9 Steps To Consistent Email List Building Using Facebook™Ads

By James Vannelli | Uncategorized

Dec 08

As the former CMO of a multimillion-dollar course and consulting company in the online marketing industry, I understand a thing or two about Facebook™ Ads.

During my tenure at that company, I helped generate 10s of thousands, if not 100s of thousands of leads through Facebook™ advertising.

With over 2 billion active users, Facebook™ is the most popular place in the entire world, for anyone…period. There’s no doubt about it, Facebook™ Ads is one of, if not the, most effective platform you can utilize to promote your business online.

This is especially true if you’re selling expertise-based services, coaching, consulting, or courses.

That said, as great as Facebook™ Ads can be, they can be extremely frustrating if you don’t know what you’re doing.

Particularly so because every mistake costs you actual dollars!

To compound matters, there’s a lot of complex and conflicting advice out there.

That’s why I put this guide together, to provide a simple and straightforward checklist you can utilize to create Facebook™ Ads that drive conversions onto your email list.

Without further adieu, here is the checklist!

The 9 Steps

1 – Setup a Facebook™ Ads Account

Step 1 is creating a Facebook™ Ads account.

To do so, navigate over to www.facebook.com/advertising in your browser, click on “Create an Ad” and follow the setup instructions.

All you need is your company info and billing information to get started.

2 – Create a Facebook™ Business Page

You can’t run ads from your personal profile, so before creating ads, you need to have a business page to run ads from.

If you don’t have an existing business page, you can set one up by navigating to https://www.facebook.com/pages/create/ while logged into your Facebook™ account.

Simply follow the instructions on that page to create a new page.

3 – Create an Audience

Before creating an ads campaign, we need to create an audience that we’ll use to target our ads toward. There are three types of Facebook™ audiences

Custom Audience

We generate these audiences using other touch points such as our email list, website visitors, and Facebook™ page engagement. This is what we call a “retargeting audience” as we use it to target people who have already interacted with our brand via another channel.

Lookalike Audience

A lookalike audience is generated using a custom audience. What happens is we upload our custom audience and tell Facebook’s software to find more people who match the same attributes as those people. Then Facebook will generate a Lookalike Audience.

For example, if we have an existing customer list of 1000 people or more, we can upload it to Facebook™ and have it generate a Lookalike Audience of several million people who match similar attributes. This allows us to find more of the same people who are likely to take the same action (make a purchase).

Saved Audience

A Saved Audience is an audience we generate ourselves using the targeting options inside the Facebook™ Ads Audiences Manager.

When we’re just getting started, we won’t have the data required to create a Custom Audience or a Lookalike Audience, so a Saved Audience is where we’ll start.

When it comes to creating Saved Audiences, I utilize two different strategies which are polar opposites of each other:

Broad Strategy

When I use a Broad Audience, it’s because Facebook’s targeting criteria aren’t applicable enough to what I need to target for.

For instance, there was once a time I was working on promoting a natural migraine remedy in Australia.

Because Facebook™ doesn’t have options to target people who suffer from migraines, we couldn’t use that targeting criterion to create a very refined audience by interest, demographics or behaviors.

We had the following information and assumptions though:

  • The product is sold in Australia exclusively
  • Approximately 1 in 5 people suffers from migraines
  • Women are more commonly affected than men.
  • We don’t market medication to minors under the age of 18
  • We generally don’t market to elderly individuals who aren’t tech savvy enough to make online purchases.
  • People who are interested in natural health and alternative medicine are more likely to purchase this category of product.

So with that limited information, we created an audience with the following criteria:

  • Location: Australia
  • Gender: Women
  • Aged 18-64
  • Interests: natural health, natural remedies, alternative medicine, and related pages.

With this broad strategy, we cast a wider net that is likely to catch a lot of people in it who aren’t a great fit for our product.

Despite this, because a broad strategy results in running ads to a much larger audience, it usually brings our impression cost down a bit, which helps to offset things.

So long as we write very specific ad copy, our ad viewers are able to self-select themselves to click through to the landing page.

Using this strategy for the Australia migraine medication, we were able to develop an ads campaign that consistently generated leads at approximately $2/conversion.

Refined Strategy

On the flipside, sometimes our customer profile criteria do match very well with Facebook™ Ads targeting options.

In that case, what we’ll typically use is a refined strategy where we will be much more specific about the detailed targeting options we select.

In general, what I do is create different attribute groups, for instance, if you got to this content via an ad, some of the detailed targeting groups I used might have been:

Group #1: Entrepreneurship

Group #2: Facebook Page admins

Group #3: Marketing Interests

Group #4: Personal development, health & wellness & other related interests

Group #5: Charity & related activities

See it for yourself here:


For a more in-depth explanation of how broad strategies work. Join the FREE Transformational Entrepreneurship group on Facebook™ and then click to view this post.

To create an audience, simply navigate to:


4 – Embed The Facebook™ Pixel

We need to add a small piece of code called the Facebook™ pixel to our landing pages (the pages that our ads will direct people toward when they click) so that we can track the results of our ads.

Go to https://www.facebook.com/ads/manager/pixel and click on “Set up” in the top right hand side of the browser viewport.

From there, you can select from three options:

Select the one that works best for you, and follow the instructions to completion.

5 – Setup a Custom Conversion

Now that we have our pixel embedded, the next step toward setting up proper tracking for our campaign is to create a Custom Conversion.

A Custom Conversion is a defined conversion that we set as the conversion goal for our Facebook™ Ads Campaign.

It indicates to Facebook™ what to optimize our campaign for and it allows us to track how many conversions we obtain, and at what cost.

To setup a custom conversion, navigate to:


Click on “Create Custom Conversion”

In the window that loads, use “URL Contains” and input the URL that you will redirect someone to after they’ve taken the intended action on your offer.

For instance, if you’re directing someone who clicks your ad to a landing page with an opt-in to your email list in exchange for a lead magnet, then what you’ll want to do is set up the form on that landing page to redirect to what we call a “thank you page” once it is submitted.

So if your landing page URL is


You might name your thank you page URL as


If that is the case, then use “/landing-page-offer-ty” as the URL keywords to enter under “URL Contains” when creating a Custom Conversion:

Categorize it as “Lead” and then click “Next”.

On the next screen, enter a descriptive name i.e. “Facebook Ads Guide – Downloaded” and click Create.

The final step is to test to see if your Pixel is embedded correctly and your Custom Conversion is setup properly.

To do so, open a new browser tab and visit your “thank you page”.

If you already have a tab open with that page, ensure you click “refresh”.

Then go back to the Custom Conversions page in the Ads Manager and click refresh there as well. Look at the list of Custom Conversions, and check the “Status” column. Do you see a green circle next to the word “Active”?

If so, you’ve successfully embedded the Facebook™ Pixel and set up a Custom Conversion, you’re now ready to create your ads campaign!

If not, I suggest two troubleshooting steps:

  1. Install the Facebook Pixel Helper in Google Chrome to help assess whether the pixel is active or not.
  2. Review the Custom Conversion and ensure the URL you entered doesn’t contain any typos! If it does, you need to delete it and recreate it, as you can’t edit a Custom Conversion once it is created.

6 – Create a New Campaign

Alright, let’s create some ads!

Navigate to https://www.facebook.com/ads/manager/creation/creation to get started.

Once there, we’ll be promoted to create a new campaign.

For your information, Facebook Ads™ use a three tiered hierarchy:

Campaigns are what we use to set our main objectives (conversions, clicks, video views, engagement, etc…)

Ad sets are what we use to define components such as budget, audience, placements, etc.

And Ads are what we use to create the actual ad content itself, select a page to advertise from, and determine the destination URL when someone clicks on the ad.

When we create new ads, we’ll always be promoted with Campaign settings first, once we determine the Campaign, the Ads manager will redirect us to create an Ad Set within that campaign, once the Ad Set is created the Ads Manager will direct us to the Ads configuration page where we can apply the final settings before we submit the ads for publishing.

Now that you know this, let’s start with the Campaign below.

First, we’ll set a Campaign Objective:


Next scroll down, and input a descriptive campaign name, i.e. “Facebook™ Ads Guide Opt-Ins”

Set Your “Campaign Goal” to “Custom conversions”

Then select the Custom Conversion we created earlier from the drop down.

Once done, click on the Continue button.

7 – Create an Ad Set in the Campaign

Once we finalize the Campaign settings, we’ll be redirected to the Ad Set configuration page. Here’s what we need to define on this page:

Ad Set Name

Use something descriptive, I use a term that is unique to that particular ad set as the first term and in brackets, I always put which audience I am using.

For instance, below, I named the ad set to describe the copywriting I used in the ads, and in brackets, I placed a description of what audience that ad set was targeting.

Custom Conversion

Ensure that the custom conversion you created earlier is defined here:


Click on “Use a Saved Audience” and select the Saved Audience that you created for these ads.


Click on “Edit Placements” and remove all “Audience Network” placements.

Typically speaking, the Audience Network is the worst type of traffic and is not likely to convert at all.

You can leave all other placements intact, unless you don’t have an Instagram account, and don’t want to run ads there. In that case, remove Instagram as well.

Apart from that, once you get some data back from your campaign, you can determine which placements are most effective for you and refine your settings accordingly.

Budget & Schedule

Select a daily budget, I used to suggest no less than $20 per day, and these days, I’m starting to increase my recommendation to $50 per day, particularly in highly competitive markets.

Ad costs continue to rise with increased competition on Facebook™.

And unfortunately, in most markets, it’s difficult (although not impossible) to get a lot of traction without spending a minimum of approximately $1000/month.

8 – Create Your Ad(s) In The Ad Set

Destination: Website URL

This isn’t the first step in the ads manager, but let’s address this first as everything else will depend on where you are driving ad traffic to.

The goal of this guide is showing you how to drive leads to your email list using Facebook™ Ads.

To achieve that, you’ll need a compelling offer that will compel someone to enter their email information in exchange for it.

The name for this type of offer is called a “lead magnet”.

The type of lead magnet that I typically use is a PDF guide or checklist, just like the one you are reading now.

What you can do is create a guide that addresses your prospect’s pain and/or problems, by providing a solution based on your expertise.

Again, this guide is a great example of that. I’m helping you overcome your pains that arise due to not knowing how to use Facebook™ ads effectively, by resolving that problem for you through this 9-step solution.

So what you’ll want to do is develop a PDF lead magnet such as this one, and then create a “landing page” that provides information about the offer, has a form that can collect email opt-ins, and then drive ad traffic to that URL.

Click here to see an example of a lead magnet landing page of this nature

(PS if you haven’t downloaded the guide on that page yet, you should, it’s the logical next step after this guide as it outlines my overall marketing strategy for purpose-driven entrepreneurs who sell expertise online. )

Once you create your landing page, grab the URL, scroll down a bit on the Ads setup page, and input it here as the destination URL:

Ad Name

Choose something descriptive for this particular ad:


Select the Facebook Page and Instagram Account (if applicable) that you want to represent these ads.


Select “Single Video”:


Video ads tend to convert better than image ads because they are more engaging.

The video style that I personally use with great results for PDF lead magnets, is an actual video of the PDF guide itself.

There are two different variations of this:

  1. Print out your guide and record yourself flipping through the actual pages using your phone’s camera.
  2. Use a screen recording tool like camtasia to record yourself scrolling through the guide from top to bottom.

These are simple videos to create and typically perform quite well as they give your prospect a very specific idea of what your content looks like.

Once you’ve recorded your video, you can click on “Upload Video” to set it as your ad video.

Once your video is uploaded, you’ll want to select a blank image or anything that doesn’t have more than 20% text in it as your custom thumbnail.

This is required because Facebook™ doesn’t allow ad images with more than 20% text in them. And obviously, any given screenshot from our guide is going to contain a lot of text.

Note that this rule doesn’t apply to entire videos, only image ads and the video thumbnail of a video ad. That’s why we’re able to bypass it by uploading a custom thumbnail without more than 20% text in it:


This is the bold line of text that will appear directly below your ad video/image. I use the actual title of the lead magnet or heading from the landing page to fill this section in:

News Feed Link Description

Because this block of text appears right below the headline, I typically use the subheading from my guide and/or landing page:

Display Link

Insert your landing page URL here.

The idea is to give the ad audience a better idea of what they are clicking on.

Exclude the HTTP:// or HTTPS:/ and any slashes at the end of the URL to clean things up a bit.


I use whatever is most applicable to the intended action of the ad. In this case, I use “Download”:


Last and definitely NOT least is your ad text.

This is the main block of text that appears below your page name, and above your ad video.

Its arguably the most important component of your ad when it comes to conversions because you place the main message about your offer in this section.

With that said, there are 3 strategies to writing ad text copy:

Short form text, medium form text & long form text.

In general, it’s recommended to split test between all 3 formats, or at least 2 of the 3 to see which one your audience responds to best.

Let’s explore what these different formats entail:

Short form text

As the name implies, this is short and straight to the point.

With short-form text, you’ll write a question or statement that describes your prospects pain/problem and then you’ll pivot towards your solution and a call-to-action.

For example:

“If your marketing funnel isn’t living up to the hype, you’re not alone

In this free guide, I’ll show you how to go beyond the conventional marketing funnel to create more meaningful marketing experiences for your prospects, that generate substantially better results for your business”.

Download the guide today and see the difference for yourself.”

Medium form text:

Medium form text expands beyond short form text by describing the solution in more detail, and by adding the main bullet points about the guide (I usually scrape this content from the landing page itself).

An example of a medium form text ad:

Medium form text is my preferred copy method.

Again, the format to follow with medium form text is:

  • Question or statement that calls out the pain / problem
  • Description of what your solution is and what it provides
  • Expanded description of your solution using bullet points
  • Call-To-Action

Long form text

Long form text expands beyond medium form text by telling a detailed story from start to finish.

At times, It can resemble the length of a blog post more than actual ad text itself!

This format is extremely effective when done right, as it allows you to tell a very compelling story.

However, it is difficult to do it right if you’re not an experienced copywriter, and in that case, you risk losing your reader in a wall of boring text.

For that reason, my main recommendation is to focus on medium form text ads, which are descriptive enough to get your point across but require less skill to execute correctly.

Here’s an example of a long form ad text:

Publish Your Ad

That’s it, once you’ve done all of the above, scroll to the bottom right of the screen and click the green “Confirm” button.

It may take anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours for your ads to be approved and start running. You’ll need to wait several days, however, to analyze your results and start making optimization decisions.

9 – Analyze Results

Once your ad has run for a few days, you can start to assess the data.

Navigate over to the Ads Manager, select your Campaign, then Ad Set, and finally ensure you’re on the Ads screen.

Once on that page, on the right side of the screen, click on the “Columns” button and select “Performance and Clicks”:

Here are the stats you’ll want to evaluate:


This column will show you how many conversions your ad has achieved.

Cost per Result

This is the most important column, it’ll show you what your cost per conversion (or cost per lead) is. In general, anything under $10 is good, anything under $5 is fantastic.

Relevance Score

This is a rating from 1 to 10 that estimates how well your target audience is responding to your ad.

This is based on engagement: ad clicks, comments, reactions, etc.

Ultimately, your Cost Per Result is the most important, but if you’re not getting great results, your Relevance Score can help shed some light on where you stand.

4, 5, or 6 is average

3 or below is bad

7 or above is great

Link Clicks & Cost Per Link Click

Don’t confuse this with CLICKS, when we’re running a conversions ad, we want to know how much LINK clicks cost to our actual landing page, not clicks on the ad itself.

Knowing what our LINK click cost is will give us an idea what our best cost per conversion is going to be. If clicks are costing you $10, then your best cost per conversion is going to be $10 (if you convert 100% of clicks on your landing page).

Therefore, you’ll know that you shouldn’t be optimizing your landing page, because the only way to get conversions costs down is to get cheaper clicks.

Link CTR (Click Through Rate)

Again, don’t confuse this with CTR on the ad itself.

LINK CTR shows the rate at which people are clicking to your ad’s destination URL. if its very low, under 0.5%, then its not performing well.

Final Notes on Analysis

If you’re not getting great results, one or all of the following factors will need to be modified until you reach success:

  • Your lead magnet itself
  • Your landing page copy
  • Your ad copy / creative
  • Your audience

The winning formula is to make the right offer, using the right messaging, to the right audience. Knowing how to optimize for all of this, is the topic of another article for another day!


About the Author

Over the past 6 years I’ve built dozens of websites, managed close to $1M in online ads, and helped shape the online marketing strategies of hundreds of small businesses.