How to use Facebook ads to grow your email list

Email marketing is one of the most effective types of digital marketing. Two-thirds of consumers say they’ve made a purchase because of an email they received, and the average ROI of email marketing is $38 for every $1 spent.

But for your business to see results like that, you need an email list. And not one you bought. Paying for an email list isn’t a good way to reach people who will actually care about what you have to say. And according to spam laws, it’s also illegal.

What you need is an email list you built — one that’s made up of people who chose to opt in because they care about what you have to say. Email subscribers that chose you are extremely valuable, but hard to find. To build and grow a strong email list, you need a strategy for promoting it.

There are a lot of smart techniques you can use to get more email subscribers. A good option that many overlook is using Facebook ads.

create your website

5 Benefits of Using Facebook Ads to Grow Your Email List

Obviously Facebook ads have a cost in both time and money, so you want to be confident this is a tactic that makes sense for you. Facebook advertising has some strong benefits to offer.

1. It’s where your audience is.

“Go where your audience is” is marketing 101. Today, that means Facebook.

Even with recent scandals that put the social media network in the headlines, tons of people use Facebook.  The platform has over 2 billion monthly active users and many of those users are on there every day.  In the U.S., the average person spends 40 minutes a day on Facebook.

Facebook is such a ubiquitous part of our lives at this point that no matter who your target audience is, you can trust that they’re hanging out on Facebook.

2. Facebook doesn’t offer much organic reach.

Anyone can create a Facebook page for their business for free, so you may figure you should just work on reaching your audience on the platform that way.  But over the last couple of years, Facebook has made changes that make it increasingly difficult for business pages to gain followers and for the followers they have to see those updates.

That doesn’t mean it’s a waste to create a Facebook page and work on building followers to it, but on its own, that won’t get you very far. To really gain traction on Facebook now, you have to pay for ads.

3. You can reach people in your target audience.

If that’s the bad news, this is the good news. By paying for Facebook exposure, you tap into the company’s powerful targeting options. Your ad won’t show up indiscriminately for all of Facebook’s billions of users, you can specify who you want to see it based on factors like demographic categories, interests, and behaviors.

4. You can reach them at the right moment.

The marketing ideal is reaching the right person with the right message at the right moment. Facebook’s targeting options include controlling the timing of when you reach people. If the items you sell would make great gifts, you can target your ads to people with an anniversary coming up. If your business blog provides travel tips, you can target people currently planning a vacation.

While the goal of an email list is to build an ongoing relationship with potential customers, you can still increase sign ups by ensuring your promotion shows up right when people will most value what you offer.

5. Remarketing converts people who already showed an interest in your brand.

A lot of people will interact with your brand multiple times before they make the decision to sign up for your email list. If someone visits your website and never sees mention of you again, they’re likely to forget you completely.

But with remarketing, you can serve ads to the people that have already interacted with your brand in some capacity, increasing the chance that they’ll take the step of signing up for your email list before you slip from their memory.

How to Use Facebook Ads to Grow Your Email List in 10 Steps

Now that you know the why, here are a few tips to help with the how.

1. Develop an email marketing plan.

Before you get to the point of using Facebook advertising to grow your list, you need to figure out what you’re going to do with your email list. There’s no point in working to gain subscribers if you’re not ready to follow that up with work to keep them.

Create a plan for the types of emails you’ll send out and the schedule you’ll send them out on. You may want to create an email newsletter that goes out every month, or plan on sending a weekly update that includes links to the new content on your site.

You can send out more directly promotional emails as well, but don’t make that all you ever do.  Promotional emails work best if the recipient is already familiar with your brand and has a reason to trust you. Your other emails will help build that trust.

2. Select “Lead Generation” as your campaign objective.

One of the first steps to creating an ad in Facebook is choosing your campaign objective. After you click the Create button, you’ll see a few options you can choose from in a dropdown menu. Since your primary goal is building an email list, select “Lead Generation.”

create facebook lead ad for email list

This ensures that the options Facebook provides as you go through the steps of creating your ads will match up with your goal of collecting email addresses from people in your target audience.

3. Clarify your target audience.

One of the next steps is to set up your audience targeting. Facebook allows advertisers to narrow down who will see your ads based on wide variety of factors, including:

  •      Geographic location
  •      Age range
  •      Gender
  •      The language(s) they speak
  •      Education level
  •      Relationship status
  •      The type of work they do
  •      Their financial status
  •      Whether they have kids or not
  •      Their political preferences
  •      Their interests
  •      Their online behaviors
  •      Whether they’ve interacted with you before

Think about what your ideal customer looks like. Use this step to clarify who you want to reach with your ads so you get the most bang for your buck.

4. Choose what information to collect.

You definitely want to collect email addresses — that’s the main goal here, after all. But Facebook will let you choose additional information to ask for in your ads, such as:

  •   First name
  •   Last name
  •   City
  •   Phone number
  •   Date of birth
  •   Job title
  •   Company name

On the one hand, the more information you ask for, the better you’ll be able to provide relevant emails to your new subscribers. On the other hand, adding more required fields for people to fill in before signing up may lose you some leads who decide it’s too much work.

Most businesses should be fine sticking with name and email address, only add the others if they’ll help you create more useful, segmented lists.

5. Set your budget.

Figure out what you can afford. You can set a maximum daily budget, and select whether to bid manually on your ads or let Facebook do automatic bidding for you. Automatic bidding is generally the best choice for anyone that’s not already an expert in PPC advertising.

Facebook Ad Budget

Keep in mind that the more you’re able to spend, the more people will see and interact with your ads. Try not to be too stingy here, while staying within a budget you can handle.

6. Create eye-catching images for your ads.

Now it’s time to create the ads themselves. Social media is a visual medium, so make sure you include an image (or several) in your ad that will attract your audience’s attention, while still being relevant to what you’re offering.

7. Write copy that emphasizes the benefits of subscribing.

An image can’t tell the whole story, so couple it with words that tell your audience what they’ll get out of subscribing to your email list.

Make sure you focus on the benefits to them. It may be accurate that signing up means learning more about your brand and products, but that won’t convince most people. What problems will your emails help them solve? How will you make their lives easier or better?

8. Include a clear call to action (CTA).

You want them to take an action, so tell them what to do. You can test out different language to use here, but be sure you explicitly ask people to “Sign up today” or “Subscribe now.”

Facebook will provide some options for you to choose from here.

choose cta for facebook ad

9. Set up a relevant email drip campaign for new subscribers.

Every time someone subscribes, it’s a win! But it could quickly turn into a loss if you don’t manage to keep them. One of the best ways to convince new subscribers that you’re worth sticking with is to set up a series of welcome emails that automatically go out to new subscribers.

Use these initial emails to explain to your subscribers what they can expect from your email list, make the case for why it’s worth sticking around, and provide them a reward of some sort for joining (such as a discount offer or exclusive content).

Providing value right away while the decision to sign up is still fresh in their memory will give you the chance to establish the relationship and show them you’re worth their time.

10. Test and tweak.

You won’t know what will get results until you get started. Pay attention to your analytics — both for Facebook and your emails — to learn what’s working. Test out different images, copy, and CTAs to see what your audience responds to best.

Over time, you’ll learn more about your target audience — what they respond to and what they care about. That knowledge will enable you to run better ads, strengthen your email marketing campaigns, and provide better service to your customers.

Kristen Hicks is an Austin-based freelance content writer and lifelong learner with an ongoing curiosity to learn new things. She uses that curiosity, combined with her experience as a freelance business owner, to write about subjects valuable to small business owners on the HostGator blog. You can find her on Twitter at @atxcopywriter.