Facebook Offers: A How-To You Should Do!

The act of running an offer is very simple, but making it an effective sales funnel is more involved. There are three critical bits I want to squawk about. If you get these right, then you’re going to really like what is going to happen.

If my previous post made you want to try Facebook Offers, this will tell you how to do it.

In my other mini series on promoting Facebook posts, I explained that laying the right groundwork makes all the difference. The following builds on that:

1. Your offer should be genuinely good

Generally that means no 10% discounts (unless it’s a truly big-ticket item). 20-50% discounts are what people expect, and thanks to sites like Groupon and Living Social, even the 20% discounts are going out of style. But maybe you actually can’t afford more than a 10% discount. Then make the coupon save actual dollars. A 10% discount on $100 sounds meh, but a $10 discount sounds maybe worthwhile.

Whatever it is, ask a few trusted friends or even a loyal customer what would motivate them to follow through. It may not be realistic but it never hurts to do a little informal research first.

2. Make your offer catchy

Believe it or not, even a dramatic offer can fall flat if its hook is uninteresting (yes, I know this the hard way). That means a clear, simple title, and an interesting, high-contrast image that has a single focal point. For example:

[highlight type=”light”]Get amazing discounts on all our brands[/highlight]

That was lame. Try this:

[highlight type=”light”]Huge discounts on your favorite brands![/highlight]

See the difference? In the first example the subject is brands. Blah. In the second example the subject is you. Everyone likes themselves, and they certainly like their favorite things.

What if your offer is more modest? The same approach applies.

[highlight type=”light”]Save $10 on any purchase with this code.[/highlight]

Lame sauce. Lets add some awesome:

[highlight type=”light”]$10 off your purchase. Limited quantity.[/highlight]

That puts the money first. Again we made “you” the subject. Limiting the quantity makes them perceived as more valuable.

3. Target your audience well

If you only want to reach people who have already liked your page, then you can forego all targeting and promotion and simply publish your offer for free. If you are fortunate, it may even get shared around.

But most of the time you’re trying to reach beyond your little cadre of likes. In that case you want to promote it. There is no need to pay for people who are not interested. At this point you could just post the offer on your page, with no promotion at all, and it’s free.

Tragically, Facebook has steeply increased it’s price to promote. I’m not happy about that. I will say, however, that it is good at putting your offer out there, in front of people. So at $60 this is not the cheapest ad experiment you have ever run. As always you need to know how many responses will put you into profit. If you stand to make $20 per redemption then you need three just to break even. But maybe you get 12, which puts $180 in your pocket. It depends on your business.

There is an alternative way to promote your offer. That is to pin it on your page and run it as an ad. This enables to to work with the ad budget and increased targeting options. I’ll cover Facebook ads in the future.

So how do you do it?

First write your message. You get up to 90 characters (including spaces) which comes to roughly 16 words. Shorter is better.

Then make an image, in the odd dimension of 1200×627 pixels or basically a 1.9:1 ratio. As I said, make it something that grabs attention. A photo that is too busy, or has muddy coloring will not be noticed. Most people will see it less than 400px wide so think small. Of course keep it as relevant to your message as possible.

Then go to your page, and as you would write a post, click on the Offer, Event + button, select Offer, and upload your chosen image and write your headline, then click next.
start_offers

Now you can set an expiration date, and you have the options for terms and conditions as well as advanced options. I strongly recommend doing both. Write your terms, trying to think of anything that could potentially go wrong.
2013-11-06_12-23-12

Then expand the Advanced Options box, and there you have the option of entering a web site, which you may or may not need. You can also set a limit on claims, which may be a good idea, especially if you are using the limited supply as a selling point, but also if too many claims would put you in a bad position. There is also the very cool feature of being able to add a redemption code, or all manner of UPC or QR code. That is great if the offer integrates with your point of sale system! When that is all set, click next again.

Finally you select your target audience and budget. At this point it only selects by city, gender, and age. You can add multiple cities if you need to, particularly when suburbs are involved.
2013-11-06_12-27-38

Every time you make a change here it changes the potential reach and the budget. Be careful to make sure your budget is set before you publish, because Facebook keeps changing it to the recommended budget every time you change the parameters.

If you are ready to spend $60 or more then you are ready to publish! Facebook handles it from here on out. Like Google, Facebook wants you to be a repeat customer so they will do the best they can on their end to make your ad a success.

You can see how many claims there were, and how many people were exposed right at the bottom of your post. You will also find the added benefit of more people liking your page, which is nice.

“But wait!” you say, “You mentioned a free option.” Yes I did; and there is, but you can’t make it from your page. You have to go into your ads manager to create the offer. You do that by clicking on the gear cog on the very top right of Facebook and choose “Advertise on Facebook” or “Create Ads” depending on the type of profile you are in.

It will then ask you what you want to do. You need to click “more options” to see offers. From there the process is very simple and intuitive, and you can post for free and promote later.
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I strongly encourage you to give offers a try, even if you must go the free route. These things are designed to work, and if you do your part well, you could find the results very rewarding.

Good luck!


Facebook Offers: You Can’t Refuse

Coupons have a certain attraction that is hard to resist. So when I started using Facebook Offers, I shouldn’t have been surprised how effective it is. The potential it has to help you is really an offer you can’t refuse.

In the first part of my series on Facebook Promotion I introduced promoting a post. I did that first because it is the easiest and cheapest way to start. However I believe for many markets the most effective tool that Facebook offers is, well, Facebook Offers.

start_offers

In it’s simplest form FB Offers is a coupon that contains a promotion code. Users see your offer, and can click a button to claim it. The offer is then e-mailed to their e-mail address where they can print it out, or copy-paste the code into an online shopping cart.

But why use a coupon? Why not use a promoted post or an ad making the same offer?

There are a few advantage to coupons. First is psychology. A coupon implies some exclusivity. People like to feel like they are getting a truly special deal, and even if it takes a few extra steps to claim it, those obstacles actually make people motivated to actually use it.

Next is tracking. While we did look at ways to track promoted posts, and you can certainly track ads, it is very easy to know a response to a coupon code because your customer self-identifies by the act of using the coupon!

The bottom line is, if you do it well, FB Offers will help more people actually follow through on your offer. It is not at all expensive to run one, and like promoting posts, can have an excellent return-on-investment. Technically it is free, but IMO it’s not worth doing without paying for some promotion, hence why I don’t play up that fact.

We’ll go into the mechanics of running an offer in my next post.


Stop Believing SEO Can Help You

People love simple solutions. It is human nature. A turnkey process that works is gold in business. There was a time when there were turnkey SEO solutions that worked.

That time is gone. The faster you realize this, the less damage you will do to yourself.

Imagine you have a speedy delivery van service. Every day your van would go 75mph down the highway to make its deliveries. Then one day the speed limit was changed to 55mph. But, knowing how well 75mph worked for you, you keep doing it.

But then you get pulled over, and a $280 fine. But you really liked how driving 75mph worked for your business, so you keep driving that speed. Every day you get a $280 fine until your license is completely suspended. Then you’re really SOL.

That is the world of SEO right now. People doing what they used to do are not just ineffective, but penalized or potentially blacklisted. This is serious stuff.

The tragedy is this news is not what a spunky CEO wants to hear. Its the internet, after all; there is no such thing as consequences on the internet. Everyone knows that, right?

Try to tell them that a link farm is a bad mistake, and they’ll cite all these “successful” companies that provide the service. Well yes, people will happily take your money. We’ve established that people love turnkey solutions. There will always be someone willing to take your money who don’t care about your reputation.

There is such a thing as Search Engine Optimization, but it doesn’t look like what it used to look like. It has evolved to be more gimmick-proof, which is good for internet users as well as companies putting out genuinely good content (and forking out money to Google). More on that later.

The bottom line is: don’t sink your own boat using methods that used to work but will now get you penalized. If you are talking to a boss or client, stress the urgency of not being penalized. In most cases being penalized by Google is not a bell that can be un-rung.

You can also talk about the need to stay current with the times, focusing on the best practice of now. Often that is even part of your job description even as they tell you to do something obsolete. Its a battle of perception vs. reality.