A little over a year ago when I first realized my newsletter was my best and most under utilized tool, I decided to take a course by Mark Dawson. His Self Publishing Formula (SPF) courses are pretty well known and he offers a Facebook Ads course for authors for free. If you want to learn more about marketing in general you can sign up for his other paid courses as well.

I wanted to discuss the free course I took and my experience with advertising through Facebook to build my mailing list. Below I’ve given a brief description of the course and detailed my experience.

The SPF Free Course

After you sign up for the course, Mark sends you 3 episodes on advertising on Facebook to help build your mailing list through lead campaigns, meaning you offer a free book or story in exchange for the reader’s email and sign them up to your mailing list.

The videos are pretty straight forward. He first explains the importance of a mailing list and why you should have one and then he gets into how to create a lead campaign and find your target audience–the target audience being the people you want to advertise to, instead of showing an ad to a bunch of people who don’t read or don’t read your genre.

It is a full step by step program on how to create and run the campaign on Facebook. I found his videos thorough and easy to follow.

If you’d like to check out the videos yourself and learn more about what they offer, I suggest signing up to the mailing list. You can sign up for the free course HERE (Free course at the bottom)

My Facebook Ad Experience

I took the entire course over a year ago. The first ad campaign I ran ended up costing me about $1.00 CAD per lead. Meaning that for each sign up to my mailing list, I spent a dollar. Keep in mind that at the time, I was using my paperback cover which doesn’t market well to a digital audience. My paperbacks sell great to people in person, but not online and because of that, I ended up purchasing new covers for my ebooks and decided to try them out in a new campaign.

How did the new campaign go? It’s currently still running and I’ve got the details below.

At present, each lead is costing me about $0.45 CAD a lead, which could change by the time the campaign is done, but I already have more leads now than I did in the previous campaign. In my previous campaign I ended up with 20 leads on a $20.00 budget and as you can see below, I have 44 leads and have only spent $19.78.

I haven’t compared any of these numbers to other authors’, but I would say these ads work and help me to build a larger readership effectively.

Additionally, I use Mailchimp for my mailing list, which allows me to tag subscribers as they are added. Looking at all of my current Facebook ad subscribers, I am currently at 55. Meaning, that from my first campaign from over a year ago, I still have half of my subscribers, which is great.

Keep in mind that my numbers are small because I have only run Facebook ads twice and on a small budget, the rest of my mailing list subscribers have come from other sources (more on that below). Looking at what I’ve accomplished with a small budget on Facebook though, you can see that this is good a tool for list building.

Why I Chose to Advertise with Facebook

When I don’t actively promote to get subscribers, I get a couple of subs every other month via my website or through links in my books and as a small business owner, while the organic subscribers are great, in the long run, I need more subscribers to sustain book sales and make a living.

There are a number of options when it comes to building a mailing list. Here are just a few:

  • Links to your mailing list in your books
  • Sign ups for your mailing list on your website and blog
  • Services that provide mailing list swaps and group events like StoryOrigin and BookFunnel
  • Facebook lead campaigns

The first two options are free and I recommend them, all of my organic (people finding my mailing list on their own) subscriptions come through those sign ups.

The next options, StoryOrigin and BookFunnel are subscription-based services that allow authors to do mailing list swaps and group events. These types of services are great and when StoryOrigin was in Beta and free, the majority of my mailing list came from group events. However, as a small business owner and indie publisher, subscription-based services are not the best choice for me financially.

With Facebook lead campaigns, I am committing to a one time payment and, with the right cover and advertising, I am almost guaranteed subscriptions for that campaign. Whereas with subscription-based services, if I am not participating in swaps and group events every single month, I am spending money on a service I am not even using.

That being said, there’s nothing wrong with subscribing to a service like StoryOrigin or BookFunnel and using it for a month or two, and then cancelling to give your marketing budget a break. I think rotating services is the best course of action, but make sure to cancel before you get hit with that automatic payment.

In Conclusion

I recommend Mark Dawson’s free course and using Facebook ads for building a mailing list. Facebook ads are a great option for a limited budget and for rotating with services such as StoryOrigin to diversify your reach and audience.

Have any of you used Facebook Ads before? What was your experience?

Till my next post–


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