In this week’s masterclass Facebook marketing consultant Campbell McPherson explores five ways to master social lead generation.   

1. Build a leads list

If you advertise and expect website visitors to buy immediately, you only get one chance to make a sale.  

But most visitors won’t be ready to buy from you on their first visit, and if you don’t get their details you’ve probably lost them forever. 

On the other hand, if you get visitors onto your leads list you will have repeated chances to market to them and build a relationship- resulting in a much higher ROI.  

Advertising for list building has been a standard approach in the internet marketing industry for over a decade, but most corporates and small businesses are still failing to advertise this way.   

Sending traffic to a website with a small ‘sign up to our free newsletter’ box will not suffice.  You need to send social ad traffic to optimised lead capture pages.

Promote a free giveaway such as a report, competition prize, quote, or discount voucher in your ad.  Then give it away on your lead capture page in exchange for the visitor’s details.  

After a list of customers on your books, a leads list is one of the biggest marketing assets your business can have.  And social advertising is a great way to grow one.

2. Have a sales process

Many clients come to us saying they want more traffic from social media.  But often what they need  first is an effective process to deal with the existing traffic levels.

Before you blow your limited budget on social advertising, you must have a sales process already prepared.

This begins with driving visitors to sign up to receive your free ‘lead magnet’.  After they’ve signed up as leads, several things should happen in order to give you the highest possible chance of a sale:

a. New leads should be automatically signed onto your email newsletter, to receive ongoing ‘broadcast’ promotions over the coming months and years.

b.  On sign-up redirected to a web page which encourages them to ‘take the next step’ with you.  This could include buying online products, downloading a free discount voucher, or booking a consultation session.

Having a page which only says ‘thank you, you are now subscribed’ is a missed opportunity.

Understand: your ‘thank you page’ is the one time you’re guaranteed to have your lead’s full attention, so take advantage of it and make some kind of offer.

c. Your new leads should be sent a series of 4-8 automated ‘follow-up’ emails from your newsletter auto responder tool.  The purpose of these emails is to build a relationship and then make offers.  

The 4-email cycle ‘Give Value, Engage, Educate, Sell’ is a useful guide for structuring the content of your follow-up series.

d. Your sales staff should call these ‘hot leads’ as quickly as possible.

In an era where every marketing guru is pushing the panacea of ‘online income’ and ‘automated sales’, don’t underestimate the power of the good old fashioned telephone.

Even highly optimised online marketing methods will be unlikely to achieve a sales conversion rate of over 5% in any industry selling higher priced products.  However companies which have staff call hot leads usually convert above 20% -even 50 to 60% is not uncommon for some of our clients.  That’s a huge difference.

If your average lifetime profit per customer is over $150, the increase in conversion rates driven by telesales will quickly justify the increased selling costs.  Calling leads may not be the work you’d like to perform yourself, but it can be delegated to your staff or outsourced to freelancers.

Cold calling may be ‘dead’, but calling your leads certainly isn’t. Online lead generation combined with offline telesales can hugely improve your ROI.   This doesn’t mean you should ignore online selling methods like email and retargeting, but it can be extremely powerful to combine them with telesales.

3. Leverage social virality

Every day, certain posts and tweets go ‘viral’ on social networks. Savvy advertisers can take advantage of social sharing to achieve a much lower cost per click and higher ROI.

How do you generate these shares, likes and re-tweets? You ask for them.

Slash your social advertising costs by including phrases such as ‘Please share!’,  ‘leave your comments below’, ‘please share this with your friends interested in nutrition’.

Competitions in particular will often attract a lot of sharing if you ask for it both in the social advertisement AND on your draw entry ‘thank you’ page. e.g. ’Share this with three friends and you will go into the competition draw twice.’

The low cost per click and cost per lead generated by competitions means it can achieve a very high ROI even if your average customer value is relatively low.

With leads from 5 cents up to $1.50, competitions are the approach we usually recommend for clients in retail, hospitality, fashion, wellness and travel who aren’t focusing on top-end customers.  

It’s a great way to have leads happily offer you their phone numbers.

4. Track and optimise

All the major social networks offer ‘conversion tracking’. With conversion tracking in place, differences quickly emerge on the effectiveness between different Ad creatives and advertising audiences.

For example, ads for an exercise offer targeted at people interested in ‘Paleo Diet’ could be costing you $6 per lead.  But ads targeted at ‘lemonade diet’ will only cost you $3 per lead.  Such patterns are often inexplicable, but they always exist.

With tracking you have the ability to see exactly what’s working, and what isn’t.  Putting only a single target audience in each Ad Set will reveal the exact costs and ROI of every Ad creative and target audience.  

Simply past your social network’s tracking pixel code on your post opt-in ‘thank you’ page to track leads, and another pixel on your order receipt page to track any online sales.   

Once you have your tracking set up, optimisation is the easy part.  In the above example you would simply turn off ads at ‘Paleo Diet’, put the budget into ‘Lemonade Diet’, and instantly double your ROI.

We love new clients who are spending a lot of money on social ads, but aren’t tracking.  Because we know with tracking we can quickly double or triple ROI, just by viewing tracking data.

5. Retarget Your Website Visitors

Have you ever wondered why you see the same ads on television time and time again?  Because repetition works.

There’s a saying in advertising that people need to see an offer 5 times, before they’re likely to buy it.

Retargeting gives you the ability to place ads in front of your website visitors as they return to social media, for months afterwards.  It gives you the power to saturate your brand with your visitors and -in their minds at least- appear to be ‘everywhere’ like Coca Cola.

Any advertiser can do this. Simply get the ‘retargeting code’ from Facebook or Twitter, and paste it on on the web pages you want to retarget.  Your website visitors will now see your ads repeatedly on Social Media for up to 180 days.

A more advanced strategy is behavioural or ‘dynamic’ targeting.  This involves retargeting users with ads which are tailored depending on the specific web page URLs the subject has and has not visited.

For example, a user who clicked on your lead capture page, but didn’ t progress through to your opt-in ‘thank you’ page is obviously interested but didn’t like something about your lead capture page.  So you can retarget them and direct them to a different lead capture page.  Or you could retarget the 60-90% of visitors who typically abandon your checkout page, with ads taking them back to the checkout page.   Dynamic retargeting is an effective way to push the relevant audience to take the ‘next step’ in your sales process.  

Retargeting your website visitors builds familiarity and achieves a fantastic ROI.  As email marketing open rates continue to decline in 2015, social retargeting audiences will become an increasingly important aspect of ‘list building’.