Facebook is great for interaction and conversation with consumers. It’s not quite so successful at driving direct sales, website visits and similar. In fact, surveys show people much prefer email for getting marketing messages.

For B2C organizations, it makes sense to exploit Facebook’s reach among consumers when building your list, for example by encouraging those who follow you on Facebook to sign-up for your emails. Then you get the best of both worlds: the social interaction of Facebook and the direct response benefits of email.

Does a Facebook list building strategy make sense for B2B senders, too? Yes, but it depends on your social marketing priorities and where your business audience is active. Here at FreshAddress, our main focus is on our Twitter account.

A common way to begin list building through Facebook is to let people subscribe while they’re on the social network, by adding a custom sign-up tab to your actual Facebook page. Here’s the one used by our B2C client Woolrich:

Custom tab


Clicking on the tab opens a customized sign-up form (which you can see in action here).

If you use an email marketing service to handle your list, they may have easy instructions on how to build their sign-up form into a custom tab. If not, create your own tab and form by registering at the Facebook app development pages. Custom tabs can collect addresses in other ways, too, for example by featuring a competition or sweepstakes.

Your normal Facebook updates are another good way to promote your list, like our partner Bronto does:

Facebook update


Describe the benefits of subscribing and provide a link to a dedicated sign-up page. Ideally, highlight exclusive email content the subscriber can’t get through Facebook, so there’s a stronger incentive for them to sign-up. Instead of a general promotion, you might preview forthcoming email content/offers, so people can sign-up to receive them. Or you might review a recent email, so people see what they’re missing.

You can boost the visibility of these updates using Facebook’s promoted posts feature, where you pay to increase the likelihood that people will see your post in their news feed.

Of course, it’s not just you who can promote your emails on Facebook: why not let others do it for you?

For example, on your sign-up confirmation page, invite people to share their new subscription with their Facebook network. Facebook offers various simple plugins and buttons to place on your page and make sharing easy for people.

Those same tools can go on landing pages for your email content, so people can easily share that content, too. When they do, they effectively provide a third-party endorsement of your mails. Your email marketing service may even allow you to automatically embed such sharing functionality in your actual campaign emails.

Wherever you add “share with your network” buttons or icons, make sure the combination of button/icon and copy makes it clear what the button/icon is for and why the subscribers should use it. In many cases, a Facebook “like” button or similar is self-explanatory or intuitive, in others not so. For example, many senders place a standalone Facebook icon in their emails. But subscribers don’t know if that’s a link to your profile page at Facebook, a link that lets them share the email with their friends, or something else: clarity encourages action. Our partner Harland Clarke Digital solves this problem with three simple words:

share message


Finally, if people are saying nice things about your emails in public Facebook posts, place these as testimonials on sign-up pages and similar using Facebook’s embedded post functionality.

Do you have any tips for list building through Facebook? Let us know!

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