How To Build Your Pre-Launch Community Using Facebook Ads

The following is an excerpt from Mark Pecota’s new book, CROWDFUNDED. Mark Pecota is the CEO & co-founder of LaunchBoom — a global crowdfunding agency who is a Certified Expert by both Indiegogo & Kickstarter.

With your website set up to collect emails, it’s time for the fun to begin. Now you can start driving traffic to build your pre-launch community. This community will be crucial in helping you reach your funding goal quickly.

The most effective method for building your community is to use Facebook/Instagram advertising. I’ve found it to be the most cost effective and dependable way to build an email list. That doesn’t mean you can’t use other methods to drive traffic to your funnel, but know that social advertising should be the majority of your focus.

Sending Traffic With Facebook

As said before, you are going to be using Facebook/Instagram advertising to drive traffic. From here on out, I’ll refer to Facebook/Instagram advertising as just Facebook advertising (since Facebook owns Instagram).

First, you’ll want to sign up for a Facebook Business Account here:

So why not Google Ads, YouTube, Pinterest, Twitter, Reddit, etc? Because they don’t work nearly as well as Facebook does for building qualified email lists quickly.

When it comes to Facebook Advertising, you’ll hear ad experts talk about how complex it is to do it right. Don’t let them fool you. There are really only 3 things that you have to get right for Facebooks ads to work:

  1. Write great copy
  2. Choose great imagery
  3. Target the right audience

Let’s start with the targeting — the most important part.

If you target the wrong person, you’ll never hit your desired metrics. Or worse… you’ll waste your money and build an unqualified list that doesn’t convert.

Facebook’s user data is mind-blowing. With 2.5 billion monthly active users as of 2019, their options for targeting are extensive. It can be overwhelming to start.

So let’s start simple with an exercise.


Tomorrow, 20 brands of your choosing will be sending out an email to ALL of their customers promoting your product.

If this was true, which 20 brands would you choose to promote your product?

Write a list of 20 people, brands, organizations, or communities that you wish would send an email on your behalf. If you went through the Product Positioning Worksheet, you’ve already done some of this work when you came up with your top 3 audiences.

Here are some quick tips to help you with your choices:

  • People, brands, organizations, communities, Facebook pages, are all OK, but interests like “Running” or “Eating Healthy” are NOT.
  • You want to choose groups that have spent a significant amount of time and energy building their communities. Utilize all of their effort. They did all the hard work for you.
  • Be selective. You want to choose audiences that have a large percentage of people in them that would convert. For example, if you have a cool nerdy product that was featured on Oprah you might get a ton of views, but only sales from a small percentage of that audience. Going after ThinkGeek would be a much better choice.
  • The targets should not be too small. If they are too small (under 25k-50k fans) you will not be able to target them on Facebook.

Now that your Dream 20 is finished, let’s build your audiences in Facebook. There are two basic types of audiences we recommend to build your community:

  • Shotgun — a Shotgun style audience uses Facebook’s Suggestion Engine & your Dream 20 to generate a large list of targets.
  • Lookalike — use existing audiences/email lists and have Facebook generate an audience they believe to be similar.


Open up the Audiences tab inside your Facebook Ads Manager.

Click on the Create Audience button and then click on Saved Audience.

First, you will want to enter in all of the basic demographic information (age, gender, location, language). You can see an example below:

Only target countries that (1) you know you are going to ship your product to and (2) speak the language in the ads.

Next, open your Dream 20, choose one of the brands you listed, and enter that brand into the Interests field. If your brand was Dollar Shave Club, it would look like this:

Next, click on Suggestions.

Facebook will now list other interests that Facebook believes are relevant to the interest you entered. Facebook is extremely good at suggesting interests.

To start building your audience, start choosing suggested interests from Facebook. I recommend using your best judgment here about which additional interests to choose. Stop when the potential reach of your audience is between 3 to 5 million people.

Lastly, you will want to enter in any exclusions or narrowing parameters (see Refining Your Audiences section below for more information).

Congrats, your first audience is done!


Facebook is so powerful that you can have it build audiences for you. All you need to do is give it an audience to base its targeting off of. If you have a good source audience, Lookalikes are typically the best performing audiences.

To create your Lookalike Audience, go to the Audiences section and click Lookalike Audience in the dropdown.

The best Lookalike Audiences are built off of your customer lists.

If you don’t have an existing customer list, you can still generate a powerful lookalike audience.

Generate at least 1000 leads (the more the better) from your Shotgun audiences. Create a Lookalike Audience of those people and target them. An audience that is based off of leads (or better yet, reservations) is going to be more qualified.


By following the methodology above to create your Shotgun audiences, you are 90% there. You can supercharge your audience targeting by using “narrowing” & “exclusion” techniques. With narrowing, we are making the audience more targeted by adding on some clever options. With exclusions, we are removing some audience members that we know will not convert.

I’ll go over basic options that we add to most of our audiences.


  • Custom audiences — exclude all of your Lookalike Audiences, other lists, and Web Traffic Custom Audiences.
  • Locations — Exclude locations that you don’t want your ad to appear. For example, you should not be advertising a snow related product in Hawaii. If you are considering advertising abroad, group your country by region and make sure you can ship there. The more expensive the shipping, the lower the conversion rate.
  • Your Page Likes — exclude people that like your page. This will help prevent overspending and audience overlap. You should be targeting your Facebook fans separately.


  • Demographics — Choose an age range and gender that you believe matches your target customer.
  • Language — ALWAYS select English All under language, unless you plan to run ads in a different language.
  • Technology — If your product requires a certain technology to operate make sure you narrow by that technology. For example, if you are selling a product that only works with iPhones, narrow by iPhone users.
  • Platform — Narrow by Kickstarter and Indiegogo — people who know about Kickstarter and Indiegogo are more likely to purchase. This is especially necessary if you are targeting internationally. I don’t always use this one, but most of our top performing audiences include this narrowing.


The screenshot above, points to the two most important elements of your ad copy: the top text section and the headline.

To get started, I recommend modeling our latest templates/examples by going to


You do not need to have professional imagery to create a successful ad for Facebook. On the contrary, we found that non-professional, authentic looking imagery performs better.

The examples below were from EcoQube Air’s pre-launch advertising. Each advertisement you see used the same copy & same targeting. The only thing that changed was the imagery. Pay attention to the cost per lead.

$27 spent — NO LEADS

$21 spent — 1 lead — $21 cost per lead

The next image is of my business partner, Tom Dadourian, holding the EcoQube Air in the corner of our old office… and shot on an iPhone.

$5,121 spent — 7316 leads — $0.70 cost per lead

On Facebook, people are not looking to be sold to by a company. When they see an image that looks polished, they immediately think “ad.” We don’t want them to think that way. Instead, use imagery that looks natural in their newsfeed yet still evokes curiosity for them to click.

I recommend using Canva to create your ads — it’s free! You can get a Canva account by heading directly there.

Now you understand how to create audiences, copy, and imagery for your ads. All that is left is for you to put them all together and create your ads within Facebook’s Ads Manager.

This was an excerpt from Mark Pecota’s new book: CROWDFUNDED. If you want to learn more about CROWDFUNDED, click here to pick up your copy.