How to Generate Leads and Grow Your List with Facebook Marketing

Ah, Facebook.

The social media platform that everyone (well, not everyone, but many people) loves to hate.

Since going public last year, Facebook has taken its fair share of bad PR and public outrage. Some of it may be justified and the rest I think is just over-reaction.

I’m a Facebook homer, though, as I teach small businesses and online entrepreneurs how to grow their business using Facebook marketing.

And, when I tell people what I do, I hear the full spectrum of responses.

The good.

The bad.

And a lot of the ugly lately: Facebook doesn’t “work” because none of my fans see my status updates anymore. I’ve tried Facebook ads and I lost all my money without any return on my investment.

I’m on a mission to show you how Facebook marketing can be an effective and efficient way to grow your business, without breaking the bank.

With over a billion users, over half of which login every day, the opportunities are just too big to write off as “not worth it.”

Let me show you a couple ways Facebook marketing rocks.

Grow Your Email List & Generate Leads

As bloggers, we want as many highly targeted readers as possible. It’s even better when those people are on our email list.

After all, the money is in the list, right?

Facebook marketing offers a unique opportunity to grow your list on autopilot.

Two really effective ways to this are through custom apps and Facebook Offers.

Apps are the little boxes just below your page’s cover photo:

Basic Blog Tips Apps on Facebook

When someone clicks on an app, they’re taken to a landing page (within Facebook) that can contain an opt-in form. This is where you can give away something of value (like an ebook, video series, webinar, etc…) in exchange for a person’s email address. Ms. Ileane does this well with her “Blogging Tips” app shown above.

Don’t worry, apps are easy to create using sites like HeyoShortStack and even AWeber. You don’t even need to know any coding as they both use drag and drop functionality. And, depending on how many fans you have, they can be free to use!

Once you’ve created your app you need to drive people to it. Each app has its own unique URL which means you can use that URL in your Facebook posts or ads (including Facebook Mobile ads).

The reason this works so well is because you’re keeping the person within Facebook. It creates trust between you and the user.

Think about when you’re on Facebook. You’re there to share updates with your Facebook friends and family, post pictures, etc. If an ad catches your eye and you click on it, you likely don’t want to be taken outside of Facebook, far from what you’re doing. By keeping people within the same platform, you’re more likely to get them to take the action you want.

Lastly, you can use your app’s unique URL in your business emails or marketing materials. Rather than sending someone to your Timeline, why not send them to your custom app where you can collect their email address and then they can also check out your Facebook page?

Facebook Offers

I’m betting you’ve seen Offers in your news feed before but might not have known what they were.

Here’s an example of what one looks like:

Facebook Offers

Offers are a great way for website owners and businesses to promote products and services through targeted word-of-mouth marketing on Facebook. You can even use them to promote your free products that people get when they join your email list.

In order to use Offers, your business page needs to have at least 400 fans (although I’ve recently seen where they are available to anyone). You have the option of choosing whether someone can redeem your offer online, in your actual store, or in store & online.

Facebook offers

Offers can be awesome word-of-mouth promotion for your website, too, because when someone claims your Offer, it shows up in their News Feed. Friends of that person can then see that their friend just claimed your Offer.

Offers do cost money to use. It’s a form of advertising, after all. But before you dismiss it, I want to tell you about a little ninja trick.

As you’re finishing up creating your Facebook Offer, check the “Promote Later Using Another Facebook Ad Tool” box. This allows you to create an ad out of your Offer in your Ads Creator and bypass the pre-set budgets Facebook gives you. You can then choose whatever budget you’re comfortable with.

Additional Facebook Ad options

My Fans Don’t See My Posts!?

Finally, I realize the issue of Facebook “cutting” the number of your fans who see your status updates has raised some concern.

Yes, they did make a change to their algorithm late last year that affected the percentage of fans who see your posts. It all has to do with their EdgeRank formula that Ms. Ileane discusses in-depth here.

And yes, if you want to reach all of your fans now, there’s a cost associated with doing so in the form of a Promoted Post or Page Post ad.

I know, I know how dare they start charging for something that was previously free. I don’t love it either but I also understand why they’re doing it.

Here’s my take on it:

1) Facebook is now a public company and has to show they can monetize their billion plus users. Charging brands to promote a post to their entire fan base is one small way to do this. If you want to play you have to pay. After all, social media is an investment.

2) They’re your fans, yes, so shouldn’t they see all of your posts? If I saw every post from every page I’ve liked my news feed would be crazy inundated with stuff. I’d never see everything because posts would constantly get buried in a matter of seconds.

This is one reason why the EdgeRank formula exists. It’s designed to filter out the content that you want to see most. Remember, Facebook is all about engagement. If you want to see more updates from pages you’ve liked, start liking, sharing and commenting on their posts.

3) Think of your Facebook posts like email marketing or Twitter. If you have a list of 1,000 people and you send out an email to them, how many actually open it up and read it? How many even see it in their jammed email inbox? And, these people have opted-in to be on your list, just like they might be a fan of your Facebook page.

With Twitter, people have chosen to follow you. But how many of your followers actually see your tweets? If they aren’t on their Twitter account when you tweet, they likely will never see what you posted.

4) If you are going to promote one of your posts, I recommend targeting your fans rather than fans and friends of fans. I’ve seen and heard too many cases where when you promote a post to your fans and their friends, it gets shown to people outside of your ideal audience. Until Facebook works this out, just be aware this is happening.

Scratching the Surface of Facebook Marketing

As you can see, Facebook can be a powerful platform to grow your blog or business.  I’m only just scratching the surface here of what’s possible, but hopefully you can see that smartly leveraging Facebook marketing can be a very effective complement to your blog growth strategies.

I’d love to hear your experience. Do you have a community on Facebook full of engaged Fans who fit your customer profile? Have you used custom apps or Facebook Offers yet? Please leave a comment below and let me know!

About 

If you’re struggling to grow your email list and want to generate more leads, I’ve put together a free email series where I show you my system for generating massive leads on Facebook in the next 30 days. And, each of my seven strategies can be implemented in less than 20 minutes. For access to my free email series, click here.

71 Comments (click here to leave a comment)

  1. Keen observations Rick.

    FB’s new Fan page post visibility strategy is super similar to sending out tweets or emails. A fraction of your list opens the post….and a percentage for even the most successful marketers. Even people with stark raving fan bases receive only a percentage of clicks because many folks are tire kickers and even the biggest fans have a life, and miss updates.

    So no need to get caught up in the scarcity type mentality. Put out helpful content, gain new Likes and expand your business by marketing on Facebook.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Ryan

  2. These are some great tips Rick. I have an email list but I don’t use it as often as I should because I just don’t know what to do with it. And I love the idea of using Facebook!

    • Focusing on building your list is always super important, Danielle. As they say, “the money is in the list.” :) I’d focus on adding value to those on your list with great helpful content and look for ways to grow it whenever possible. Appreciate your thoughts!

  3. Very interesting observation. To be honest I have not used this method before but seems as its something that must be explored.
    I am wondering why Facebook is cutting the number of your fans who can see your status updates. I wonder why they are doing that, are you certain about this? I don’t see why I have to pay for it to be seen. Not impressed. Come one Facebook.

    • Hi Shalu, with so many people on Facebook and users having an average of 250 fans, it would be overwhelming to see EVERY update that comes across. That’s why I liken it to having an email list or Twitter. Not everyone is going to see what you’ve written. Paying to allow all your fans to see your post can be really effective, when used strategically. With over a billion people, and the ability to laster-target your message, Facebook is too big of an opportunity to pass up. Don’t give up on it yet. :)

      • Thanks Rick, I was almost giving up both on my email list and facebook. The last straw came the moment it became clear that not all my fans will see my updates.
        Great insights there Rick!

  4. Ohh ya Rick!
    Nice post!
    I think your post is quite reminding, that today we can’t ignore Facebook for many of other marketing campaign.

  5. Rick,

    there’s no doubt about the potential of Facebook… I like how Pat Flynn build his following, using nothing but free methods… I think most bloggers are fretting when it comes to investing in FB ads.

    In fact, most bloggers don’t even invest (money) in content writing, guest posting and blog commenting… I mean, there are only 24 hours in a day, isn’t it smart to leverage your skills and money and get others to do what you’re doing, and multiply yourself?

    anyway, won’t like to get into outsourcing, as your post is on FB, just wanted to get this off my chest… LOL

    • haha, thanks for chiming in, John. I’m a big believer in outsourcing and it definitely has it’s place. It can be a huge benefit to one’s business when used effectively.

  6. I have been blogging since 4 months but still only few people like my facebook page. though i get lot of views to my blog and have add the facebook widget.

  7. I appreciate your great post! If we can conform proper utilize of this most popular social networking site then we will get this benefits. This tips are really helpful to get benefited with facebook.
    Thanks:)

  8. It is amazing all of the nooks and cranys of Facebook. I had no idea that such thing even existed. Now I’ll have to set aside an afternoon to play with them. I don’t know whether to thank you for opening this up to me or condemn you for putting another task on my plate.))

  9. This article Clearly Resembles that You have Done a lot of Study about Facebook Ads, as it Cost you to Loose some amount of Dollars(it Cost me too with No Output), I tried different Strategies to Increase Facebook Fans, but Most unique factors you mentioned here are Facebook Apps and Offers, I never thought about using them.
    I will try them and will see What output it will give. I am pretty sure it will be positive, Thank You

    • Hi Ravi, yes, it’s all about testing and then testing some more. Keep trying different strategies until you find something that works and then do more of it. I have a ton of free content and videos on my site if you’d to reference it: rickmulready.com.

  10. we all know that Facebook is very popular social network and by these we can get hug amount of traffic and these tips are very helpful thanks for sharing..

  11. Thanks for these superb tips, I have never thought about using facebook in that way. I will try them and will see What output it will give. Thank You

  12. I was always in confusion about Facebook. And I actually didn’t have much luck with Facebook and couldn’t get traffic from it. Maybe I was doing it in wrong way. When I first tried with a new ad campaign, all I got was few hundred likes and couple of traffics from regular update. I seriously have to say thank you Rick for sharing this really helpful Facebook marketing guide. I really appreciate your effort on writing these tips.

    Best,
    Anup

  13. Nice post Rick !
    I am always looking for new ways to grow my list and I am going to try using Facebook how you have explained.
    Thanks for sharing :)

  14. Hi Rick,
    I added a newsletter opt in form on my fanpage last year and it really helped me get more subscribers. I understand FB going public and wanting to monetize their users but I don’t like that only a small amount of people actually see my posts.

    So what I do is use my personal page on FB to market my site. This works much better since most of my friends are fans of my blog anyway.

  15. Great insights on Facebook lead generation techniques. As a marketer one needs to optimize the social profiles as well for maximum ROI. With Facebook being one of the largest online hangout spots, with millions of users at any given point in time. It important that we focus on generating leads from Facebook. Thanks again for the detailed article.

    • You bet, Eddie. Great summary there. And, with the search engines looking more and more at the social platforms, it’s even more important to ensure our businesses are well represented.

    • I hear you, Leon. It’s not for everyone. I just go back to the comparison to email marketing and the likes of Twitter. Not everyone is going to see what we put out there and FB gives us a chance to do that.

  16. You are right rick, I have been using facebook as a marketing tool for few of my eCommerce stop, It is good as comparison with Google adwords.. it seems like facebook is winning now days..:)

  17. Excellent post Rick Mulready. Like many others I also didn’t liked the paid version of FB to show posts in the newsfeeds of fans and was hesitant to invest in that. But what we can do, Afterall FB has over 1 billion users :D

    Also a great Thanks for notifying newsletter subscription option within facebook. I wasn’t aware of this, but surely It gonna add great value.

  18. Great post! Now this answers some of my questions regarding Facebook especially on the EdgeRank update they made. Thanks also for the suggestions you shared.

  19. Excellent post. I think that most of the people does not know how to use Facebook marketing in the right way. Those who know how to market the product in the right way or right direction will always get the leads and they can grow their Email list. :)
    Thank you

  20. Hi Rick… some interesting things to try out – thanks. Have not had the best experience with Facebook so far – found the ads quite pricey and definitely fell into the category you mention of people that didn’t see the ROI.. I know it’s going to be increasingly important to leverage social networks for bloggers though so keen to experiment some more.

  21. Hamza Sheikh

    An excellent write up.

    Lately, I have seen many people talking about the Facebook Offers, and get time to test it personally by setting up an account over Facebook Advertise Manager.

    Facebook Offers is very awesome internet marketers, and the business owners. It makes their work a lot easier, and one can easily get thousands of referrals and leads to its business by spending some bucks over Facebook.

  22. To achieve success in social media like Facebook it is important you should know what you want to accomplish. If you are a leader of a deliver you need to figure out where you are going before making harbor.

  23. Hey Rick,
    Running giveaways or competitions (as I have recently found out) on Facebook is a great way to build a buzz and get people talking about your product, brand, or website, it’s definitely worth doing if you have not discovered this marketing route on Facebook yet.

    Cheers,
    Mark

    • Contests are a great way to build buzz on Facebook, Mark, I definitely agree! Just make sure you’re following their guidelines as they have a lot of them when it comes to contests. Thanks for adding to this discussion!

  24. Kapil

    Thanks for the tips.Its really helpful if anyone can grow his/her list with facebook. Because it is one of the best growing up brand now.

  25. Hi Rick,

    This article is great for those who want to build their list as me. I am now working on my new Facebook Fanpage, and will follow your tips to grow my list. As you say: “money is in the list”.

  26. Most of the ecommerce sites are running these offer ads, giving some sort of discount coupons during holidays so that people shop more.It’s actually quite great thing to have if you really want to promote something that will help both the parties.

  27. Hi Rick – thanks for the tip about apps… didn’t actually realise that they were that easy to create on facebook.. always assumed there would be a big investment so never really bothered with getting developers etc… will definitely try out Heyo and Aweber to get me started… thanks :)

    • Hi Steve,

      Yea, custom apps are super easy to make. ShortStack is my personal favorite. Free and it’s pretty much drag and drop. Heyo is rather easy to use as well.

      Good luck and thanks for the comment!

  28. been using facebook fan page for my site, but i haven’t done much about it.. so after reading your post I think I had to work in it too.. tnx.

  29. Well, the thing is money attracts money. You have to spend money to earn more and more. And facebook wants you to spend money. Well, I haven’t tried it but will soon in future.

    Thanks for the post.

  30. Facebook marketing is getting quite more engaging as the time goes.

    The new formula there is to curb the spammers and those that post stupid statuses.

    I really like the comparison between the “likers” and email subscribers. They can technically be the same thing!

    Thanks for the article!

  31. You’ve captured very well the current situation with Facebook as well as the popular sentiments from users, both good and bad. And great ideas for creating more engagement: I haven’t looked into custom apps too much but it definitely looks like a good idea. Especially if it might be free to try at first.

  32. I am wondering why Facebook is cutting the number of your fans who can see your status updates. I wonder why they are doing that, are you certain about this? I don’t see why I have to pay for it to be seen. Not impressed. Come one Facebook.

  33. It is amazing all of the nooks and cranys of Facebook. I had no idea that such thing even existed. Thank you so much!!!!!,,

  34. Facebook is a great way for getting exposure. We can generate more leads and generate revenue with the help of facebook. Nice article thanks for sharing it.