Conversion rates on Facebook can be low for a variety of reasons. To increase your rate of conversions, a two-stage conversion model can help you reach a much greater number of potential customers, capture their information, and then keep them engaged, usually with email nurturing, with the aim of converting them into a paying customer at a later time.

The two-stage conversion model works particularly well on Facebook; it’s a low-engagement conversion that requires nothing more than for your customers to agree to find out more about what you do by providing their email address, or by Liking your page. In some small way, they are pre-qualifying themselves by expressing an interest. It’s not quite as qualified as someone performing a search for a specific term, but it does tell you that they’re ready to hear more.

Stage One: Get the Email (or the Like!)
The first stage is as simple as expressed above; you are merely trying to get customers to give you permission to engage them. In the context of getting people to Like your page, you’re just sending them to that page and getting them to click Like. It requires very little effort on their part, and now you’re able to launch phase two of your strategy: engaging those customers. (We’ll get to that in a bit.)

For those using ads, a best practice is to send people to a landing page on Facebook. This makes your customers comfortable; they are still in the same environment where they started. You can use Facebook Apps to develop landing pages on Facebook that allow you to capture email addresses and names.

In some contexts, you might want to ask for a little more info than just name and email address. For example, a coupon site will require the region they individual is from in order to better target him/her with offers.

Once you have accomplished the goal of stage one, it is a conversion, but it is still only stage one. Stage two is where you begin targeting customers for sales.

Stage Two: Get the Sale
Once you have people’s permission to start engaging them (Facebook is a great place to start to do this, which is what could make a Like so potentially valuable), the next step is to invite them to start visiting pages outside of Facebook.

Because you know that they’re interested in your brand or services, you are now able to give them offers that they have expressed an interest in, and you’re able to do this on a regular basis. Doing so through a Facebook Page can be challenging, as most Pages hover somewhere around 15% in the amount of Fans that they actually reach per post, which is why capturing email addresses as well can be a nice complementary feature to stage two.

The reason the soft conversion in stage one is so important is that CTR on email can be notoriously low. In my own experience, an 18% open rate is average, along with a 10% CTR, resulting in 1.8% of emails generating a click. So, we use the soft conversion in order to create a very large email list from which to work from in order to get higher rates of engagement.

It’s necessary to tailor those emails to ensure that you’re providing your audience with information that they were looking for. Through clever engagement, you’re able to keep these subscribers informed about what is available to them, and you may be able to continue to convert them into sales more than once, if they’re satisfied with your offer.

The two-stage conversion process sets you up to be able to deliver a soft sell to individuals who are, in essence, asking you to inform them about your products and services. Once you’re in the second stage of the process, you have already established a client base from which you are able to market your services to on a regular basis.

– Marc Poirier

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Marc Poirier is co-founder and EVP of Business Development at Acquisio, a leading performance media platform for marketing agencies.