It’s no secret that I love to use Snapchat to market to my audience and clients. However, recently I have grown to love this platform even more thanks to a huge change the site made earlier this year.

This change allows everyday users and businesses to create their own custom-made, on-demand geofilters. If you are new to snapchat, a geofilter is a custom design you can lay over a photo to indicate your location. (They are only available in certain locations.) For example, when you are on Dauphin Street in Mobile, Alabama, you can swipe right or left and a “Dauphin Street Mobile, Alabama” filter will display, letting your friends know where you are and what you are doing.

What’s so great about this? Anyone can upload their own custom-made filter set to their own preferred geolocations. This is a great tool for crafty marketers — not so much for lazy marketers — because it takes a little bit of finesse to fully use the tool to its potential.

First, you have to design a filter that someone will want to use; it can’t be just industry specific or too spammy. Second, Snapchat will not let you use any kind of call to action, such  as links, logos (in most cases) or social media handles. This makes it difficult to use for marketing for anyone not willing to think outside of the box, yet very profitable for those willing to employ some clever thinking.

I have been generating sales for months using this new feature. The first hurdle a marketer may encounter is creating the customized geofilter. You have to either know how to design a filter or pay a graphic designer to design one for you. For do-it-yourselfers, an iPhone app called Confetti allows users to make filters. In my case, I used the app and employed a graphic designer that specializes in geofilters to design and correct my filters for $20 each.

In one case study, we designed a filter for a St. Patrick’s Day 2016 block party at a local restaurant. The filter featured a “Happy St Patrick’s Day” message along with a picture of the Mobile, Alabama, leprechaun and a tagline at the bottom that said “By Alfa Insurance Bradley Flowers.” The area I targeted was a 189,734-square-foot area around the restaurant for 9 hours. This cost me $35.58 in Snapchat fees. The process to set the filter up is self-explanatory — the site provides a step-by-step explanation to get you started.

The St. Patrick’s Day filter was a massive hit, and I had dozens of people texting me and sending me photos of my filter saying things like “how did you do that” and “such great marketing” even before I arrived at the restaurant. (Tip: I always try to use my own filter at least one time to maximize effectiveness, connect with your target market and demonstrate how the filter looks when posted.) The next day, I was able to see the backend analytics from my filter.  It got 6,913 impressions at a cost of 0.005 cents per impression.

You may be wondering, “How do you capitalize on an ad that has no call to action and no link?”

The solution I came up with is simple — Facebook Dark Posts. A dark post is essentially a Facebook ad that does not show up on your Facebook timeline because it is targeting to a specific group of people. One example of this is running an ad on Facebook for long-term care insurance and targeting Facebook users who are between 50 and 65 years old.

In this case, I ran a Facebook Dark post for $20 with a photo of the filter that simply said, “Yes, I was the guy that did the filter with the Mobile Leprechaun,” and I targeted Facebook users who like that particular restaurant on Facebook. Among all the messages of gratitude was one gentleman who asked to see me about his insurance needs. That contact resulted in new commision of $350.56 from a total investment of $75.58 — an ROI of 363.83 percent — and less than 10 minutes of my own time.

This new social and digital frontier is daunting to a lot of insurance and financial professionals. If we are able to think outside the box and learn to market to our target audience in ways that they do not know they are being marketed to, we can generate an even greater ROI for our businesses and our industry in ways not previously seen. The smartphone is essentially an extension of the human body, and if we can learn to market to prospects tastefully through their phone, the possibilities are endless.  

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