It would be convenient if it only took a single ad to convince someone to buy.
Unfortunately, that’s not reality.
Instead, customers often take a complex, multi-step journey that includes researching and evaluating many options prior to purchasing.
The best approach, then, is to set up multiple ‘check-points’ along the way, that help nurture them until they are ready to purchase.
And when you coordinate marketing efforts to contact people in different channels with similar messaging, you can drastically increase your overall ROI.
The Rise of Multi-Channel Marketing
It takes somewhere around 7-13+ touches before someone purchases.
But that doesn’t mean 7-13 ads. Or 7-13 Facebook updates.
Today, over half of customers use multiple devices and channels prior to purchasing. And that number increases to 63% as the cost of the item rises too (in other words, the more ‘consultative’ and less ‘transactional’ or impulse purchase, the more lead nurturing plays a role).
That means you need to be interacting, multiple times, through multiple different channels, to give yourself the best shot at reaching people at the right time.
The numbers back this up.
Facebook and Salesforce teamed up with a leading (unnamed) retailer to coordinate both emails and Facebook ads to 565,000 of their subscribers.
The tl;dr version: people who received both email and advertisement were “22% more likely to purchase” than the ones who saw the email but not the ad.
The power of linking CRM data with news feed ads also helped to “extend email campaign reach by 77%”.
These reports, while promising, are also admittedly difficult to come by, with Kyle Lacy, former Director of Content and Global Research at Salesforce Marketing Cloud, admitted, “Targeting, messaging and measurement aren’t typically coordinated across email and advertising.”
Blake Chandlee, Facebook VP of Global Partnerships added:
“The combination of CRM (customer relationship management) data and Facebook targeting truly powers targeted reach at scale to create effective marketing campaigns. We expect to see great results as marketers continue to pair Facebook custom audiences with both email marketing and direct-mail campaigns.”
Facebook’s new Lead Gen ads are especially helpful for these campaigns. Using these, AdEspresso recently saw a conversion rate of 52.35% with higher-than-average CTR and lower than average CPC.
Another additional side benefit of combining your ads and email campaigns comes through testing.
Let’s say you have a huge Black Friday email campaign to send in a few weeks. But you’re not sure which Subject Line to go with, or images to include. These are make-or-break, ‘cause you only got one shot.
MailChimp recommends testing different ad variants prior to that big email blast, allowing you to quickly (and inexpensively) determine which combinations result in the best engagement, so your promo goes off without a hitch.
We’re going to look at how to combine these two approaches in more detail. But first, the funnel needs to be in place.
Revisiting the Facebook Funnel (Or Why You’re Doing Facebook Ads Wrong)
AdWords is demand fulfillment. It converts so damn well on super transactional or commercial phrases because people are looking for specific stuff.
Facebook, in contrast, is demand generation. People obviously aren’t there to necessarily satisfy some problem (other than their jobs are super boring).
That distinct difference means you need a multi-step approach to get people to convert; one that creates a bridge and uses nurturing to eventually get people to buy.
In a minute we’ll take a look at how to build out an automated email sequence to connect the dots. But first, you need the structure in place so that you can tie your efforts together based on key events (like a website visit, lead magnet downloaded, or product purchased).
This funnel should mimic the buyer’s or customer’s journey.
I’ve previously written a detailed guide on creating a Facebook sales funnel, so check that out if you need more background info. Otherwise, here’s roughly how your funnel should look:
- Step #1. Attract Visitors: Broad targeting to drive initial brand awareness for people who might be interested in what you have to offer.
- Step #2. Lead Generation: Target prior site visitors to get them to ‘raise their hand’ and become a lead. (We’ll focus here.)
- Step #3. Convert Customers: Target all of the leads you just generated in the last step with sales-ready offers to get them to convert.
- Step #4. Promoters: Target customers to transform them into promoters that help spread the Gospel about your business.
The key in each step is targeting (which is why it was repeated 4 times – not just because I’m losing my mind).
Segmentation is not only critical for your ad campaigns but also instrumental to how you’re going to setup automated email workflows that work with them at each stage of the funnel.
How to Connect Your Facebook Ad Campaigns to Automated Email Lead Nurturing
When Facebook’s Lead Gen ads were first announced, you used to have to manually go in and export a CSV file of leads generated in order to do anything with those people.
Most tech-savvy people reading this would rather be on the receiving end of a lobotomy instead of having to manually export and import CSV files all day.
Fortunately, there’s this insanely awesome, incredibly valuable, and affordable tool that I know about which can take care of this automatically for you.
AdEspresso’s data sync feature takes care of the heavy lifting (while also helping to sync your custom audiences), sending your Facebook ad data back-and-forth to the following popular apps:
For brevity, we’re not going to spend a ton of time on creating the lead gen ads in this case. Refer to these two blog posts for the details:
- How To Create Facebook Lead Ads And Sync Them With Your CRM!
- Lead Ads – Generating and Nurturing Leads with Facebook
Instead, we’re going to turn our attention to what happens in between people seeing the ads in your Facebook sales funnel. (The ‘other side of the coin’ if you will.)
Specifically, what (and how) should you send stuff to these people to help get them from one step over to the other.
You’re also going to need to familiarize yourself with the automation capabilities of your own toolset.
Thankfully, some like HubSpot come with pre-crafted ‘Workflow Recipes’ that can at least built out the process a little bit for you, allowing for basic customizations to their approach. For example, you can browse their library for the right sequence, and it will take care of everything from the list criteria that triggers this automated sequence, to the actual emails being sent out.
While HubSpot is one of the most powerful options to use (you’ll see why in a second), it’s also among the most expensive marketing automation tools available (which can be quickly recouped FYI based on helping you generate a few extra customers, or saving costs on hiring additional staff).
If you have caviar dreams on a sardine budget, check out my article on the Poor Man’s Marketing Stack that uses tools like Zapier and MailChimp to hack your own marketing automation setup.
Speaking of, MailChimp has also vastly improved their automation features over the past year or two, complete with their own library of automation recipes to choose from as well. Once again, simply browse, point, and click.
Then you’ll just have to go in and customize based on what you’re specifically trying to accomplish, and who you’re trying to target.
Which brings us to the last section. Yay, tips!
3 Example Email Workflows to Combine with Your Facebook Ad Campaigns
Without further ado, we’re going to dive into three example email workflows you can set up to leverage the power of multi-channel marketing.
<aside>Friendly heads up: I’m going to be showing some personal examples. Not because I’m narcissistic or thrive on adulation (honestly, go on). But because clients don’t always appreciate when I show every little detail of their own campaigns. But my company’s? Eh – who cares.</aside>
Workflow #1. Lead Gen
The first email sequence is designed to nurture leads who just downloaded your first basic ‘lead magnet’. These typically include some kind of eBook, video, checklist, report, etc.
A perfect example is this AdEspresso’s Do’s and Don’ts guide.
People are now downloading in droves because the content is so excellent, and we want to set-up an automated sequence that’s going to nurture these people to identify possible lead or sales targets.
The structure of your workflow can be simple. Send emails every 2-4 days, with a different content hook or angle in each that aligns with the initial offer they downloaded. For example, you can mix up different blog post-type content that focuses on tips, how-to’s, case studies, and more.
Every third of fourth email can contain a more sales-ready offer (that’s what that MOFU stands for in the image). This first offer that people downloaded was topic focused and has nothing to do necessarily with your services just yet. But a ‘middle of the funnel’ offer can help you bridge the gap – highlighting the now smaller segment of people who might be potentially interested in what you’ve got to offer.
The structure of these emails can be relatively basic. The goal is to create that one-on-one connection, not impress them with your graphic design skills. And generally, the more ‘consultative’ the sales process you have, the more emphasis should be placed on the people in your organization (as opposed to just the overall brand).
Once you’ve started getting people to ‘raise their hand’ as a bonafide lead, it’s time to remove them from this workflow and add them to a new one.
Here’s what that looks like.
Workflow #2: Conversions
The next step is to begin tailoring more sales-based messages to leads who’ve previously shown interest in how your products or services can help them (like the last step).
This is also where Dynamic Product Ads can be woven in, as people searching specific products is a pretty good indication that they’re evaluating their options.
For larger sales, you can range from softer sells that are heavy on education at first, then progressing into more hard sells after they’ve had a chance to become acquainted with the value you provide.
I’m going to show you an example of this sequence below from MailChimp. However, it’s going to be slightly confusing because (for some reason) it’s shown in reverse:
So let’s start here, at the bottom. The first 5 days are basic, education-based messages that begin to link (1) the original problem or topic that brought them to your website in the first place, with (2) the services or products you sell that solve said problems.
Towards the end of the sequence, there’s a webinar that includes a sales offer, and a follow-up email to remind them that the initial sales offer is expiring soon (that’s the ‘Early Bird Ending’ example above).
The goal of this sequence is to introduce scarcity that hopefully creates a sense of urgency to act now before it’s too late.
But what if this doesn’t work? (I mean it should, because we’re geniuses after all.)
What if it doesn’t? What if there’re some people that fall off at this point (or the previous one), and they’ve gone cold or quiet.
Here’s how to re-engage them.
Workflow #3: Re-Engagement
Ok. You’ve got a basic lead generation sequence set-up to nurture brand new leads. You have a sales-ready follow-up campaign targeting those who’ve shown interest in your goods.
Now it’s time to get a little advanced.
Re-engagement campaigns, in theory, are pretty straightforward. You target the people who’ve fallen off a little bit with one-time discounts to get them to act, surveys to understand why they’ve become disinterested or ‘break-up’ messages that warn them they’ll be unsubscribed automatically if they don’t respond soon.
Impact Branding has a bunch of good examples if you’re looking for specifics on the actual emails. That part is pretty simple.
The hard part is your targeting.
It’s tricky because you’re not targeting a specific, explicit action like, “everyone who submits Form B”, or even better, a product sale. Instead, you’re trying to target an implicit action that should be happening but isn’t. In other words, you’re targeting what’s not there or not happening.
MailChimp tries to make this easier, providing a few good indicators like “Member Rating” which shows a bunch of stars.
But that’s pretty basic and shallow.
More sophisticated tools like HubSpot allow for incredible granularity.
For example, you can target criteria like specific page views (e.g. ‘Services’ and ‘Case Studies’) or a Lead Score above X (which is a custom score you’ve created to automatically grade the quality of each individual on your list).
Another way to simplify the process is to make extensive use of smart lists that automatically add (or remove) people based on certain criteria. This provides a little extra control so that you don’t have people seeing the wrong messages in your email (or with your corresponding Facebook ads).
Here’s one example:
Basically, that’s saying, “target this group of people who’ve already received a few other workflows but haven’t responded or taken us up on those additional offers.”
In this case, you’re using someone’s specific form field action (e.g. complaining about their outdated website) to better understand what they’re struggling with, and what to send them to get them to respond (e.g. more stuff about fixing their website!).
How about one more? We’re trying to figure out a way to get them to respond, so we send them a few different links that might be of interest.
Now, based on which links they click, we can identify which topics they’re interested in and pull them into a new re-engagement campaign.
The way customers purchase today has gotten more complex and nuanced. People commonly will use different devices, on different days, to shop around until they’re ready to purchase. The likelihood of them seeing a single ad, and converting immediately, is shrinking daily.
Instead, marketers need to use a variety of tactics that message leads multiple times in different channels to increase odds of success.
Facebook ads are a powerful tool because you’re able to effectively target each stage of the ‘sales funnel’. However combining them with relevant emails can increase results significantly.
Best of all, if you’re using good tools and know the overall objective, you can automate a lot of the ‘grunt’ work to make sure that customers are always seeing the right message at the right time to influence purchases.