Though social followings and social engagement play an important role in any company’s overall online presence, nothing beats email when it comes to accessing prospects on demand.
Consequently, getting customers to make the leap from “fan” to “subscriber” is an important conversion point for many online business — but it’s often not done with much finesse.
In this article, we’ll look at three simple methods for taking “fans” willingly off of Facebook and onto your email list — all without damaging your relationship with social followers.
1. Free, Specific “How-To” Content Via E-Books Or Video Courses
One simple way to generate fresh subscribers is to give away great, specific content in exchange for a prospect’s email address (and/or other information). Generally, how-to content tends to perform best, especially when it solves a specific problem.
People don’t want to download an encyclopedia and read it for a week – they generally want a quick-hit benefit that’s fun, unique, and of value for them in their situation.
Hence, a white paper title like “Telecommunication Best Practices for the 21st Century Enterprise” will generate a lot less conversions (and a lot more yawns) than a white paper titled “7 Simple Ways Enterprises can Cut Telecom Costs.”
Facebook is a place for sharing and giving, not a place to ask for favors. Many companies will create a white paper or e-book and ask prospects to enter to receive it (i.e., “Sign up here to get our new white paper”). Generally, this “business feel” tends to flop on social platforms.
Instead, frame the presentation of your free course, video, or white paper as a gift that you’re excited to give to add value to your fans (i.e., “We’ve just wrapped up a white paper on 3 easy ways to ____ and wanted to give it to our Facebook fans first. What is your company doing to _____?”).
Generally, use “how-to” as your go-to type of content. People want something actionable, something that will give them a quick edge or important insight just by flipping it open and checking it out. Any kind of “mini-course” or “top 7 ways to ____” content can do rather well if it’s a topic of massive value to your particular audience.
2. Content With Opt-In Opportunities
Sometimes, going for a pure landing page or squeeze page from Facebook isn’t your best bet. Certainly, your fans will get sick of seeing an opt-in gate over and over again. Instead of asking for a fan’s email address to access your content, scoop up your most engaged customers by presenting them with an attractive white paper or opt-in opportunity at the bottom of a blog post, or under a video.
If your business sells baby-related goods, and you send your Facebook fans to a blog post about setting up and assembling cribs, you might provide parents with a “Crib Buyer’s Guide” opt-in at the bottom of the post — or the proposition of a 10% coupon code by signing up for your newsletter today. This kind of list-building is not solicitous or abrasive to fans, and will often be the most consistent strategy for long-term list growth.
For a great example of how this is done, one simply needs to turn to HubSpot’s blog. They’re a software company, no doubt about that, but they garner a massive online following for their top-tier blog content, all of which has some relevant opt-in opportunity at the bottom of the post. These can vary from a call to subscribe to the blog, a specific white paper, or a product demo — all of which are ideas that nearly any company could model, regardless of what you’re selling.
Bear in mind that this entire strategy hinges upon you producing quality content on your site in the first place. A lack-luster article doesn’t inspire many further articles in a prospect. As a general rule, you want to deliver fantastic initial value with your article, and a more in-depth, immediately-useful continuation of what they’re already enjoying.
3. Webinars And Online Events
The social nature of Facebook makes it particularly conducive to encouraging more engagement via another platform. Though “subscribe for our newsletter” is a call-to-action that often falls flat, “join us on this exciting Wednesday webinar” feels like participation — which is what “fans” are used to doing.
Not to mention, a webinar registration form doesn’t feel like an opt-in or an annoying email gate. This is a way to justify email opt-in simply by virtue of the format of the content they’re entering for.
Subscribers understand that there are a limited number of seats, and that they must register to be informed and notified of the event link/event details. This ease of acquisition makes live (or even recorded) online events a simple and powerful way to build a list directly from a social following.
Like the e-books or free content or courses that you use to solicit emails with our first strategy, webinars should have titles and subtitles that immediately convey benefits to prospects (i.e., don’t use “An interview with marketing expert Steve Lynch,” instead use “Marketing expert Steve Lynch presents 5 website layout tricks to reduce bounce rate and keep visitors on your page longer”).
Webinars, like white papers, can be re-used over and over again, and should be. If you run a successful webinar with tons of engagement, you can easily use the recording for another webinar, or as a simple video course that you can give away upon opt-in.
With a healthy mix of the above strategies, any business can begin a steady migration of their most active Facebook fans into a bigger list of prospects in the sales funnel.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land.