Something in the world of floating have you stumped?
Welcome to the last episode in Social Media Week with Derek, Ashkahn, and Graham. If you haven’t listened to the other episodes in the series, it is strongly recommended that you start at the beginning especially for this episode as it references some points brought up earlier in the week.
Derek and Graham share some more intricacies of the Float On business philosophy and share their opinions on constantly running ads for floats through Groupon or on Social Media. Admittedly, Float On doesn’t run discounts very often, and they share why that is. They also talk about how to run discounts effectively and have a tough conversation about what to do if you want to break that cycle of constant discounts for your floats.
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Transcription of this episode… (in case you prefer reading)
Ashkahn: Hey, welcome everybody
Graham: Hey, lovely, loyal audience. I’m Graham.
Ashkahn: I’m Ashkahn.
Graham: And we are here for the final episode in social media week, national social media week, with Derek Wyatt.
Derek: I’m Derek.
Ashkahn: Derek does a lot of our social media for our shop and the conference and Float Tank Solutions and helps us with just marketing in general.
Derek: Yep, for a book.
Ashkahn: And we’ve six days of episodes prior to this about social media as well, also with Mr. Double Dub Dubbington here and I recommend listing to those before just jumping right in on this one because they kinda stack.
Graham: Maybe listen to them twice or three times too. Like some of those are pretty dense.
Derek: Since this is my last episode for this week, can I just say that rap in the very beginning was one take freestyled so-
Ashkahn: We usually don’t like to brag about our intros, you know.
Derek: No, no, no, you guys do magic all the time, I’m going to my grave with that on my headstone.
Graham: It is true, you did freestyle that, it was really good. Today’s question is-
Derek: Yeah, what’s our question?
Graham: Does it look bad to say when you were free styling an intro, even though-
Ashkahn: Wind it back now, wind it back
Graham: “Does it look bad to always run discounts on social media? I feel like I don’t get results unless I offer people a deal.”
Classic. Classic question.
Derek: I’m going to take the contrarian position saying you shouldn’t do deals on social media, you should just give away free floats, and people will be more keen to tune in and wait for the next free float give away contest, then just searching through your past post to find a coupon code so they can get that discount.
Graham: And, I guess just to rewind a tiny bit from there, too, Derek got brought on to run our social media because we share many of the same marketing views. And one of those views is it’s maybe a little, aggressively anti-discount heavy, you know, we don’t like offering very many discounts, we like training people to pay full price. We really like, on social media or outside of social media, just kind of offering free floats as a nice alternative to doing discounts. And the reason for that, we have a whole other episode on running discounts that goes a lot into this but just in a nutshell, we worry about devaluing the floats and training people to wait for another discount and getting on this discount cycle. And again this is true both on social media, off social media, but it’s the reason we have this stance. So the fact that Derek is coming out and answering the question saying “maybe don’t run as many discounts on social media”, is like the least surprising thing to anyone who knows our marketing habits.
Derek: So, let’s go back to, “we run discounts all the time on social media”, you know it doesn’t even have to be all the time. So, we have run discounts that float on, very rarely, we’ve done it through the holidays with our gift card program.
Graham: At least once a year, during December, we run a discount.
Derek: We did it recently with Mother’s Day, we ran a 25% off gift card sale for Mother’s Day. And with that post, and we did ads, and all of that, after Mother’s Day was over with, I changed the text on the ads to eliminate the words “discount”, to eliminate “click here”, just kept it simple like, “Give Mom the gift of floating”. And I actually went in and removed the language of discount so if anyone did see this image of a Mother’s Day post and they clicked on it, it’s not going to let them know that we even might offer discounts through the holidays. So if we ever decide not to, they’re not going to expect it and they’ll just buy a gift card because we’ve groomed them to be that way.
Graham: Alright so back to, what about the results side of this question, where they only seem to get results when they offer discounts, we’ve seen that before. Like that’s nothing new. So what’s going on there, what’s the issue with that?
Derek: I think a foundational problem with just saying, “here’s why you should float if any of these reasons line up with you, give it a shot, come and try it” and that doesn’t have to be a free float it just has to be a simple, here’s our website, go book a float. But I think, if you’re having to give discounts, the customer doesn’t see the value in floating. Right? So they might try it because it’s now within their budget of expendable income, where they’re like I’ll spend $40 on an experience but I’d never pay $65 for it, that’s way out of my throwaway money budget.
So I think going back to why you only get results with that and not any other approach is maybe you haven’t given people enough reason why they should float. Go back to the whole #whywefloat campaign, follow that hashtag, find all those great stories, or go out and get stories of your own, that actually people can relate to, and build a culture of floating as a benefit. And that you should lead with that, and people will be so compelled, because throughout all of your messaging you’ll hit a point to where they go “alright, I should try this.”
Graham: So, there’s just not great content can definitely lead to feeling like you need to run ads all the time.
Derek: They’re liking your page, and so they’re already kind of curious enough what floating is, to just follow you on Facebook. So there’s something there, to their interest to trying floating. Doesn’t necessarily have to be a discount.
Graham: So I feel like the second part of the question is interesting and almost caused by the first, right? “I need to run ads all the time in order to get results”, maybe that’s because you’re running ads all the time, for discounts. Like at a certain point, if you’re running even a discount every month, and people are seeing those go out publicly, like if I see business like that, I’m going to wait for the next month and then get something. You know I was just looking recently for a membership for a rock climbing gym that I wanted to get into. And I saw, just over the last year, that they ran like 3 different really big discounts on Groupon for example, and so I was just like “okay they run these once a quarter, I’m just going to wait until they run a discount and get a membership and not pay full price.” Once a month is even more common than that, so I promise that you’re training people to wait for that discount.
Derek: There’s a software company that I use, a free version of their software, and I notice it gave me like a 50 percent discount after like the first week and I never used it, and then, cause I’m a smart marketer, like “okay, let me put in another email for another free trial” and I’m guess what, I got that 50 percent discount in a week again. And it just trained me to go, wow, they gave me 50 percent off once, there’s no reason why they shouldn’t give me 50 percent off again.
Graham: Yeah. So how do you get out of this? If we’re in this marketing cycle of we’re always offering discounts and Facebook ads don’t seem to give a return on investment without offering a discount, how do we escape from that? What’s the escape trajectory here?
Derek: I honestly feel like there’s gonna be some like, growing pains and a painful process to kind of like undo some of this behavior.
Graham: It’s gonna suck.
Derek: It’s gonna suck, it’s gonna have to undo some behaviors, so maybe you go the route of stop offering discounts, start offering free, and kind of help people break out of expecting discounts, but still have something to be excited towards.
Graham: And let’s pause right there for one second, which is when we offer “free” what might that look like? Cause we’ve done this more recently and in the past too with free float giveaways and stuff like that. What’s a good example of just one way they might give out a free float?
Derek: Social media is ripe for contests. People just love participating in “comment on blah blah blah”. Or “tell us about how you got interested in floating”. It doesn’t have to be first time floaters you’re attracting it could just be that person that floated once and liked it and you want to get them back in. So contests are a great giveaway, you know, or a great way to give away free floats.
I’m not saying you should have a pricing menu where “First time is free!” And then each additional one is now $79, but contests is the main one that most people do.
Ashkahn: And I mean it’s especially good for floating too, just cause our, I mean we’ve talked about this before, but the actual cost of you giving a float to somebody if that spot were to be empty otherwise is so low, you know, like $5-ish or something like that so you’re getting a lot more bang for your buck by having the perceived value of that float be something that people are getting rather than necessarily spending that money toward add spin
Derek: And sometimes I do the, what I call the “Ninja Giveaway.” Cause Facebook now is a lot easier to message an individual as a business. You can actually have a “like, comment, or message” function on somebody’s comment. So I might do something as simple with no mention of the word giveaway and say “Who would you like to introduce to floating?” and they would tag their friend or something like that. I never mentioned that I was gonna give away a float to somebody potentially. And then go through all the comments where people are like “Oh, my mother, is in back pain.” I just start giving away floats to not only the person who nominated mom but also mom. And start doing this “hey, really great story, why don’t you give floating a try?”
And so the idea behind that is to fill up tanks, get people to experience, the whole reason why we give away free floats is to create more, or I should say less, availability on the schedule so those paying people will now see “Well, I gotta go ahead and book now cause I don’t know if my time slot’s gonna be available when I want it.” And so there’s a lot of reasons between free and not necessarily publicly stating free.
Graham: Regardless of how you do it, going back to the idea of the industry report, number one driver of traffic is word of mouth. Which just means the more people you get in tanks the better. So if you’re worried about filling up your tanks with free floats when they would have been empty otherwise, anything you can do to get as close to 100 percent capacity. I mean, including discounts. We happen to like giving out free floats, but if you are running constant discounts on Facebook and you feel like you’re in this cycle but you’re making profit every month and you’re actually nearing 100 percent capacity maybe that’s working with you. That is totally a model is price high with your one-off floats and then discount down. That can work, as long as you’re filling up tanks.
I think part of the problem is you’re running discounts, people are only buying discounted floats, your percentage of full-price floats is pretty low and you’re not filling up your tanks. This is getting into the danger zone of then you have to run steeper and steeper discounts. It’s almost like a marketing death spiral that you end up in some points of running those discounts. But again, sometimes running constant discounts, I just want to come on the devil’s advocate to ourselves, that is still a used, reasonable way to run discounts, even if we personally don’t agree with it.
Derek: Price high, discount to a reasonable price strategy, I’ve seen that have bad effects in other businesses and maybe even some float businesses, I don’t have the knowledge from the outside looking in, but let’s say you did the leg work. You did the hard work of getting people excited for floating, they’re about ready to try it, they go to your price page and they go “oh, $89. I don’t know if this is right for me. But maybe I’ll just google ‘where to float in Portland.'” And they go “Oh, this place is 65. I’ll give this place-” You did the work to get them excited but because your strategy is to price high to discount maybe you didn’t offer a discount but now they’re so excited and they don’t see a discount that they’re just gonna go somewhere else and cheaper and you’re gonna probably be loyal to the first place you float.
Graham: Yeah, to us this is why we steer away from them. The constant discounts seem dangerous. At the very least, I think if the question is “should I run discounts in order to bring in the same number of people or even the same revenue that I would without running them?” Running discounts takes effort. A model without doing that just means you’ll be spending a lot less. Not only of money, but of your own time on those campaigns.
That to me, I mean, a constant discount cycle I’m like “Oh, my goodness, I really don’t want to end up running a discount or two per month with Float On” just for the time investment it takes to constantly be launching these campaigns and stuff.
Derek: I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again. When you give somebody a float it’s almost like a gift and you cherish it. But if somebody gets a discount it’s almost like a societal expectation like “that place is offer discounts. 10 percent off of this place, 20 percent off of that place.” They kind of just don’t treat you giving them a discount as something you did for them so it’s not a personal connection and then, the opposite end is that free float they’ll go “Wow! I got a free float!” They’re gonna tell their friends “I got a free float!” And their friends are gonna be like “what’s this floating thing?” There’s just this buzz that has a benefit to floating. So I think we hijacked this entire episode to talk more about the pros and cons of free vs discount, but going back to the original question again, if you can’t get any other results, you gotta pull that bandaid off quick and stop doing discounting and start transitioning yourself into a way that actually has some more long term benefits.
Ashkahn: So here’s a question more specifically about the kind of Facebook side of things. Using words in your post like “sale” “discount” and things like that. What’s the effect that that has on the post itself?
Derek: Facebook has language detectors. Their bots know when you’re trying to get money for free. So it might even be the word “sale” or it might be “discount” but Facebook knows “You’re just trying to make money for free off of us.” And even with the quality score of an ad, Facebook ranks your ads on the relevancy and the quality of them. If you use words like “sale” and “discount” it creates a bad experience on Facebook. So Facebook limits reach when you use those kind of “trigger words,” for Facebook. So I would even steer clear of using those words a lot in Facebook. You might not get the greatest reach simply because-
Ashkahn: “Good Deal-a-rooni on floats this week”.
Derek: Yeah. Like “You won’t find this, not price but, some other word anywhere else!” Yeah, it gets really slippery sloped trying to work around the algorithms.
Graham: Is that true with ads and just organic posts?
Derek: Yeah, and I’ve seen just some recent, with our Mother’s Day ads, for the first wave of ads I said “Save on-save 25 % on ‘blah blah blah’.” “Gift cards!” Gift card’s another trigger word,
Graham: It’s like half trigger words
Derek: Yeah. So, removing that, changing some things around, get better results a little bit later, and that does work, or that process, you also have to be mindful on paid ads as well.
Graham: Okay. So there you have it. Very opinionated kind of stance from us.
Derek: I’m the more opinionated one, really.
Graham: Yeah, and I-I guess, assuming there is this “pull the bandaid” off moment and people do want to switch off of doing discounts, maybe like a similar three-month timeline where it’s like “hey you need to build up your audience to be used to seeing ads and contents from you that aren’t discounts.” So, you know, the first month after you stop running those deals-
Derek: Start the life-cycle process all over again. Get new audiences warmed up to the idea of floating.
Graham: Cause for the first month they’ll probably be waiting for you to run another deal to come in.
Graham: And in the second month they’re probably like “oh I missed it last month, and just didn’t see it or something, but this month I’ll catch the deal, right?” So it might even be, yeah, three months before the audience realizes “Oh, this place isn’t gonna be offering discounts all the time like they used to. Maybe I should just pay full price or get a membership.”
Derek: I would maybe even go back and, I don’t know if there’re serious algorithm penalties so don’t fully quote me on this, but go back through some of your older, maybe more recent older posts and just delete them. Delete the mentions of the word “discount.” Cause people do, when they’re curious about something, surf through and wanna check places out, and look at some of their posts, and if they see that you’ve ran discounts you might wanna delete those posts.
Especially on Twitter and stuff like that that’s searchable.
Ashkahn: Just pop up in searches. Cause I’ve done that before, searching for a product.
Derek: Promo code!
Ashkahn: Yeah, I do see old social media posts pop up. And the codes don’t work anymore, but it’s still in my mind, makes me feel like “uh, maybe I should buy that right now.”
Graham: “If I were savvier I could find the code that does work right now, you know?”
Derek: I’ve never paid full price for a domain name, let’s just put it that way.
Graham: You’re making me want to go out and buy iveneverpaidfullpriceforadoimainname.com.
Derek: Found out furbook.com is available for sale.
Ashkahn: I guess maybe just a quick recap of the week. Furbook is a new social media platform that we’ve learned about
Derek: It’s not new, cat’s know about it, dude.
Ashkahn: So yeah, we’ve talked about a lot of stuff in social media this week ranging from the right numbers for your Facebook pages, what you should be looking for, how to track that stuff, mostly through the digital means we have now. Things like Facebook pretzel-
Graham: Facebook pretzel, is that what you said?
Ashkahn: That’s what I hope it is, but yeah, unfortunately Facebook Pixels. And just kind of the different platforms and how to use them and how to post well, what content goes well into it, you know the timing for those things, and how much to really spend on it. Over time these social media platforms have developed these robust algorithms for searching things, and robust strategies for trying to create ad revenue and both of those things have become decently sophisticated at this point. So kinda having a sense of how that works and really I think across all these answers there’s been a lot of “find what works right for you.”
There’s not just very generic, concrete numbers that are universal truths. It kind of is molded to what you’re doing, your business, the area that you’re in, the kind of appearance and personality that your business has, and all this stuff really works together. This stuff is kind of a cohesive piece. If you’re doing a bunch of technical, just rocking the algorithms, and doing this crazy stuff with Facebook Pixels and spending this exact precise amount of money but you’re just putting out really crummy, generic content, it’s all gonna fall apart. And if you’re making really good content you can encourage that content to work better by understanding the technical aspects of it. So I think kinda having that whole picture is how to make this work better for you and your business.
Derek: I kinda want to give a little bonus tip, if I can.
Graham: Nope. We’re done.
Derek : Tune in next time.
Graham: Yeah, what’s your tip.
Derek: Well, you know, going through this whole week of podcast episodes, as a Float Center owner who has a million other things to do, we just gave them seven episodes worth of stuff they have to now keep in mind. Right it took us 20 minutes to tell you about one thing now you gotta do that everyday? We just added more time in your day to have to do stuff.
Ashkahn: So you’re welcome.
Derek: Yeah. But you can get around that. With a lot of stuff you can sit down once a week and plan out your social media content. Doesn’t mean schedule, but when your mindset’s right sit down, get a spreadsheet out, say “this Monday I’m gonna do thi”s, and when you map it all out then you’re not all of a sudden have to go “oh yeah, I have to remember to do a Facebook post today! What do I have to do?”
You spent the hour once a week planning out all your content then it only takes a few seconds to copy-paste or get it up online. And then when it comes to Facebook ads, again, if you’re planning things, I would spend more time planning social media than I actually do doing social media. The daily post for Float Tank Solutions, Float Conference, Float On, all that stuff, takes me just 15 minutes total a day. Everybody’s got that. And if you don’t you can easily find it.
Graham: Cool. Yeah. Good sage last words.
Derek: So don’t be overwhelmed, basically, with all this information, just get a good strategy, plan it out, and it just takes minutes a day.
Graham: Cool. Well, thanks so much for coming on with us and spending a week on the podcast. It’s been great having you.
Derek: It’s been fun.
Ashkahn: That was Derek Wyatt. We’ll be doing another marketing forum at the Float Conference this year, so I’m sure a lot of similar information and questions will be coming up there.
Graham: And in the meantime, if you have any questions, marketing or otherwise. Maybe we’ll have Derek back for another guest spot. But send them to floattanksolutions.com/podcast.
We’ll yell at you some tomorrow.
Ashkahn: Alright. Have a good night. Or day. Or whatever. Good life.
Graham: Bye everyone.
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