If you are a small or medium online seller with limited advertising dollars, then you should not advertise on Facebook and Twitter. If you want to know where you can get the biggest bang for your advertising buck, then read on.
Targeted selling is the practice of targeting your sales to those most likely to buy your product. For instance, as a sales representative, I sell medical diagnostic products (blood testing instruments) to targeted prospects like hospitals, medical research facilities, and medical laboratories. I target these facilities because they are most likely to purchase my product. If I knocked on your door and asked if you would be interested in purchasing a highly complex blood testing analyzer for $500,000, then chances are that you would say no, and I would have wasted my time.
Pros of Targeted Selling
• Increased chances of closing the sale
• Saves advertising money to an identified target market
• Well suited for both small and large dollar items
• Saves time – making the salesperson more efficient and effective
Cons of Targeted Selling
• Might overlook a market that would potentially purchase your product
• High cost for surveys for non-identified target market
• Smaller market share
• It is likely that your competitors are saturating the same target demographics
On the other side of the spectrum is direct marketing, also known as shotgun selling. As the name implies, this method of selling has you spray your product across the widest possible audience. Infomercials are an excellent example. At this juncture, I should point out that infomercials are not just on television. Generally speaking, an infomercial is any presentation that presents a significant amount of information with the intent to set a bias or promote a certain point of view.
Direct marketing is a numbers game. Typically, 30% of the audience will show interest and 15% will purchase your product.* Consequently, to be cost effective, shotgun sellers must reach the largest possible audience.
*Infomercial and Advertising Effectiveness. An Empirical Study. Martin, Bhimy, Agee, University of Auckland Business School – Journal of Consumer Marketing, Vol 19 No6, 2002.
For instance, if I arranged a sales presentation for one-hundred people at the local Marriott, then my costs are likely to be in the range of $5,000 for hotel expenses and the expense of promoting the presentation. If my product sells for $20, and I were to achieve the best-case scenario of 15% success (assuming all one-hundred people show up), then I stand to make $300 and lose $4,700. In this case, I would require an audience of 1,700 people just to break even; but then my expenses go up as well. Therefore, this method of selling is most effective when you have a large budget to cover the large initial investment for mass market advertising through television and social media. Case in point, on average, a 30-second infomercial with national coverage costs $130,000 each time it is aired, and that does not include the cost of producing the infomercial in the first place.
Pros of Direct Marketing
• Large reach
• Predicable sales numbers
Cons of Direct Marketing
• You will only close the sale for 15% of your prospects
• Large initial investment
• Best suited for small dollar items
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Back to Facebook and Twitter
Facebook and Twitter lure the majority of their advertisers with the claim that their platform engages in targeted advertising. However, as anyone who has advertised on these platforms knows, the targeting algorithm is more geared towards direct marketing than it is to true targeted selling. Facebook and Twitter do have advanced metrics for targeting, but they keep those metrics for themselves for use in their censorship algorithms and political advertisements. When it comes to small and moderate advertisers, Facebook uses an auto-algorithm to seek people with interests similar to the ad. In fact, the only options offered for customization are to choose between people who are more likely to click your ad and people who are more likely to share your ad. Nowhere is there a metric to specifically target people most likely to buy your product. As a result, most small to medium size sellers waste their money by posting targeted advertisements on these platforms when they should be posting infomercials.
Most small and medium size sellers waste their money by posting targeted advertisements on Facebook and Twitter when they should be posting infomercials
This does not mean that advertising on Facebook and Twitter cannot be lucrative. It does mean that advertising on these platforms requires the large up-front investment to reach enough of an audience to make it worth your while. Sadly, most small and medium sized sellers do not have the budgets to support such advertising.
If you are like me, then you cannot afford the upfront costs needed to sell successfully via direct marketing. Even so, you can increase your success with Facebook and Twitter by changing your advertisements from targeted themes to infomercial themes while still appealing to your targeted audience.
1. Identify your product in a unique fashion
In addition to describing your product, describe what makes your product unique compared to similar products.
2. Get Prospects Hooked
If you read my other work on selling, then you know I am a big fan of making prospects sick, and then giving them the cure. This involves more than simply uncovering the problem that your product solves. You must ramp up your pitch to the point that your prospects feel the discomfort related to their pain points. Then, deliver your product as the cure to their illnesses.
3. Testimonials and Legitimacy
Here you want to provide testimonials of others who had their Ills cured by your product. You will also add legitimacy to your product by siting seals of approval by various organizations.
As previously stated, infomercials are most effective when the price of your product is low. Targeted selling, when targeted to those who enjoy the better things in life, actually benefits by providing a high price, which people equate with quality. However, shotgun selling sells to the lowest common denominator. Likewise, your price must appeal to the lowest common denominator (typically less than $20 and never more than $99). Furthermore, you should create an environment of scarcity by discounting your price for a limited time as part of your informercial promotion.
5. Overcome Objections
Get in front of the objections that your prospect may have and address them by showing that the value of your product is worth the risk. One way to do this is to re-hash your prospects pain (see step 2). Another is to offer a money back guarantee. When it comes to price, reduce it to the ridiculous. As an example, let us use the stereotypical infomercial product of a food slicer:
It cleans up in a jiffy
And it saves hours of time in the kitchen
For less than a penny a day, this product will make your time in the kitchen a joy for years to come!
6. Close the Sale
Closing the sale is the most important part of any ad. Sadly, many small advertisers, and even some experienced salespeople I know, do everything except close the sale. You close a sale by calling your prospects to action. This action can include clicking your purchase link or signing up to your website or service. Do not be vague. Tell the prospects exactly what to do and how to do it.
When it comes to infomercial selling, you should trial close as well. Trial closing is the act of asking for the business early in the process. With interpersonal sales, trial closing is used to get a prospect to reveal objections. In an infomercial environment, trial closing is used to create repetition. Therefore, you should have your advertisement scream this call to action at least twice before this final close.
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Where Should You Advertise?
As discussed, Facebook and Twitter are best for big companies who can afford shotgun style marketing. For the rest of us, there is Amazon.com. Amazon is the only platform with the reach of Facebook and Twitter that offers true targeted marketing. Think about it. Facebook and Twitter advertise to everyone on their platforms. This includes people who may not be interested in your product and people who are not interesting in buying anything at all. When was the last time you logged into Facebook or Twitter with the intent to make a purchase? When it comes to targeted advertising, Amazon is the polar opposite of Facebook and Twitter. Everyone who logs into Amazon goes there with the intent of buying something. Furthermore, advertising on Amazon truly targets your market. If you are selling a drill, then your advertisement will show up when people search for drills. Best of all, your advertising dollars will not be wasted on people searching for blankets and people who are not in ‘shopping mode.’
When it comes to demographics, Amazon boasts 300 million users, 80 million of whom are Prime members. In fact, nearly 50% of all U.S. online purchases take place on Amazon. As a search engine, Amazon ranks ahead of Google for people who seek to investigate a product.
Advertising on Amazon does have its setbacks. For one thing, you must be a seller on Amazon before you can advertise there. You also cannot customize your advertisement to anything beyond your product description on Amazon.com. When it comes to cost, the average cost per click to advertise on Amazon is $0.35, compared to $0.05 on Facebook. My experience is that the $0.35 per click cost on Amazon is far less expensive than the $0.05 per click cost on Facebook. In fact, I have yet to garner a single sale for my books when they are advertised on Facebook, whereas my book sales increase exponentially when I advertise on Amazon. I still use Facebook and Twitter as a low-cost way to test how new ads are received, but when I want to increase sales - I advertise on Amazon.com.
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