Online marketing tools are many— Email newsletters, search engines, Google Adwords, Social Media, Contests, Promotions and many more. In Trinidad & Tobago it generally means Facebook and lately to the the right of my Facebook page are many more Trini ads and I remember a time when it wasn’t like that.
I convince myself (sometimes) that given the field I’m in, i.e. website design, development and online marketing/promotion, that I’m conducting ‘research’ when I click on any and all of the paid ads on my personal Facebook profile. In reality I’m merely exercising my God-given and untrammeled right as a born Trini to ‘maco’, which, and I’ll bet my first (and second) born that you do as well. And don’t watch me in my eye and lie!
Why, pray tell, is the sponsored ad section of Facebook now replete with Trini ads? I believe it’s because of one misguided reason: REACH. It’s the surest way to get your business in front of a vast number of people. There are other reasons as well but I’ll mention them at the end just for the record.
Why it’s not a magic bullet
Magic Bullet is probably not the best metaphor, perhaps Magic Pill or Potion but you get my drift. The thinking behind these Facebook Ads that they are the miracle cure— ah! that’s what I’m looking for… and which would suddenly propel your business regardless of it’s condition- be it ailing, failing, flailing and rarely smooth sailing (damn, I have a way with words!), to new heights you’ve only dreamed of. Suddenly the floodgates of new business would open and new customers would rain down like manna from heaven.
Not so fast
In a perfect world, well I don’t need to tell you the ending do I? Plain and simple, it doesn’t happen, even if you get a some new LIKES I would guess that you don’t get a lot of new paying customers. How much people are you reaching? Thousands of Trinis at the lower end and tens of thousands on the other. With over 400K Trinis online there’s absolutely no doubt that you’re getting the eyeballs. But are you getting the customers?
Fuzzy Math Logic
Somewhere in your thought process is some fuzzy math that defies math and defies logic. Hell, with all the fancy numerical acrobatics it even defies laws of physics. More people are seeing you doesn’t necessarily get you new business. Agreed, your chances are greater, no argument there, but you’re still going about it the wrong way by using gambling as a strategy.
Qualified Traffic VS Quantified Traffic
It’s heartening to get the impressions, the views, the visits, it makes you feel like your Facebook ad is working. I doubt the cash register is ringing as much as you hoped but I’m sorry to say that you have only yourself to blame. Even if your ‘plan’ wasn’t an immediate sale but to capture a lead, again, I doubt you: (1) actually prepared your landing page to do so optimally, and (2) have a plan to nurture that lead for conversion to a future sale.
Sorry to be so pessimistic and presumptuous about the Trini psyche but I’ve lived long enough to to know that ‘Trini to de bone’ is a bad habit that’s hard to break.
10 serious visitors VS 100 Window Shoppers
I’ve drastically cut down on the number of inquiries from the Forward Multimedia website when I added my website pricing packages. It was a deliberate tactic after I saw none of my competitors were publishing theirs, often hiding behind the ‘every site is unique’ hogwash. My guess is that they were hoping to finesse the inquirer after they made contact for a quote, and that’s because they couldn’t depend on their sites and portfolio to do the job.
Now when I get inquiries I’ve already gotten pricing out of the way (caller is now ‘qualified’) and I can discuss what’s really important— what will I do to make their website work for them. But bear this in mind, that I’ve painstakingly configured my website’s content to instill confidence and trust IN ADVANCE waaay before I was ever on the first page of Google.
Truth be told I don’t do any online marketing AT ALL by design. I get ALL my clients via Google and referrals from past clients, friends, family (especially my father-in-law!).
The above is MY EXAMPLE of how I qualified my leads. For your business you would know your qualifying criteria better than me. Bear in mind that you have to back up what you’ve qualified. For example, I posted my prices in plain sight and backed up my pricing by instilling confidence from the work I do and that I know what I’m talking about.
Let’s use something else besides pricing in your case. Say you bake cakes and you’re a little more expensive but your cakes taste exceptionally great. Your hook is the taste, never mind the price, so you have to back up the taste with solid testimonials from super-happy customers for whom your cakes were a big hit. Support it with great pictures. Got it?
Stop putting the cart before the horse
90% of the Trini Facebook ads I click on are guilty of this. They draw me in out of curiosity (not because the ad enticed me) but their landing page and website is always a big letdown. You did all this work for me to click and when I do you are clearly not ready for me. In your defense, I don’t think you know how to get ready in the first place or even what ‘READY’ is.
What to do BEFORE you put that Facebook ad
I’d rather you spend 90% of your time and money doing this these alone, which I call ‘THE WORK’. After THE WORK is done, all you have to do is sit back for the RESULTS to follow and they will follow from both online and offline, yes, offline!
1. Define and know your visitors
Your customers may not fall into neat marketing demographics but always fall into broad groups who give buying signals you know how to treat. As best as you could define and classify your customers and know what treatment to give them when they arrive.
For example, you’re in construction business so you potential customers are residential and commercial. Your residential customers may be newly married couples or married longtime with families. They may be educated yuppies from Diego Martin or blue collar country-folk from Barrackpore.
Each group within a group have their own baggage and are looking for their own solution that hopefully you will provide. Find out what they are and be ready to solve it. Always remember, you are not providing a product or service, you’re always providing a SOLUTION and your product or service is only the means to it and never forget this.
2. Prepare your Landing Page
Your Landing Page is that page your visitor lands when they click on your Facebook ad. I’ve observed that it’s typically another Facebook Page or a website. If it’s the website it’s usually the homepage but with no continuity from the ad just clicked on. Now your visitor just gazes around with no guidance on what to do. Some of you may say that you don’t do this, that your link does continue from the ad to say, the product page of the product advertised on the ad, be it a mobile phone, a perfume etc. To that I say, what if I’m not really ready to buy that product or was just curious, do you have anything to keep me and sell to me now that I’m here? The answer is usually no.
All that work gone down the drain. Please put some thought into the Landing Page on how you’re going to turn that visit into a lead and ultimately a paying customer. If you don’t know how, that’s why you should call me.
3. Optimize your website’s content
Things may be heating up in the website landscape in Trinidad & Tobago but most will be lackluster and won’t work at all. Even some of my own clients’ sites don’t work. Yes I’m brave to say that. There’s so much I can do but after I do my part the rest is up to the Trini website-owner and if left up to the site owner to do something, they’ll do nothing. If you don’t optimize your site’s content, layout, images, calls to action then might as well invest in a good hammock and a mosquito zapper.
BOTTOM LINE: Show you mean business
All the above is really showing your potential customer that you mean business and not just winging it as Trinis tend to do. If you really invest the time and money on the 90% of WORK beforehand, the results will follow automatically and continuously.
You can’t fool a Trini, especially nowadays when they are fully comfortable on the internet. They know a good website when they see one, they know a good Facebook campaign when they see one. Stop disappointing them.
The other reasons why Facbook Ads are more popular
Apart from the REACH FACTOR, Facebook ads are more popular these days as an online marketing tool in Trinidad & Tobago because:
- Facebook deliberately made it harder to get noticed organically via the free route leaving no choice but to pay for it
- It’s cheaper than some offline advertising like newspaper
- Target market can be specifically marketed to
- It’s a bandwagon now and everyone is jumping on
- It’s cheaper than a website
Facebook ads will continue to be the popular choice for reaching people fast and I do encourage it, but as I always preach that you should be prepared for the traffic you’re trying to attract.