How to sell on Facebook: $160k Case Study
Selling seats at high-ticket events is a challenge for anybody, but this entrepreneur makes it look easy. He manages to sell 80% of his seats at $2000 per person using an unbelievably simple Facebook marketing strategy. If your business puts on live events or is interested in starting, read on and learn how to sell on Facebook and employ this step-by-step method to produce the most effective Facebook ads that will intrigue readers and sell seats at your event.
I recently had breakfast with a buddy of mine (Giovanni) who has a dream that 'Gifted Entrepreneurs' will change the world. He says that big-hearted, generous entrepreneurs are going to be the chief change-makers, so he started a business called Archangel Academy in order to coach, connect, and foster collaboration between these entrepreneurs to help make his dream a reality. One of Archangel Academy’s trademarks is a series of live events where interested entrepreneurs apply and become part of a hand selected group. After several successful events in our home town of Toronto, Giovanni wanted to spread his wings and hold an event in another major city. And in what better city to hold an Archangel event than the city of angels - Los Angeles?
This was the topic of our conversation over breakfast that day.
Giovanni: "I'm holding an Archangel event in L.A."
Nicholas: "Awesome. How can I help?"
G: "I’d love for you to help me with marketing the event to find 'Angels' to participate.”
N: "Great! Give me your contacts in L.A., we'll make some calls, have them reach out to their tribe, and fill the room with the right people."
G: "I don't have any contacts in L.A. and I don't want to leverage my high-end colleagues from around the country. I want to find these angels from scratch. Can you help?"
N: "Okay..." (With a raised eyebrow, thinking this won’t be easy).
G: "Oh, and they have to either be million dollar earners or have a vast social reach with their businesses."
N: "Okay..." (Now with two raised eyebrows, thinking this really won’t be easy).
G: "And they have to be all big-hearted, social and like-minded. It's important that the 'right' people are in the room."
N: "Okay..." (Thinking this can’t be any more difficult).
G: "I'm looking to pick only 100 people to participate at a $2000 price tag."
N: (Thinking “ONLY?”).
G: "Lastly, the event is six weeks away. Can you make it happen?"
N: (Thinking “What!? You're insane and out of your mind!”) “Sure! No problem.”
Six weeks later, after receiving over 420 applications, the room was filled with just under 100 big-hearted, like-minded, ‘gifted entrepreneurs’ and 80% of them came from my marketing efforts. How did we do it? By using the only advertising platform that could make something like this possible - Facebook.
In this article, I will outline some of the key tactics that we used to accomplish this.
One of the key components in a successful Facebook marketing campaign is targeting, or determining who actually sees the ad. The perfect ad is the right message seen by the right person at the right time.
This was even more important because Giovanni was very specific about the types of people who would be part of this event. Facebook allows you as an advertiser to get very specific with your targeting.
In most cases I suggest starting by identifying the key influencers in your niche, seeing if they have a strong Facebook presence, and then targeting your ads toward their fans. Generally I like to start with one influencer to test his or her fans’ response and as the numbers start to come in, I add other influencers to increase reach and scale the efforts. In this particular case, however, we did the opposite. We started with a wide North American audience targeting several groups of key influencers with strong Facebook followings. Regardless of the method, the goal is to identify people whose fan bases include your ideal clients/customers.
This snapshot is of one of the groups that we targeted, which gave us a potential reach of 3.6 million people:
As we approached the event date, we restricted the geographical targeting first to California, bringing down our reach to 400,000:
When it comes to the ad itself the two elements that carry the most weight in affecting the performance of the ad are the Post-Text (the copy that appears before the image) and the image itself.
We'll talk about the image in just a second, but let's start with the post-text.
The two keys to making post-text work are:
- Starting with a question and...
- Speaking to the needs/wants/desires of the ideal clients without sounding like a brand looking to promote, but instead like a human looking to connect.
Let’s focus on starting with a question:
Which headline do you think is more effective?
- Don't Make These Facebook Ad Mistakes
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The mind can't resist a question mark. When you see one, it forces you into super-curiosity mode, where you need to know the answer. With any kind of marketing copy like a Facebook ad, response rates can drastically improve if you switch the headline from a statement to a question. One of our Facebook campaigns for this event featured the headline "Are You A Big-Hearted Entrepreneur?" which was much more effective than "Attention Big-Hearted Entrepreneurs..." would have been.
Perhaps the most influential part of any Facebook ad is the image.
Aside from some best practices, such as using smiling people in the images, the most important part of the image is its ‘story.’ They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so you want those words to tell the story and resonate with the viewer.
Like any Facebook marketing campaign, you always need to test the images. This is the first image we used, which ended up being the highest responding image of our set.
I believe this worked for many reasons, but in short it told a story of entrepreneurs connecting towards positive change. We tested other images that responded well, including:
Because of the people we targeted, many of our ads went viral, meaning that there were many comments and even more shares.
People we had never met were becoming our evangelists.
Although not specifically related to the ads themselves, I think that the success of this campaign was also largely due to the funnel:
- The ad drove the prospect to the event website. (www.archangelacademy2014.com)
- The videos, the copy, and the layout were designed not only to share the vision of the event but also to pre-qualify a person. By clearly indicating who the event is NOT for, it creates a bigger draw for who it IS for and the exclusivity made it that much more appealing.
- The prospect was asked to request an invitation (which captured a lead) and then was taken to an application page. This way, if we had chosen, we could have followed up with the applicants via email with some more information about the event.
- The applicants were then sorted based on their applications and those who met the criteria were contacted further.
This all led to a very successful event with only the ‘right’ people in the room.
How to sell on Facebook: Key Takeaways
- Target effectively. Work backwards: Start by identifying your ideal customer/client and targeting them by identifying who they currently follow on Facebook. Who are the key influencers in your niche with followings that match your target market? Target them and then expand your reach.
- Be Human. Sound like a human, not a brand, in your advertising copy. The truth is that people are on Facebook to connect with other human beings rather than brands. In fact, in all of our tests, the response rate was drastically higher when we ran ads from a personally branded page as opposed to a company-branded page. Your ad copy needs to sound like you’re a human who cares and is speaking directly to the person on the other side of that ad. The more personal you are, the better the response that you'll receive.
- Image is everything. Select images that tell a story - your story and the story of your ideal target. The more someone can connect to that story by viewing your image, the better the response will be.
- Utilize the power of the question mark. Whether to pique curiosity or pre-qualify a prospect, use a question to grab your prospects’ attention and lure them into your conversation.
- 'Rejection Marketing'. The clearer that you can be about who your offer is not for, the better the response you will get from the people it is for. This goes hand-in-hand with targeting. Realize you are not everyone's solution and not only will you get a better response, but you may also get an army of advocates.
- Have the right funnel. Many people tend to forget that the ad is only the beginning. Where that ad takes its viewers is just as important, and having the right funnel for your offer will determine whether or not a prospect converts into a client. Different offers require different funnels. Find what best suits you and execute accordingly.
- Test Everything. Testing is crucial in creating effective Facebook ad campaigns. Test the target audience. Test the Copy. Test the Images. Test the Funnel. As you test each element one at a time, scale what works and tweak what doesn’t. I was lucky because most of what we did on the first try with this campaign worked, but this is rarely the case. Be ready to test everything.
We hope that you find these strategies useful and can apply them to make your events more profitable. Have you had any success using these tactics? We’d love to hear about it! Comment below with your struggle and/or success story and please subscribe to receive future articles.
Visit Nicholas at http://nicholaskusmich.com/