While email is the closest thing to direct communication in the digital age, few people would gripe about a drought hitting their inbox. The average person can expect a spate of 90 new emails today, and by 2019, that number will rise to an estimated 96.
Still, cultivating a healthy email list and reaching out to consumers is an essential aspect of growing a business—even though the numbers may suggest otherwise. A survey of nearly 400 digital marketers found that almost one-half of them use Facebook to capture emails, but their efforts were only effective 31 percent of the time.
The truth is that a list populated with opt-in subscribers is an invitation to engage. Those people want to hear more from you, and this makes all the difference in the potential for a fruitful exchange.
Get on the same page as your target customers
Building a list takes time, of course, and starting from scratch can be challenging and confusing for business owners. That’s exactly why Facebook is a great place to start.
With roughly 1.65 billion monthly active users, it’s the largest social network around, making it an effective medium for gaining not only followers, but also high-quality email subscribers. Facebook provides the rare opportunity to put your brand in front of people who have never heard of it before and, likely, never would without its ad functionality.
But using the platform effectively isn’t always easy. A basic checklist can guide you through the process so that nothing is overlooked and you can make the most of a Facebook campaign to attract more opt-in email subscribers.
Here’s a quick breakdown of what you need to consider:
- Ad units: Determining the ad unit that’s best-suited to reach your goals is the first step. For growing email lists, lead ads are effective for driving traffic to a specific lead-generation landing page. This is where you can capture people’s email addresses with a form directly on Facebook, but you should always test this against sending traffic to a lead-generation landing page on your website.
- Ad creative: Providing context for the user to highlight your value proposition is also important. Include an incentive for users to share their email addresses. Create multiple variations of your ad and forms to test what works and what doesn’t. Above all else, be sure to let consumers know what you expect from them. Your ad should clearly state that emails must be submitted to receive the offer. Otherwise, you risk frustrating a potential customer and ending up with a one-and-done exchange.
- Targeting: Facebook’s targeting options—by demographics, preferences and behaviors, to name a few–allow you to select the attributes of your target audience. This makes all of the difference in building a high-quality email database. Start off by using historical data about your customer base to segment multiple target audiences. From there, create custom audiences by loading your current database into Facebook. To gain even more reach, leverage the platform’s lookalike audiences function to target similar customers.
- Testing and optimization: When testing and optimizing a Facebook email drive, you must consider a number of factors that often vary by industry vertical, including Creative refresh (click-through rates and conversions can drop drastically after running the same creative to the same audiences for more than one week. A creative refresh can keep your ads performing), test timing (look at when an ad performs the best, and adjust the frequency and schedule based on your findings) and waterfall testing (the process of finding the best combination of images and headlines for your target audience. This entails delivering a variety of images with the same headline to users and choosing the combination that yields the greatest traction).
- Measuring: Measuring is just as it sounds. To make sound decisions based on real data, measure your Facebook ad spend in relation to certain key metrics, such as the number of newly acquired email subscribers, open rates, CTRs and cost per action. This will ensure that your future actions are effective.
When one of the largest general-interest trade book publishers wanted to improve its email databases to promote one of its bestselling authors, it opted to use a sweepstakes, so two offers were created for A/B testing. After the images, headlines and audience were settled on, the promotion dropped, and the Facebook ad generated 60,000 emails–37 percent more than expected.
What’s more, that list can also be used to improve your social media following. Take theSkimm, for example. The company always includes a social element in its correspondence with subscribers, providing the option for users to easily share its articles and newsletters via Facebook and Twitter. Consequently, of its more than 1 million subscribers, 500,000 are also followers of theSkimm on social media.
So why not try Facebook if you’re seeking to quickly cultivate a thriving email list? It’s all about leveraging the tools available to you to reach more potential customers. When done properly, the subscribers will come pouring in, and your brand will be immersed in a sea of new followers and fans, all inviting you to tell them more about it.
Robert Glazer is the founder and managing director of performance marketing firm Acceleration Partners.
Image courtesy of Shutterstock.