I recently received a question in the Lawyer Marketing Facebook group. If you’re not part of the group, head to Facebook and search Lawyer Marketing. There’s tons of great stuff in this group, and it’s totally free.

Here is the question I received, “I have access to a list of names and mail addresses. I want to target them in Facebook ads. Can I upload their names and addresses or cities into Facebook? What is the best way to target these folks with my ad?”

No, you cannot upload using just their names and mailing addresses. You can do this with email addresses, but not mailing addresses. If you had email addresses, then you can do some pretty cool stuff with Facebook ads. Although that’s not what you asked for, I’m going to give you a demo of that anyway because unfortunately, the simple answer to this question is no.

Let’s say you have a list, and I believe you’ll need at least a hundred email addresses to make this work. The first step is to put your email addresses in a .csv file or .txt file. For simplicity, we’ll call this “test email list” and save it to the computer. Now, what we’re going to do is we’re going to go to our Facebook Ad account. This is accessible via business.facebook.com or from the Ads Manager, it just depends on how you have your account set up. I have a business account, but the process is going to be exactly the same.

What you’re going to do is you’re going to click on this hamburger menu up here, and you’re going to click All Tools. I’m already in the asset library, but under assets, there’s going to be audiences right here, which you will click.

What Is A Custom Audience?

In this section, you can see all of your custom audiences. Why do you want to custom audience? There are a few reasons. The first reason is that you can upload a list of clients or a list of prospects and, say, you want to run ads directly to those people, as long as you have a hundred of them, you can do that. Another thing you can do if you want to run ads but you want to make sure that your clients and your prospects that have already contacted you don’t see those ads, so you’re not wasting money, you can also exclude them in creating a custom audience.

What Is A Lookalike Audience?

The cool part about custom audiences is the ability to create lookalike audiences. I’m going to show you how to do that as well. Let’s say you upload a list of 1,000 email addresses. What Facebook does is they go through that list, and they match every single one of those email addresses to a Facebook profile. They’re probably not going to match all of them, but probably about 50%. What they’re going to do is match those profiles and figure out what all of these people have in common. Then, they’re going to go out and find 2.1 million people in the entire country that have the same thing in common as the people that match Facebook accounts from your email list. It’s a pretty powerful tool.

You can take that lookalike audience of 2.1 million people from around the country, and narrow it down to your market. If you’re in Atlanta, for example, you might create a look-a-like audience of 2.1 million people. Then, when you narrow it down through targeting on your ad manager, you might end up with 25,000-50,000 people that you’re targeting. Those are 25,000-50,000 people that have a lot in common with people that have already hired you, or people that have contacted you about hiring you.

What you’re going to do is click All Tools, then click Audiences. From there, you will click Create Audience and then you’re going to click Custom Audience. There’s a couple of things you can do. You can choose customer file, website traffic, engagement, or customer file, which is what I typically use. One thing you should not choose is App Activity because you won’t need it. Also, you can put a Facebook pixel for tracking conversions.

What we’re going to do is choose Customer File and this is where you add customers from your file, or you can copy and paste the email addresses.  You must select the data source, which is from customers and partners. Now, we can click the next button.

What you can do is use their name, phone number, etc. to map it. You can hit upload and create, and that’s going to create this file, so once you upload it, then you have your audience. This can typically take about an hour, possibly longer to update the audience.

Once it’s finished, you can create the lookalike audience. This example audience is anyone that’s engaged with one of my Facebook posts in the last 365 days. You’re going to put a check mark there, then click actions, and then click create lookalike. You have your source, and then you want to set your location.

If you give this a couple of hours, this will update and you will have 2.1 million people that look exactly like this audience right here. Based on that, you can then target these audiences, when you run your ad. This is something that’s really cool to do. So, I suggest that you try it out if you have an existing email list.

Do Not Buy Email Lists

One thing I’d like to mention is not to buy an email list for this purpose because Facebook’s trying to crack down on this. I have heard of people getting ad accounts shut down because they’re uploading emails that they didn’t obtain legally. I think that Facebook has gotten every email list that you can buy and then put them on file. If your email audience consists of 95% of the same people that are on these lists, I think they cancel your ad account. Don’t quote me on that, but I have heard of some accounts that have been shut down because of this very reason.