Friday, June 25, 2010

Pondering Facebook Advertising - Part One: Overview

I have fiddled with Facebook ads. Fiddled to the tune of about $1,200 for the first half of the year. I don't know if my experiences are particularly relevant to your business, but here are a few observations.
First, Facebook has an amazing ability to zero in on demographics. After all, whether you share it with the world or not, Facebook knows your birthday (and therefore your age), as well as your occupation, address, your interests. If you've filled out your profile with interests in music, books, and games, then they have all that.

And they know who you hang out with. Who are your friends? How widely dispersed are they? What do you all have in common? Because those "surrogate measures" will reflect back on you. As your mother warned you, you're known by the company you keep. So if all your Facebook friends are computer technicians who love XBox, you might get an ad for an XBox game even if you haven't listed it.

Bottom line: Between the information you give Facebook and the intelligence they mine from their databases, they have the ability to do some amazing targeting.

So . . . Is Facebook a good place to advertise?

Well . . . that depends on what you're selling, who you're selling it to, and how you want to package it.

The first question people wonder is whether products or services sell better. It doesn't matter. You just need to be laser-focused clear about what you want from your ad.

If you're selling a book or a CD (I have some experience here), then the ad needs to attract people interested in that book/cd. If you're selling a service (also some experience here), then the appeal is a little different.

With a product you can throw up the product, title, and maybe even the price. Or you can appeal to a need (e.g., network documentation) and draw people in. The ad will NOT sell your product. The most you can hope for is that someone clicks on the ad and goes to your landing page. The landing page is where all the action takes place. See, for example, That's a landing page designed as a long sales letter.

This is extremely important. The Facebook ad will not do your sales for you. Period. You can't link from there to your shopping cart. It's job is to get people to your landing page. The landing page has the job of actually selling the product. So you need to put some energy into that page.

And what about services?

Services are basically the same deal. No one is going to click on a 1" x 1" advertisement and sign up for a $1,000/month service contract. Okay there might be one, but he's not going to click on YOUR ad, so forget it.

Services are a little harder because you probably won't have much luck throwing out terms like managed services, remote support, RMM, SCE, HaaS, SaaS, Exchange collaboration, SharePoint, and BDR. Blahdy blahdy yack yack.

Everyone is offering up what they sell. After all, KPEnterprises is Sacramento's Best Computer Support, but everyone else says the same thing. And we sell cloud services. And we sell disaster recovery. And we sell maintenance contracts. And we sell 98% of what you sell and you sell 98% of what we sell . . . and the casual business person on Facebook sees us as background noise.

Services have to appeal to the void in a business person's life. What's missing that you can offer? Of course I go back to the great Robin Robins campaigns. Is your current I.T. Guy avoiding you? Do you worry about your data?

Facebook zooms by at 100 MPH. Think about how many pages you click on when you hit facebook. Zip, zip, zoom. Then you're off to do something else. Your potential prospects are doing the exact same thing. So you need to grab their attention by appealing to their needs, NOT offering a solution in a tiny ad.

"If you need SBS2008 premium with its excellent flexible licensing, SQL server, SharePoint Services, and built-in Exchange . . ." Ooops. Gone to the next page.

So what can you do? Grab their interest and send them to your landing page. It's key that your landing page address the topic you promised in your Facebook ad. But once you do that, you have their attention. Now you can go on about your excellent services, customer service, references, love, long-term clients, miracles performed, etc.

Just be aware: Unlike a product, the service landing page will result in prospects figuring out how to get to your primary web site. So it also has to do it's job.

Even with all this, people are not likely to swipe a credit card (we're working on that). So the call to action has to be to give your their contact data. Call the office, fill out a form, request information, get the download, get the recorded webinar on CD, etc. Somehow, you need to capture their information so you can follow up and make the sale.

Facebook won't sell your services. All it can do is deliver eyeballs to your landing page. The landing page has to do the job of taking the relationship to the next level.

Next time we'll talk about fitting your offering with the audience you'll find on Facebook.


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