Using Facebook Fan Pages to Capture Contact Information
The use of capture or squeeze pages for viral list building and lead generation is familiar to most people who browse the web regularly, but the use of a Facebook fan page (or business page) to capture visitor information is just starting to "catch on." The use of social media in general has taken off at a staggering rate and has ushered in social marketing with it. A Facebook fan page, when used correctly, is an essential component and offers some tremendous advantages over traditional capture pages for list-building and lead generation. With Facebook exploding to now well over 750,000,000 people, the viral power to expand your traffic many times over, greater conversion and the highest accuracy possible makes a Facebook capture page the superior alternative to traditional capture pages.
A Good Capture Page Offers Value
A good capture page offers some type of incentive in exchange for visitors typing their name and email into a form, essentially "opting in" and giving permission to receive emails or even to be contacted by phone. Obviously, the incentive needs to be something of value in order to draw in the right people, but it need not be something of high monetary value. In fact, in many cases the incentive is simply providing online information and/or training and is either delivered via email, like an "e-book," for instance, or in many cases providing a link to a website with videos and links to other valuable resources. This type of lead-capture system requires a graphic-rich offer page with the ability to capture the information and then pass the visitor on into the destination page, where the sale, or "conversion" process continues. The process of converting a visitor to a paying customer often takes time - like a courtship where you develop trust over time and engage in an ongoing dialogue, all while providing ongoing value.
Why Build a List?
The most obvious answer as to why you would build a list is to sell someone something, but the smart marketers are not necessarily looking for just the immediate, one-time sale. They are looking to develop a large following to which they can provide products and services over an ongoing period of time, so it is important that they nurture and cultivate the list by continuously providing value - a "win-win" situation for both parties.
How to drive traffic to a capture page is a huge topic and there are many techniques to do so including SEO (search engine optimization), email campaigns, and now through the very powerful new world of social media and social marketing. Businesses are aggressively driving traffic utilizing many of these different methods and we'll take a look at how they can get the most out of their efforts and out of their advertising dollars.
What's a Facebook Fan Page?
Facebook fan pages, often referred to as business pages, are pages where businesses are able to promote themselves on Facebook. Conversely, Facebook's personal profiles are intended to be used for non-commercial, social networking only. Where individuals on Facebook collect "friends", fan pages collect "likes" as they establish a following.
Why do Businesses Need to be on Facebook?
Simply put - because that is where the people are! With over 750,000,000 million users and most of them logging in multiple times per day, Facebook already has more traffic than Google. Already, 83% of businesses are using Facebook in some way because they know they need to have a presence on Facebook. As the saying goes, "put your bait where the fish are" - and they are on Facebook!
The Importance of a Capture Page on Facebook
So if the people are on Facebook, then why not just concentrate your traffic-building efforts on getting the attention of Facebook users and then driving them to your existing capture page websites? Why have a capture page inside Facebook? Well, being active on Facebook is, for most users, an enjoyable activity where they are able to interact with friends, check out what's going on in their social circles, join in discussions, browse through photo galleries, search for lost friends, etc., and often the last thing they want to do is click on something that takes them outside of Facebook. When something of interest floats by them (social marketing), they are less likely to check it out if it points to a site that is external to Facebook. As soon as they click on something which starts redirecting them to an external website, they will simply close it before it even finishes loading. Conversely, they are much more likely to check it out if it keeps them within Facebook.
The statistics for Facebook advertising bear this out, as conversions are much higher if the landing page for an ad is within Facebook. It also fits the sales process well, allowing marketers to develop buying interest in stages, eventually getting them to the point where they are willing to go to the transactional site. Facebook also offers discounted advertising rates of up to 30% for channeling ad traffic directly to a page within Facebook, as opposed to moving them to an outside site.
Facebook is an Open and Viral Network
Facebook is an open network and is built on the basis that everyone within your social circle (your friends) sees everything that everyone else is doing. The newsfeed (when you click Home) is simply a collection of the content that is being posted on the walls (personal profile pages) of all your friends. Understanding this simple concept highlights the powerful viral benefit of marketing on Facebook, or even driving traffic from outside of Facebook to a viral capture mechanism on a fan page within Facebook.
Just as with a traditional capture page, a fan page capture page needs to provide a way to present a graphic-rich and engaging offer or incentive to get the visitor to opt in and then automatically send a confirmation email. Unlike a traditional capture page, it should leverage Facebook's open network environment and automatically send a customized wall post to that visitor as well, thus exposing all of their friends to your business or service. This essentially automates the word-of-mouth process, not requiring the visitor to take an active role. The credibility of that individual translates directly to your product and service, providing an instant recommendation and increases the likelihood that their friends who have an interest in your product or service will go to you first. In fact, by clicking on the linked wall post, they will go to your fan page capture and the whole process starts over again.
So, if you are already driving traffic to a capture page, using a Facebook fan page capture can literally multiply your traffic many times over. Even if only one friend clicks the wall post to check it out, you've doubled your traffic. With many Facebook users these days having 300, 400 or even 500 friends or more, the additional exposure can be tremendous!
Greater Conversion and Better Accuracy
Since Facebook is a membership network (i.e. free), users must log in and identify themselves to Facebook in order to access the network. This allows a Facebook fan page capture to streamline the capture process. Instead of requiring the visitor to fill out a form, providing at the minimum their name and email address, they can simply, with two clicks, give Facebook permission to provide their information directly from Facebook's database to the capture tool. Since they are not directly providing this information it lessens their reticence as well as eliminates the additional keystrokes, so visitors are much more likely to follow through. Statistics support this showing a 3- to 4-time greater conversation rate over traditional capture pages.
This process also ensures the accuracy of the information captured, as it is captured directly from Facebook's database. This eliminates the common occurrence of visitors putting in false information (i.e. Mickey Mouse and Santa Claus will no longer be visiting your site) to get past the capture page. In fact, people typically use their primary email, which is less likely to go away, when they sign-up for Facebook, and they are much less likely to provide a fake name as this would obviously hinder the social networking process of finding old friends, colleagues, etc. Using a Facebook fan page capture automatically upgrades the quality of the information captured.
So to wrap it all up: A market with over 750,000,000 people, viral power to expand your traffic many times over, greater conversion and the highest accuracy possible truly make a Facebook fan page capture the superior alternative to traditional capture pages!
Tim Kacprowicz is an Independent Social Media Consultant with Social Outbreak, helping provide business owners and entrepreneurs with powerful social marketing solutions and business opportunities that leverage the explosive growth in social media, all under his Social Marketing Engine brand. To learn more, visit our Facebook fan page: Social Marketing Engine, and if you like what you see, we always appreciate your "Likes"!