I think we can all agree that Facebook is now a daily part of our lives — reaching out to friends, using it as a news service and getting involved with communities that share your hobbies and interests.

Its also an incredibly strong tool for brands — especially in targeting the right audience for your products. Facebook continues to take the lead with an influx of 1.5 billion monthly active users worldwide. The UK makes up 31 million of those users, with 60% of the population having a Facebook account. The most popular age group is 25–34 (26% of users) but Facebook is a great platform to speak to a mass market of ages and locations.

We caught up with Michael O’Connor, a marketing communication specialist from Grey Sergeant to see what process he used to build a database of targeted customers. By using a free prize draw as an incentive, you can write a post, target and boost the post to your desired audience and then capture their email as part of the entry process to the competition. You’ll then have a targeted email database that you can contact with further offers and information around your brand and products, knowing that are warm to your brand.

Here’s the process he used recently to build a sewing category for a well-known TV crafting channel.


First of all you’ll want to attract interest and the best way to do that is to give something away for free — a prize draw. I used a high-end sewing machine as an incentive for a free prize draw that I ran through Facebook.

Setting up the Facebook post

It’s important to create a post that will attract attention. Use a strong image of the product. In this case I had a great shot of the sewing machine in a lifestyle setting. When it comes to copy, make sure you say what it does on the line. The first line should read ** FREE Prize Draw**. The following line should say what the prize is and then a link to where they can enter. Get that in the first two/three lines and then follow up with how great the prize is, what it can do and how it will make your life better!

Setting up a form to capture the target email

I use a form-builder site called Wufoo. This allows me to create a form with details of the competition, how to enter, closing date and terms and conditions. Really simple to set up, you get a URL which you will use in the the Facebook post.

Targeting your Facebook post to the right audience.

Now coms the clever bit. You’ve written your post and you’ve set up your email form through Wufoo, You now want to set up your target audience. As a business you will already have a Facebook ad account. This is where you can set your target audience through age, gender, interests and more. For my sewing category I wanted to target women (single, mums, grandmothers), aged 20–55, UK only with interests in sewing, craft, hobbies, lifestyle, home decor, fashion.

I also wanted to boost the post to reach a larger audience — I spent £300 over 5 days as this was how long the competition ran for. With all this in place I het the submit button and watched as the database grew!


When the competition closed I had received over 25,000 emails of which 23,000 gave permission to be marketed to. I now had a targeted database of sewers for the cost of £600 (£300 for the sewing machine and £300 to boost the post). A really cost effective method of lead generation.


I now wanted to convert this mailing list into customers. The first email that they received was offering 25% of the full sewing category with great deals on fabrics and sewing machines. I sent this a week after the competition had closed and was amazed at the response of both open rates and sales.


For a small outlay of budget, understanding what your audience wants and then targeting them through Facebook with a great incentive, it’s really easy to build a database of names that you know are interested in your product category and ultimately your brand.

About the author

Michael O’Connor is a partner at Grey Sergeant and specialises in marketing communications and PR in the craft and hobby industry. Grey Sergeant provides strategic advice and planning and promotes businesses through integrated marketing, media relations, social media, digital marketing and events. For more information please contact michael.oconnor@greysergeant.com