Our clients are using them to corral leads in droves. They’re cheap. They’re effective. The targeting options are so vast and precise that finding new customers is easier than bullseyeing womp rats in your T-16 back home.
I’m talking about Facebook lead ads.
If you’re not familiar with them, lead ads are Facebook’s answer to the jaw-dropping amount of time the average person spends on his or her mobile device. It’s no secret that conversions from paid channels tend to take a hit on mobile, so the Zuck and crew decided to eliminate one of the most prohibitive steps for would-be converters: visiting your website.
Instead, with lead ads, you just choose from the Cheesecake Factory-esque menu of targeting options, create a lead form, and watch the (significantly cheaper) scorching hot leads roll in. They can be used to acquire all sorts of information, from potential consumers anywhere in the funnel.
And the best part? Contact info collected through lead ads can be used to create new audiences – both custom and lookalike – allowing you to adjust your paid efforts based on where a prospect falls in your funnel or find new, similar prospects.
Sold yet? Of course you are.
But before I delve into how you’re going to make your Facebook lead ads irresistible, here are the six simple steps you’ll need to take in order to create your first one (assuming you’ve already got a Facebook Business Manager account).
Facebook Lead Ads For Dummies
Once you’ve signed into your Business Manager account, navigate over to Power Editor.
Click the “+Campaign” button on the top left hand side of your screen to open a laundry-list of prospective campaign goals. While many will be familiar (and some more useful than others), the one you want is titled “Collect leads for your business.”
Now, let’s get granular. Choose your desired audience, targeting parameters, placements, budget, and scheduling. Discussion of this warrants a post of its own, so I won’t try to condense a thousand words into twenty. Suffice to say you know your business, your goals, and your target demo better than I do. Get everything calibrated and proceed.
The Power Editor UI will prompt you to create a new lead form or duplicate an existing form. Since we’re operating under the assumption that you haven’t done this before, you’ll only be able to select the former. For future reference, though, be sure to recycle forms when appropriate, but don’t use a single form across every lead campaign you run (especially when you’re serving lead ads to those already in your funnel).
Next, add a context card. They’re “optional,” but trust me: you want to make one. Essentially, a context card is the step between somebody seeing your lead ad and the formfill itself. Take your time crafting the copy that goes on your context card (or hire a professional). Make sure you distill your message down to the most concise version: explain what you’re offering, who you are, and why whomever is seconds from giving you their precious contact information should do so. Nothing more.
Once you’ve finished the context card, it’s time to put together your lead form itself. You’ll be given more possible fields than you’ll know what to do with…
… and that’s okay. Because for your first lead ad, we’re going to focus on just two of them: email address & full name. Why full instead of “first” and “last” as separate fields? The more boxes a prospect has to complete, the less likely they are to convert. You can use a little bit of Excel wizardry after you’ve got the data to parse names into separate columns.
Optimizing Your Facebook Lead Ads
The good news: you know how to make a Facebook lead ad!
The bad: your competition does, too.
Because your competitors are plastering your prospects’ timelines with ads, it’s important that yours stand out. Now that you know how to make a run-of-the-mill Facebook lead ad, it’s time to learn how to make an incredible (read: high converting) one.
Optimizing Targeting for Facebook Lead Ads: Lookalike A Paying Customer
Create lookalike audiences using customers, not prospects.
If you make a lookalike audience of everyone who submits, your reach will be wider, sure, but it’ll also be less qualified. By creating lookalikes of your converters instead of everyone who has submitted a lead, you’re building a more accurate profile of the sort of person who makes a purchase or becomes a client.
This model is inherently more valuable to your business than a rough estimate of the type of person who might possibly could maybe one time almost sort of be interested in what you have to offer. Niche-ing down is a good thing. Remember that.
Facebook Has More Targeting Options Than Members…
Use them to your advantage!
Get as granular as possible with your campaigns and ad sets, and don’t be afraid to experiment. Personally, I like to take any customer data I can get my hands on and look for patterns. From there, you can begin overlapping the traits you uncover using the virtually limitless targeting options available to you. Things to look for include:
- Job titles
- Average income
- Language proficiencies
Through all of these and more, you can create highly targeted campaigns outfitted with lead ads that speak directly to the traits you’ve identified.
Are you a drivers’ ed teacher looking for new students? Consider targeting parents in higher-income areas (driving lessons don’t come cheap). Flower shop or purveyor of fine chocolates? Seek out people in new relationships, show them a lead ad, and get ‘em on your email list.
Duplicate Audiences Are A Waste Of Money
Having a fat stack of ideas out the gate is great. Know what isn’t? Trying to test them all on the same audience at once. Patience is key.
According to Facebook, attempting to target the same audience with multiple lead ad campaigns can result in “under-delivery issues.”
If you’re following the advice above (ratcheting down on those lookalike audiences) and leveraging the rest of Facebook’s robust targeting options to your advantage, the initial reservoir of some-odd billion people with Facebook accounts has been dammed up and reduced to a faucet’s trickle. Your ads are only serving to small, qualified audiences. Under-delivery isn’t an option, folks!
Your Customers Sleep. Your Ads Should, Too
If you’re selling a SaaS product to large businesses, I doubt your potential customers are up at three in the morning on a Tuesday. But things change if your offering is meant for the garage-based startup, or you’ve cornered the market on glowy, pulsing rave gloves.
Ad scheduling is a great way to avoid wasting time and money serving your finely-tuned lead ads to people catching Z’s.
And once your campaigns are up and running, you can add more scheduling. If your data suggests that there are times at which prospects are highly motivated, increase bids (better yet, create a new campaign and find a way to make use of your insight in the ad copy). On the other side of that coin, if data suggests prospects simply aren’t interested in forking over their information at dinner time or 51 minutes before their mid-morning snack, scale back.
Optimizing Creative for Facebook Lead Ads
With lead ads you’re asking people to take immediate action. Unlike more traditional ad types, there’s nothing standing between the first click and the form fill (unless you count the context card, but that’s more complementary than intermediary). As such, in addition to lookin’ pretty your creative needs to do a lot of legwork.
Ensure that you pair your captivating image with clear copy. Take this Land Rover ad for example. It features concise but captivating language (the percussive consonance makes it clear this tagline wasn’t conceived on the first try). The image is striking. And check out that button. It tells the prospect exactly what he or she stands to gain by clicking.
Coupons Rule Everything Around Me
Some people won’t click on your ad no matter how well it reads or pretty it looks. When it comes to the folded armed curmudgeons in your vertical, incentivize the click.
Look at where in your sales funnel the audience you’re targeting with your lead ad falls. If it’s the very top or somewhere in the middle? Send free information or offer a subscription. Closer to the bottom? Create buy-in by offering a coupon, a free consultation, or quote.
Whatever your value proposition ends up being, if you want it to grab potential prospects, it must be clear. Emblazoned in neon. The completely irresistible version of the guy at a traffic light spinning a sign for $5 cheese pizzas.
The Context Card: Never Say No To Screen-Time
As I touched on above, the context card isn’t optional. That “optional” is just a silly April Fool’s joke Facebook forgot to remove from the Business Manager UI. In reality, context cards are necessary.
They allow you to share more information about your offering with a potential prospect in the seconds before he or she is presented with the opportunity to give you valuable information. Use the context card to:
- Highlight benefits your business provides
- Promote a special offer
- Create a double opt-in (qualify your prospects with another “are you sure” button)
Keep Prospects Informed
Let people know how and when you’ll contact them. And be sure to follow up. This isn’t really a big one if you’re just asking for an email address to get someone into your automated funnel, but if you’re advertising a free quote or audit, you must reach out. Failure to do so isn’t just a waste of your money: it makes you look unprofessional.
Labor Over Your Copy
Don’t just cut and paste the same copy every time you make a new lead campaign, and don’t jack text from your landing page. The context card is its own, standalone piece of text with a distinct job.
Sure, you can draw inspiration from content you’ve got stashed away, but rehashing it completely is a bad idea. Consider the specific audience you’re targeting with each lead ad. What information would they appreciate? Now, take that even further. What sort of language and tone would they find most appealing? Take a few stabs at writing something that will resonate and have somebody else look at it.
‘Every Prospect Under The Sun Is Completing My Forms, But I Can’t Find Their Information!’ – Every Person to try Facebook Lead Ads
You’ve made irresistible ads. People are sending you contact info faster than even your autoresponder can respond. Just one question remains…
There are currently three ways to fetch lead information from Facebook:
- Good ‘ol CSV. It ain’t pretty, but it works. Simply navigate to your Ad Set tab, find the “Results” column (illustrated below) and click the link that says “Leads(form).” You’ll want to check this frequently, as there isn’t currently any sort of notification system available to marketers.
- If you use a CRM that syncs with Facebook (so far: Marketo, Salesforce, Driftrock, Oracle, Maropost, Sailthru), your leads will magically appear there!
- The third option is above my pay grade, but it’s possible to develop a custom connection between your back end and the Facebook API. Ask your developer to explain what that means.
Now you know how to make a Facebook Lead Ad. You know how to make it awesome. You know how to track down prospect info. If you’ve got questions please feel free to get at me on Twitter or share them in the comments below.
Now get out there and woo future customers already!
How To Create Facebook Lead Ads That Convert