What’s your backstory?
I guess I have a humble beginning like most entrepreneurs. Divorced parents, raised on state aid, didn’t want to see people struggle and decided to make a difference instead of getting beat up by the punches life throws at you. At 12 years old I dabbled in code, building custom MySpace profiles for friends for $25-$50 a pop. I used to always look at how other kids had things I didn’t, and programming really became my vice because I could create anything and it wouldn’t cost anyone anything but my time. So I dove in and dedicated a lot of my free time to building whatever came to mind, websites, game engines, even hand built a forum community.
However for those who follow me on Facebook I might be better known for the constant value and marketing case studies I share on my wall that I’ve learned from consulting, auditing, or managing marketing campaigns that have generated or saved several million over the years.
Facebooks ads are often highly spoke of.. Do they have a downfall?
This change disproportionately hurt small business owners and technical marketers, who previously relied too heavily (in hindsight) on the the system providing those targeting options to reach potential customers, instead of focusing on the creative use of copy writing and imagery to appeal to a specific demographic or niche customer base.
If that alone doesn’t convince you that relying on a single marketing channel is dangerous, especially any channel that solely relies on a single business for the majority of your leads, Facebook also recently released another ill-thought update in the effort of “transparency” that now displays all of the ads your company is running for anyone to find.
Even in the few short weeks since it’s release, this Facebook update has created a wave of copycats and con-artists, ripping imagery and text word for word. Especially in the drop shipping space, where sellers advertise items from other brands and ship directly from the manufacturer, now it’s possible to just go to your competitor, click the “info and ads” button, and copy and paste the exact image and text and start making money.
While you might think that there are laws in place to protect from that sort of practice, unfortunately in most cases it costs more money to shut these bad actors down than would be awarded in any settlement, and in many cases these bad actors come from 2nd and 3rd world countries, making it even more difficult if not impossible to stop their fraudulent operation.
These recent updates, along with increasing competition and impression costs, may indeed be why advertisers are jumping ship, and why Facebook recently took a major hit to their stock price.
What’s a fix to problems like Facebook copycats?
For business owners looking to protect themselves, I believe the best method to circumventing the update would be to create and advertise from pages that are based on your specific niche versus advertising from your personal brand’s page. So for instance say I had a beauty brand, like Sephora, instead of advertising from the company page, I’d create and advertise from a page like “Ultimate Beauty Tutorials” or “Drab To Fab”, I don’t know if these currently pages exist but creating niche pages and advertising via those pages instead of your brand page would help make it harder for copycats to discover.
While that strategy may only end up adding another layer between you and the copycats, the best strategies are those you can control. Email, SMS (text messaging), and influencer marketing. Email is expected, SMS is the king of the impulse buy, and influencer marketing is like having a stadium full of 10,000 people all looking to one person in the center for direction and inspiration and having that one person edify and promote your brand. When you invest in these channels, focusing on the creative (text and imagery), and empower these mediums by setting up automation sequences, you can create systems that predictably churn out sales and leads 24/7/365.
I immediately pull away from the popular advertising channels and push their customers to opt into email or SMS lists, in order to maintain constant contact and be protected against many of the changes above. I even recommend clients to detour investing too heavily in Facebook chat bots just in case Facebook suddenly decides to limit their messenger platform as they have their advertising platform. Any leads that come in from a chat bot, Facebook, or even Google are immediately segmented and pushed to opt in with their email or phone number in exchange for some form of free value or limited one time offer.
The greater control you have over the marketing landscape, the easier it is for your business to adapt to major changes that will sweep away the competition, allowing you to capitalize on the market. I can not stress enough that investing into and maintaining strong email and SMS lists by keeping them warm through automation sequences is undeniably the best way to both protect and scale your business.