How I Promoted My Free CD Offer [Brian Hazard]
In this latest piece, Brian Hazard of the project Color Theory shares the process behind (and results of) his latest free CD promotional results.
Guest post by Brian Hazard of Passive Promotion
In my last installment, I detailed the mechanics of my free + s/h funnel. If “free + s/h funnel” is gibberish to you, you can get yourself up to speed here.
When I started, I had eight titles available on CD. Now I’m down to five, with less than 20 copies of the two I’d been offering for free.
I’m confident those will sell out on their own, so I shut down the offer a couple of days ago.
Free CD Offer Final Results
Over the course of three months, I sold 1500 CDs and made $5353 before ad spend (click to enlarge).
Here’s the breakdown by product:
And how much revenue each of those products generated:
As you can see, the “All Color Theory CDs” bundle is the big money-maker. It started at $40 for 8 CDs and dropped $5 as each title sold out, ending at $25 for 5 CDs.
113 of those 145 bundle sales were upsells. The rest will take a little explaining.
I promised to break down how I promoted the funnel if you asked, and plenty of you did! Most of the interest revolves around how I set up my Facebook ads, so in the spirit of good storytelling, I’ll save that for last.
Spreading the Word
Let’s start with the obvious. I shared the offer on social media. Where I could post, I posted. Where I could pin that post, I pinned. Where I could update my profile to include a call to action, I updated. That includes:
- Facebook (pinned post, posts to groups)
- Twitter (pinned tweet, profile CTA)
- Instagram (post, profile CTA)
- SoundCloud (bio CTA)
- Bandcamp (message, bio CTA)
YouTube was a bit more extensive. I updated the descriptions of my most popular videos, posted comments with the CTA, and pinned them. I also posted on my community tab.
Finally, I tweaked one of my ads (in retrospect, one of the worst) slightly and published it as regular content, which generated a couple dozen sales.
I made it the featured video on my channel, for both new visitors and returning subscribers.
Another big traffic source was Spotify. I mentioned the offer in my About section, but I doubt many people saw it.
These two placements, on the other hand, were highly visible:
Last but far from least, I laid out the offer to my email subscribers. Email was the single biggest driver of sales behind Facebook ads.
To make the bundle enticing to existing fans, many of whom already owned the free CD, I put together another offer.
Complete Your Collection
Going through the boxes of CDs in my garage, I stumbled upon the print overage for my Depeche Mode tribute, which sold out over a decade ago. Hidden within the pile of booklets were three pressed CDs!
The album was originally released in the now obsolete Super Jewel Box. I managed to track down a few on eBay to create three good-as-new copies.
The Complete Your Collection offer was for the six (at the time) remaining CDs, a bumper sticker, and a chance to win a copy of the tribute.
The initial announcement generated a good number of sales, but there was a sticking point: many potential buyers already had the free CD, and didn’t want to pay for another copy.
I recently switched email services from FanBridge and Mailchimp to Drip. That’s an affiliate link, which means if you become a paying customer after your 14-day trial, I may receive a small commission.
Drip integrates directly with WooCommerce and makes it trivially easy to segment my audiences by purchase history. I created three new offers tailored to:
- Purchasers of The Sound (the first free CD)
- Purchasers of The Thought Chapter (the second free CD)
- Purchasers of both
Those offers excluded redundant CDs, and knocked off $5 for each exclusion.
They generated over $500 in sales from email alone (click to enlarge):
My Facebook Ads Campaign
On to the main event: Facebook ads!
My conversions campaign included 23 ad sets, 14 of which generated sales (click to enlarge):
Most of the ad sets were limited to the US, because shipping outside of the US and Canada is ridiculously expensive. Worse, European buyers are often hit with custom fees, which sours them to the whole transaction.
In my article on playlist promotion, I rejoiced that I would never need to use interest-based targeting again, because I could fall back on my lookalike audience of video viewers.
The ad set that generated the most sales was interest-based and incredibly narrow:
Note that Detailed Targeting Expansion is enabled, which allows Facebook to search for buyers beyond the strict confines of my targeting.
The Bands Cold US ad set is similar but less restrictive, without DTE.
Cold audiences were responsible for 83% of sales. Not that warm audiences (the GLW ad sets) weren’t worth including! They still delivered a low cost per result, and generated the highest return on ad spend.
I didn’t introduce the best performing ad set until near the end of the campaign.
I created a custom audience of bundle buyers and generated a lookalike audience from it. Whenever someone makes a purchase that puts them over $20 lifetime value, Drip automatically adds them to that custom audience.
The targeting couldn’t be more simple. It essentially says, “Facebook, find me more people like this in the US.”
By the end of the campaign, I was getting sales for under $2 each.
Overall ROAS (Return on Ad Spend) was 1.64, meaning that for every $1 spent, I generated $1.64 in sales. Facebook counts a free CD sale as $0, and doesn’t factor in shipping, so ROAS consists entirely of order bumps and upsells.
Free CD Offer Conclusion
$5353 net revenue minus $2104 in ad spend equals $3249, enough to press 1000 copies each of my last two albums on CD. So far they’ve been digital-only.
My hope is that I can sell them at close to full price, since I have over 700 new CD buyers on my mailing list.
Turns out they’re downloaders too! I offered a 15% discount code a couple days ago on Bandcamp Friday and made $271.
A couple of them even became patrons, after I started including this custom business card with orders:
The free CD offer introduced me to hundreds of people who like my style of music.
It was a ton of work, but it was absolutely worth it.
Of course, I already had two thousand CDs gathering dust in my garage. Even knowing what I know now, I don’t think I’d press CDs just to give them away.
The Complete Your Collection offer lives on as $25 for 5 CDs, until I sell out of the two previously free ones.
Since posting my first article on the offer, I’ve seen a couple others try it.
Have you? What were your results? Anything else you’d like to know about my campaign?