How I Used Facebook Ads to Generate Leads for my Authority Website

In this article, I will show you step-by-step how I generated email leads for one of my largest authority website, Open Home Automation, using Facebook ads. On this website dedicated to DIY electronics projects, I am selling video courses, mainly via email leads that I get via organic search on Google. However, I really wanted to know if it was possible to grow such an authority website via other ways than SEO, which is why I wanted to do this experiment with Facebook ads for a long time.

Inside the article, I'll show you how I built the simple two-step lead generation funnel using SiteEngine, how I setup my Facebook ad, and finally what were the results that I got out of this experiment. Let's start!

Building the Lead Generation Funnel

The first step for this experiment was to build a simple funnel to actually capture leads. The funnel here will be really simple: a first page where they can read about what I have to offer them with a field to enter their email, and a second step thanking them after they subscribed.

On the first page, I propose to the visitors of the funnel a simple lead magnet (something that you give away for free in exchange for an email address). Here, the lead magnet is simply one of my best blog post that I reformatted to be a complete step-by-step tutorial that people can use. 

The second page is simply a page saying thank you, and stating what they can expect next. This could really be improved, but I wanted to keep it simple here.

This is a view of the complete funnel:

I built the funnel using SiteEngine, but you could also do this with other similar tools or also just with WordPress and an email marketing software.

Also, once they sign up, they will receive a sequence of three automated emails that simply give them access to their lead magnet & also introduce the website and what our brand is about. 

Setting Up the Facebook Ad

Once I had my funnel, the next step was to actually drive traffic into it using Facebook advertising. I could have sent some of my existing traffic coming from SEO into the funnel, but I really wanted to try using a 'cold' audience, so people that don't know my website yet.

For that, I went to the Facebook ads manager and started a new campaign. I chose a conversion campaign, as I wanted Facebook to optimise results for people that were signing up to my email list by downloading the lead magnet.

For the targeting, I used one another feature of SiteEngine that automatically synchronizes audiences with Facebook (for example by uploading all your subscribers emails to Facebook), and then create lookalikes from those audiences. Lookalikes are basically a large group of people that are similar to a Facebook audience (for example to your subscribers). 

Here, I used an audience that is the lookalike audience of my subscribers, so the people that are already engaged with this authority website. 

As the generated audience was very large, I refined the targeting a bit by setting interests based on what I know my audience is interested in:

Then, it was time to design the ad. I also wanted to make it simple, by telling what the lead magnet was about, and also by putting a picture that most of the people in this niche would recognise immediately. Here is the final version of the ad that I used:

As for the budget, I really wanted to make it a short experiment with a small budget, so I chose to use a total budget of $40, not spending more than $8 per day.

Monitoring the Results

I then started the campaign on Facebook, and started to monitor the results, using the funnel metrics function of SiteEngine. I wanted to monitor how the conversion rate of my funnel, how many new leads I could get, and also what would be the average cost of one lead.

After the complete run of the Facebook campaign, this was the result:

On this graph, you could see the people entering the funnel in blue (Optin), and the one that converted to leads in green (Thank You). Note that the gold line is some people that actually naturally visited the checkout page for one of the products sold on the site.

Well, as the graph is showing, the funnel definitely worked to acquired leads for this authority site. What we can see here is that after a few days, the conversion rate really started to improve (between the 2nd and 3rd of November), showing the optimisation done by Facebook. You can also see that even after the Facebook ads campaign ended, the funnel was still generating leads. This is due to some people now finding the post via organic search, therefore resulting in additional 'free' leads.

The good news at the end is the cost per lead: at just $0.6 per lead, this is really low compared to what I heard from entrepreneurs working in more competitive niches (like health). I also managed to capture 70 new leads for my business over the length of this experiment, and those leads are now also consuming my content and are potential customers.

Since then, I managed to optimise the page a bit more to reduce so the cost per lead to 40 cents. There is of course still a lot to be done with this simple funnel (for example convert leads to customers), but I was really happy with this experiment that I ran, and I will definitely use similar techniques to grow all my authority sites in the future.