Grow Your List Faster With Facebook and Instagram Ads

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Salome Schillack

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An entrepreneur, marketer and teacher here to help you turn your passion, knowledge and skills into a wildly profitable business that gives you complete freedom and autonomy in your life and your work.

Hi, I'm Salome

Harnessing the power of Facebook and Instagram ads for a healthy and happy email list is at the heart of every profitable online courses business. 

It may be a cliche, but the saying “the money is in the list” proves to be true every time we see one of our clients achieve 7 figure success!

Building a warm and engaged email list should be your number one priority when you’re preparing for a launch and it should be the first thing you do when you’re just starting out. 

But it can also be a slow process at times and can leave you feeling like you’re selling your soul on social media just to get one or two leads per day!

Using Facebook and Instagram ads can help you supercharge your list growth and you don’t even need a big ad budget to get started. 

Crafting Your Perfect List Building Ad Strategy: Start With The End In Mind

When we start planning our list building strategy, the most important thing to remember is to keep the end goal in mind. 

As course creators, our end goal is always to sell more of our online courses. 

That means that each of our lead magnets or freebies we give away has to align with the paid course we want our leads to purchase from us a few days, weeks or months later when we have launched our course. 

This becomes even more important when we are using our money (paid ads) to build our lists because we want to ensure that we get a good ROI (return on investment) otherwise we are just throwing money at Zuckerberg. 

Here are some things to keep in mind when you plan your list building ad strategy:

  • Does your lead magnet solve a small problem that your ideal customer wants a solution for?

  • Does your lead magnet align with your paid course and does your paid course logically follow on from your lead magnet as the next, bigger problem your ideal customer will want to solve?

  • Do you have a clear idea of how many leads you’ll need on your email list in order to make a profit when you sell your course? On average, about 1% of your email list will buy your course.

Answering these questions before you start your list building ads will help you save money and set you up to make a good profit in your launch. 

Drafting Your High-Converting Copy: Get Instant Attention From Your Perfect Customer

Your ideal customer is scrolling through their News Feed when your ad pops up and interrupts their scrolling. 

It’s important that your ad instantly communicates to them that you know what they want and you understand their desires. 

The first line of your ad copy is called your HOOK. 

Your hook serves to make them stop scrolling and read the rest of your copy. 

Your hook has to:

  • Instantly identify who you are talking to.

  • Clearly connect with a pain point or desired end result your ideal customer wants.

  • Give them a reason to keep reading. 

A good hook can be a question or a statement. 

Here’s an example of a hook we used recently to promote our 5 Day Digital Marketing Workshop:

Example of a Facebook ad with a great hook for list building

Creating Images And Video That Stops The Scroll: Key Elements To Capture Your Audience

Next to the hook in your copy, the element that will be most likely to stop your ideal customer in their tracks and get them to pay attention to your ad is your image or video. 

It’s no secret that video dominates the News Feed these days, but a well thought out image can be just as effective. 

When planning your images, ask yourself what visual picture comes to the mind of your ideal customer when they imagine themselves enjoying the benefits of what you teach them. 

Picture them in their ideal state after they’ve learned what you’re teaching them in the lead magnet you’re promoting. What are they seeing? What are they doing? Where are they and who are they with? What have they achieved that they are celebrating? How can you convey this to them in an image or a video?

Try to limit the amount of copy you use on your video or image, but if you have to, limit the copy on an image to the key benefit and a call to action. 

Here’s one of our clients’ ad images where you can see the end product that her ideal customer wants – her pattern on gift wrapping and the effective use of copy on the image.

Example of Facebook and Instagram Ads for Anne LaFollette Art

Targeting Essentials: Pinpoint Your Ideal Customer On Facebook And Instagram

One thing everybody wants more of is to be seen online by the right customers. 

Effective targeting is one half of a successful campaign that connects with the right customers. The other half of that equation is messaging. 

Both the message and the target audience have to match in order for there to be a deep connection between your ad and your ideal customer. 

When we start working with a new client, we follow one rule for targeting to ensure we identify the best audiences to target, faster.

That rule is to never put our eggs in one basket.

What you want to do when you start out with ads and you’re not sure where to find your best audiences, is to include some of the following:

  • Interest-based audiences that may be considered competition to your brand.

  • Broader media-based interest audiences your ideal customer may be interested in. Think Oprah vs Ellen. In your niche – who are the media personalities that your ideal customer is likely to follow? Is it more down to earth and natural or more fast-paced, high energy and a bit irreverent?

    In the online marketing industry, we often use the example of Amy Porterfield vs Russell Brunson – our ideal customer is more feminine and therefore more likely to follow Amy over Russell. In fitness this could translate to Yoga Publications vs Body Building Publications.

  • Lookalike audiences. Your past sales are the best quality source for your lookalike audiences but when that list is small, it may not give Meta enough data to find the right people. Using broader sources like your full email list or custom audiences of people who have engaged with you on Instagram or Facebook will be your next best source.

  • Open targeting is a strategy we’re finding a lot of success with for our clients in 2023. We just narrow our audiences down to country, sex and age group and leave everything else up to the ad creative to connect and call out our ideal target. 

Aim for an audience size that is between 10M and 100M in size to give the algorithm enough room to find your best targeted leads.

Optimizing Your Facebook And Instagram Ads Budget: Investing In Your Most Important Business Asset

When you’re deciding on a budget for your ads, the best practice is to spend at least $25-$50 per day for the first 7 to 10 days. 

This will allow the algorithm to fully optimize and get you the best result possible. 

Once the algorithm has optimized and you see your lead cost is fairly stable from one day to the next, you can increase or decrease your budget slowly. 

Keep in mind that your aim is not to get the cheapest leads possible but to get leads that will engage with you once they are on your list and that will turn into paying students when you sell your course. 

Quality is just as important as quantity when it comes to your list building ads. 

Using these guidelines will help you kick-start your list building efforts and set you up to succeed with Facebook and Instagram ads. 

Get Your First List Building Ad Up Without Wasting Money!

Free 5-Day Facebook And Instagram Ads Training 

We have recorded a FREE 5-Day Video Training for you where you can look over my shoulder as I show you everything you need to know to get your first list building ads up. 

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follow @the_launch_lounge


Here to help you turn your passion, knowledge and skills into a wildly profitable business that gives you complete freedom and autonomy in your life and your work.

An entrepreneur, marketer and teacher

I'm Salome