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As digital marketers, our number one priority is driving demand for the businesses we represent. Often, marketers gain a reputation for being annoying and intrusive, in part because of historical cold calling practices and list-buying techniques that put people off.
Today, successful inbound marketers understand the value of finding and pulling in (as opposed to pushing away) the right people to buy our products and services, which is what lead generation is all about.
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Not sure what lead generation is or why it’s helpful for your business? It all begins by defining “what is a lead.”
What is a lead?
You could think of a lead as a potential customer; someone you’re trying to convince to buy your products. But a better way to think about leads is people who have shown interest in your product or service through some action.
In the past, businesses saw leads as contact information on a list they bought to cold call. These were “potential customers” based on some interest or target grouping. But today, a lead has actually indicated interest in YOUR product or service by taking an action in some way.
For example, imagine you're searching “how to find great tutors in your area” on Google. If you receive an email the next day from the education center the information you clicked on, it would be much less intrusive than if you randomly received a cold call from education centers offering tutoring services because you happened to be 16-years old.
From a digital marketing standpoint, it’s also a better use of time to reach out to the people who indicate interest in your products than reaching out to lots of people on a list.
The Basics of Lead Generation
If leads are people who express interest in your product or service, lead generation is the process of attracting and converting strangers into leads.
For marketers, this process means finding ways to warm potential leads up to your products and services. Lead generation isn’t about blasting your product messages to the world. Instead, finding leads is about providing real people with tools and information to introduce them to the problems your products or services help solve.
How to Get Leads
You may or may not have had a basic understanding of lead generation before landing on this page, but regardless, you might be looking for ways to actually get leads.
The traditional way to actually get information about people visiting your website or information is through a lead form. A lead form is simply a way to collect information, like an email address, name, phone number, or contact information, about the people reading your information.
Using lead forms in practice is pretty simple. Here’s an example of how it works at HubSpot.
First, we create an awesome piece of content that potential customers might want to read. For example, we created Blistering Review. It’s a great piece of content that syncs up well with our target audience: content and digital marketers looking to use SEO strategies to drive demand for their business.
Next, we create a landing page that gates the piece of content. “Gating” is another term for requiring the user to submit information through a form in order to receive the free offer or content they’re looking for.
Once the user submits their name and email address, we now know who is actually accessing our content. Now, that website user is an actual name in our CRM system, which allows the marketers at our company to better qualify prospects for our sales team.
The form submission via a landing page is the classic method digital marketers use to generate leads from offers, but savvy marketers are always looking for new ways to get leads, which brings us to Facebook Lead Ads.
As marketers, it’s our job to meet people where they’re spending time in order to attract them to our products and services. Facebook has more than 1.23 billion daily active users, which makes it a prime location for marketers to attract customers.
With so many people using and interacting with Facebook everyday, Facebook is a great social network for marketers and advertisers to utilize when they’re trying to generate leads organically or through paid promotions.
Marketers often use Facebook as an organic channel to promote discounts, offers, and content. Doing so helps turn social followers into leads by pointing them to the traditional lead form on landing pages. For more help with your overall Facebook Marketing Strategy, check out our guide.
But Facebook is also a great way to find leads who aren’t already familiar with your brand. Facebook’s ad platform, for example, helps advertisers drive new traffic to their website through a variety of ad types.
One of the many facebook ad types, the Facebook Lead Ad, is what we’ll focus on now.
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In a traditional lead generation conversion path, users are driven to a landing page where they fill out a form. They might have first interacted with your information via an ad or post on Facebook, for example, and then in order to collect their lead information, they’re required to leave Facebook altogether to go to the website’s landing page.
This method can be great for finding high quality leads; you’re finding people who are willing to go through that effort of filling out a form to obtain your content. If they’re willing to fill out the form, it means they really want access to the helpful content and expertise you are providing them to help them grow their businesses, which makes them a high-quality lead. However, the form does present a problem: it takes effort to fill it out, which means you will always miss out on highly qualified prospects that don’t want to take the time to fill out the form.
Luckily, Facebook Lead Ads are a good solution to that problem.
Facebook lead ads are an ad type advertisers and marketers can buy through the Facebook for Business platform. Instead of sending users to a landing page where they’ll fill out a lead form on your website, Facebook lead ads allow potential customers to access your offers without ever leaving the Facebook app.
This feature means you can capture lead information from the Facebook platform and avoid the friction of a longer click-through path for the user.
Facebook lead ads allow prospects to sign up for your offers or request other types of offers -- such as pricing guides, product demos, or free trials directly within the Facebook platform. Facebook lead ads are also designed with the user in mind; when a user clicks on a lead ad, Facebook creates an autofill form with information the user has already submitted to Facebook. This experience limits friction for the user. The use of the autofill form creates a seamless experience, thus getting better form conversion rates.
How Do Facebook Lead Ads Work?
Facebook Lead Ads work similarly to any other Facebook ad type. First, the advertiser sets up an ad through Facebook’s ads manager or power editor. Advertisers can customize targeting features, creative assets, and budget to make sure the ad reaches the advertiser’s target audience.
Facebook then uses the information set up by the marketer to show ads to people that might be your potential customers.
The ad is then displayed in a user’s news feed as a sponsored post. The Lead Ad looks similar to an organic facebook post but is designated as a “sponsored post”.
Lead Ads work through the promotion of a lead generation offer. For example, say your business wants to increase the number of sign ups to your product by offering a 15% discount when they sign up free information.
To access the code, the user has to submit information through a lead form. When the users see this code promoted on a Facebook Lead Ad, the user can click the ad, and a form will appear. Facebook will show the user an autofill form with additional options based on the customization settings the advertiser has set.
The user can then edit the information before submitting. Once the user submits the information, the company receives the user's information and can nurture them through the sales process similarly to the conventional lead generation process.
Benefits of Facebook Lead Ads
Facebook Lead Ads have a few important benefits for both the prospect and the business.
Most importantly, Facebook lead ads are particularly beneficial for mobile users, who otherwise have a disrupted user experience by switching between apps from Facebook to your website.
With lead ads, users can submit their information through an autofill form without ever leaving the app.
Lead ads are also beneficial for the advertiser because they capture potential customers’ information without having to create a new landing page or conversion path. Instead, lead ads are a way for users to show direct interest in a product by specifically requesting more information about what they see.
This makes those users who fill out a lead ad form highly qualified for your product or service.
How to Set Up a Facebook Lead Ad
Ready to set up your first lead ad? First things first, ensure you check with your operations and legal business departments to ensure Facebook Lead Ads fall in line with the policies in place for your company. You’ll need to review any form fields your company plans to ask and make sure your intent falls in lines with Facebook’s lead ads policies.
Start by preparing to set up your lead ad. You’ll need a few things beforehand:
·Admin access to your Facebook Business Page
·An image/creative asset to make your ad stand out on a user’s newsfeed
Next, open up the power editor or ads manager tool for your business page
Not sure which to use? The ads manager is Facebook’s classic ad tool for basic advertisers. If you’re just starting out, the ads manager is probably the tool you should use.
On the other hand, the power editor is Facebook’s more advanced tool for advertisers that are creating lots of ad campaigns in bulk often. It has some more advanced features and allows you to create more ads in bulk. This tool is ideal for someone with a high budget at an enterprise level.
Step by step instructions once you’re in the Ads Manager or Power Editor tool:
1. If you’re using the Ads Manager, Click “Create Ad” in the top right. If you’re using the power editor, Click “Create Campaign” in the top left.
2. Next, you’ll see a screen asking for your ad campaign objective. Click, “lead generation” and the page will pull down with the next option:
3. Name your ad campaign.
4. Next, set the details of your account (Country, Timezone, Ad Unit Currency). This step is part of setting up the ads account for your business, not for the actual ad you’re setting up. We’ll get to the ad setup in a bit.
5. Choose your business page from the dropdown and make sure to read through and Accept the Facebook Lead Ads Terms and Conditions.
6. Set up the targeting settings for your ad. You can customize the target audience by location, age, gender, language, and hundreds of other target settings. As you add in more targeting features, the ticker on the right will show you the total size of the audience you’re trying to reach.
7. Next, tell Facebook whether to automatically place your ad where it’s most likely to perform best or if you’d like to customize the placement based on your own preferences. In general, it’s recommended to let Facebook place your ads automatically.
8. Next, customize your budget for the ad. Make sure you’ve determined with your team how much budget you’re willing to spend for one ad. Facebook ads works on an auction system, so make sure to choose a budget that seems reasonable based on prior research.
9. Choose an ad layout format from the options on the next screen, and upload creative assets to your ad to make it stand out. Don’t forget to test different creative options and layouts to figure out what performs best over time.
10. Now it’s time to set up and customize the form for your lead ad. First, customize the headline, text, and CTA for the display page of the ad. Be as specific as possible so the user knows what they will get by clicking on the CTA of your ad.
11. Next, choose which information you want to collect from from your leads on the “questions” tab. Make sure to only ask necessary questions for your funnel; the more questions you ask, the lower your click-through rate is likely to be.
·One benefit of lead ads is that they’re completely customizable. Not only can you request common form fields such as name, phone number, and email address, you can also ask an open-ended questions such as, “what kinds of information do you find valuable?” While an open-ended question may not be best for all forms, you can use an open-ended question to qualify the submissions you do receive on your lead ad form.
13. Finally, you’re ready to customize the Thank Your Screen. Insert your website link in this option so the user can visit your site after submitting the form.
14. Check the completed ad to make sure all of your work looks like it should. Don’t ever forget to double check and proofread your work!
15. Click “finish” to complete your form. Optionally, you can “select a CRM” to collect submission information in the Leads Setup section.
16. The final step is to click the “Place Order” button.
Examples of Lead Ads in Practice
Now you know how to set up your own Facebook ads and why it’s beneficial for your company. If you’re like most advertisers, you probably want some concrete examples of what these ads look like for the user.
Imagine scrolling through your newsfeed, looking through friend’s posts, photos, status, and content.
Then you come across this sponsored post:
It looks like any other sponsored facebook ad, but when you click “sign-up,” instead of directing you to a completely different website, this pop-up form appears:
Your information is now autofilled and you can edit or add additional information requested to get the offer you’re signing up for:
After pressing submit, a confirmation window appears and you’re given the option to click out of the pop up and back to your newsfeed:
If you’re looking for more information right away, the ad flow also gives you a landing page to check out if you are looking to click out of the Facebook app right away:
As you can see, the lead flow user experiences from the facebook lead ad is much more seamless than it would be if the user was taken to an outside website right away. When you consider the importance of mobile, this experience is essential.
Looking for more examples of Facebook Lead Ads from the user perspective? Here are a few more:
Drive traffic, increase fan engagement, and save time on social media.
We’ve gone through the basics of how to set up the logistics of your ad and shown great examples of lead ads to create for your own efforts.
You might be wondering, however, “who should I actually be targeting with Facebook lead ads?”
While there are thousands of different ways you could setup your targeting for any given ad campaign, there are 5 primary filters you should care about: location, demographics, interests, behaviors, and connections.
Location - Use the location setting to choose people to target in a certain area by country, state, city, zip code, etc. If you’re a store front-only Connecticut shop with English-only marketing materials, you probably shouldn’t waste your ad spend on ads targeting people in Brazil who won’t be able to access your products. That said, if you’re a larger ecommerce store, use wider location features like state or country to target more people.
Examples of location options to choose from:
Demographics - Think about your buyer persona [Don’t have one? Click here to make one] and the target audience for your campaign. Are most of your current customers women? Or, are you looking expand the market for your products among college students? Use demographic data like age, gender, language, etc. to really hone in on your target persona’s demographic characteristics.
Some examples of demographic data you can choose from:
·Education (degree, school, field of study)
·Political Affiliation (US Conservative, US Liberal, etc)
·Work (Job titles)
·Company (Size, industry)
·Relationship Status (Single, in a relationship, length of relationship and/or marriage)
·Recent life events (new job, just had a baby, just got married, recently moved)
Interests - Use interests targeting to target buyer personas that might be more specific, like a bike store trying to target people who have expressly shown interest in bikes on Facebook.
Examples of interest targeting features include:
·The business or industry an individual works in (marketing, technology, construction, sales, health care, etc).
·Hobbies and activities (biking, sports, travel, politics & social issues, etc.)
·Entertainment (games, movies, music, TV)
·Shopping and fashion (beauty, clothing, shopping, etc.)
Behaviors - Behavior-driven ads are some of the most powerful to use for specific lead generation campaigns. Remember, generating leads is action-driven; a lead is someone who has expressed actual interest in your product or service in some way. For instance, say someone recently read one of your blog posts or looked at one a few products on your site. Using these types of behaviors to drive the targeting of your ads is a great way to use lead generation ads.
Examples of behavior targeting:
·Web activity (clicked a link on your site, read an article, came to one of your landing pages, added an item to their cart and left it, spent money online, created a facebook event, etc.)
·Mobile device users (using a tablet or mobile device via brand, new tablet owner, etc.)
·Traveling (intending to travel, commuter, returned from trip, checked into a new location, etc.)
Connections - The last primary category of targeting features is connection-based. This could include people that following your facebook page or are invited to events. Use this targeting feature to include or exclude people already interacting with your brand depending on the goal of your campaign.
Examples of using connections in targeting settings:
·Include anyone already connected to your page, app or event
·Exclude anyone already connected to your page, app, or event
·Include people whose friends are already connected to your page, app, or event.
Now that you know what specific targeting features are available, you may be wondering how to develop a targeting strategy for each campaign you run. It all comes down to setting a goal for you campaign and knowing your buyer persona.
First, decide on the target audience of your campaign. Is it a campaign that’s suitable for your whole audience -- like a holiday coupon deal for anyone -- or an offer that’s most relevant for people not already aware of your brand?
Use the demographic and connections tools to set these targeting features based on what makes the most sense for the campaign.
Next, use interest and behavior data to narrow your audience down depending on the breadth of your budget. If you have a small budget, use narrower targeting features to try and reach the best people possible to see your ad. If you have a larger budget and your campaign’s goal is brand awareness, you can use broader targeting data. That said, always make sure to target only those who are most likely to be interested in what you’re promoting.
What targeting strategies should I use for lead ads specifically?
The targeting strategies we’ve covered so far can be used for any type of Facebook ad. However, lead ads are a bit different because you’re trying to get someone to immediately fill out a form for more information.
With lead ads, try to be as specific as possible and rely more heavily on interests, behavior, and demographic data than connections data. Behavior targeting is especially good for lead generation ads because you can use retargeting features to specifically target individuals who have already taken some action on your site previously.
Retargeting helps you bring people’s interest back to your brand. If someone is already familiar with your brand but hasn’t become a lead yet, lead ads might be just the right method to get them to convert without waiting for them to come back to your site and fill out the form.
What do you do with lead information after it’s collected?
We’ve covered how to obtain potential customer information through a Facebook lead ad, but now comes the biggest question: what do you do with the information you’ve received? Do you immediately initiate a follow-up call? Download a csv file and analyze your data immediately? So many options!
Wish there was a way to set up these ads directly from your marketing automation tool? With the HubSpot Ads Ad-on, you can use Facebook lead ads to get leads and track their actions to turn them from prospects into customers. Here's more information about connecting your Facebook Lead Ads to HubSpot's Ads Add On.
Once you’ve synced your new contacts to your CRM, your sales team will be able to have have a follow-up call or nurture your new leads based on the content they signed up for on the ad. Want more help nurturing your leads? Check out this guide to lead nurturing.
How to Get More Leads from Social Media
Although social media generally sits within the brand awareness or top-of-the-funnel side of a business’s marketing efforts, it can also be used generate high-quality leads directly to your product.
In addition to using Facebook Lead Ads, traditional Facebook Advertising, and a CRM to track new leads, consistently posting to social media organically will help to bolster results from your paid Facebook Marketing activities. The more people that enter the top of the sales funnel through social media, the more customers that eventually convert.
The team over at Buffer has seen tremendous results from a consistent and value-driven social media strategy. They’ve found that the key to generating leads from social media is to deliver unique and interesting content to audiences through the channels where they most engage at the perfect time.
For example, Buffer found that many posts from their Social Blog convert readers to trialists at a rate of 2-3%. In an attempt to generate more leads, they sorted these high-converting posts in order of traffic and began to strategically post them to social media through the Buffer app.
This post drove more than 2,000 clicks to their blog from Facebook alone. The key, as Buffer pointed out, is to make sure that the content you’re driving visitors to is optimized for lead conversions through CTAs.