How to Use Facebook to Generate Leads

Posted on by Patricia Odell

With an estimated 1 billion people using Facebook, now is the time for marketers to take advantage of Facebook advertising to generate leads.

Marketers can use Facebook to target their ideal customer by demographic filtering to effectively target fans and prospective fans and influence customers and their friends. We’ve seen incredible value for locally-focused businesses with Facebook ads. While there’s been a fair amount of press around brand marketers moving away from Facebook, we would argue they haven’t found success because they haven’t developed a good set of performance indicators relevant to their brands. For us, with local businesses, it’s easy: either customers make contact or they don’t. For brand marketers, the numbers require a little more finesse. Some examples might include: a lift in brand searches driving traffic to their web site, growth in fans and interactivity, coupon redemptions, and many others.

In a recent release, Facebook has made it even easier to target within their system. Without specialized tools, one has always had the ability to drive both fan-building and direct-response from Facebook ads. Now, however, with some new targeting options, Facebook is enabling us to leverage offline contacts to reach Facebook users, including, in some cases, bringing extinct contacts back to life.

Facebook has recently added the ability to import email and phone lists to target Facebook users without demographic filtering. Using Facebook ads you avoid concerns regarding CAN SPAM which limits the kind of marketing message you can send and to whom. So, if you’ve got crusty old email and SMS lists, this is a great way to reach back out to those prospects without spamming their inbox.

We also love targeting existing “fans.” In our experience, we’ve been able to drive as much as a 17% response rate through the purchase process. We showed Facebook ads to a population who already liked our customer — the local zoo — and then followed them around the Internet with retargeting ads reminding them of the pre-holiday sale. Using off-the-shelf web site analytics, we were able to track this population from Facebook all the way through to commerce transactions on our client’s web site.

In short, our experience with Facebook is radically different than the reports of GM leaving Facebook and the local pizza place who couldn’t make a go with Facebook ads.

Savvy marketers should also take advantage of mobile Facebook ads, which have been available since May 2012. Mobile ads have great potential as it is already proven that they have a higher click-through rate than PC-delivered ads. (Mobile ads have an average 0.79% click-through rate versus about 0.32% for PC-only ads with diversified placement. Source: Ad Age)

Smaller budget advertisers can receive more leads for their money than with Google AdWords, and businesses that learn to take advantage of these ads effectively will hold prime advantage over their competitors that haven’t yet caught on.

Savvy marketers optimize and use the Facebook page as a source of traffic itself through landing pages. It’s a great source for customer engagement and can also help with reputation management. Facebook likes can translate into social product testimonials and build brand recognition, taking word-of-mouth referrals to a viral level as friends like what their friends are liking.

There’s incredible value advertising on Facebook, but ultimately it’s not about Facebook — it’s about good marketing. Without strong calls to action and a clear conversion path, there’s no way to know if any medium is effective.

Will Scott is CEO of Search Influence. He can be reached at wscott@searchinfluence.com.

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