Welcome to Curious Business

Every Friday, I post a small insight into running Curio City and/or Blue Hills Editorial Services. My most recent posts are directly below. You can also start with the first post, or use the subject labels to the right to home in on particular topics. Feel free to comment on anything that interests you.
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Friday, March 05, 2010

Curse You, Facebook

March sales came in like a lamb. Maybe I can use my Facebook page to lionize the month now that my blog, my newsletter, and my store are all integrated. Let’s cash in the $25 advertising credit that I’ve been holding since December.

Shall I advertise my FB page itself (Curio City in general) or an outside web page (a specific product)? Product advertising works much better than generic store advertising. But FB might be different. Making new fans might be a better goal than making sales. My fan base is stalled at about 65 – people join and leave at about the same rate, and a lot of my fans have probably put me on Hide (I don’t blame them; I’ve hidden many of my personal FB “friends” and all of my business/group contacts).

I decided to spend my $25 credit on a generic store ad with the goal of recruiting 25 new fans. I bid $0.20 per click with a $5 per day maximum spend (25 clicks per day). To get 25 new fans for a buck apiece, I’d need to convert a whopping 20% of my clicks. That’s an outrageous rate if you’re trying to sell something…but fandom is free. I can imagine that 1/5 of those who will click an ad in the first place might want to see more. After all, they can easily Hide or remove me later on.

With that decision made I wrote my ad, targeted an audience, defined my bids, entered my credit card number, entered the coupon code, and clicked Place Order. Ta-daa!

“There was an error: The promotion this coupon code is linked to has ended.”

Bastards. Why didn’t they put an expiration date in the email? I googled up half a dozen other coupon codes, all of them expired. Disgusted with their bait-and-switch, I decided to bail before this ship even set sail. Eventually either a new coupon will come along or my curiosity will overcome my anger.

So I decide to delete my credit card, and I can’t unless I close the account. So I decide to close the account, and it threatens to lock me out of ever advertising again. So I decide to create a fake credit card and delete my real one, and the “create a card” app won’t load. So I load the page in IE, and I get “you must create an ad before you can add a credit card or coupon.”

Curse you, Facebook! Oh well, as much as I hate leaving my credit card number in their system, there doesn’t seem to be anything they can charge me for. It’s hard to be 100% sure since their interface sucks so mightily.


A few weeks ago I figured out how to add custom fields to my checkout page, so I added a “How did you find us?” dropdown list. The 60 customers who were kind enough to respond break down like this:

41 - Searching for something on Google
6 – Searching for something on yahoo
4 – Searching for something on Bing or Other
3 – Referred by a friend
2 – Saw you mentioned in a print article
3 – I don’t know; I just woke up and here I was
1 – I shop here all the time

Remind me again why I still advertise on Yahoo. Actually, I’m only running ads for a few products there and I only activate them when business slows down. Maybe their merger with Bing will eventually enliven things.


My last post overstated February’s numbers because I neglected to record a $456 tax payment. Yeah, $456 makes quite a difference. I’m not going to back up to correct that. It will just show up in March’s YTD numbers.

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