How to Build an Audience with Facebook Ads

how to build an audience with facebook ads

Building an audience with Facebook ads is something that is FAR undervalued when it comes to Facebook advertising.

But here’s the thing. When it comes to digital marketing if you can build an audience, you can take the people in your audiences and target them at later dates.

The return on investment of doing this can be enormous!

In addition to targeting these folks with paid ads you can also promote to your audience for free, which reduces your ad spend costs and increases your ROI.

Important! Building an audience isn’t a short term strategy. It’s something that will take months or years to pay off. But the ROIs can often be in the hundred-plus range, so it’s certainly worth doing.

Don’t spend all your ad budget on building an audience, but it’s very worth putting aside a portion of your budget to building an audience.

I’m going to show you step by step how to build an audience on Facebook. But the first thing I need to do is give you a definition of what I mean by audience.

The Two Types of Audiences to Build

Not all audiences are equally valuable and there are two main audiences that I think about when I talk about building a Facebook audience.

Email List

The first is kind of old school, but it can still be quite valuable and that is an email list.

Despite the never-ending rumours that “email marketing is dead,” we’ve found in our agency that email marketing is one of the KEY ways we get customers.

Pro Tip: Don’t let gurus trying to sell you on the next shiny thing tell you that email marketing is worthless. For our business and most of our clients email is one of their MOST profitable marketing channels.

If you nurture your email list it can be a HUGE resource whenever you need to generate revenue.

If your business runs into hard times or you lose an important client then you can usually generate revenue by just sending an email if you build your list right.

An email list can make a HUGE difference to your bottom line and long term profitability.

A Facebook Group

The other type of audience that you will want to build is a Facebook group.

Join My Facebook Group! If you are interested in learning more about EFFECTIVE Facebook advertising, I recommend that you join my Facebook group called Facebook Ads Mastermind Group.

You’ll get great tips on Facebook ads and you’ll see how a Facebook group is supposed to run.

Facebook Ads Mastermind Group

Facebook groups are POWERFUL. Because unlike Facebook pages where there’s not much organic reach.

I have a Facebook page that currently has 152,000 likes and when I make a post there I’m lucky if even 129,000 people see that post.

Currently, my Facebook group, Facebook Ads Mastermind Group, has just over 55,000 members and the engagement in this group is MUCH higher if I do a post then it will be on my Facebook page.

For a post like the one below that talks about a live training, normally 5,000 to 10,000 people will SEE that post.

Facebook group post

Usually, I get about 10% to 20% of my group seeing a post, where on my page that percentage is much, much lower.

Those are the two audiences I normally focus on and building them can potentially help you build a profitable and sustainable business.

How to Build Audiences on Facebook

Both of these types of audiences are relatively straightforward to build and I’ll show you how to build both here.

Building an Email List on Facebook

In order to build an email list you need to incentivize people to take that action.

Remember, most people get loads of emails and they don’t really want more, unless they have a reason to sign up.

In our business we will often use the “5 Part Facebook Ad Template Giveaway” to get people to sign up.

5 Part Facebook Ad Template Giveaway

This is a VALUABLE giveaway because it includes some of the best performing ads that we’ve created for clients in a number of different industries.

The idea is that if you want better results from Facebook ads and Instagram ads that you can download these templates in exchange for being added to our email list.

Of course, people can opt out and unsubscribe at any time.

But… most people don’t unsubscribe. They stay on the list and we educated them about Facebook ads. Some of those people go on to hire us to manage their ads or learn how to build an agency.

Tip: If you are offering a freebie in exchange for an email address, it’s very important that you offer something of VALUE. It doesn’t have to be long, but it does have to give people valuable information that’s packaged in a usable way.

Here is a campaign that’s generated over 17,000 leads in total and the spend was over 18,000 pounds.

Facebook email generation ad campaign

Obviously, we invested a lot of money to get those emails, but one pound and 7 pence per email subscriber is VERY good.

I’ll show you the steps in how we did this.

We’ll start with the campaign level on this campaign.

Resource: If you need help understanding the basics of Facebook campaigns click here for my post How to Post an Ad on Facebook The Right Way.

You can name the campaign anything you want. You’ll be the only one to see the name.

The ad set level of a Facebook leads campaign.

The most important thing though at this level is to make sure you are choosing a conversion campaign.

When somebody clicks on this ad:

  1. They click through to our website and the 5 Part Facebook Ad Template landing page.
  2. They download the Ad Template after filling in their email.
  3. The Facebook Ad pixel that is installed on this site records the download when they go to the Thank You page.

Facebook then uses the data from the pixel in terms of optimizing the campaign to find more people who will want to opt in.

Resource: The Facebook Pixel can be confusing at first. But it doesn’t have to be. Here is how to install the Facebook Pixel on your website.

As far as campaign budget optimization you can have that on or off. If you have it on then the campaign will spend your budget automatically across ad sets. If you have it off then you can set the budget at the adset level.

Next, we’ll go into the ad set level of the campaign.

The ad level of a facebook leads campaign

If you already have more than 100 people on an email list, most likely the best audience for you to target is going to be a 1% lookalike audience based off the people who are already on your list.

Resource: If you need help with lookalike audiences please check out my post “How to Create a Lookalike Audience in Facebook.”

These people are going to be MOST likely to want to join your email list.

If you are using a lookalike audience of previous subscribers you don’t need to do a lot of additional targeting. I will sometimes move my age from 18 to 21, but that’s about it.

Just leave the rest of the targeting alone and let Facebook figure it out with the 1% lookalike audience.

With a lookalike audience, you can also use automatic placements. Facebook has gotten so good at finding your targets in your lookalike audience that you don’t really need to do anything else at this point.

If you don’t have an email list or a lookalike audience you can still START a campaign like this. You will need to use Facebook’s audience insight tool to find the right audiences for your business.

Resource: Lookalike audiences are nearly always your best bet when it comes to running Facebook ads. But if you don’t have the seed audience yet, then you will need to run ads to Facebook interests. Check out my article on “Facebook Audience Insights Explained” for more information on how to do this.

Now it’s time to move onto the adset level.

At the adset level, I’m going to assume that we are using an existing post for the ad.

Use an existing post in your Facebook ad

You can also create a post in the ad level of Facebook.

Resource: If you need some ad ideas for Facebook, check out the post 6 Successful Facebook Ads to Copy.

In order for your lead magnet (that’s what the giveaway is called) to work it’s a good idea for it to have a few elements.

  • Your target audience needs to believe that the lead magnet is valuable.
  • You need to demonstrate in your ad that you know what you’re talking about (credibility and expertise).
  • You need to deliver value in the ad itself – if people feel that the ad has value they are more likely to believe the lead magnet will as well.
  • Your ad should be attention grabbing.

I mentioned earlier that we spent 18,000 pounds on this particular ad, but I can run a single flash sale to this email list and make 18,000 pounds back in about 3 days.

That’s the power of email marketing.

Remember that it’s OK to start small. We all start somewhere. It’s much more important to get started then to have HUGE budgets to work with.

Building a Facebook Group with Facebook Ads

A lot of people ask me how I built my Facebook Ads Mastermind Group to over 50,000 members.

A lot of the advice out there is to create a Facebook ad that asks people to directly join your group.

This can work, but I find that the cost per acquisition is quite high doing it this way.

There are a number of ways I’ve done this over the years, and I’m going to give you a good resource on what I think the top way is and give you some top level details in this post.

Resource: I have an article that breaks down my two-step process for How to grow your Facebook group FAST. This one of the best methods that I’ve used.

For my two step method I do a Facebook like campaign to my page and then ask people to join my group from there.

This is an easier and smaller ask of people and much less of a commitment. It gives them a bit of a chance to check you out before you join the Facebook group.

What we found is that about half the people who were getting invites were joining our group and our cost was much lower than going the direct method.

Overlapping Audience Building for Better Results

One thing that’s very important to know about building audiences is that these various methods overlap a lot and the multiple methods can help everything be more productive.

You will want to promote your group from your email list and your email list from your group.

More FREE Resources for Facebook Advertising

Get More Training! I’ve put together a webinar that goes over my 3 Killer Facebook Ad Strategies. You’ll learn:

1. The 3 Facebook ad strategies that I’ve used to repeatedly generate more than a million dollars in revenue.

2. How to customize Your Facebook Ad approach for YOUR specific products and services.

3. How Facebook & Instagram have changed (and why old approaches DON’T work anymore).

Click here to register for the next webinar – It’s FREE.

Video Training on Facebook Audience Building

Here is a video where I go over each step of how to build these two audiences in detail.

The Bottom Line on Building Audiences with Facebook Ads

It’s often easier to sell to people who already know, like and trust you. Especially if you’re selling a service or a higher end product.

Building an audience is the perfect way to build report with people before you try to sell them anything. It’s a very useful skill to master.

About The Author

Ben Heath

Ben Heath is a Facebook advertising expert, writer and the Founder of Lead Guru. Alongside creating content for our online community, he works closely with our clients to develop and implement Facebook advertising strategies that deliver industry leading ROIs.

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