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Supporting image for How to Use Facebook Ads to Grow Your Email List – @AmyPorterfield
How to Use Facebook Ads to Grow Your Email List – @AmyPorterfield
The Agents of Change

AOCP-Pinterest-Amy-PorterfieldBy now you already know the importance of having a strong email list. It’s more than just numbers, you need to find the exact people that will engage with you, read your content, and buy your products and services. So where do you find them and how do you keep them?

Facebook ads can be an important and valuable way to find that audience, for a relatively inexpensive option. Facebook ads offer concise options for targeting – and retargeting – as well as pretty cool analytics to help you track who’s clicking your links and who isn’t.

Amy Porterfield is a social media strategy consultant who has helped countless entrepreneurs and small businesses establish strategies to boost the success of their online marketing efforts.


Rich: I’ve got Amy Porterfield on the phone, she won’t give me her bio, she told me that bios are lame, so I should just say something. So I’ll say that probably the most important thing you need to know about Amy is she’s a good friend of mine, she’s pretty awesome, actually. I’ve known her for years. You know her as the person who does the Facebook stuff, she’s pretty awesome, she knows how to build a list like nobody’s business. She can do webinars and online courses and people love her, people absolutely love Amy Porterfield.

When I had the opportunity of introducing her at Social Media Marketing World this year, I literally compared her to Taylor Swift. She’s like the Taylor Swift of Facebook because I went to go see Taylor Swift – and I’m not a huge fan – but I was amazed at how in a group of 60,000 screaming girls that she can make every single person in the audience feel like she was talking just to that one person. And Amy Porterfield has that same talent. If you listen to her podcast, you think Amy is talking to you. So Amy, welcome to the show.

Amy: I’m going to let you do my intros every single time. If you’re comparing me to Taylor, bring it on.

Rich: So I reached out to you Amy, and I had seen your presentation at Social Media Marketing World a number of times and you are great. I know you don’t love standing in front of an audience, but you’re good and now you’ve gotten so much more great.

Amy: I think you should do standup comedy sometime.

Rich: It’s been a long day, this is not even my first interview today. I know that John Lee Dumas cranks out like seven in an afternoon. The man’s a machine.

Amy: He’s a machine.

Rich: So I saw your presentation, I was duly impressed. I totally said I was going to bring this home and steal all of Amy’s ideas and I’m going to use them for flyte, for Agents Of Change, for all of our clients. So I figured why not share that with my audience, because you always bring the goods.

Now your whole thing was about Facebook ads to grow your email list. So I want to talk about Facebook ads, but first just tell me why is building your email list so important?

Amy: So I have this saying – and I know my own students get sick of hearing it – but I truly mean it. And the saying is, that the energy of your business is directly tied to the strength of your email list. And what I mean by that is when you have a really viable, engaged, relevant email list, people that truly want to hear from you, it is the best possible way to then increase revenue in your business. Because I would say social media is fickle – it’s fantastic – but it’s also fickle in the sense that you may get their attention and you may not, you might be competing with a lot of noise that day and all of your posts get lost. But when you write a really good email to a list that genuinely wants to hear from you, they open that and you have their full attention and they are the ones that are more likely to buy. So if you want more competence in creating revenue in your business, you need to have an engaged email list.

Rich: Social media is fickle? Next you’re going to tell me Facebook changes its algorithm.

Amy: Surprise.

Rich: Alright, so your promise is that creating Facebook ads that grow your email list is easy, and that you’ve actually got a process for it. So can you share that process with us? Tell us the five steps and then lets break that down a little bit more.

Amy: Ok, so I’m a girl that loves any formula or any step by step kind of process, so I’m so glad we get to do it this way. So when you want to grow your email list with Facebook ads – and specifically Facebook ads on a budget – if you don’t have a really big budget to put towards this, this is the step by step process you want to follow.  Step #1 is you want to create an epic blog post.

Rich: Alright, I guess I’ll just interrupt whenever I want to. So “epic blog post” sounds awesome – who doesn’t love epic – but what exactly in your mind makes a blog post spic?

Amy: Ok, so an epic blog post is one that people will want to share, so it’s so good and valuable that people will want to share it with other people. I’m going to give you some examples of what makes it so valuable, but it’s also a blog post that paints the picture around your core content.

So let me give you an example. I have this webinar course, and we’re going to talk about this in the sense that I use Facebook ads to sell directly, so I like to start with content but I want to sell my webinar course but I’m going to start with content. And that’s my epic blog post. So before I sell my webinar course, I create a blog post that’s called, “Four Webinar Myths And How To Avoid Them”. And the blog post is all about shaping the opportunity, starting the conversation around the opportunity of webinars, why they’re good, what they can do for your business, why you should be paying attention to webinars. I need to meet you at the very beginning, and that’s typically what an epic blog post will do.  

Now specifically you want to include examples, and stories, and images, maybe a little “how to” in that epic blog post to get people to take action and start trusting you more. Like, “Hey, this guy or this girl really know what they’re talking about, this is actually working for me.” And you want it to be actionable, you want people to sit down, read your blog post, learn something from it, and go take action. And so that’s why it’s important that you paint the picture starting with content in the form of an epic blog post.

Rich: You know what I really liked in what you said was, “meet them at the beginning”, and that’s a great point. I know from the “4 Myths” kind of approach it’s like those are also considered to be obstacles. I’m not going to start a webinar because it’s too expensive, it’s too time consuming, I won’t be able to reach the right kind of people – or whatever the myths may be – you’re able to basically poke holes in whatever their concerns may be, correct?  

Amy: Yes, exactly. We’re on the same page there.

Rich: Alright. So meet them at the beginning, I think that’s a really cool idea there. Ok, so we’ve got this epic blog post, now what?

Amy: So the second thing you want to do is you want to include a content upgrade in your epic blog post. Now a content upgrade is just basically a free giveaway. Lead magnet, premium, ethical bribe, whatever word you want to use, but I want you to include an opportunity for people to opt in and give you their name and email inside that blog post. So that’s why we call it a “content upgrade”, because they’re already reading your blog post, they’re already getting content, but if you want to give them something even better that’s through the content upgrade.

Rich: Alright, so the the content upgrade. So this is going to be something in the blog post – beginning, middle, end, whatever – I’m going to see something I assume that’s relevant to the blog post content, and then something of value add that’s going to make my life easier. Is that what I’m envisioning here?

Amy: Exactly. And I always say that with your content upgrade, you want it to be something that is so irresistible that they think, “Oh my gosh, I’ve got to have this, I’m already interested in the topic, but now you’re promising me something that’s going to allow me to go even deeper, or learn even more, or make it even easier to apply. So you’re taking them one step further with that free giveaway.

Rich: Alright, give me a couple of examples, like something that you’ve done in the past whether it’s a list or a checklist or something like that.

Amy: So what I did – remember I mentioned I have that epic blog post “4 Webinar Myths” – so to take things even further, inside that blog post I have a content upgrade – a free giveaway – where I mention the “5 Rookie Webinar Mistakes And How To Avoid Them”.  So once I’ve gotten their attention that webinars are a good thing, webinars can change your business, you’ve got to try them out, but now I take them one step further and say if you want to try them out, you’re probably a little bit nervous and don’t know where to start. So opt in and give me your name and email and I’ll give you these “5 Rookie Webinar Mistakes And How To Avoid Them”.

So now I’m kind of getting them ready to try it on for size a little, but before you do, I’ll hold your hand through the process, here’s a free giveaway.  It’s a pdf, really simple to download, they can get started right away.

Rich: I know you’re a big fan of Leadpages, I assume you’re doing this with Leadpages?

Amy: I am. So I love the boxes, specifically. So if you went to one of my blog posts – one that had a content upgrade – I usually use these big, yellow, bars that says, “click here to get your freebie”. So you click on one of the big, yellow bars and a popup box appears – it’s a lead box – and it just says sign up here to get your free giveaway. I don’t do this with all of them, sometimes I just take them to an opt in page off my blog post, but the lead boxes are pretty cool and really simple.

Rich: Ok, so we’ve got our epic blog post, we’ve got our content upgrade, what’s the next step for us?

Amy: So real quick before I get to the next step, with that content upgrade, sometimes people are going to say , “Well I don’t know exactly what I should create. What do you think would be the best thing for me to create in terms of getting people to want to give me their name and email?” And you want to eventually lead people to buy, so I’ve got this great question you can ask yourself. So when you’re thinking about your free giveaway ask yourself, before someone buys your product, what do they need to know, be aware of, or understand, in order to want or need your product, program or service? When you ask yourself that question you typically can identify maybe a free, easy giveaway that will help them start to understand why they need what you’re going to sell them eventually. So it’s kind of setting the stage, I call it “priming the pump”. So that’s just one way to think about it.

Rich: Let me turn this interview into free coaching for myself. So let’s say we’ve got an event  – call it the Agents Of Change Digital Marketing Conference, just as an example – so I’m trying to get more people onto my mailing list because I happen to know that email sells in a way that social media can’t. So what might my epic blog post be that might attract my ideal customer? I mean, people have probably been to events in the past, what might you do in a situation like that if an event is what you’re selling people on here?

Amy: So I think I would start out with talking about the content that you’re going to teach them at this event. So I wouldn’t even mention the live event with the epic blog post, it would be more about “The 5 Lessons of XYZ”, or whatever it might be. So I’d talk about some of the content that they really need to know and understand in order for their business to thrive. And in there I would do a free giveaway to take that to the next level. So maybe you want to help them apply those lessons you teach in the blog post, so give them a freebie, “5 Steps To Apply X”.

So as you see, I’m not even mentioning the live event. Now where I would mention the live event  would then be in the emails that follow. So I’m so glad you asked that because a lot of people want to sell sooner than they should, they want to mention the live event as part of the freebie. No, we’re not even there yet. You’ve got to prime the pump and really nurture the audience.

Rich: That’s actually a really good point, because you wouldn’t be talking about the benefits of a video course, you’d be talking about whatever the benefits are and what you would learn in that course.

Amy: Yes. So take away the “what it is”, but focus more on what you’re teaching. The content versus the actual feature of it.

Rich: Alright, awesome. So let’s go back to helping other people and not just Rich. You talked about before somebody buys your product what do they need to know and be aware of and understand, where do we go from here once we know that?

Amy: So step three is you want to create an opt in page and a thank you page. And I kind of alluded to this already, but once you have your epic blog post then you add in your content upgrade – that freebie – and it might just be an image that people click on, and either you can take them to an opt in page, which is a page off your specific blog post that they’re seeing where they give you their name and email in exchange for their free giveaway, or you could do a lead box which is what I do for a lot of mine.  

You also want a thank you page. So you want an opt in page where people give you their name and email, and then once they give you their name and email, you want to send them to a thank you page that says, “ok, go check your email we’ve got your information, we’ve just sent you your freebie”. And you can do some other cool things on a thank you page if you want me to talk about that as well.

Rich: Sure, give us some ideas.

Amy: So one of the reasons why I love Leadpages – and I talk about this tool a lot because there’s a lot of functionality there – but they have templates for thank you pages. One of their templates that I really like is a template that has a video feature on it, so you can add a video and below it you could add a button to have them go do something.

What I like to do is once someone opts in it goes to a thank you page and I might make a quick video, “thank you so much for opting in to get my free giveaway, I can’t wait for you to get your hands on it, go check your email, it’s there. But in the meantime, why don’t you go meet me on my Facebook page, make sure to click ‘like’ so you can get notifications when I post something new.” You want to get them to engage with you, and if they’re now going to ‘like’ your Facebook page or maybe even encourage them to sign up for your webinar or whatever it is, don’t lose their attention on the thank you page. Have them do something, people want to be told what to do next, and a thank you page is a great place to do that.  

Rich: Alright, so I think we’ve gotten the first three steps done, and we still haven’t started talking about Facebook ads.

Amy: It’s step four, we’re there.

Rich: Ok, good, I was starting to get worried here. Alright, so step four, what do we do next?

Amy: Real quick, I won’t get on the soapbox about this but I’m glad you brought that up. A lot of people are just thinking, “How do I use Facebook ads?” But if you don’t have a system – kind of like a funnel – which is basically what we’re teaching here, Facebook ads are worthless. So you do need to think about all the stuff that happens before Facebook ads, and that’s what we just did. So I’m glad you brought that up because it is important.

But now let’s talk about what we’re here for, the Facebook ad. So now that you have the epic blog post, the content upgrade, a page to collect the names and emails, and a thank you page, now it’s time to run your Facebook ad. What’s important to remember here is that the Facebook ad that you’re creating is driving traffic from Facebook to your blog post. So the Facebook ad is going to highlight your blog post content. It’s not going to highlight your freebie, it’s surely not going to highlight anything you’re selling. It literally is just getting people interested enough to click to read your blog post.

Rich: Alright, so if I have a session on the importance of live video at my conference, this ad is not going to be talking about the conference, it’s just going to be talking about live video, and then we’re going to send them to a blog post about the importance of live video.

Amy: Exactly. Because we just want to get them over to your blog.

Rich: Does Facebook treat ads that point to content differently than they treat ads that point to an opt in page?

Amy: Yes. So this is why I talk about this strategy being Facebook ads on a budget. Because when you run a Facebook ad to a blog post and there is no opt in that is keeping people from getting the content right away, Facebook rewards that. So let me be really clear, if someone clicks your ad and you take them to your blog post and they get to read the blog post and then they see an opportunity to opt in, Facebook likes that because you’re not making any barrier to get the content. Because of that, they tend to charge less per click. So on average you’re going to pay around $0.20 per click – maybe a little bit more – but you’re going to pay a lot less per click when you send people to a blog post versus if you send them directly to a page where people opt in to get a freebie or sign up for your webinar.

Rich: Interesting. So if I’m doing a “stay and golf” package in Arizona, I’m going to pay less if I send them to a blog post that talks about the “10 Best Arizona Golf Courses” and then maybe has that content upgrade, rather than if I just send then to some page with my sales material on it.

Amy: Exactly.

Rich: Alright, that makes a lot of sense.

Amy: You’re a fast learner.

Rich: Well, this is the second or third time I’ve gone through it, just for those of you playing along at home. So we talked a little about what you should expect to pay and why it’s less expensive. What are some other good tips to make these ads more effective, because we obviously want people to click on it?

Amy: Yes. So remember that people are on Facebook to be social, to have fun, to be entertained. So when you write a blog post, I want you to write it as though you’re writing just to one person – which is kind of “Marketing 101” – it’s that marketing speak that we see so often. So what I mean by that is that you could just say, “Brand new post up on the blog all about XYZ. Make sure to check out tip #3, it’s one of my best.” So tell them what they’re going to see when they click, tell them what to pay close attention to, but just keep it really light. Those are the ads that tend to get the most clicks.

Rich: That makes a lot of sense.

Amy: Also, a few more quick things. Try out some new images. So what I do is I typically  try out three different images. One might be the exact image that I used on the blog post, so they see the image in the ad and then they see the same image in the blog post and it creates a familiar experience right away. People get a little bit wary about clicking on ads, it’s like, where are you really taking me. So if they see something familiar right away, it builds trust. So that’s one way to do it.

Another way to do it is just have an image created that has the title of the blog post maybe with some bright colors. I don’t know what it is, but yellow always beats out all of my other images that were different colors that I try. So maybe try an image with bright yellow in it, it grabs attention.

And then sometimes I try an image with my headshot in it. So if your audience is really familiar with you, you could actually put your headshot in the actual image with the blog post title, and that could grab people’s attention as well. So there’s different things you could play around with the images.

Rich: Ok, and I love the idea of doing some A/B split testing on that. But we want to make sure the ad copy is focused on the content of the blog, we want to be casual and personable – at least maybe be true to our brand – whatever that may be.

Amy: Yes, that’s a great point.

Rich: And then we should definitely play around with some different ad images and kind of test them and see which ones are most effective. And you can do that all through the Ad Manager or Power Editor.

So let’s talk for a minute about the Facebook ad pixel. Which is, I believe, your nemesis, right?

Amy: Number five is my nemesis, and it’s step number five. So step #5, once you have your ad created, you want to add the Facebook pixel to your opt in page and your thank you pages. So let’s talk about this. Rich jokes that I do not like the pixel because I’m not a techie kind of girl, I don’t like anything that has to do with coding, and Facebook pixel is code. And it looks really scary if you ask me. However, there’s a lot of different “how to” videos on how to use the Facebook pixel and it’s way easier than you might think.

But what I want you to know just for the sake of this little mini training, is that you’re going to place the Facebook pixel on your opt in page in the backend of your opt in page, and on your thank you page. And the reason why that’s so important is for two reasons. One, if somebody comes to your opt in page but they do not hit your thank you page, that means they didn’t opt in. Now Facebook will track that and allow you to retarget those that came to the opt in page but they didn’t yet opt in.

Sometimes people get distracted, they need a few more introductions to you to actually want to give you their name and email, so you might want to try it again. So getting in front of those people that didn’t actually opt in yet is always a good thing.

Another thing you want to do, as I mentioned, is put the pixel on your thank you page because Facebook can then track that someone came to your opt in page and they hit your thank you page, so that means they opted in. So that way Facebook can tell you how many people actually opted in after clicking on your Facebook ad. So it’s all about analytics and tracking.

Rich: And I would also assume that keeps us from continuing to advertise to that person, as well.

Amy: Yeah. So then you can say if 100 people opted in, you can take those 100 people and you can stop marketing to them, you can actually exclude them in your next campaign.

Rich: Right. Or target them with a new campaign.

Amy: Yeah, even better.

Rich: I want to get into the weeds for a minute here. I’m not going to get technical on you, but you mentioned that we’re putting the Facebook pixel in two places, one is the opt in page and one is the thank you page. So when you say the “opt in” page, you also mentioned that you like lead boxes, which I know you click on a link or a button and you get a little pop up window usually. So when you say “opt in page”, are you talking about the blog post or are you talking about that lead box from Leadpages?

Amy: Such a good question. So actually I failed to mention that I would also put the Facebook pixel on that specific blog post. So I’m going to back up a little bit, I would add the Facebook pixel to that specific blog post because then you can track how many people are actually hitting the blog post – whether they opt in or not – you can create a custom audience of all these people that are genuinely interested in the topic of your blog post. So you want to put it there. If you’re using a lead box, that’s a whole different ballgame. I’m not actually talking about placing the pixel there. I’m talking about if you were using a stand alone opt in page, you’re going to put the pixel there.

Rich: Ok. Can you put tracking Facebook pixels on lead boxes?

Amy: I was really hoping you weren’t going to ask me that. I’m not sure.

Rich: We’re going to track down the answer and we’re going to give the answer to Amy for sure, because she wants to know.

[Ed: It appears you can. Here’s Leadpages’ how-to. And here’s a related video.]

Amy: Please.

Rich: Now you’ll have to go to the transcription, the show notes, because we’ll have it there as well.

Amy: See, now I just see a great opportunity to get people to your blog post with the show notes. It’s a little teaser, everybody, we’ll have the answer there.

Rich: Ok, you heard it here first. Alright, so we even talked about retargeting, so we’re really moving along well here. Do you have any tips, specifically, around ad retargeting?

Amy: Yeah, so let’s talk about this. Just really fast for those of you who aren’t yet familiar with Facebook advertising, retargeting means that you’ve already attracted an audience with your Facebook ads, and now because Facebook tracks so well who has visited your blog post, you can get out in front of those same visitors again and tell Facebook to show your ad to everybody who actually visited this specific blog post. Retargeting is incredibly valuable because I say it’s like you’re going after a warm audience. They already showed that they were interested, so now you get to go out in front of them again.

Now here’s how I like to use it. I do a lot of webinars and so I’ll do this whole funnel that I just told you all about, and then when I go to sign people up for my webinar and I run ads to a webinar page, I’ll retarget all this traffic that I attracted during this funnel because I know that the whole epic blog post was about the topics I’m going to talk about on my webinar. So you see how that all kind of starts to come together, you can get back in front of that audience.

Rich: Makes sense, absolutely. Now I’m a big fan of lookalike audiences, is that something that you use a lot, Amy?

Amy: I love lookalike audiences. So to help people understand what that means, a lookalike audience would be if you have attracted a couple thousand people to your Facebook page, and then you tell Facebook to go find more people that are very similar to the ones I’ve already worked on attracting to my Facebook page. So go find more people like these few thousand I have as Facebook fans. And because Facebook knows way too much about us anyway, they’re really good at finding more people like those you’ve already attracted. You could do this with your own email list, you can upload your email list and tell Facebook to go find more people like those on my email list. And you can do it with these different audiences you’re attracting to your blog and opting in and all that great stuff. It works really, really well.

Rich: I agree, I love it, too. When we put on little workshops here in town – sometimes I’ll do them with Constant Contact – and we upload our email list and we usually do advertise to our email list, but we also do lookalike audiences and then we also add filters. Because we know that people are not going to travel too far for these little workshops, so we take the lookalike audiences but we still file it down using filters like geography, for example.

Amy: So smart. I love that strategy.

Rich: I also know that you love to target other Facebook pages. So tell us how you snipe the fans of other Facebook pages.

Amy: Yes. So you joke about that, but I am constantly talking to people that tell me they target my fans all the time because they’re really active and engaged. But this is totally white hat, it’s something that everybody does and it’s something I do every single day. So I want to make sure people are clear about how it works.

Basically you can run an ad and say you want to target the fans of these specific Facebook pages. So you tell Facebook to go actually attract the fans of – for example – pages that are your competitors, or pages that have fans aligned with what you’re selling. So let me give you an example of alignment. If I’m selling a list building course, I might target the fans of AWeber or Mailchimp and their Facebook pages, because I know they’re attracting people that want to grow their email list. AWeber and Mailchimp don’t know that I’m targeting their fans, it’s totally on the up and up, although it sounds a little sneaky everytime I talk about it, I have to admit.

Rich: Now I’ve also noticed that sometimes I can go in and I can target  a Facebook page, and then other times when I try to similarly target that same page, it just disappears. Is that just the flakiness of Facebook?

Amy: It is, it’s a weird Facebook glitch. Sometimes you can target the Facebook pages, sometimes you can’t. So you just gotta keep at it and just keep trying different Facebook pages.

Rich: Amy, this has been awesome as always, you always enlighten us with great information.

Amy: You think it was your best one you’ve ever done?

Rich: It was the best one I’ve ever done with you on it, for sure. Ao anyways, where can we find you online?

Amy: You can find me at amyporterfield.com, or facebook.com/amyporterfield. Thank you so very much for having me. I always love to come on your show, it’ so much fun.

Rich: Alright, Amy will be back next week then as we introduce something else. Thanks, Amy.

Show Notes:

  • If you loved what Amy had to say about Facebook ads, head on over to her website for more great content, check her out on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter. (Tell her Rich Brooks sent you!)
  • To hear more valuable information that you can apply to your own business in the areas of search, social and mobile marketing, make sure you grab your ticket to the Agents Of Change Digital Marketing Conference coming in September. You won’t want to miss it!AOCP-FB-Amy-PorterfieldAOCP-FB-Amy-Porterfield