Do you sell a digital product?
Whether it’s a book, software, or course, digital products are always a lot easier to sell in theory than in reality. Selling a digital product is difficult, and there is a lot of competition on Facebook’s advertising ecosystem.
However, as experience has taught us time and time again, with the right strategy, brands can get it right.
Today, we are focusing on Mastin Labs, a photography software company that sells Lightroom presets that emulate film.
They are long-time AdEspresso customers (almost 3 years!), and they’ve succeeded.
Success wasn’t gained from any singular ad, but rather, their overall Facebook marketing and advertising strategy. With a consistent 4X lifetime return on their ads, they have something valuable to teach.
Mastin Labs, started by Kirk Mastin, was born from a passion for film photography. The goal of Mastin Labs is not to replace film, but to rather preserve the art of film photography, and introduce it to a new generation. By creating presets that accurately emulate film, our intention is to make new photographers fall in love with the look of film, and start shooting film along with digital, thereby creating a new generation of hybrid photographers. Mastin Labs is perfect for hybrid photographers who want to create a consistent look between their digital and film images through the use of easy-to-use, accurate, timeless presets.
The product is undoubtedly unique, attractive, and engaging, but any good marketer knows that it takes more than a great product to achieve success. We’ve run over 450 ads via Facebook (including Instagram) to promote Mastin Labs through AdEspresso. One of the biggest aids to our campaigns have been the AdEspresso campaign reviews – we utilize these as much as possible – as it’s helped us test and refine our strategy.
Below, we’ll dive into our “big wins” and how we achieved them.
Facebook Group: Building a Mastin Labs Community via Ads
A lot of digital product creators dismiss the use of Facebook Groups for marketing… After all, the revenue comes from the product not the group (it’s a free group), you can’t download the members for re-marketing, and you can’t share content from inside the group to the “outside” Facebook world. So, what’s the point?
We, at Mastin Labs, believe a Facebook group is an essential part of positioning our brand; not just as a product, but as a community.
We believe the community is an essential part of who we are for 4 reasons:
- When users join the group, they start to get inundated with Mastin Labs user’s images in their daily newsfeed. The images are consistently impressive. There is nothing stronger than seeing the presets in use to sway potential customers.
- Testimonials are posted on a daily basis in the group. The testimonials are posted from personal pages, on the users own free will. They’re unprompted and untouched by Mastin Staff, and it’s obvious. Seeing real people raving over the presets every day encourages new users to purchase.
- Some users who are indecisive about purchasing the presets can post images asking Mastin Labs Community Members to edit their photo with the presets. Seeing what their own work looks like with the preset applied is perhaps the quickest and most impactful selling point for new users.
- The community is helpful and constantly radiates positive vibes about the Mastin Labs brand!
You may be thinking, this sounds too good to be true. How was a community like this developed?
To grow our community, we heavily advertised. We spent over 22,000 USD in promoting our Facebook Group.
How We Set Up Our Facebook Group Campaign
We created a test over 120 ads for our “Join Our Facebook Group” campaign.
Organizing the ad sets by interests (5 interests total), we tested headlines, images, and ad texts within each ad set of interests.
On the Facebook group ads, we linked to a landing page. We posted a video on the landing page that talked about the group, and provided a link at the end of the video. The decision to direct visitors to a landing page first was based on the ability to Pixel a visitor’s data when they arrive on a landing page, vs. a facebook group.
We did not link the Facebook Group directly to the ad because Facebook does not allow us to Pixel the audience that clicked on the ad. By sending visitors to a landing page first, we were also able to show a video that onboard new users, telling them how to utilize the group in a positive, mutually beneficial way. Another option you could use is a Facebook Lead Ad where you send them a link to the onboarding video and the group after they submit (plus you get their email so double win!).
With these initial group ads, we started unlocking the power of split testing with AdEspresso. We used split testing to begin defining the messaging and visual elements that appealed most to each audience. In our split tests, we set clear differences between interests, images, text, headlines, etc.
Little did we know, we had only hit the tip of the iceberg.
For this first big campaign to grow the group, we earned all of the money we spent back with attributed sales (1.5X ROI). These returns were acceptable, but they were not as good as our cold interest direct sale campaigns and remarketing campaigns (which we’ll get into later).
We no longer run ads to advertise the group. Our Mastin Labs Facebook group has 30,000+ members and has spawned multiple sub-groups, adding new members every day.
Because we no longer run ads for the group, it’s not as easy to collect the visitor data we used to collect through Pixels on the landing page. So for those that join the group organically, we collect their data by bringing their attention to the links on the side in the group description. These links point to newsletter sign-ups and downloadable PDFs, etc. When users click a link to perform an action, we are able to collect their information and begin advertising to them.
Facebook Page: Boosting Posts and Live Video
We have not run “Facebook Page Like” campaigns; however, we have over 72,000 likes. Here’s how we do it.
We boost every post we put on the page, and we boost it to new audiences and our page fans.
For our page fans – we routinely see relevance scores between 8 or 9. Our costs per engagement on these posts to page fans is about 6 cents per engagement.
We initially started out on smaller budgets, but now we spend about 100 USD per blog post total for boosting (for both cold/warm audiences combined).
Facebook Live strategy:
We host several Facebook Live sessions every month to connect with our users and to provide them with brand facetime and value.
This is how Facebook Live has benefited us:
- Through our Facebook Live broadcasts, we are able to connect with prospective customers (and current customers). Live video personalizes your brand. Kirk Mastin, our founder, hosts these live sessions and personally answers questions during the broadcast.
- We are able to promote the airing of the Facebook live as a free event, with AdEspresso.
- We can tag video custom audiences to re-market to those who attend the Facebook Live events.
- We can re-purpose the video and embed it in a blog post to incentivize Page fans to visit the site, thereby being able to Pixel them and tag them as part of a website custom audience.
Facebook Live Advertising Example:
While you can’t boost a live video while it’s airing, you can promote the live event before it airs by advertising to familiar and new audiences.
Before targeting to a cold audience, we had to first determine that our cold audience size is about 21 million people who have not heard of Mastin Labs before but have interests that align with our software product. From our cold audience, we got event responses at a total cost of .57 cents a response as well as many clicks to the event page itself.
Cumulatively, this gives us a high value per dollar, and a packed attendance for the event itself.
Facebook Live videos also become a key part in our blog promotion strategy and re-marketing.
After the live video is complete, Mastin Labs achieves access to a custom audience list of viewers. To make the very most of the Facebook Live content, we download the video and then embed the recording in a blog post that offers the same content as what was provided in the video, in written form. Then, instead of boosting the video, we share the blog post to our page a few days later, and “Boost” the blog post with the video to our Facebook Page just as we do for standard posts!
The purpose of this is to get the fan page audience to become a part of a website custom audience instead of just a custom audience of viewers. The best part? It really works!
Cold Audiences – Direct Sales
Before we dive into custom audiences (and our retargeting), we’ll also share how we do direct sales to those that haven’t heard of our brand before. ROI is less than when we re-market to people who have accessed our blog posts, watched our live videos, signed up for our newsletter, and downloaded our ebooks, but nonetheless, direct sales to cold audience still has been a profitable avenue for us.
In all of the campaigns, we exclude those that know us (either page fans, website visitors, etc.) and adapt that for re-marketing campaigns.
Video Campaigns To Cold Audiences
We’ve gotten a lot of traction promoting video campaigns to cold audiences for direct sales. By taking this approach, there’s also an additional benefit of growing custom audiences out of video viewers to help us with re-marketing.
Similar to our “Join Our Facebook Group” campaign, our J-Trick Campaign (which showcases our software product) was heavily split tested, with 192 ad versions in total.
Split testing is one of the best ways to make sure you’re getting the most out of your investment. As you can see, there can be a 10X difference in cost per conversion for certain interests when targeting cold audiences. Sharing an ad with the wrong messaging can be costly, that’s why spending upfront time and money split testing can have huge long-term financial returns. AdEspresso did the leg work of split testing and automatically optimized for the ads that performed the best for each audience.
With great testimonials from the group, we’ve been able to test a range of testimonials on cold audiences (and this also come in handy later on when we decide which testimonials to work on re-marketing audiences!).
We tested two testimonials against each other: one with a man and one with a woman. The female testimonial won out – so then went on to split test further elements (like headline and interests). This is the one that won:
As we’ve already demonstrated, there was – again – a huge difference in cost per conversions for various interests. We also noticed a big difference in conversion cost based on the headlines we utilized:
Every month, we craft up a unique offer designed for people familiar with the brand with a unique offer (in this case, a 10% off deal).
The problem is finding the sweet spot in re-targeting timing (and excluding those who have already purchased from you!). We tested out variations of audience size (from one-day website visitors to 30-day website visitors). When we found our “sweet spot” we were met with great results.
In one case in particular: a 150X ROI. Yes, you read that right.
Unfortunately, while the ROI is through the roof, the audience gets saturated fast. In other words, it’s a very high ROI but for a very small audience (hence our cold audience campaigns!).
This means we always change our campaigns every month to refresh creative and/or a unique offer, otherwise our ROI plummets, and we oversaturate the audience.We found that placement was the #1 factor to test in re-marketing.
We found that placement was the #1 factor to test in re-marketing.
Surprisingly, Instagram is leading the way for us at the moment!
When You Can’t Close the Sale, Close the Contact
While our primary funnel is about sales, we’ve also been experimenting with lead generation campaigns – offering a PDF guide. The key thing here is our exclusions. All of our lead generation campaigns exclude those who purchased at least 1 product or are in our retargeting lists (newsletter and website custom audience).
Also keep in mind, we recently started running these this year. The most effective way of doing this would be to eventually see what a PDF lead costs in combination with how much it costs, on average, for a PDF lead to become a customer. This would give us a metric to compare to our strictly “cold audience” direct sale campaigns and our website visitor re-marketing campaigns.
For lead generation, we split testing placement, location, image, text, and gender – here’s a preview of the differences:
So far, gender isn’t really showing much of a difference. Which is ironic given that the gender of the creative we used in our testimonials (for cold audiences) was such of one. The power of always testing with AdEspresso!
Conclusion and Takeaways:
Overall, there are many factors that can benefit your online marketing strategy for marketing digital products.
From our experience, building a positive Facebook community is one of the greatest things you can do for your brand.
When you’ve built a healthy, growing community, you can then utilize Facebook Live to demonstrate the benefits of your products, and you can re-use Facebook Live content in blog post form to repurpose it for advertising to cold leads.
Spending time using AdEspresso split testing and ad retargeting will help you build ad campaigns that best resonate with each individual audience. Additionally, the AdEspresso Campaign Review service provides objective insights and advice from their Facebook Ad experts!
As Facebook develops, we will continue to learn and test new strategies. So much of what we learned was through experimentation, and although there were some bumps along the way, we are very proud of the 4X ROI we’ve maintained. If you’re a photographer, do feel free to join our Facebook Group, and I hope you found our advertising techniques both educational and inspiring!
Nikki Barron is Marketing and Communications manager for Mastin Labs. Founded by Kirk Mastin, Mastin Labs creates the only authentic film emulation presets for Lightroom, Photoshop ACR and the iPhone that have been rigorously tested against film scans. Nikki is also a travel photographer based in sunny Seattle, WA.”