Adding an opt-in box to your Facebook page
UPDATED POST. A while back I wrote about adding an opt-in box to Facebook. It makes a lot of sense for most businesses. Most likely you have more activity and conversation on your Facebook fan page than on your website, so it’s a great place to have people opt into your list.
In the post I walked you step-by-step in creating a FBML page and placing the opt-in code on the page. It worked great, until Facebook did a major upgrade and deprecated FBML. You can no longer use FBML as of March 11, 2011. If you already have FBML pages they will work for “a while”. But that meant my post was out of date. So here’s the new version of the post.
So what’s the new way to do this? Let’s understand what Facebook did first. Facebook did away with FBML which you used to code directly on Facebook pages, but instead greatly expanded the ability to pull in functionality via the apps concept. Essentially you can run code that is hosted on your own servers and use Facebook to present your own tailored pages via
iframes. It’s a nice concept and much more flexible than what was available before. This is a huge boon for businesses that have web development resources. They build cool stuff, deploy it on their servers and then pull it into their Facebook pages by registering it as an app.
But where does that leave the small business who struggles just to keep their basic business website updated? Kind of in the cold.
But for some common needs, such as adding a opt-in box to your Facebook page, your ESP (email service provider) has stepped into the gap. The good news is that those apps make it easier to have an opt-in box in Facebook than before.
To start out you need to have created a Facebook page and have signed up with an autoresponder system such as aweber or a email service icontact. These email marketing systems manage your list that you send your ezines and offers to by email. Both have created an app that you need to install into your Facebook account. With AWeber (and with the other ESPs) it will go smoother if you already have a list and webform set up.
I installed a AWeber form onto the Webenso Facebook page (which is not exactly ready for prime time, but is serving as a useful testbed for me). AWeber does a good job of walking you through the eight steps that are needed so I won’t replicate them here. It even gives you a link to locate the app in Step 1 (which is good because I couldn’t find it through the apps search function in Facebook). One odd thing that was not mentioned was that I had to switch back to my personal profile from my page profile to complete the installation which was strange but worked.
If everything goes well, you should see the AWeber app listed in your apps list as shown below (I also see it in my left nav on my home page).
Don’t forget to do the last step “Edit Settings” (last part of Step 8), otherwise you will not see the “tab” on your page’s left nav bar which may be disconcerting. A nice bonus is that you can name the tab anything you want.
I used existing web form that I had already created for a website, however a Facebook page has a lot more space on it, so you should consider creating a new form for your Facebook page. However you will need to create it in AWeber first before installing into Facebook as it needs to appear in the webform dropdown list in Step 7.
The iContact installation instructions are similar.
For other ESPs, just try typing in your ESP name and “Facebook” into Google or Bing. BTW, I’m finding that Chrome and Facebook don’t play nicely together (the cynic in me wonders why…). I used Firefox instead to do the installation instead.
Let me know your experiences with ESPs other than AWeber.
About Kathy Alice
Kathy Alice Brown is a technologist, author, blogger and SEO consultant with a background in web operations and engineering. In her spare time she loves to get outside. More about Kathy Alice Brown.
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