(Disclaimer: This article contains affiliate links, which means I get a commission if you make a purchase by following one my links)
Do you have a Facebook group? If so, how do you convert your Facebook Members to email subscribers and sales leads?
We’ve been testing a pretty cool tool that does exactly this, allowing you to create Facebook group funnels in minutes.
Having a Facebook group can be great for building a community around your blog. But if your group members aren’t already subscribers, how do you convince them to sign up? And how do you monetize this audience without posting sales posts in the group or pitching them via DMs?
Most importantly, how would you keep communicating with your Facebook group members if Facebook shut down your group tomorrow? (Yes, it can and does happen.)
Our ProBlogger Community Facebook group has more than 20,000 members, while our Digital Photography School Facebook group has more than 100,000 members. And both have paid community managers looking after them. So we’re keen to see whether our investment in this social media channel can show a return we can measure alongside the intangible benefits of awareness and community building.
Email marketing and customer relationship management (CRM) tools with Facebook group functionality do exist, but these are often quite expensive. You can also build your own automations, integrations and workarounds with tools like Zapier. But we wanted something that was simple, easy to use and affordable.
Fortunately, we found a tool called Group Leads that ticks all those boxes.
Our new tool
Group Leads is a chrome extension (you just install it in your web browser) that allows you to:
- manage your Facebook group membership application and approval process
- capture email addresses
- trigger an email autoresponder.
It’s a relatively new solution, launching about a year ago along with number of similar solutions built around developments in Facebook’s group question features. This allows you to use new membership question types to ask smarter questions from your group members.
As with all new software, it’s had a few teething problems. And because it integrates with Facebook, issues often need to be ironed out when Facebook makes any big changes.
But despite these minor frustrations, we’re finding it’s well worth the monthly subscription, which is quite affordable. It saves us time in group administration, and generates revenue from new customers.
I won’t go into all of its features. (You can read all about those on their website.) What I will go into is how we’re using it.
One of the best things about Group Leads is how easy it is to set up. There’s nothing too technical, and their help documentation and support are both good.
Here’s all you need to do to get it up and running.
- Install Group Leads chrome extension to your browser.
- Click a button to add your Facebook group to your Group Leads account.
- Modify your Facebook group membership questions to ask for an email address.
- Create a Google Sheet to house your Facebook group contacts.
- Integrate your autoresponder (email service). Group Leads can integrate with 33 different autoresponders, including popular services such as AWeber, Active Campaign, Convertkit, Drip and Mailchimp.
And that’s it. You’re now ready to start generating email leads from your Facebook group.
Group Leads includes a couple of optional features.
Mirroring Facebook’s own auto-approve option, Group Leads can admit members based on criteria related to them:
- answering your application questions
- supplying their email address
- agreeing to group rules.
Both of our Facebook groups are quite large (we receive hundreds of applications for Digital Photography School each week), and so we switched Auto-approve on.
You can also send automated Facebook messages (DMs) to new and declined members, and tag new members in welcome posts.
We’re not doing this because we’ve heard reports of Facebook cracking down on DMs.
What we do
But why would people joining a Facebook group give you their email address?
We generate email leads via Facebook the same way we do on our blog – by offering an incentive (lead magnet) in return for subscribers opting in.
So for ProBlogger we ask:
“As well as access to the ProBlogger Community Facebook Group, would you like access to any of the following resources to help you grow your blog?”
We then deliver these resources via the ProBlogger PLUS Member Library.
And for Digital Photography School we ask:
“Would you like to access our Library of downloadable Ultimate Photography Guides? Access is via our free membership, which includes a weekly newsletter.”
In each case, access to the resources is granted via an automation triggered in our email system by creating a subscriber with the specific tag from Group Leads.
The automation also triggers a welcome sequence of emails to the new subscriber.
We’ve been using Group Leads with our ProBlogger Facebook group since April, and have already added hundreds of new email subscribers. And of those, around 10% have gone on to purchase a product or enrol in one of our courses.
Over time we expect more of these new subscribers to buy something from us, and more sales to those who have already purchased (lifetime value). In the meantime, we’re adding new subscribers from our Facebook Group every day.
Based on this success, we added our Digital Photography School Facebook group to Group Leads in May. (The Group Leads Starter Account lets you have two Facebook groups on the same account, which suits us perfectly.) And while sales results are harder to track in this case, we’ve already added a couple of hundred new email subscribers through this channel.
- Get Group Leads. If you have a free Facebook group (i.e. the members didn’t buy anything from you to gain entry) there’s little risk and a big upside to implementing a lead generation tool such as Group Leads.
- Start with a clear objective and pathway for your new subscribers. Make sure you have something tangible to offer as a lead magnet. It’s even better if it progresses your subscribers closer to a sale.
- Set up your systems to track and measure your results. Think about how you’ll track your Group Leads tagged subscribers through to making a sale.
- Test, test, and test again. Before you flick the switch to go live with your new Facebook group lead generation system, make sure you’ve tested it and ironed out any kinks in the user experience and that all your tag-based automations trigger like they’re supposed to do.
- Keep a close eye on it. (If you’re used to being fairly hands-on with admitting new members to your Facebook group, you’ll be used to this.) But as I said earlier, whenever Facebook makes a change it can create hiccups with the extension.
Over to you
Do you have a Facebook group? Think Group Leads could help you get more subscriptions? Let us know in the comments.
Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash