We need to grow our email subscriber lists, but the REAL goal is to grow our list of buyers. Running paid ads on Facebook, Twitter or other platforms is pretty expensive, so you need to be focused on making sales whether it's your products or affiliate offers.
If you can make some sales as visitors sign up to your list, then you can grow your subscriber list AND your buyer list at the same time. You can also run other types of paid ads like Solo ads, Microsoft Ads, Youtube ads, etc.
Use Your Thank You Page
When someone signs up to your list, it's a good idea to redirect them to a Thank You page where you can have links to paid offers. Once they get to the thank you page they're already signed up for your email list.
I like to give them what they opted in for, plus some extra downloads along with links to recommended resources that include paid products and courses. That gives them the option to buy something which helps pay for your ads. The goal here is zero cost ads and to break even not to make a profit.
A more advanced version of this idea is to create what they call a SLO funnel, a "Self Liquidating Offer" funnel. That's a low cost offer you show to new subscribers when they sign up to your list. The offer should go along with what they opted in for, and it should be such a great offer, that it's difficult for them to pass it up. Write out some sales copy and put it on your Thank you page.
So after someone opts in for your freebie, you can redirect them to a Thank you page with a One-Time-Offer (OTO) where you offer them this great deal that is hard for them to pass up. Then you send a few hundred visitors to your funnel to test it.
Testing Out Your Funnel
Once you get your opt-in funnel set up with your OTO / Thank you page, then you can start sending some traffic to it and see how well it converts. That will give you a basic sense of what the conversion rate (traffic vs buyers) is for the paid products. Once you know the conversion rates, you'll see how much you can afford to spend on your ads to break even.
If you don't have your own products, don't forget to offer bonuses to get people to buy through your affiliate links. But it's not hard to create a low cost product for this purpose. Just keep it super focused on a topic within the niche and walk them through how to do different tasks.
Paid Items: purchases / total visitors
Freebies: Sign ups / total visitors
Ad Spend: revenue / total visitors
So, let's say that every time you run 100 targeted visitors to your opt-in page, 50 people sign up to get the free offer. That means your opt-in page has a 50% conversion rate. If only 30 people sign up, then your opt-in page would be converting at 30% (which is still not bad btw!).
Then let's say that, out of the 50 people who got the free offer, 25 purchased the upsell. That means the conversion rate for sales is 25 percent (overall, out of the original 100 people). If the product price was $20 dollars then you earned $500 dollars. That means it’s costing $5 dollars per visitor to convert sales ($500/100 = $5).
Therefore, you can spend up to $5.00 per click and still break even on your ads to build your list. Once you set up your advertisement, if you find that you’re converting at a higher rate than you thought, you can adjust your ad spend to keep your income at zero and your ad spend equalized so that your total cost ends up being zero. Always check the numbers as you move forward so you can adjust on the fly.
Placing ads on social media is an excellent way to increase your email list size and your sales. Plus, it helps you find your audience in a more direct way than other methods. Since you can do it basically for free if you plan, do your research, and test your offerings it will be very lucrative to try this list building method sooner rather than later. In order to do that, you need to be covering a popular topic in a profitable niche. You'll need a lead magnet with a good title and test some headlines and ad copy to see what works best to get more clicks.
With some focus you can put together a winning funnel that will work for different types of ads whether it's Facebook ads, Solo ads, Microsoft ads, Twitter ads, Pinterest ads... whatever! And once you crack onto a winning funnel you can scale it up by duplicating your ads. Just go from your ad to a landing page and then to a low cost offer / sales page or to an affiliate offer.