Using social media for lead generation for publishers

Social media advertising platforms are proving to be great channels for generating new leads for publishers. For many of our clients, advertising, particularly on Facebook, is now an integral part of their overall digital marketing and subscriptions activities and can be a cost effective way to attract a new audience and build a database of qualified leads.


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The power of social media

It is said that social media lead conversion rates are 13% higher than the average lead conversion” Jakob Neilson

Many people’s first regular interaction with a publication is now through a social media channel such as Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn. They will possibly have ‘liked’ the magazine’s facebook page or signed up as a ‘follower’ on Twitter because they had read something they liked on a friends newsfeed, read an article on the brand’s website, or had simply picked up an issue of the printed magazine. And with the huge volume of people now signed up to all the various social media networks, there are literally millions of other new potential prospects at your fingertips, qualified and ready to target through the various advertising platforms the social networks now offer to marketers.


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How do you encourage someone to sign up as a ‘lead’?

The best starting point is to think about what free content you could give away. Most publishers currently seem to offer a free single print issue to encourage people to sign up and part with their name, phone number and email address in return. But to save on print and postage costs you could also give away a free digital issue (create a pdf page turner of your latest issue), give free access to your website for a few days/weeks (if your website has a paywall in place), offer a free special report or white paper (maybe a special supplement you have already produced which still has relevancy, or the past 10 articles from a particular writer or on a particular topic packaged up into a ‘special’), really anything that is relevant to your brand and offer your potential reader or subscriber something of high perceived value.


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Which are the best social media platforms to use?

In our experience at Jellyfish CoNNect, facebook advertising has generated the best results so far in terms of both volume of leads as well as ROI on marketing spend. Advertising on LinkedIn is expensive, so before using LinkedIn, consider what a new lead is worth to you. If your subscription price is high and your conversion rate from lead to subscription is strong, then it could be worth testing, but we recommend treading with caution where LinkedIn is concerned. Twitter used to insist on a (very high) minimum spend level for advertising, but they’ve recently introduced ‘pay-as-you-go’ type advertising so we’ll be testing this out. And as Pinterest has only just started experimenting with advertising, we’ll report back on our findings on testing this too in a future blog.


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What is the best way to advertise?

Given we suggest you are best focusing your efforts on facebook, make sure you make use of the visitor profiling options to target a qualified audience who you think are most likely to convert. Casting your net too broad and wide will end up taking up a big chunk of your marketing spend and your resulting cost per lead is likely to end up being high. So here at Jellyfish CoNNect we break down a big audience into lots of small ones so we can test which groups convert, and which don’t.


For example, when we used Facebook to promote a free issue campaign for a consumer football magazine rather than just broadly target people who like ‘football’ our strategy was more granular to the extent of targeting people who like specific football players, teams, leagues etc. Targeting in this way meant we could immediately react to any instances where under-performing audiences could be paused and the daily budget redirected to audiences that were proving successful.


And consider carefully how to create your ads, testing a few different versions to see which generate the best conversion. As your ad will be served up on a visitor profile page (these are the ads that you see in the right-hand ‘Sponsored’ column) and most people using facebook aren’t in a ‘buying’ frame of mind, make sure you use a mix of visually appealing images and enticing, action-oriented ad copy to make someone click on your ad.


Here are some examples of ads we’ve used successfully:


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Where and how do you get people to sign up?

Although facebook recommend keeping people within the facebook environment for the best conversion, if you don’t have the functionality on your own facebook page to do this, you can capture leads through a web page and form very effectively.


Jellyfish CoNNect build specific subscription websites for the paid search campaigns we run for our clients, which are separate to the magazine brand’s main editorial website. We create these so there are there are no third party ads or links to act as ‘leakage points’ and distract people. Once a prospect lands on the subscription site, every link or button they click on takes them to another page giving them more information about the magazine and its content. And similarly, for the lead generation campaigns we run, we direct people from a facebook ad onto a dedicated landing page so that once a visitor clicks onto page, they see exactly what they expected, and don’t get distracted from signing up.


Generally, the lead generation pages we use are relatively simple, with a brief description of what is being offered for free, plus a short sign up form – all branded up appropriately.


We recommend only asking for crucial information on the sign up form. Do you really need to know someone’s age, special interest or postcode? If you focus on just gathering their name, email address and phone number you will to get higher volumes of people signing up. You can always ask for more information later. Don’t lose a potentially valuable lead by insisting on too much information too soon.


Plus, don’t forget to include your data protection opt-in box so you can actively market to them afterwards. Or you could make it a condition of signing up under a ‘terms and conditions’ clause that the prospect agrees to being contacted by you.


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What next?

Make sure you exploit the power of social media by adding like and share buttons on your confirmation page to encourage people to forward your free offer to friends or colleagues.


Then test which marketing channel, telemarketing or email – or a combination of both (or maybe others too) – gives you the best conversion from your qualified lead into a subscriber.


And test when you follow up. Too soon after they’ve signed up and they might not have had the chance to even have read the free issue or report. Too late afterwards, and they might have completely forgotten about how great your content was.


So, social media is not only a great tool for connecting and engaging with prospects through your brand’s own social media offerings, but you can also use the various advertising platforms available to drive leads – and ultimately subscriptions too.