Many people assume there can be only two groups of advertisers on Facebook. Suited brand bidders and scandalous affiliate scumbags like you and I.
It’s definitely easy to spot the work of an affiliate on Facebook. For one, our ads are obliged to follow the miscreant guidelines that Facebook happily throws out the window if you’re a respected company that doesn’t have time for their bullshit scrutiny. An affiliate ad looks disheveled with an aura of “edited for the 46th time” before it ever goes public.
There’s a false belief that affiliates can only profit by slinging leads and submits on Facebook. No doubt, this is the road with the easiest learning curve. But when was the last time you opened your mind to the possibility of selling more than just leads? There are thousands of products you could sell if you simply threw the net further than your CPA network’s Hottest Offers chart.
I’m sure you knew this already. Most affiliates dismiss the idea of going straight for a sale as too bold and too much to ask of a famously fickle community like Facebook. I’ve seen that it’s possible, and the rewards can be very high. Is it easy? The words easy and affiliate marketing are so 2007. I’m sorry to break it to you.
You will need a very firm grasp over your product’s target market, and more importantly, the ability to drill down and cyphon these eyeballs from the rest. Facebook is the ultimate congregation of procrastinating minds, and procrastination isn’t often a quality you’d associate with your next customer.
One of my most successful Facebook sales campaigns came through selling language learning packs to English speaking citizens based in foreign countries. I knew this was a buying market. How did I know? When you’ve been given a 360 degree tour of Bangkok for not being able to direct your taxi driver with the right grunted syllables, you just know. Misunderstood tourists will resort to desperate measures when their English speaking life support runs out.
I could also guarantee that almost everybody speaking only English in these foreign countries would have – at some point or another – given due thought to the idea of learning the language of their adopted home’s tongue.
Even this level of targeting was not enough to get the campaigns profitable. That’s where most affiliates run back to what they see as safe havens in the dating and gaming verticals.
I often talk about the importance of having a good sales funnel, and more often than not I’m talking in the context of scoring a registration or a lead. If you’re going straight for the sale, you need to be hawking that sales funnel like your affiliate bacon depends on it.
I realised pretty quickly that to sell a product, I couldn’t get away with the same broadly themed dating ads I was so used to grappling with interns’ devil horns over. I divided my ad groups in to three baseline markets.
1. Those who were abroad and wanting to learn the language.
2. Those who were abroad and already learning the language.
3. Those who were abroad and didn’t realise what they could gain by learning the language.
My theory was that a user from one group couldn’t convert with the sales pitch of another. And that was proven with my initial tests where I simply lost too many clicks on traffic that wasn’t primed to convert. So for each ad group, I designed a landing page variation to directly funnel that particular user through to the desired sale.
For those already learning the language – and you have to call them out with headlines like “Already Struggling To Learn X?” to be able to group them – I addressed the problems with taking formal classes, and every other language learning solution. You want to use more of a comparison landing page for these individuals. Show them your way is better.
For those who didn’t realise what they could gain by learning the new language, I turned my attention to the other desires these individuals were likely to harbour. Qualities like a good social life, the ability to haggle for better prices and even attracting sexy strangers from a foreign land who desired them but “just couldn’t show it in English”. So in came the ad texts like “Still Don’t Think You Need To Learn X?” and “Want to get a date in Country X? 86% of [your nationality here] find it easier by learning these core phrases…”
A good salesman should know that selling a product is rarely about matching a solution to a problem. But all too often about creating a problem to solve.
This is a core principle behind any successful CPS campaign on Facebook. It’s damn near impossible to generate high value sales via a time spunking vehicle like Facebook, without laser targeting the exact mindset of your customer and thinking in his own shoes.
You don’t have the search platform’s advantage of being able to interpret a user’s train of thoughts by his search terms. With demographic platforms, you need to create baseline ad markets and even tighter sales funnels. You simply need to learn more about who you’re marketing to, by seeking more with the tools at your disposal. In my case, those targeting tools were profile keywords, spoken languages and places of residence.
Going straight for the sales jugular can require much finer planning than basic lead generation, however it’s balanced out by the benefits.
Dating offers, which still dominate affiliate output on Facebook, blow hot and cold like the seasons. It’s no secret their profit margins are disappearing steadily as bid prices rise and payouts stay the same. Working with sales gives you much greater flex. The payouts are usually better, and the performance more reliable over the long term. Merchants will happily resist the urge to fuck over an affiliate who constantly brings them new credit card digits.
Being able to stay profitable while delivering sales also gives you the holding rights to demand a sizeable consultation fee with the very company you’re working with. On more than one occasion, I’ve sold companies my most lucrative ads for their own products. To them, it’s like a lesson in social media. For me, it’s money in the bank that I would have struggled to earn against the tide of banner blindness and tighter margins.
If you’re wondering what the best products to sell would be, there’s a seat waiting for you in a gigantic crowd of fellow marketers who are just as lost as you. None of us can speak with any confidence until the profit is sitting in our bank accounts. I would, however, suggest you stick to products that can be matched to consumer problems that are difficult to sweep under the carpet and forget about.
Whatever you’re selling has to be high up on the priority list of what your baseline markets are going to be willing to invest in. Selling cute fluffy toys to expecting mothers probably isn’t going to be as high on the list as a must-read handbook titled “How To Not Kill Your Spawn On The First Night“. One is a nice idea, the other is a pressing matter. This often distinguishes the products that sell, and thereby leave you feeling like a manipulative filthbeast, from the cute ideas that tank.
Recommended This Week
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I’ve been profiled and caricatured on Dukeo.com. Thanks StÃ©phane, for creating some awesome artwork, that for once isn’t simply my face Photoshopped on James Blunt’s body!