How Not To Crack A Lucrative Foreign Market
What You Can Learn From Microsoft And Starbucks
Get Your Boobs Out, Affiliate Marketers

How Not To Crack A Lucrative Foreign Market

Have you ever seen ads that look like this?

Bad Facebook Translations

Probably not. But that’s because you speak English… like most affiliates. This is what happens when an affiliate tries to scale his campaigns in to a different country without bothering to translate them properly.

They end up reading like they’ve been crafted by Robert Patrick on a bad day.

You may snigger, but these type of creatives are not unusual at all. Many affiliates who dare to venture in to foreign markets are hopelessly aided by Google Translations and a tendency to fuck up even the simplest of sentences.

Google Translations is about as trustworthy as my old shortcuts in French class. I hold the proud distinction of passing a French oral exam despite my speech being littered with random outburts of German. How could I screw something up so badly, you ask? Very bloody easily, with the unreliable assistance of poorly programmed word-for-word translation software.

If you want your ad creatives to look genuine, and not thrown together with the style of a madlib machine, it’s important to take your translations seriously. I would suggest you check in to One Hour Translation for small jobs, or hire yourself a cheap translator on CraigsList if you like your outsourcing to be more personal.

Pro Tip: Hire the best translator for the job. This isn’t a power trip. Try not to allow your judgment to be clouded by 17 year old Macedonian school girls who claim “Of course, I can speak fluent Japanese…you look so cute!“. You think I’m joking? Spend 10 minutes recruiting for jobs on CraigsList and you’ll feel distinctly more ordinary for the effort.

It’s important to translate your creatives correctly, not only to drive a greater CTR, but to keep your aura of professionalism in tact.

I’ve heard several horror stories of companies refusing to pay for leads and sales that were delivered legitmately, simply because the ad creatives were poorly constructed in a foreign language. It harms the brand, they claim. I’d be inclined to agree. Though refusing to pay the previous leads strikes me as a little draconian. A slap on the wrist and a “you naughty boy, you” should have been enough. But alas, these situations can be avoided by putting care in to your ad copy.

Let’s say you have the best creatives, translated in to pitch perfect lingo that the natives can understand. What is the next step for getting a campaign profitable in a foreign market?

I can’t stress highly enough the importance of cultural relevance.

Once upon a time, I submitted a Jewish dating ad with the headline “Girlfriend For Christmas?”. It wasn’t until about 4 days later that I felt, for the first time in my life, sufficiently more stupid than a Facebook intern that I would quit my bitching over disapprovals. For a few hours, at least.

Having run dating ads in almost every continent, I can safely say that the tone, language and imagery of a profitable campaign will vary drastically across the board. But, yes, if you were wondering, boobs are still king.

If you’re advertising to Hong Kong or Taiwan, it makes absolutely no sense to flood your ad imagery with scantily clad hobags of the American Pie realm. Different countries have different perceptions of beauty. And although dating throws up some of the biggest differences in culture, there are examples to be found in practically every vertical under the sun.

Let’s say you’re advertising an e-cigarette offer. The difference in tone between advertising to midwest America and the center of Amsterdam is going to be quite severe. As somebody who has sampled both of those parts of the world, I often wish for the two cultures to share a dinner party together where I could watch as a fly on the wall.

The media in each region portrays a vastly different image of smoking. If you approach your Netherlands campaign with the wording of a Midwest state dweller who knows only what he sees on Oprah, your ads are probably going to be met with a lot of confused Dutch stares. Perception, in advertising, is everything!

It’s important to approach your international ads with just as much patience as you would with a domestic campaign. If an offer doesn’t convert after 6000 impressions, that doesn’t mean an entire country has spoken. I only cracked the Singaporean gaming market after learning how to exclude Andrew “The Impression Whore” Wee from my targeting. Patience and perseverance are pretty much par for the course in any kind of Facebook marketing these days.

I also have to point out that dating offers designed specifically for the native country regularly outperform those that have simply been opened up to the new market and translated across with haste. I can’t pinpoint why, but it probably has something to do with a better understanding of the culture. Be sure to test all your options before confining another campaign to the scrapheap.

What can’t be argued is that there are still TONS of opportunities to launch profitable campaigns outside the popular trifecta of USA/UK/Can. There are times where I cry myself to sleep that I never took French class seriously. If you have the knowledge of a second language up your sleeve, what are you waiting for? Use it!

And if not? I have about 47 bilingual Macedonian schoolgirls that you’re welcome to borrow*

Recommended This Week

  • If you’re looking for a network to serve your international campaigns, EWA has an insane selection to choose from. Last time I checked, they had 580+ dating offers from practically every corner of the world. And that’s just dating. I run traffic through EWA daily. For all the outrageous Eagleisms popping up on Twitter – and in banner spaces on sites like this – you can’t knock what they do. The hype is justified by a mighty solid network that cares about it’s affiliates. Get registered here.

  • If you’re not already a member on PPV Playbook, you are missing a beat sunshine. Easily the BEST place to learn from marketers who are actually making money. It has some awesome case studies. The catch is that you will need to pay some of your hard earned pesos to access it. I swear from the bottom of my black heart, joining is worth every penny – BTW, I have a limited number of coupon codes giving new members $10 off their monthly subscription. Email me for a code.

  • If you’re a new reader, please add me to your RSS. Feel free to add Finch to your Facebook. Yes, this is the right link. My real name is not actually Finch. Also follow me on Twitter Love you long time. Thanks for reading.

* JOKE. Seriously, this is a respectable blog.

What You Can Learn From Microsoft And Starbucks

Pricing our products, services and time can be a tricky business. I’ve spent many hours scratching my head and wondering what a “fair price” would be for my latest products. In reality, there is no such thing as a fair price.

It’s impossible to set a price point that satisfies the maximum amount each of your customers would be willing to pay. You are always going to have customers who scoff at the price. And you are always going to lose money by failing to ask enough of those who have personal valuations higher than yours.

Most of us try to find a middle ground.

We have to balance the advantages of securing many low value sales against making fewer sales at a much healthier margin. The conventional persuasion suggests that more sales is better business. So we lower the prices. This may produce the increased sales, but how many of those customers would have paid much more had we simply asked them to do so?

If the answer is “too many”, it’s time to start taking price targeting seriously. Price targeting is the art of setting different prices for different markets to maximise profits and increase sales in one efficient swoop.

Sounds Pretty Cool, But Who Else Is Price Targeting?

One of my favourite examples comes courtesy of The Undercover Economist, an excellent must-have book that really sheds some light on the relationship between consumers and their purchases.

The book dissects price-targeting by using the example of a cup of coffee.

How much is a cup of coffee worth? Some people will pay $2, others will happily hand over $3. The difficult decision is how to price the coffee in such a way that it’s cheap enough to attract maximum sales at a profitable margin, but expensive enough to milk maximum profit from those who are less money-conscious about their caffeine fix.

Price the coffee too high and you’ll lose sales. Price it too low and you’re leaving money on the table. To find the middle ground, they would have to establish a price that balances the best of both worlds. But there’s actually a much better way of doing business.

So what does the coffee house do?

Take a look at the drinks menu and you’ll see exactly what they do. They use a staggered pricing model.

An ordinary no thrills latte can be picked up for a couple of dollars. This satisfies the customers who would go elsewhere if the coffee became too expensive. And then you have the shit that my girlfriend orders. The premium chilled white mochawhatever blend at over $3. These drinks appeal to the luxury seekers. Those who can justify spending more because they place a higher value on good coffee, and will pay the premium to get their fix.

Many of us assume that because the lavish coffee at the bottom of the menu costs twice as much as a regular latte, it must be twice as expensive to produce. This is actually a textbook demonstration of price targeting.

Realistically, it only costs a few extra cents to produce the luxury drink. But the mark up value could have you believe that the shop is sourcing ingredients from a distant organic paradise. This is rarely ever the case.

The lavish coffee shows how much the shop WANTS to charge, and the budget coffee is what it can AFFORD to charge. The shop has the means to sell the luxury coffee at a few cents more than the ordinary latte and still make the same margin of profit. But to do so would be to set a uniform price for all coffee lovers, when some are quite happy to pay the premium.

How Price Targeting Can Work For You

How can we spin the coffee example in to something that an online entrepreneur would be familiar with? Well how about we start with the notorious “full support” upgrade that comes with many online services?

How many times have you compared prices for a digital product only to find that the biggest price hiker is 24/7 support?

Your web server might only cost $50/month with the regular plan. This is a price point that is designed to attract the budget brigade. But your hosting provider knows full well that not every professional is budget conscious when it comes to his web hosting. For those who are prepared to pay more, why leave the money on the table?

If throwing in unlimited 24/7 support allows the provider to charge $75/month instead of $50, they have found a way of appealing to both those who are happy to pay more (extra value, peace of mind), and those who can only justify the budget option.

But then you have to ask yourself; What is the true cost of providing 24/7 customer support? Most of the companies who offer this upsell ALREADY provide 24/7 support for their budget customers. But it doesn’t make sense to campaign on this information. You can’t expect your premium customers to pay the extra $25/month if the budget customers are enjoying the same quality of service for less money.

Many companies will actually make a conscious effort to devalue their “starter packages”, knowing full well that they can’t allow the difference in service to become so marginal that a high paying customer would realise there is little to gain in paying more.

Is there really a need for so many different versions of Windows? We have Home, Professional and Ultimate. Microsoft could quite easily bundle all the capabilities of Ultimate in to EVERY installation. But if my Home edition were as powerful as the Ultimate edition, how could Microsoft possibly charge corporate companies through the nose for the same product? So, of course, Microsoft takes it’s carefully designed software and sabotages it.

They remove enough features to create three very different markets that price themselves accordingly. Crazily enough, the cost of rolling out the weaker product is often greater than the premium version. The additional effort of stripping away functionality can incur extra costs. But it’s worth it for Microsoft because the cream of the crop will be handing over an extra $100 per installation.

When you board an airplane in economy class, do you really think your legs are cramped because the massive profit spinning airline couldn’t afford to specify a few extra cms of room when designing the aircraft? The experience is designed to be marginally uncomfortable so that these companies can still milk money from the picky flyers who are willing to pay extra for first class.

Examples of effective price targeting are all around you. From the trains you board, to the groceries you buy, to the clothes you wear. We make decisions everyday on the value of these items. You should give your own customers every opportunity to find a deal they agree with.

Price Targeting Is Just Plain Smart

When you look at your own products and services, ask yourself what could you be doing differently to effectively price target your customers. Developing a fantastic solution gives you enormous control. You may be selling your product at $150 and attracting sales from both the budget spenders and the corporate ties and suits.

Think about what could be added to the product that would allow you to charge $250. And what could be removed that would allow you to capture more customers at $100?

Structured price targeting gives you the ability to place the ball in the customer’s court and ask: “How much are you willing to pay?” If you never ask this question, you will never realise your maximum sales OR your maximum profit margins.

Recommended This Week:

  • Check out Filthy Rich Mind, a brand new project I’m collaborating on with a couple of other writers in the self-improvement market. It’s a fun project and if you like off-the-wall advice for improving your lifestyle, subscribe here for updates.

  • And, of course, don’t forget to subscribe to this blog too if you haven’t already done so. Love you long time. C’est vrai, c’est vrai.

Get Your Boobs Out, Affiliate Marketers

It never ceases to amaze me how my best laid marketing plans struggle so consistently to match the power of boobs.

You might think boobs are just… boobs. Squashy mounds of goodness that sit at the heart of the WickedFire ecosystem. But actually, boobs are much more than that. They are lethal weapons of mass destruction, and when dropped in the right places, you can practically stun your readers in to handing over their credit cards.

I wish I was making this shit up.

No matter how many times I split test the effectiveness of boobs in ad images (and conveniently, I try that tactic a lot), I keep getting the same results. The ads showing boobs consistently outperform those where cleavage is tucked safely out of sight.

This is understandable if you’re promoting dating offers, a vertical where physical appearances are likely to play a significant hand. But the CTR also jumps, with the help of a little cleavage, whether you’re promoting sexy lingerie, home business kits or even your aunty’s antique decking furniture.

Boobs sell. To both men and women.

For some first hand examples of just how well they can sell, check out the Facebook Ads presentation by Shoemoney last year. I’m not a regular reader of Shoe’s blog, but the video has some great insight.

I wish turning on the money tap could be as simple as collecting a stockpile of cleavage photos, but you can probably see the flaw in that plan. Facebook is not particularly friendly when it comes to approving ad creatives that draw attention to skin.

If you’re ready and waiting to upload 63 saucy images of low-cut tops and enormous G cups, think twice about the repercussions of doing so. Have you received an email like this?

Hi useless tool who pays us money,

We’ve noticed that you are currently running Facebook Ads that violate our Advertising Guidelines or Terms of Use.

We do not allow ads to contain images that are overly explicit, provocative, or that reveal too much skin. Images of people in positions or activities that are excessively suggestive or sexual, or in violation of community standards, will not be allowed.

Please delete any ads that violate these policies within 48 hours to bring your account into compliance with Facebook policies. Continuing to run ads that violate our policies may result in additional action being taken on your account, including possible termination.

Thanks for being an affiliate so we don’t have to care about you,

The Facebook Ads Team

When I received this message a few months ago, I did what any fast thinking affiliate would do. I removed every last one of my dating campaigns and replaced them with adverts to raise money for the Japanese earthquake victims.

I feel dirty for admitting it. But the easiest way to preserve an account is to give Facebook a damn good reason to think twice before pulling the trigger. So to this day, my account looks like the workstation of a good samaritan, promoting a hundred valuable causes on budgets of $1/day.

Does this make me a bastard? Probably so.

The point I’d like to make is that sexing up your campaigns on Facebook is a risky strategy. As effective as boobs can be, you should definitely be focusing on the figure and suggestion of cleavage, rather than flat out shoving some titties in a jpeg.

I always try to aim for photos where the skin is completely hidden but the outline of the cleavage is plain to see. I don’t know what kind of science this is bordering on, possibly whatever science applies to generating a good CTR without getting banned for having a great CTR.

If you can’t bring yourself to risk banishment from Facebook, there are plenty of traffic sources that are much more lenient when it comes to allowing boobs. Christ, if you dare to venture on to a network like Traffic Junky, you’d be a square to even consider publishing an ad without full frontal nudity.

Perhaps the best advice I can offer is to actually consider why it is that boobs are so effective as marketing tools. It’s not the cleavage itself, but a subconscious switch in the user’s mind that responds to a trigger. There are many other visual clues you can use to produce this reaction, and many of them have nothing to do with sex.

Recommended This Week

  • Lots of Ads is the latest service to offer spying capabilities over Facebook’s most profitable ads. The great appeal for me is the ability to spy on International markets including France, Spain, Argentina, Brazil and many more. Save time on translations and tap in to the most lucrative markets on Facebook. Definitely a worthy addition to your toolkit. First 20 customers only who use code FINCH11 will receive 10% off their lifetime subscription. Enjoy!

  • If you’re not already registered on PPV Playbook, you are missing a beat sunshine. Easily the BEST place to learn from marketers who are actually making money. It has some awesome case studies. The catch is that you will need to pay some of your hard earned pesos to access it. I swear from the bottom of my black heart, joining is worth every penny – BTW, I have a limited number of coupon codes giving new members $10 off their monthly subscription. Email me for a code.

  • If you’re a new reader, please add me to your RSS. Feel free to add Finch to your Facebook. Yes, this is the right link. My real name is not actually Finch. Also follow me on Twitter Love you long time. Thanks for reading.

Copyright © 2009-.