As anyone who has tried an online advertising campaign can tell you, it’s hard work with no guarantee of success. Huge amounts of marketing money can be thrown at the problem in a trial and error process, hoping that you will hit your target: a shiny new paying customer.
For those who are confused by online advertising, or are considering if it is right for them, I’ll offer a brief explanation of how the different advertising modes work:
Advertising on Google requires the advertiser to place bids on certain search terms. Whenever somebody searches on Google using those search terms, the highest bidding ad will appear on the side of the Google search results.
Strengths: The great thing about advertising on Google is that you can assume the person doing the search has some interest in what you have to offer. This means the people who see your ad on Google are already self-selected to be potential customers.
Weaknesses: Google doesn’t actually know who you are. As an advertiser, you can only guess that the people seeing your ad are potential customers.
Additionally, it is difficult to expose your business to people who are not specifically looking for your products. For example, your company sells the best and freshest goat milk in your city. How do you expand your reach to people who don’t know about goat milk? On the internet, this is called the difference between “search” and “discovery”.
Follow-Through: Once a potential customer has clicked on a Google ad, the assumption is that the ad will lead the customer to a website which will then convince the customer of the awesomeness of your product, and hopefully result in a sale.
This requires several things: an enticing website (which many small businesses don’t have), plus a great “call to action”. If you sell goods and services on your website, the call to action will be to lead a customer through the online checkout. If you require the customer to come to your location (say for a restaurant) the challenge is even greater. Getting someone to click on your Google ad was only part 1 of your struggle!
Facebook advertising is very much the opposite of Google advertising. It is similar to Google in that it also requires the advertiser to place bids, but this time on particular demographics of people. Facebook knows who their target it, but doesn’t know what they want!
Strengths: With Facebook you know you are hitting precisely your target market. If your store is mostly frequented by women aged 18-25, who live in your city, Facebook can target its ads only to those exact people.
Weaknesses: Just because someone falls into your target demographic doesn’t mean they actually want your product.
Follow-Through: Facebook advertising faces exactly the same problem as Google advertising in this regard.
Other Ad Networks
Of course, Google and Facebook are not the only ways to advertise on the internet. Many other advertising networks exist, placing your ads onto websites all over the internet. These are mostly banner ads, which we’ve all come to know and love.
Many ad networks use advanced targeting software to try to predict what kinds of ads will get the best results for the advertisers. These tactics can include simply showing ads with a similar topic to the website you are viewing, or even tracking your movements across the internet to predict what you might be interested in. Of course, all these methods can never be 100% accurate, as they are simply doing the best they can with the limited information made available to them.
What Makes Ferret Card Different
Ferret Card is able to precisely target specials in ways that nobody else can, by combining REAL social information with REAL shopping history. Additionally, Ferret Card gives extra priority to small businesses, and to businesses reaching out to existing customers.
Real Demographics: Thanks to Ferret Card’s integration with Facebook, specials can be targeted by demographic using exactly the same information available to Facebook.
Example: Want to target 18-25 year old women in your city? No problem!
Real Customers: As a merchant, every time you give out Gold Stamps to Ferret Card members via Ferret Card Rewards, you are improving your own ability to reach out to those specific customers with your specials in future. Ferret Card knows precisely who your customers are, which ones are regular customers, and which ones you haven’t seen in a while. This information allows merchants to tailor their specials to target specific groups of customers.
Example: Want to target to customers you haven’t seen for 2 months, as a little reminder to come back to your business? Ferret Card can do that!
This is information that Google and Facebook both wish they had access to! Remember, the more of your customers use Ferret Card, the greater the tool it becomes.
Real Demand: As Ferret Card is capturing information based on actual purchases made at actual merchants, Ferret Card gets a better idea of what customers actually like. This further helps improve targeting of specials.
Example: You are just about to open a new Japanese restaurant, and you want to reach out to people who like Japanese food in your area. Ferret Card knows which users have visited Japanese restaurants, and how often. You can target your special to just those potential customers.
Real Follow-Through: When a user grabs a special on Ferret Card, they have an intention to actually REDEEM that special at your business. There is a real call-to-action on all Ferret Card specials. If you targeted your special well, there is a very REAL chance that the user will actually make use of that special.
Real Discovery: On Ferret Card, users can discover your store through the most powerful marketing medium of all: WORD OF MOUTH. There are several ways to take advantage of word of mouth discovery on Ferret Card:
Give out Ferret Card Gold Stamps: Whenever you give out Gold Stamps to your customers, up to 5 of their Facebook friends will also earn Silver Stamps, and will be alerted to your business.
Example: John just visited that new bakery, and I earned 15 Silver Stamps from that. Maybe I should ask him what he thought of that shop.
Give Great Service: If your customers love your business, they’ll leave glowing reviews on Ferret Card to be read by their friends and any other potential customers.
Example: Sarah said that this Italian restaurant had great lasagne, might be worth a visit!
Give Great Specials: Whenever a Ferret Card member grabs your special, their friends will see that.
Example: Brad just grabbed a special from the trendy bar I always wanted to check out. Maybe I should ask him when he’s going there and we can make a night of it!
Small Business Advantage: Are you a small business with only 1 store? 1 in 3 specials displayed on Ferret Card are reserved only for small businesses. That means that your bids to place specials are not competing with the larger budget of more established businesses.
As a Ferret Card user, that means a higher chance of discovering new small businesses who want you as a customer.
Repeat Customer Advantage: A further 1 in 3 specials displayed on Ferret Card are reserved only for businesses where the Ferret Card user has actually been to before. Ferret Card makes it easier for businesses to reach out to existing customers.
As a Ferret Card user, this means that there is a higher chance that the specials I see are from businesses I actually might want to visit again.