Facebook Offers: What is It and How Does it Work?

Is Facebook just for building a fan base and getting people engaged. Or can you actually use Facebook to sell products and services? With various e-commerce applications and email acquisition apps, the answer is: both. Facebook Pages allow you to engage customers, and Facebook Offers get your customers buying your wares and talking to their friends about your business.

How does this feature work? Suppose that Threadless (my favorite T-shirt company) posts a limited offer for $10, and you choose to redeem that offer. As soon as you click Get Offer, my friends see “John just claimed an offer from Threadless.” My action of claiming the offer may not make all my friends buy T-shirts, but it will certainly be attractive to all the Threadless customers in my network!

In this article, you see how to use Facebook Offers to promote your business. I show you how to create an Offer and then promote the offer with Facebook Ads, your Facebook Page, and your email list. You also see how offers can enhance your current sales process.

Understanding Facebook Offers

Facebook Offers encourage people to share your business with their friends when they claim your offer. When people claim your offer, they make a commitment to buy your product or service, and also share that commitment with their friends. Facebook Offers lets you make any offer to increase sales, repeat business, or leads. You can offer a discount with a purchase, for example. Then Facebook users can claim your offer in your store, on Facebook, or in both places.

The way Facebook Offers works is as follows:

  1. You create an offer on your Page by using the Publisher, where you typically upload photos and post text updates.
  2. When you buy a Facebook Ad to promote the offer, your offer gets published. Facebook Offers isn’t free, but it’s a very powerful way to grow your business.

There are three types of offers you can use to promote sales and build word-of-mouth advertising:

  • In Store Only: People who claim the offer can print the offer email or show it on their smartphones to your sales staff. If your goal is to increase foot traffic in your store, this option is your best choice.
  • In Store & Online: People can redeem the offer in your store or on your website.
  • Online Only: People can redeem your offer only by clicking or tapping a link in the offer email and visiting your website. If your goal is to increase website traffic, this option is your best choice.

Creating an Offer for Your Page

You can create an offer from your Page Publisher by following these steps:

Step 1: Click the Offer, Event + button to the right of Photo/Video and then choose Offer from the drop-down menu.

Step 2: Write a title and description for your offer.

Make the value of your offer simple to understand, such as “Limited space for one-on-one meetings.” A preview of your offer appears on the left side of the page

Step 3: Upload a thumbnail photo for your offer.

Select one of your most recent photos posted to your Page or upload a new photo.

Step 4: Set an expiration date by clicking the date shown (today’s date) and then selecting a different day in the future. Limit your offer to a week or less, because after a week, you reach the point of diminishing returns.

Step 5: Add a link to your offer so that the customer can redeem it online.

Step 6: Click More Options, and enter any necessary terms and conditions of your offer.

Step 7: Click Create Offer.

Your offer is published on your Page. Facebook also sends you a preview of the email people will receive after they claim your offer.

Getting the Most from Your Offer

Using Facebook Offers as an effective part of your marketing strategy requires more than simply knowing how to create one (which is pretty easy, as you’ve just seen).

As with any other promotional strategy, the message and the offer are what really determine success. Do your customers need what you’re offering? Is the free offer or discount something they’d truly get excited about? The more clearly you can answer these questions, the more successful your offer will be.

Here are nine tips for getting the most from Facebook Offers:

  • Offer something remarkable. Offering real value makes customers happy, but offering remarkable value inspires those happy customers to tell their friends. If your favorite restaurant offered a free bottle of wine with reservations booked online, no doubt you’d claim that offer. Give people something they’ll make remarks about (something remarkable).
  • Keep the offer simple. Write a headline and summary that inspire people to claim your offer. Use simple language that’s concise and easy to understand, such as “Get a free coffee with a full breakfast” or “Ten percent off gym membership.”
  • Be clear about restrictions. Mention any time limits or other restrictions. Otherwise, you’ll end up spending too much time explaining the offer to confused and disappointed customers.
  • Be clear about how to claim the offer. Don’t leave people guessing about what to do after they claim the offer. Clearly state what they need to do next, such as “Show your phone to the salesperson.” Fortunately, Facebook sends an email with instructions to anyone who claims the offer.
  • Keep the offer fresh. If you run an offer too long, people lose interest. You want to make them happy, and you want them to tell their friends.
  • Don’t run too many concurrent offers. Doing so only causes confusion among your customers and your employees.
  • Prepare your employees. Make sure that all your employees understand the terms of the offer, how people will redeem it, and what customers get when they claim the offer. Be clear about how to handle customers who ask about the offer after it expires.
  • Stock the warehouse. Make sure that you have enough of what you’re offering to honor all offers during the run.
  • Be cheerful. Make sure that your customers are treated in a cheerful manner when they claim a deal. The last thing you want is for a customer to feel that the sales staff was reluctant about honoring the deal. Be cheerful. I could say this three times, and that wouldn’t be too many times.

How To Promote Your Offer

After you create your offer, Facebook automatically prompts you to purchase an ad. An ad alone won’t make the offer a success, however. You need to make people aware of your offer by promoting it. Promote your offer as much as possible. When people claim it, a story is created in their News Feed so all their friends are exposed to your business. Also, the total number of claims is displayed

Promoting your offer on your Facebook Page

Many of your potential customers are exposed to your business through their friends who use Facebook. When one of your fans comments on or likes a post on your Page, Facebook distributes that action in their friends’ News Feeds. In the same way, you can create awareness about your deal by posting stories about it in your Page Timeline. This leverages the inherent word-of-mouth that exists on Facebook.

Here are effective ways to use your Timeline to promote your offer:

  • Announce the offer a couple of times. If a product is associated with the offer, upload a photo and post a link to the offer in the photo description. In this update, ask an engaging question like “Who’s hungry for a free appetizer?”
  • Use your Facebook cover to promote your offer. Hire a graphic designer to create a Facebook cover promoting your offer. If you don’t have the budget to hire a graphic designer, try using Canva.com (http://canva.com), a visual-content-creation tool.
  • Create conversations about your offer when appropriate. When someone claims the offer, mention it on your Timeline (“Jane just claimed the shrimp cocktail! Who likes shrimp?”). This technique invites fans and their friends to comment on your Timeline, creating more awareness of your deal.

These are just examples to get you started. Using your Facebook Page as a marketing tool is limited only by your creativity.

Some promotional activities are prohibited on Facebook. Make sure that before promoting your deal, you review the Facebook Pages Terms at https://www.facebook.com/terms_pages.php.

Promoting your offer with Facebook Ads

Another way to promote your deal is to use highly targeted Facebook Ads. You can select specific geographic criteria as well as demographic information when you create your ad. Your criteria should be based on your knowledge of your target market and your ideal customer located in the vicinity of your business. With Facebook Ads, you can target a city, for example, or parents with children younger than age 5.

Promoting your offer through other marketing channels

In addition to using your Facebook Page, you want to use other marketing channels to promote your offer. Many of your customers may not be active Facebook users but would still be interested in connecting with your business to take advantage of your offer. Consider the following options:

Email marketing: Many businesses have an email list. Send out an email announcement of your deal with these tips in mind:

  • Write a compelling headline that gets the reader’s attention. This headline could simply be your offer summary.
  • Keep the body of the email short and concise. You have only a few seconds after someone opens your email to grab her attention. Communicate the essence of your offer in as few words as possible.
  • Include an image. Keeping the preceding point in mind, remember that a picture is worth a thousand words. Use a picture of the product or service you’re offering.
  • Ask the reader to click. In the middle of your email and at the end, clearly state what you want the reader to do, such as “Click here to become a fan of our Facebook Page.” This way, you can continue to remind readers of the offer.

In-store promotion: In addition to using email and your Facebook Page, you want to promote your deal in the store with posters, mentions at the cash register, and other traditional in-store promotional methods.

Why promote an offer that’s intended to encourage in-store traffic to people in your store? The critical thing to remember about using Facebook Offers is that in addition to encouraging foot traffic, you create awareness about your business as people claim offers.

Earlier in this article, I mention an example offer of a free coffee with a full breakfast. When customers claim that offer, many of their Facebook friends are exposed to the coffee shop. Some of them will become new Facebook fans, and some of them will claim an offer and show up at the coffee shop as well!

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