As freelancers, one of the most time-consuming jobs we have is finding new clients.
And if you’re not a natural salesperson or someone who enjoys pitching on the spot — it requires a boatload of energy, too. In-person sales can be particularly draining, especially for those of us who prefer written communication and thrive behind the comfort of our computer screens.
But the good thing is, there is a way to simplify how you get more leads and make more sales in your business — even if you suck at selling. And that’s by setting up a system.
Any repetitive or regimental job can be systematized. And when you leverage systems-thinking in your business — you can simplify your everyday tasks. Creating more free time and dramatically shifting the weight of your workload.
Applying systems thinking to your sales process
A system is a simple method for getting something done. Whether it helps you conserve energy, save time, or complete a specific task — it works in your favor to simplify your life.
Some typical examples:
- Recipes — to help you cook a tasty dish
- Checklists — to help you complete a specific task
- Alarm clocks — to help you wake up; and
- Calendar alerts — to help you remember something
These simple systems help you function more efficiently. In the same way, if you create smart systems inside your business, you’ll be able to operate more effectively as a company of one.
When it comes to hustling, “systems” doesn’t mean fancy IT software or expensive network servers; it simply refers to all the procedures that allow you to serve customers or otherwise make money. ~ Chris Guillebeau
Systems allow you to buy back your time. And when applied to a core part of your job, they can power the growth of your business, too.
How to create a powerful lead generation system
Over the last few lessons, I’ve been sharing a strategy for how to generate more leads in your business. Plus, how to set up the system that can support it.
The strategy (in a nutshell) is to use the power and reach of Facebook Ads to grow your email list quickly. This is so you have an audience of warm leads at all times that you can tap into whenever you want.
And we’re structuring our system in a way that uses content and automation to do most of the heavy-lifting for you.
- In lesson one, we talked about how to avoid costly beginner mistakes by doing the necessary prep work
- In lesson two, we spoke about how to piece together the prep work so setting up your sales funnel is a breeze
- And in this lesson, we’re going all in on how to create a cleverly targeted ad campaign (that can actually convert)
But before we dive into the how-to of getting your Facebook ad live and delivering, let’s talk a little bit about the kind of advertising we’re using.
What makes Facebook lead ads different (and better)?
In Facebook, the type of ad you choose is based on your marketing objective. As you may or may not know, there are multiple different options to choose from — and that can get seriously confusing.
So before we go any further, I want to make it clear that we will be using Lead Ads. Unlike other ad types, they’re designed specifically for lead generation.
Here are a few things Lead Generation Ads do, that other ad types don’t:
- Eliminate the need for a landing page because they include a contact form that lets people opt-in to your offer instantly
- Creates less friction for your customer because user details are pre-populated and they can opt-in with two clicks.
- Trigger your sales funnel automatically because they integrate directly with your email marketing solution
Lead ads allow you to tap into the real power of automation. They optimize your customer pathway by eliminating unnecessary steps and create helpful shortcuts for getting your customers onto your list
As you can see, lead generation ads align incredibly well with our time-saving goals. So let’s move on to what’s involved for setting one up.
8 Steps to Going Live: How to create your Facebook lead ad from scratch
The time has finally come to create your ad.
So without further adieu … here are the eights steps involved for creating your Facebook lead ad from scratch.
1. Create and Install your Facebook Tracking Pixel
The Facebook pixel collects data from your website.
And once installed, you can use that data to report conversions, see website activity and build audiences for better ad targeting.
2. Write your Ad Copy
For your Facebook ad copy, you need your:
- Main ad text
- Lead Magnet Headline
- Description (optional)
Your main ad text can be short because your headline should do the heavy-lifting for you.
With a well-crafted headline the rest of your ad copy shouldn’t have to say much more than “do you have this problem?” and “here, try this to fix it.”
Here are a few tips for crafting your first round of sales copy:
- Focus on how users will feel after using your lead-magnet — emotional benefits compel people to take action.
- Use qualitative data (25% fewer meetings) to drive your message home
- Make your value proposition front and center
- Use clever, compelling, customer-focused language to create a sense of intrigue
- Make your customers pain points central to your messaging
To view some excellent examples of short ad copy (that works) — look here.
3. Create your Ad Image
Your ad creative is incredibly important. The goal is to jerk your audience’s attention away from their Facebook feed. So it has to make an impact.
Here are a few tips for making your image as attractive as possible:
- Avoid using unedited, standard stock images — they’re boring, and no one likes them
- Keep your ads colorful and in contrast with the newsfeed — it will immediately grab peoples attention
- Choose an image that evokes a feeling — inciting an emotional response is always the goal in sales.
- Use minimal (or no) overlaid text — Facebook doesn’t like it.
- Use the recommended image size — 1,200 x 628 pixel
Remember: everything will be tested. So for now, create an image that you think will connect with your audience and work from there.
4. Create a Lead Form
Your lead form represents the step in your funnel where a landing page would normally go.
Once someone clicks on your ad, rather than send them to your website, an opt-in form triggers inside Facebook. And you can customize it to suit the needs of your offer.
When you create your lead form, stick to the same principles you would for building a landing page, keep it:
- customer focused, and
- friction free.
You can either draft your lead form now or wait to create your ad, and do it then. Check out these instructions to get set up.
5. Create a Custom Audience
To run a successful ad, you need to target a specific audience. In your first round of testing, you’re aiming for an audience size of about 80,000-100,000. You want it to be well defined.
Specific and clever targeting can drive down your cost per click and significantly boost your conversion rate. So spend some time designing your ideal audience.
You can find a super-useful breakdown for all the audience segments and targeting options here.
And if you have an existing Facebook page, you can check out your audience insights and use that information to target your ideal client.
6. Create your Campaign, Ad Set, and Ad
This is that point where all the prep is going to pay off. Everything you’ve created so far comes together when you create your ad campaign.
And while it seems like a lot of steps, most of them simply involve adding links and copying the content you’ve already created into Facebook. It takes less than an hour if you’ve got all the elements prepared.
These are three stages to your ad creation in Facebook:
- Your Campaign: where you choose your marketing objective
- Your Ad Set: where you choose your audience, your placement, your budget and your schedule
- Your Ad: where you choose your format, upload your image, paste your sales copy, and pick your lead form.
To make it easier to set up your ad and navigate through each section, I’ve listed out all the sub-steps involved, including some helpful screenshots to see what it looks like.
Create Your Campaign
To set the scene — you’ve just clicked inside Facebook Ads manager, navigated to campaign creation and hit that little green button that says +Create. And now, you’re faced with a question…
What’s your marketing objective?
Step 1: Select Lead Generation as your marketing objective
Step 2: Name your campaign.
A simple format is <your business page name> + <the item promoted> + <your objective>. For example: Raising Frenchies – Breeder Guide Download – Lead Generation.
Keep your naming conventions as simple as possible, so your ads stay organized and are easy to search.
You’re only starting with one — but as you start juggling multiple campaigns and ad sets, things get messy quickly. If you’re struggling to decide on your naming strategy, you can find some great tips here.
Create Your Ad Set
Step 3: Name your ad-set.
It should be more descriptive than the campaign name. You can include any qualifier you like, provided it helps you understand which ad set it is.
Step 4: Select your business page.
Select the page you’ll be advertising on. Super simple.
Step 5: Select your audience.
If you’ve already created and saved a custom audience (which we talked about earlier), you can pick it from the drop-down list. Otherwise, you can build one from scratch. Here’s an example of what it will look like:
Step 6: Edit your placements.
The first test you run for your campaign should be limited to mobile and Facebook only. Whatever you do, don’t check the automatic placement box. You can ignore Instagram for now too — their ads require a different approach.
Step 7: Enter your budget and schedule.
To keep it simple, start any new campaign on a $10-a-day budget. This allows you to test your lead magnet at a manageable price and pace. And you can keep an eye on your spending.
You can either run your ad on a continuous schedule or set a time frame — this is up to you. I usually just let mine run and adjust when necessary.
You don’t need to adjust anything in the advanced settings. When your budget gets bigger you can come back to this section. It should look like this:
Create Your Ad
Step 8: Name your ad and choose your identity.
This is usually more simple than naming the ad-set. Just make it clear what you’re testing. Consider using copy details and imagery details as your qualifiers. Are you testing long copy or short copy? What’s in the image? Does it have text?
Once you’ve named your ad, choose the page you’re advertising for as your identity. And double check you don’t have an Instagram placement running.
Step 9: Choose your image format and upload your creative.
For your initial round of advertising, stick with the single image format. It’s going to be easier to test, and you have fewer variables to worry about than with a carousel.
Step 10: Enter your text, headline, description, and CTA.
At this point, your ad is almost complete. And if you’ve done the prep work, you should be able to copy and paste your headline and ad-text. And then pick a relevant call-to-action button. You get a helpful preview on the side.
The example above uses a downloadable PDF file for a lead magnet, so “Download” makes sense as the CTA. You can also choose to use; Apply Now, Get Quote, Learn More, Sign Up, or Subscribe.
Underneath the CTA options are some advanced settings. Make sure you’ve selected your Facebook pixel for conversion tracking.
Step 11: Select your Lead Form, or create a new one.
Your form should consist of two pages. Page one is where your user submits their details (pre-populated by Facebook). And page two is where you outline the next steps, and provide a link to your Thank You page.
Most of the text and buttons are editable. BUT you cannot edit your Lead Form once it’s live. You’ll have to create a new one if you have changes to make.
Step 12: Select your Lead Form from the list and hit CONFIRM.
Facebook will now review and publish your ad if it’s approved. If for some reason your ad gets rejected, this article might provide a solution.
7. Test your Sign-up Process — from Opt-in to Email Delivery
At this stage of your campaign creation, everything should be in place.
You have your ad, and your sales funnel sorted. (If you missed the post on setting up your funnel, you can check it out here).
Before going live, you want to test that your ad is connected to the rest of your lead gen system and working seamlessly. Than means checking the entire process from start to finish.
First, you want to generate a live preview of your ad:
- Open your campaign in Facebook ads manager
- Click through to your ad creative
- Hit edit and scroll down to the preview of your ad
- Select the little arrow in the corner.
- Click on Send Notification from Facebook under “Preview on Device”
We want to send a link to your ad — directly to your device — so you can see how your ad looks on screen. Once you’ve previewed your ad, click your CTA, test the rest of your funnel, and fix anything that doesn’t work.
8. Go Live (but be ready to test)
Once your ad is created and you’ve tested your sales funnel, it’s time to start spending money. Now’s the time to run your ad, allow it to collect data, and produce some results.
(I like to run my ads without any interference for the first six days. And with a budget of $10 a day, that caps my spending at $60 for my first round of testing).
Once you collect your first round of data, you’ll be ready to test your ad elements to crank-up your results.
Don’t Forget to Test and Tweak
Testing is critical to your ads overall success. Which means you have to be willing to get things wrong — a mindset shift that most beginners struggle to make.
But the quicker you fail, the quicker you can adjust your ad and improve your results.
So in the final part of this four-part series — we’ll cover some testing strategies to simplify your approach and make the ‘optimization phase’ more enjoyable.
Finalizing the ‘Production Phase’
Now that we’ve covered all the ad development steps, it’s time to get your lead generation system up and running. You’ll be happy to know that once this critical setup phase is complete — the time-intensive work is done.
But remember, going live with your ad is not the end of your project. Once your ad is up and running, the quicker you dive into testing mode and the less money you’ll waste getting your ad to deliver the results you want.
In the next lesson, we’ll dive deeper into how to test, tweak, and optimize — but for now, focus on creating your ad and generating your first-round of data.
Here is a quick recap of what you need to do before you can go live:
- Install your Facebook pixel
- Write your ad copy (use the headline from your lead magnet)
- Create an ad image with minimal text
- Finalise your Lead Form in Facebook
- Create a new audience in Facebook
- Setup your campaign, ad and ad-set in Facebook
- Test your sign up process
To make life easy — download your free Facebook Ads Guide + Checklist here (no email required). Then all you need to do is get to work.
Additional reading in this series: