Check it Out: Wearing the Pants in a Social Media Setting
Think you can't make any real money marketing on social networks? Think they're really only branding tools? Think again.
I recently learned about a pretty cool online retailer and manufacturer of men's clothing that's gaining real marketing ROI from targeted ads on Facebook.
The company is called Bonobos, and it sells fashionable men's pants, shorts, swimsuits and shirts that cost less than most high-end brands.
The two-year-old company began using Facebook's online sales system in March 2008 to create ads targeted to demographic groups that were likely to be interested in its product lines. The Facebook presence works "incredibly well and is very easy to use," says Dave Eisenberg, the New York City-based e-retailer/manufacturer's chief of staff and acting vice president of marketing. "We could quickly create ads and target them to different regions, age groups, college backgrounds and work environments. We basically tailor our pitch to everybody in a unique way."
Bonobos also did some super targeting: Last spring, it launched a pair of pants with a Chicago Cubs theme in royal blue and targeted it to the demo that fit Cubs fans. The result? A grand slam: Bonobos sold 100 pairs and sold out within a month.
"This was the highest sales rate compared to any other advertising campaign we'd run before," Eisenberg says.
Because Facebook's ad inventory isn't particularly expensive, clicks are a lot less expensive than any other form of online advertising Eisenberg's seen.
"With Facebook, you can find cost-per-thousand impressions for less than $1 for a very targeted, highly educated clientele, and that's not easy to find around the Web," he says. The system also allows for easy tracking. When customers click on Facebook ads, for example, they're directed to Bonobos' homepage or a landing page created for the ad that has a coupon affiliated with it. Bonobos adds a tracking code to the ad as well.
This past March, the company launched several styles of pants that it believed would work well with specific schools' sports teams. A pair of light blue pants, for example, was targeted to University of North Carolina fans.
"These all performed very well," Eisenberg says, adding that Bonobos plans to create similar promotions for the fall college football season as well.
Selling Via Social Media? Go On!
What we have here is proof that social media and social networking really work, especially if you use traditional direct marketing techniques in tandem with them — and if you target your ads to the right people.
Bonobos apparently did everything right: It did its homework and found a specific niche of people who'd be interested in its merchandise. It then created very targeted ads to reach them.
Do you have any good stories about a real happy marriage between social media and direct marketing? Are you doing some innovative integration work with all the channels through which you sell? Let me know via email@example.com. We're always looking for cool things to check out here at Check it Out.