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15 ways to build your email list with Facebook 

7 min

Facebook dwarfs all other social media platforms. It’s a social sharing powerhouse. I’m tempted to say “if you can make here, you can make it anywhere.” But Facebook is so huge that if you can make it on Facebook, you won’t need to make it anywhere else. 

What if you could take this 800-pound gorilla of social media, and use it to build your email list? Well, you can. There are more than a dozen different ways to do it.

Editor’s note: If you’re looking for more ways to build your email list effectively, check out this article that contains our proven tactics.

Optimize your Facebook page

1) Add an opt-in form “tab”, or app to your Facebook page

This is very easy and usually takes around 10 minutes to set up.

The challenge?

Due to Facebook’s recent policy changes, this option’s only available if:

  • You’ve installed the plugin before Facebook made their changes to the API
  • You’ve got over 2,000 likes
  • The application is whitelisted (We’re working on that!)

2) Add a coupon or a lead magnet to sweeten the deal.

This is just like any other opt-in form or prompt to join your list. If you offer a lead magnet, a coupon (e.g., 30% off your Valentine’s day order), or some other kind of signup incentive, you’ll get more subscribers. Not sure what that could be? Here are some of the most effective lead magnet ideas.

Most people use their site link to send people to their home page, and that’s fine. But if you’re really committed to getting more subscribers, make the most of that incoming traffic to your site and send people to a landing page specifically designed for Facebook traffic. You’ll get far more subscribers than just sending them to your site’s home page.

4) Include a call to action to join your list in your About descriptions – both the short description and in the long description.

You won’t be able to add a hyperlink, but you can still add a URL:

Sample of “Short Description” for Facebook About description to build email list

5) Add an email-gated or “form-gated” resource to your Facebook page.

We can’t do like gates on Facebook anymore, but we can still gate content and require an email address. Third-party Facebook apps like Wishpond, TabSite, ShortStack, and Pagemodo all offer this functionality.

Remember that you don’t have to add just one piece of email-gated content. You could add two, three or four.

25 ways to build your contact list

25 ways to build an email list

Learn even more ways you can build your email list with our free ebook, filled with creative ideas and real-life examples!

Download guide

Optimize your Facebook cover image

And, of course, send people to a squeeze page to opt-in. Do this by editing your cover photo, then adding a description to the photo. The description should include a call to action to join your email list, and a link to the landing page.

Sample of add your squeeze page link to Facebook cover image to build email list

Bonus: You can do this with your profile photo, too.

7) Add a call to action to join your list on your cover photo.

Like this:

Sample of add a call-to-action in Facebook cover photo to build email list

Use your Facebook updates to build your list

8) Post updates promoting your lead magnet and prompting people to sign up for your list a couple of times a month.

Don’t do this every day – that would be over-promotional. But reminding people about signing up for your email list two or three times a month wouldn’t hurt.

9) Announce your upcoming newsletters and include a prompt to join your list.

This is especially effective if you’re offering some content in your email newsletter that’s not available anywhere else. It’s killer-effective when the email-only content is something like survey or content results.

But no matter what’s in your email, it’s legit to let your Facebook fans know about it. Even if they don’t engage with that particular post, you may get their attention enough that the fans who are already email subscribers will get their interest piqued. Because of your pre-announcement post, they might be more likely to open and reading your email when it arrives in their inbox.

Sample of an announcement post in Facebook for your email list

10) Add a call to action button.

These are simple to set up. Most Facebook pages will show admin users a button that says “Create Call-to-Action” if this feature is available. Once you click that button, you’ll see this:

Sample of “Create a Call-To-Action Button” in Facebook Pages to build email list

When you’re done with all the steps, you’ll see something like this:

 Sample of “Call-To-Action” button in Facebook Pages to build email list looks like

 Call-to-action buttons also work on ads and on organic posts. For ads, you can also use buttons that say “Learn More”, “Download”, “Shop Now” and “Book Now” in addition to “Sign up”. This is an interesting and somewhat neglected feature. Make the most of it.

Run events

11) Run a contest, giveaway or sweepstakes.

For some marketers, this is the #1 way to build an email list. It works well, but you need a great prize. The prize has to be valuable, but it also has to be something unique that only your ideal subscribers would really want. For example, if you’re a fly fishing equipment affiliate, offer a fly rod as a prize, not an iPad.

Contests, giveaways, and sweepstakes tend to work best if you’ve got a lot of Facebook fans. If you’ve only got a couple hundred fans, you may end up adding only a hundred or so new subscribers to your list with a contest.

If you’re still interested in doing a content, look into a third party app like Heyo, or any one of the apps I mentioned for form gates.

12) Create an offer that includes signing up for your email list.

Offers are created as if they were an advertisement, but they’re a bit different than typical Facebook ads. There’s even a way to create them and not pay to use them, though Facebook will try to guide you into actually advertising your offers.

Denise Wakeman recently created a Facebook offer to promote a new ecourse she was offering. She got some pretty good results with her offer, plus a bunch of new subscribers. She outlines exactly what she did and the results she got here.

13) Create an action with the 3rd party app ActionSprout.

This is an interesting app that’s designed for non-profits, but could be used for all sorts of things. ActionSprout doesn’t create opt-in forms per say, but it does give you a way to prompt people to do things on Facebook, like asking them to pledge to support your cause. Some actions result in you capturing people’s email addresses. I have not actually used this app, so I’m a little cautious about it, but it looks very promising.

Here’s one ActionSprout action from UNICEF. It’s set up to automatically add people to UNICEF’s email list when they click on the “Demand” button.

Sample of add people to UNICEF’s email list by just click on the “Demand” button

14) Use your email list to create a custom audience.

Email is a simple way to create a custom audience. Then advertise to lookalike audiences who resemble your current subscribers. Jon Loomer has an excellent tutorial on creating and using lookalike audiences here.

15) Use Lead Ads to collect email signups

Lead Ads are one of the newer options available to those who advertise through Facebook. They’re very popular and effective, too – that’s because users don’t have to make a lot of effort to leave provide their email address. Facebook suggests it for them (using the address the user is registered with), which also means they don’t even need to leave the platform to register for a webinar or download the ebook.

In the article below, our PPC specialist, Piotr Sobczyk goes into detail on how you can use Facebook Lead Ads to grow your email list and add the contacts to your GetResponse account.

Facebook Lead Ads and GetResponse: How to Get More Subscribers

Use Facebook to retain your subscribers

16) Include a prompt for people to like your Facebook page right after they’ve just subscribed for your list.

You’re sending them a welcome email already, right? So make that welcome email just a little bit better. Use it to prompt people to follow you on Facebook. And while you’re at it… suggest they follow you on your other social platforms, too. This way, when (or if) they unsubscribe from your emails, you’ll still be able to keep in touch with them through Facebook.

Those are the ways I know of to build an email list with Facebook. I’m sure there’s more. If you know of one I’ve missed, will you share it with us? Maybe it’s an app, or a way to optimize updates, or some new Facebook advertising trick. Tell us about it in the comments.

25 ways to build your contact list

25 ways to build an email list

Learn even more ways you can build your email list with our free ebook, filled with creative ideas and real-life examples!

Download guide

Pam Neely
Pam Neely
Pam Neely has been marketing online for 15 years. She's a serial entrepreneur and an avid email and content marketing enthusiast with a background in publishing and journalism, including a New York Press Award. Her book "50 Ways to Build Your Email Marketing List" is available on Pam holds a Master's Degree in Direct and Interactive Marketing from New York University. Follow her on Twitter @pamellaneely.