If you want to generate free leads on Facebook, Scott Crider is someone you should listen to.
He’s been preaching the benefits of creating value through social media for a few years now.
Back in 2007 Scott built the Dogs Against Romney blog after hearing Presidential hopeful Romney tell a reporter about how he had once strapped a dog cage to the roof of his car (with his dog in it!) on family vacation, traveling 80MPH…scaring the dog so badly that it shit all down the side of the car.
Dogs Against Romney was an overnight viral success picked up by major media outlets — it generated at least 500,000 visits in less than a month.
Scott also helped his friend and Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee get hundreds of thousands of free Web site visitors during his campaign.
If Elvis Presley were still alive, he’d probably be asking Scott for help monetizing Facebook (Scott’s firm, Aristotle Interactive, handles email marketing for Elvis Presley Enterprises).
Scott and the Aristotle team had a recent win helping a business generate leads through Facebook.
I asked him a few questions about lead gen win and general subject of making money through Facebook — enjoy!
Q: Would you explain how a business begins to think about making money through Facebook?
The real power in Facebook is in turning people into advocates for your brand, and you do that by giving them something of value, in a cool way, and making it easy for them to share.
Q: What is your definition of a Facebook app?
My definition of a Facebook app is one that requires the user to grant permission for it to access their personal information, and everything has to function within the Facebook API (the user never leaves Facebook).
Q: Tell me about Murphy USA — how did you help them acquire Facebook leads?
Murphy USA is a Fortune 100 gas station-convenience store chain, and a great client that lets us do great work.
They tasked us (Aristotle Interactive) to come up with a way of helping them grow their fans from their then-level of 5,100 (many of whom were associates of the company) to a much higher number of customers, and to activate those customers to visit their stores.
Q: So what was your approach?
We created a custom app for them that offered both existing and new fans a free Coca-Cola product of their choice, to be picked up at any Murphy USA location, and the app also allowed everyone to who got a free Coke to share one with their friends, as well.
The app collected both email and physical addresses, as well as age info (a Facebook requirement) from the customers, and delivered the free Coke in the form of a secure, printable coupon to their email address.
Q: Can you walk us through the steps that a user would experience in this app you built?
Q: Were there other ways the app you built encouraged Facebook fans to spread the word?
Yes, in addition to choosing 12 friends to share the promotion with, the app also offered each person the opportunity to post a message to their news feed that said “I got a free Coke from Murphy USA!” which could be seen by everyone.
Q: On average, how many friends did each Murphy USA fan share the app with?
I’d estimate that most of them shared it with all 12 friends they were allowed to share it with, and posted the message to their news feeds as well.
Q: So, that would mean that perhaps two thousand of Murphy USA’s fans shared the app (the free coke coupon) with 20,000 of their friends?
It’s hard to say. It went viral extremely quickly. Literally within minutes. The first two days the app was live they grew by 7,000 new fans each day.
It was so much traffic that our outbound coupon email volume to AOL caused them to temporarily block us and we had to put some bottlenecks in to slow it down. It was something like 800 AOL emails in an hour that triggered it. I didn’t even know 800 people still used AOL!
So far, the app has taken them to over 32,000 fans in 3 weeks since it launched, and virtually 100% of them have stayed as fans.
How much does an application like this cost to build?
I probably shouldn’t reveal any figures on that, because the client is in a very competitive business and they’re pretty tight-lipped about things that give them an advantage. Let’s just say that it cost less than you might think. It easily fit within their normal quarterly promotions budget.
How does Murphy USA use the email address they now have for their 30,000 + new fans for marketing follow-up?
Murphy USA really respects people’s privacy, so they chose to send one follow up email message to them to offer them the opportunity to opt into Murphy’s monthly e-Offers (an opt-in email database that offers promotions on all the different things they sell).
Of course, nearly all 30,000+ of them are still fans of Murphy’s Facebook page, too, and can be communicated with there anytime.
How would you describe Murphy’s ROI on this?
I’d say the return on their investment has to be pushing 1,000+%, probably more, considering the lifetime value of these new relationships.
Will Murphy USA do more of these free coupons?
I’m sure they will. Re-skinning the app and replacing the coupon is fairly easy, plus it’s a win/win for Murphy USA and their product partners.
Q: What did Aristotle do to ensure security for all this (i.e. make sure there’s not an unlimited # of free coupons that people use)?
That was another level of complication in the app creation, but a necessary one to protect both the client and Coca-Cola.
We built a system that generated a custom coupon for each recipient. They received an email with a one-time link to the coupon, and each coupon had the recipient’s email address screened across the entire face of it. So they could only access it once, and they were discouraged from making copies.
Q: Can you give me another example of a business that could do really well with a free giveaway on Facebook?
Imagine Victoria’s Secret — if they launched something like this as a “share a free panty with your friends” on Facebook, it would go stratospheric. Are you listening Victoria? Call me (ha!).
Q: So, if you had to sum up the keys to making one of these Facebook marketing apps work, what would it be?
Q: That’s a fascinating use-case, Scott — If someone were to want to get in touch with you or Aristotle Interactive, what’s the best way for them to do so?
They can call me at Aristotle Interactive at 501-374-4638, or hook up with me on Twitter @CScottCrider or here on Linked In.
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