How to Build a Mailing List with Facebook

Facebook ads for email

Facebook Ads for Author Mailing Lists

Creating an email list of devoted readers is an essential part of running any successful business, and authors are not exempt. The challenge is increasing our list of subscribers fast enough to be able to launch books confidently.

I use a free book offer in the front and back matter of my books, plus a link on my webpage, to steadily add 120 to 300 new readers organically every month. That adds up to 1500 to 3000 additional subscribers a year without taking those who unsubscribe into consideration.

But what if I want to increase that rate to 100 – 250 subscribers daily? There are several methods for this, such as working with group promotions on sites like Bookfunnel and mass giveaways on King Sumo. However, I have noticed that the former isn’t adding new subscribers as quickly as it did a few years ago, and the latter often results in lower quality readers who only care about the giveaway. 

That’s why I love Facebook Ads.

Experimentation is Essential for Facebook Ads

I couldn’t seem to make my Facebook ads work—they were all missing something. I had doubts I’d ever get it right, and even mentioned my worries on The Creative Penn podcast.

But after a few weeks of trial and error, I got it right—and now I’m seeing amazing results in terms of my email list. You need to make sure all four components are in place for your ads to be successful.

Landing Pages equal Facebook Ad Success

Don’t rush into looking for your target audience on Facebook or finding the perfect image. Make sure you put enough work into building a powerful landing page.

If your landing page is subpar, it won’t persuade web visitors to subscribe, so do some research and find out how successful authors in your genre design their own. If you don’t spend enough time making your landing page captivating, then all of your efforts will be wasted.

Use Stock Photos in Facebook Ads

Certain authors espouse using the book cover for an ad, but I’ve found this method is often not the most successful. You need an image that looks like anything but a commercial.

You want something that will catch the reader’s eye and evoke whatever emotion you’re after–that could be excitement, love or horror. Stock photos from online sites are a cost-effective option to use in your Facebook ads.

Use Facebook Audience Targeting

For an effective advertisement, it is important to decide on the right target audience. For example, since I write dark suspense, mysteries and serial killer thrillers, I would look towards targeting fans of writers such as Thomas Harris, Dean Koontz, and Lisa Gardner.

In addition to authors, it is useful to target a genre. These days, I find it is more effective to create what Facebook calls “Lookalike Audiences” of people who share similar qualities with the intended readership. This way, the people who view my ad are more likely to enjoy my writing style.

Nail Your Headline and Description

Now that you have chosen a great image and the right people to target, you need to think like a marketer. Your Facebook ad’s title and description should be attractive and eye-catching. Additionally, it’s important to ensure that the offer is crystal clear.

A catchy headline (Download Today for FREE!) implies your offer is a no-risk prospect. The text at the top should efficiently express the genre and atmosphere of your book or offer in a few words. Quick, concise, and punchy.

Are Your Facebook Ads Successful?

Facebook provides advertisers with various measurements to evaluate the effectiveness of their marketing efforts. My latest success leverages an electronic mail registration initiative focusing on my Lookalike audience.

The CTR (clicks divided by impressions) for my ad is 10.3%. That means tone out of every ten individuals who view my ad click on the offer. To acquire a positive outcome from mailing list registrations, your CTR should be above 8%. A favorable CTR implies a cost per click that is within the tolerable range.

My ad generates a CPC of $0.18. For Facebook mailing list building, I recommend a CPC of $0.23 or less. These stats are satisfactory. Although there are people who can regularly beat these numbers, an advertisement with these numbers has good potential to deliver results.

The last statistic to analyze is the click to subscribe ratio. Mine is 3.6, which means my conversion rate is 27%. It is not perfect, but it is adequate to generate a profit. If you hit it out of the park with your CTR and CPC, yet your conversion rate stays low, then it implies that your landing page is not carrying its weight.

Are Your Advertisements Turning a Profit?

When I put all the figures together, I am spending $0.68 per follower. A reputable industry specialist believes each Facebook user is worth $0.57 per annum or $1.14 in total if they stay on our lists for around two years.

That suggests I am spending $0.68 to get a return of $1.14. With those numbers, you understand my urge to hike up my ad budget every few days. By the way, I replicated these advertisements for three different lookalike audiences in the US, and for one lookalike group each in Australia and the UK.

Even at a budget of only $10 per day for every advertisement, I am spending $50 over five ads, which add approximately 73 subscribers every 24-hour period, or more than 2000 new subscribers each month.

Based on my experience, a Facebook ad gradually loses its effectiveness after 30 to 60 days; this downturn deepens after three months. This implies that I need to boost my budget promptly. If I successfully expand my spending threshold to $30 each advertisement daily, I could gain 6000 subscribers in a month or 12000 new readers before the ad becomes inefficient.

How do you draw readers to your email list?

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