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Want to reach the masses? Try an ad on Facebook

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Recently I heard about a successful producer who had an incredible month of production. A colleague of mine asked, “What did they do to have a month like that?” Honestly, I expected to hear a number of the same things: seminar tweaks, a successful existing client event, radio campaign, etc. While all of that is exciting news, this time it was different.

This producer knew a lot of people in his area (at a few select employers) were getting laid off. He’d already acquired a couple clients from dinner seminars who needed to make 401(k) rollover decisions. But obvious questions were rolling around his head like, How do I capitalize on this? How do I find more people who need help right now?”

After a lot of strategic thinking and reaching out to a few local firms, the advisor had it — Facebook advertising.

It was perfect for this situation and he’d found a firm to establish the program for him. Facebook advertising was new to him, but not too difficult. He knew if he could figure out successful seminar marketing (and foot that bill in the process) he could make this work. Working with the local firm (if you’re looking into this, do a Google search on “Facebook advertising _____,” filling in the blank with your city or state), he laid out his parameters. By using the information people supply on themselves via their Facebook profiles, they crafted a campaign with specific age ranges and employers. Isn’t that ingenious? Using Facebook he could accurately target the exact people who worked for the company laying workers off.

Then he designed the ad and it went live. A couple other items to know are:

  • It costs a nominal amount to place the initial ad through Facebook. I want to say $250 up front or something similar.
  • Every time someone clicked on the ad it costs $5.
  • They were able to establish a maximum budget towards click, which they set at $1,000 per month.
  • To see more about Facebook advertising, click this link.

Here is an email the producer sent to me with more feedback:

As far as the impressions go, the ad appeared on someone’s Facebook page over 700,000 times.

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Someone might have had it appear on their Facebook page 100 times (because that is how many times they came back to their page over the course of two weeks) and another person might have had this appear on their page just a few times. The 700,000-plus just means the total amount of times that someone has had this ad on their page.

It doesn’t necessarily mean that 700,000-plus “different” folks have seen this, but we do know that the ad has been clicked on 177 times (which should mean that 177 different folks have actually opened up the ad to check it out). It’s an encouraging number of clicks for the short period of time it ran. But there is no way of telling “who” actually clicked on the ad. That would be a little too much “invasion of privacy” on someone.

Through this medium, this producer has been able to target market better than mailers, newspaper ads, etc., and he’s experiencing results. They’ve steadily been receiving web inquiries and calls from people requesting 401(k) rollover advice. It’s obviously not perfect though. Plenty of people who weren’t laid off at that company still see the ad and can click on it, costing money. Also, it’s much tougher to reach the masses and be able to really touch everyone who’s affected. But all that considered, they’re happy with results so far.

In the future, the advisor plans to use Facebook advertising as a “seminar filler.” The plan is to demographically target Facebook users based on age range and employment/retirement status. Then open a $500 to $1,000 budget (per seminar mailer) to fill more seats at the event. No one is sure if it’ll work, but they’ve had enough success with this first campaign that it’s worth the money and effort to test. Plus everyone knows the fastest growing segment of Facebook users are retirees and the Internet is where much of our marketing is trending. So whether it’s this exact plan long-term or not, they’ll be ahead of the curve and should only improve in the future.

I hope progressive ideas like these push you to evolve in 2013.

For more from Matt Neuman, see: