Since 2007 Jon Loomer has been using Facebook for business. And despite the ever changing landscape, has continued to thrive by marketing on the platform. Jon is now one of the leading Facebook marketing experts, and in this episode, it’ll become clear why.
When I asked Jon to come on the show I had no idea what a treat we were in for.
By the middle of this episode it will become clear what a gold mine of information Jon shares with us, including how he executed one campaign that converted Facebook fans to email subscribers at the whopping rate of 92%.
That might sound to good to be true, but tune in and hear Jon describe how he did it and it’ll all make sense.
In this 24-minute episode Jon and I discuss:
- The state of Facebook business pages
- How to build your Facebook audience the right way
- The audience targeting priority list
- The best starting point for Facebook marketing success
- A dead-simple breakdown of Facebook retargeting
- The Facebook tools you’re not using enough
- How to build a targeted email list with Facebook
- How to filter out the wrong audience to get to the right one
- What delivering value BEFORE you ask for anything really looks like
- Jon’s two pieces of advice for anyone starting out with Facebook advertising
The Show Notes
Two Ways to Turn Facebook Fans into Paying Customers
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Scott Ellis: Welcome to Technology Translated. I’m your host, Scott Ellis. My guest today is the one and only Jon Loomer. You probably know Jon for his Facebook marketing expertise. He has been marketing on Facebook and using the platform for business for over eight years, which in online terms is a lifetime.
This interview is an absolute goldmine of great information for anyone who uses Facebook for business. In his usual form, Jon completely over-delivers on expectations, but I think you’ll also find that Jon has a fun, fresh perspective on using Facebook for marketing and helps tie it in to good old-fashioned marketing fundamentals.
We’re also going to dig deep and talk about a couple of aspects of Facebook marketing that are underutilized by most brands. Jon is going to tell us a story about how he used Facebook to build his mailing list in a campaign that had a 92 percent conversion rate. I am not kidding. I am not making that up. When you hear how he did it, it’ll make total sense. So let’s dig in, and hear about it from Jon.
All right, Jon, thank you very much for joining me today, and welcome to Technology Translated.
Jon Loomer: Thanks so much for having me, Scott.
Scott Ellis: Good to have you here. When I was reading your bio, it says that you’ve been pretty focused, it sounds like, on social media in general, but particularly Facebook for about five years, maybe a little bit longer?
Jon Loomer: Yeah, that’s an old bio. In fact, it’s 8 years, so back to 2007. Essentially, I was first exposed to Facebook when I was working at the National Basketball Association. This is so far back that it was before pages. It was before you could create your own app, so the NBA actually partnered with Facebook to create an application. It was based off of their March Madness applications they did for college kids. This was right after they opened up to the old folks on Facebook. I’ve been using Facebook ever since then, but really, that was my first exposure also to it as a business perspective.
Scott Ellis: Well, very good. It doesn’t sound that long ago, but oh my, how things have changed.
Jon Loomer: Yes. Oh, yeah.
Scott Ellis: They’ve evolved quite a bit. With respect to that, since you’ve had so much experience and you’ve been looking at Facebook from a business standpoint for so long, how would you describe the current state of Facebook business pages? I’m thinking about things in terms of how much reach they actually can achieve, engagement, and how effective really are they for businesses.
The State of Facebook Business Pages
Jon Loomer: They’re great if you know what you’re doing and you have reasonable expectations. You have to understand first that, in order for Facebook as a platform to be effective — so in order for it to be a place that people actually want to go — they need to see content that they want to see. You have to understand that you are not going to be their first priority. To expect that, I think, is crazy and delusional.
From there, Facebook is the only company platform that lets you know what your reach is. As a result, when reach was really, really high, everybody had these expectations that they were going to reach 50 percent of people with each post. In reality, when you throw that Tweet out there, how many people are reading that Tweet? It’s probably less than 1 percent of your audience. The fact that we still, to this day, freak out about that is ridiculous.
The main point being, there’s absolutely a place for brands still within the Facebook world — if you understand where your place is. It’s not just sitting there selling to them all day. You can still make a huge, positive impact on your business using Facebook now and in the future.
Scott Ellis: That is a great perspective from which to queue up the rest of the conversation, and that is around reasonable expectations. I certainly know from the experience I’ve had with a number of my clients that people often have very inflated expectations of any platform — whether it’s just what SEO is going to do for them or what their Facebook reach is going to be. Couching that and bringing that back down to earth is the challenge that we have sometimes.
How to Build Your Facebook Audience the Right Way
Jon Loomer: Absolutely. The thing is, if you do it right, some brands get great reach. If you build your audience the right way, if you create content that they actually want to see, that’s helpful and engaging, the algorithm — which, I don’t really like to talk about the algorithms because then people start talking about trying to game it — but it works for you. If you look at it as pure sense, again, Facebook benefits from users seeing the content that they want to see most. It keeps them on Facebook.
They don’t care whether it’s from a user or from a brand. Now, brands are notoriously boring. Yes, in reality, you’re going to be further down the chain, but those brands that have figured it out and built their audience the right way of people who actually do care about them, specifically those who will then visit the website, they create content that they want to see. They’re not just selling to them all day. They still reach a very high percentage of their fans.
I might say very high. I’m not talking about 100 percent all the times, but a lot. When you share stuff to your friends, you don’t reach 100 percent of your friends. You probably don’t reach 50 percent of them. It’s, again, expectations.
Scott Ellis: Very good. You mentioned a couple of times you talked about building your audience the right way. For a brand, particularly maybe a smaller brand that is just getting going or is really only starting to utilize Facebook as a platform for marketing their business, let’s talk about some of the things you’ve seen people do that are not building their audience the right way. What approach do you try to guide people towards in terms of recommending how to build that audience?
The Audience Targeting Priority List
Jon Loomer: Let’s think about, for example, again, remembering that the importance of showing content to people that they want to see and they want to engage with. Otherwise, if it’s boring to them, Facebook’s going to stop showing it to them.
If you build your audience through contests, primarily, for example, if you build your audience through running really cheap ads, meaning you’re targeting really cheap countries, using tricks to get them to ‘like’ your page, as opposed to making sure you’re reaching people who already know you — maybe they’re on your email list, or they visit your website — and being upfront about what the value is that you can provide to them, if you’ve built your audience through tricks and cheap ‘likes,’ buying ‘likes,’ contests, that kind of stuff, you’re going to fail. Of course you’re not going to reach anybody in that case.
If you build your audience by focusing on the top of the targeting priority list and work your way down — your website visitors, targeting your email lists, targeting your ‘lookalikes’ –so basically Facebook looking at your website visitors, your fans, your email lists, and finding people similar to them — make sure you’re focusing on the right countries, and then working down to interest. Interest should be your last resort.
The Best Starting Point for Facebook Marketing Success
Jon Loomer: Ultimately, part of your strategy and building the site, your three main audiences I want you to be building at the same time, it’s your website traffic, it’s your email list, and it’s your fan base. Really, the starting point isn’t necessarily the page ‘like’ ad.
The starting point is creating really helpful, useful content that people want to read that’s on your website. That’s a very low, light action. There’s no commitment from anybody. You’re looking to help them. You’re not looking to sell anything or even get an email address. “I have a feeling that this is something that’s going to interest you based on an interest,” or something like that. “Go check it out, and read this article. What do you think?”
When they visit your website, they’ve seen what you’re all about, that you’re helping people. “Yeah, that’s good stuff. I recognize that brand,” whoever that is. Now, if you want to promote another blog post, you’re going to target those people who have been to your site before. If you’re going to start building your email list, you’re going to start targeting those people who visited your site before. If you’re going to build your fan base, you’re going to start targeting people who have been to your site before. That’s honestly the foundation. The most important audience that you can build is your website traffic. Then you can remarket to them for all these other different things — including sell.
Scott Ellis: Okay, awesome. That segued perfectly into the next question that I wanted to ask you. That is, are we talking about remarketing — which is a concept in and of itself, and maybe we’ll explain what that is more in a minute — but is that what you’re describing? I know somebody’s been to my site before. Now they’re on Facebook, so I want them to see something from me or about me on Facebook as a way of hopefully encouraging them to come over, gain familiarity, maybe ‘like’ my page.
A Dead-Simple Breakdown of Facebook Retargeting
Jon Loomer: Correct. You’ve got a pixel on your website, which is a little snippet of code. It’s on every page of your site, so Facebook knows when someone has been to your site. Then based on when they visited, what page they visited, Facebook can create audiences for you of people that you can target later with Facebook ads.
Scott Ellis: Okay, awesome. We’re not going to go deep into the technical details of that. I’m going to just encourage people to come out to your site — and I’ll be linking that up in the show notes — to learn more. This is where we get into the translated part. Just to make sure people are clear that the retargeting is that, that pixel is really just a snippet of code that we get from Facebook that’s associated with our brand or our page, correct?
Jon Loomer: Correct. In other words, it’s associated with your advertising account, and you put it on your website, correct.
Scott Ellis: Yeah, and then that way, if somebody visits your site, Facebook sees that they’ve been to your site. Then when they’re on Facebook, it says, “Okay, they’ve been to Jon Loomer’s site before, so now I’m going to show them some content from Jon Loomer.” Is that content that they’re seeing an ad that you are running as well against that person who has been ‘pixeled,’ as they say?
Jon Loomer: Right. Now you can create ads targeting people who have been to your site generally, or you can even craft an ad targeting people who visited a related article. Let’s say you wrote a helpful article, a how-to article about something related to one of your products. They’ve read that article, which means they’re probably a really good bet to be interested in your product. You’re going to target those people who visited that blog post with the ad to sell that related product as well.
Scott Ellis: Excellent. Do you see a significantly higher engagement rate or at least ‘like’ rate, whatever the metric is, through retargeting as opposed to just raw page ‘like’ ads or something of that sort?
Jon Loomer: Basically, a comparison would be targeting people who don’t know you through interests versus targeting people who have been to your website. The difference is huge, absolutely. It just makes sense. When you see content in your news feed from somebody you know, it could just be a blog post. It’s like, “Oh yeah, they have great stuff. I read it before. Here’s another blog post.” You can have a great title, but a lot of times it’s, “Eh, I don’t know who that is.”
It goes from simple, light actions like that to ‘liking’ a page, like “Why am I going to ‘like’ this person’s page? I’ve never heard of them before. No idea what this is all about.” “But, no. I’ve been to their website. Oh yeah, they’re awesome. They know what they’re talking about. Good, looks like a good product.” Or, “They got an opt-in,” or “They’ve got a product.” The people who actually have been to your site and you’ve built some trust with that content, it makes a huge difference.
Scott Ellis: Yeah, and that does completely make sense. That familiarity has to be a huge boon in terms of getting people to engage with you more regularly or in a way that you want them to.
Jon Loomer: You bet.
Scott Ellis: Any other aspects of Facebook marketing that we’re not possibly using enough? Anything new or just things that Facebook has offered us as a tool, but often get overworked? I know retargeting is one of them. Some people I see use it exceedingly well. I’ve seen a lot of your stuff on Facebook. Others are completely unfamiliar with the concept. Hopefully, they’re going to learn something from this episode, but anything else out there you’d like to throw at us to at least think about or go look into?
The Facebook Tools You’re Not Using Enough
Jon Loomer: That’s absolutely the biggest one, using website custom audiences, building that audience that you can then target a very relevant audience. Other tools that maybe aren’t used enough, I use Power Editor to create all my ads as opposed to just clicking that Boost button. You have way more control over the people you’re targeting and the stuff that you’re doing.
Additionally, there’s a nice little tool within Facebook called Audience Insights that helps you break down who the people are who either ‘like’ your page, are on your email list, who have visited your site, or are an interest to see if they’re people you should be targeting.
For example, I’ve got this website custom audience of all the people who visited my website over the last 180 days put it into this tool called Audience Insights on Facebook. It breaks down how many are men, how many are women, what ages they are, what job titles they have, how much money they make on average, what kind of things that they buy, what kind of pages they like.
I learn all these things about them to help me learn how I should approach them based on those things, but additionally, if I ever want to go outside of that audience, I could start basing it on a lot of these things that I’m learning about my audience.
Scott Ellis: That makes a lot of sense. In last week’s episode, I interviewed Aaron Strout. He had a very good perspective on mobility and mobile first, but throughout that discussion, one of the things we kept coming back to was that a lot of these things are still just good, basic marketing fundamentals that are applied to a particular context like Facebook.
Knowing your audience is the kind of thing that we talk about a lot. I think sometimes people get hung up on how to know their audience, but at least in terms of some specific demographics and hard metrics, Facebook gives us a lot of that.
Jon Loomer: They give us a lot, right. Again, it’s all privacy protected, so you’re not looking at individual people. Actually, they don’t give you anything unless you have an audience of at least 1,000 people. But not only can you learn more about your own audience, but let’s say you’ve been targeting people by an interest. For my purposes, I’m targeting people who ‘like’ the Social Media Examiner Facebook page, for example, or have that interest. I can decide whether or not that’s a smart move by breaking that audience down within Audience Insights to see if the age group, gender, the countries they’re from, and the other pages they ‘like,’ if all that stuff is consistent with my own audience.
Scott Ellis: Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. That’s a good insight for people to go take advantage of. I want to get into one fairly specific thing here. I’ll admit, this is something that trips me up a little bit, and I’m sure it does others as well.
I want to build the audience that we talked about in the beginning, of site visitors, but also my email list. Some of the things that I do on Facebook — we’ve got a pretty good audience on Facebook, have not done an effective job of actually converting people from a Facebook fan, if you will, to somebody that subscribes to the email list. We know the email list is super important and super valuable, but how do I get people to come over or make that conversion?
How to Build a Targeted Email List with Facebook
Jon Loomer: Again, it’s primarily ads. You can share this stuff organically through Facebook, and you’ll make a limited impact. Ultimately, it’s the ads as well and targeting the right people. When I have an opt-in, I want to say I always have something, I’m targeting primarily my website visitors and my fans.
Focusing so much on content does two things. First of all, by driving a lot of people to my site, there are lots of opportunities for people to be coming to my site and opting into my email list, whether or not that was the main reason they went there.
The second thing is, when I’m targeting, I’m targeting people who already know me for that opt-in. As a result, it’s way cheaper. I get opt-ins, so an email address, on average, between 50 cents and a dollar, whereas if you’re going to target people who don’t know you, expect to pay, oftentimes, way more than that. It all depends on the situation.
How to Filter Out the Wrong Audience to Get to the Right One
Jon Loomer: I’ll give you a really, really extreme, extreme example of this. I’ll try not to get too into the weeds on this, but I ran an experiment to start the year for two months, where people essentially opted-in to my ads. Like, “I’m going to show you exclusive content that you can’t get anywhere else, but I’m only going to serve them via ads. If you want to see this stuff, just click this link. You don’t have to provide an email address. Just click this link.” That’s all done with remarketing again. They went to a certain page.
Then I show them my first tip. If they click that first tip, they’re shown a second one, and so on and so forth. To give you an example of the power of targeting the right people who actually want to see your stuff and how that changes your costs, anyone who made it through 12 tips, I then invited them to a webinar. This is the first time I actually asked for an email address.
I invited them to a webinar to basically go through what I did with this experiment, the results, and how they could do it, too. That final group of people who made it through 12 tips was 900 people. I targeted those 900 people. I got 833 opt-ins, so registration’s at 5 cents a registration.
Scott Ellis: Wow.
Jon Loomer: It’s ridiculous.
Scott Ellis: That’s an insane conversion rate.
Jon Loomer: I completely understand people who hear that and they’re like, “You’re lying.” It sounds ridiculous. When you think about the process that led there and the engagement rate that got people to that, they had to jump through so many hoops just to get that invitation — it makes sense. Point being, yeah, I’m not going to be able to get 5 cent registrations all the time, but it’s clear proof of how important it is that you’re just targeting the right people in the first place who actually care about this and want to be involved.
Scott Ellis: Thank you for that use case or that case study. I grabbed two important things out of that that I hope people take away when they listen to this interview. That is, one, the process that you went through filtered out a lot of people by the time they got to the end, which is part of the reason that conversion rate was so high. Also, because, by the time they got to step 12, you have already exceeded expectations. You’ve provided a tremendous amount of value before you ever asked for anything in return, so people are going to be far more likely to say, “Oh, yeah, of course I’m going to give you my email address. Let’s go.”
Jon Loomer: Right.
Scott Ellis: You have done right by them, almost in excess, but again, this is going back to those fundamental marketing things. Provide value first before you just reach out and start asking for stuff, and that’s a great example of that in action and working. Thank you for that.
What Delivering Value BEFORE You Ask for Anything Really Looks Like
Jon Loomer: You bet. There’s a ton of filtering there. I think a lot of times we think, “Oh, all we need to do is get them to click that link. That shows how interested they are.” Well, reality, when I first invited people into this experiment, 4,500 people clicked on it to say, “Yeah, I want to participate.” Well, only 2,500 of those 4,500 clicked on the first tip, so 2,000 of that first group basically said, “Eh, no, never mind.”
Basically, one-fifth of the original audience made it all the way through, so that’s serious filtering. One purpose of that was, I’m trying to zero in on the people who are my people, and that’s them. Now, not only am I going them to this webinar, but in that webinar, at the end of that webinar, I’m going to give them this great deal on my private membership that you can’t get anywhere else.
I want to make sure I get that type of person into that membership. Even though I invested $3,500 in this campaign that seemed like it could easily be a waste of money because all I was doing was just giving away info — I wasn’t even collecting email addresses, anything, until the very end — I ended up selling 38 memberships in addition to collecting all those email addresses. The e-book that came out of that has resulted in more than 30,000 emails.
It’s playing the long game essentially, as opposed to just going straight to getting an opt-in or getting that sale right now, targeting people who don’t know you.
Scott Ellis: I am such a fan of the long-term thinking approach. I just want to say that is how it’s done. If you’re trying to actually build a business, that is how it’s done. This is fantastic.
All right, we are getting close to the end of our time for conversation here, but I want to go out with this. That is, if you could give one or two pieces of advice to somebody that is just starting out marketing their business on Facebook, what would they be?
Jon’s Two Pieces of Advice for Anyone Starting Out with Facebook Advertising
Jon Loomer: The first would be, look at it from the perspective of a user. What value can you provide them? Whether you’re talking about ads or regular content, whatever it be, do that first. If your goals are all about how I’m going to make money right now, your priorities aren’t in line. Now, eventually you want to make money, yes, but if you want users to actually engage with your stuff to result in revenue, that can’t be the total of your priorities. That’s the first thing.
Second is to build that audience of people who know you by driving traffic. You’ve got to focus long-term on people who are most likely to want to read that next blog post or most likely to opt-in or buy something from you. Driving traffic, creating a lot of helpful, useful content that answers people’s questions needs to be at the top of your list.
Scott Ellis: Love it. Thank you so much for that, Jon. Really, really appreciate your time today. This has been a lot of fun and very insightful. I can’t believe it’s already been 25 minutes. It zipped by.
Jon Loomer: Absolutely. Well, thanks for having me, Scott.
Scott Ellis: You bet. Thanks again.
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