Audience building for startups with Facebook Lead Ads

Start-up companies often find it difficult to get initial marketing momentum at launch and not all SEO agencies are a good fit to advise on how to get them to first base.

If you want to make any money, you need an audience that knows and trusts your brand.

Building an audience is difficult without brand equity and generating revenue is difficult without trust. It’s a hard marketing problem to solve and one that quite a few good companies take years to tackle or die trying.

Ask an SEO how they might solve the problem of initial audience growth and their answer would invariably be keyword research, content marketing, and promotion. An organic digital solution as we say at Builtvisible.

Ask a paid search agency how they’d solve the problem and the answer I’d expect would be in savvy audience targeting, a good paid ad, and a re-targeting strategy across the appropriate channels.

These are both fine individual solutions but I believe the optimal answer is a combination of both channels.

Tackling audience development for a start up ecommerce project

Over the past year, I have worked on a ground-up build of a brand new eCommerce company in the Motorsport industry. My business partner Scott and I have taken the site from nothing to net revenue positive and a thriving community in 12 months.

One of our biggest challenges was to drive audience growth, yet with little initial momentum on a brand new domain, classic retail SEO (gaining traffic from product pages and category page rankings) was not the answer.

What we did have was the capacity to build content. And lots of it. But if we did, there’d be almost no traffic at first. This post looks at how we solved that problem.

Starting at the top of the funnel

driver61 driver's uni

Our solution was structured like this: build a 20 part video course, hosted on Youtube (with video embeds and a transcription on multiple pages on the main site). Paid promotion using Facebook Lead Ads and organic promotion / seeding at Reddit (Read more about Reddit here) and various relevant Motorsport resources.

While you could sign up for the course on the site, the best performing source of sign-ups was Facebook Lead Ads.

One of our Facebook Lead Ads with promotional video and sign up button.

Our targeted audience would click ‘Sign up’ in the ad below and have their details sent to MailChimp via Zapier immediately.

Facebook ad example

One of our Facebook Lead Ads with promotional video and sign up button.

Set up correctly, Facebook Lead Ads is amazing.

Create an ad, create a lead form, choose your targeting and that’s basically it. While I’m not going into the technical setup of Facebook Lead Ads, we felt the cost per lead (and the click through to the website on the back of a successful signup) was well worth the investment.

Once you’ve got the ad running, you need to get the email address over to Mailchimp. For this, we used Zapier:

Zapier is extremely easy to configure, connecting to Facebook and Mailchimp via oAuth seamlessly.

By creating a Facebook Lead ad to MailChimp “Zap”, the email address is sent to an automated MailChimp list and the user receives a welcome email followed by a weekly course instalment.

Each step in the automated queue looks something like this:

Over the space of a 1-month campaign (on an extremely limited budget) targeting Canada, the UK, rest of Europe and Australia, we grew our email subscriber list by a very respectable 3,500 emails.

I think a similar model can almost certainly be used for a number of different types of businesses. Have a think about the potential to re-purpose your content into a 10 – 20 part course and have a look at using Lead Ads to get that precious initial momentum.

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  • Hi Richard, thank you for sharing this insightful post. Recently we published a benchmark that shows a lot of data on Facebook Lead Ads and which goals are cheaper to follow, for example: the average cost per lead, in which countries are most used, and much more. I think it helps to understand how Facebook Lead Ads have impacted the advertising world, I hope it can be useful for readers.

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