What you’re doing wrong
Printing your Facebook page URL on your print marketing materials is a good idea, but it’s not going to generate many likes. Why? Candidly (thanks, Jimmy Haslam!), nobody cares. Why would they? If the only incentive to like your page is to, well, like your page, then what’s the point of taking the time and effort to do so? You’re not doing enough to motivate likes. I know what you’re thinking: add an incentive. You’re right, you do need to add an incentive; however, most marketers don’t understand how to effectively make liking their Facebook pages desirable through print media. The reason is they have the wrong goal: to generate immediate sales. You’ve seen the postcards or flyers, and maybe even printed a few yourself: “Like our Facebook page to get 20% off your next purchase!” This type of offer and call to action can definitely be effective, but it certainly won’t maximize your Facebook likes because it makes the assumption that your customers are ready to buy. You’re trying to use Facebook as a gateway to a promotion, rather than using print marketing as a gateway to building a social fan base you can market to time and again, for free, for as long as you have fans. That fundamental difference takes the focus of your print marketing campaign away from generating Facebook likes to landing sales, which means your efforts to achieve more likes will be diminished. It will gave way to your desire to land the sale, and your marketing will show it. Instead, launch a purpose-driven campaign that has the sole goal to generate Facebook likes. Then, you can use Facebook’s sharing tools as incentives to your special offers.
How to do it right
As stated, you need to have a singular goal to generate Facebook likes via print marketing first, and then use Facebook’s tools to promote your special offers (and generate shares, which will in turn increase your likes). The best way to do this is to give something away, something that has real and immediate value to your customers. Let’s say you run an automotive repair service. One of your basic services, and one all of your customers need, is an oil change. Giving away free oil changes is an easy sell because, as mentioned, everyone needs them. Instead of sending a postcard that promotes a discounted oil change, send a postcard that offers a free oil change to anyone who likes your Facebook page within the next 24 hours. Customers can then like your page and bring the postcard in, and you can instantly verify whether they actually liked your page in your shop. I know you don’t want to give oil changes away for free, but you also have to weigh the lifetime spend of a customer versus the cost of customer acquisition. An oil change (or other service) likely represents a low customer acquisition cost, especially when many customers will come back for more oil changes as well as more profitable services. The idea is to incorporate long-range thinking into your marketing; you want to establish a routine so that whenever customers need an oil change or any other automotive servicing, they immediately think of you and only you. With that in mind, your Facebook promotion shouldn’t stop when your customers redeem your free oil change. After their oil change is done, ask them to pose for a photo with their vehicles that you can post on your Facebook page and tell them that if they likewise share the photo to their wall, you’ll give them 50 percent off on their next oil change. This way, you get them to come back to you again (and at least break even on the deal), and you get them to give your service a third-party testimonial (word-of-mouth marketing) that will be seen by all of their friends. You could even go a step further by letting them “gift” a 50 percent off coupon to any of their Facebook friends who like your page on Facebook. Keep that cycle going for a couple of months, and you’ll generate hundreds or even thousands of new likes and potentially hundreds of new, long-term customers. Stop thinking of your marketing campaigns as single-shot, one-and-done sales tools, and start thinking of them as long-term customer acquisition plans. This is especially true for generating Facebook likes that stick and attracting new customers by focusing on earning those likes, rather than on landing immediate sales.