The giveaway model

I may have finally settled on a business model.

The birthday offer model didn’t go well during the brief time I advertised it on Facebook. Responses to my Facebook ads were costly. In hindsight I think my ad placement may have been a problem.

But instead of making ad changes, I decided to go back to the strategy that got things off the ground for me 3+ years ago when I started the “ABQ Deals” Facebook group for Albuquerque consumers and business owners, namely running weekly giveaways.

One decision I’ve been trying to make for a long time is whether or not to devote time to building a following on social media. The giveaway model, however, kind of relies on it.

My original Albuquerque group is still around, currently with about 600 members and actually growing, albeit very slowly. A couple of the members have been posting regularly in it. One big problem with it, however, is that it’s a private group which means only group members can see the posts, and very importantly, posts cannot be shared. I flip-floped on the issue of privacy back when I started that group – first going with private, then trying public briefly, and going back to private. Back then it was easy to convert from one type to the other.

I left it private because the thought was that I wanted to give people a strong incentive join and was convinced a public group would give them little incentive. I guess I’m still not entirely sure which is best, but I started an almost identical group that is public. I think it might be smart nurture both and see which one grows the fastest.

So I spent a fair amount of time getting the giveway page set up. I decided it was probably worth it to award points for sharing so implemented Al Friedl’s Referly Highlevel snapshot. It took a while to get that working smoothly.

A few days ago, I began running a Facebook/Instagram ad, but initially the results were very poor. I can’t say I’m a big gambler when it comes to ads. I’m afraid to spend more than $5/day. After one day, I expected to have several signups, but I only had 1 or 2. I knew that wasn’t going to work. So I changed the ad type (from conversion to traffic), the image, the placement, the targeting, and even made a small change to the copy. Also changed the landing page a bit.

Making so many changes at once is not recommended, but I think in this situation they were all for the best because I saw immediate results. I’m currently getting 15 cent clicks which I think is pretty good. I’m not sure what the cost per sign up is, but seems to be under $0.50 each which is acceptable. I figure I need 1000 members or so to begin seeing the strategy pay off.

A weekly drawing held “live” in the Facebook group does a number of things:

  • Gives me a painless way to connect with my audience on a regular basis
  • Gives me a good excuse to send regular promotional messages
  • Builds good will and trust
  • Is relatively inexpensive (prizes need not be expensive – I’ve purchased some on Groupon at a discount)

I think I’ve also finally been able to pin down my initial services, some of which are free while the rest are inexpensive:

  1. Join and post in the Facebook group (free)
  2. Sponsor a giveaway (free with optional paid add-on services)
  3. Promote a special offer (starting at $29)
  4. Promote a birthday offer (starting at $9/mo)
  5. The Viral Loyalty program (starting at $49/mo)

I should probably add that, once again, I was distracted by another enticing offer — this time an easy way to make money selling an affiliate product (book writing services) on LinkedIn. After a few days, I decided it didn’t make sense for me to spend time on it, despite the fact that it may actually be pretty legit.

One more thing – one of my goals is to provide opportunities for other people to start a business. Under the current business model I may have a nice franchise opportunity for people who want to become the local “hometown hero” with a simple and well-supported business model. About all they’ll have to do is create and grow their own group, then resell my services.

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