but mentioned Divi?
Thanks for the awesome content!
Hey Jay! Thanks for the comment. 🙂
Regarding landing page providers: I actually haven’t tried Thrive Themes, but now that you mention it, I would definitely like to give them a try! I love that they have created a page builder on the front-end, as opposed to an editor that only works behind your WordPress dashboard. Thanks for the tip!
Just curious, but why do you think LeadPages is a huge hassle?
Hope you start getting your face out there on some FB ads, and good luck!!
Great article. I’m testing a similar approach. One thing I noticed is the difference in the ads you included in the article. For example, with your Fitness ad, you don’t have a “Learn More” button. Meanwhile, some of the others ads include it.
Are all of these ads set up to optimise for conversion? Or, do you sometimes optimise for alternative metrics (page likes for example) and include your call to action within the ad instead?
Just asking in case you found one approach converts cheaper than another.
Great question. I actually included a “Sign Up” button rather than a “Learn More” button for my prenatal fitness ad. Both convert well, but it is important to make sure that the button sets the correct expectation for what the user will find on the landing page.
For example, if you use the “Learn More” button, then there should really be more information on the landing page. “Sign Up” sets the expectation that you will have to enter your email address to get access. So just be honest, and don’t say “Learn More” because you think it will be easier to convert if you don’t really have any further information on the landing page.
And yes, I am willing to bet that ALL of these ads are optimized for conversions. If you want page likes, optimize for page likes, but if you want subscribers, optimize for conversions. So it really just depends on the goal of your ad campaign.
Hope that helps!
Great article. However, one frequent problem I have seen is that I see a lot of likes from ‘like-farms’- people paid to just like pages. How do we side-step them and get real people to see our page?
Ah, great point Devishobha, I’m glad you brought this up… As long as you are optimizing for WEBSITE CONVERSIONS and not for PAGE LIKES, you should be able to avoid this, for the most part. Also, pay attention to the countries you are targeting: some countries have more “like farms” than others.
I just posted my FIRST ad on Facebook just yesterday for this post – http://www.sawwebmarketing.com/massive-guide-to-dominating-google/ fortunately I still have time to go back and implement your changes. This is a SUPERB piece! I am also going to go in and add you to the guide if that’s OK with you. Paid advertising didn’t make the cut but its certainly a logical chapter 🙂
I will let you know when you are adding as the ‘go to’ expert for this 🙂
This was very helpful, thank you!
Do you think you would do anything different with your ads if you were advertising a subscription to an email list that sends out Fantasy Fiction serial stories?
A lot of the resources I find on blogging and growing an email list aren’t necessarily aimed at storytelling blogs, but more so lifestyle/health/or personal/professional development blogs.
I’m interested to hear your input.
Thank you for this helpful explanation of Facebook Ads, can’t wait to get started and see if it helps.