If you are a stakeholder in a business or nonprofit enterprise, you want to have a big impact through your endeavor.
As a non-profit, you want to help the cause you serve, and as a business you want to do the same. Telling the world what you do is a part of the process, but relying on Facebook and Google ads services isn’t the only way.
Achieving enough momentum in the market, enough to pay your staff, and produce and deliver your product or program is challenging. You also need to start those programs, and bring them to market. All this before you can implement them at the scale you know is possible.
Business owners and nonprofits leaders are already swamped. Unless you happen to be a marketing company, you don’t want to spend all your precious time struggling to raise awareness about a product or service. You have more important things to do, core problems to solve that impact your communities, and a user base that you want to delight, thrill, and serve.
Now, with all we want to do, it is tempting to hook a credit card up to Facebook or Google, press start and hope for the best. After all, we live in an era of near-monopolies and these platforms are always in front of us.
Though we know we have choice, the sheer size of these platforms makes us feel that they are the only games in town. Because of their dominance, we live in an era in which we submit ourselves to a “bigger is better” mentality. If you’re reading this, “might equals right”, is probably a point of view that you don’t share.
The fact is that we feel stuck. We do need these titans of social media marketing and digital advertising, but we know that they operate on a winners-take-all paradigm. With that in mind, I hope we avoid relying on them.
Relying on Facebook and Google Ads
One danger is relying on major marketing and advertising platforms only to see our own brands, our own missions compromised.
How many companies or nonprofits out there have adapted their creative content and their copy, to conform with or to try to win favor with the major social media outlets? At some point, probably most of us.
The other major concern is that we pour our capital into advertising that doesn’t deliver. Many a venture has died a slow death while funneling money to Facebook and Google.
I see the affiliate network as a powerful alternative.
Affiliate tools represent a democratization and de-centralization of marketing, of networking, of lead generation and conversion. They aren’t the solution to all your problems, but they can be a valuable supplement.
Affiliate systems can be custom-tailored to specific kinds of relationships with specific kinds of affinities. This means that the exchange between parties on a platform like that are more relevant, more targeted, and more effective. The marketing environment becomes an affinity group of like-minded participants. You’re more likely to have a real connection with the products involved in the transactions. All this is good.
A Quick Explanation:
Affiliate networks give money to members who refer potential customers to an offer. When those potential customers convert, the referrer earns a commission. The merchant who is paying commissions in exchange for these referrals only pays when someone becomes a customer. This contrasts with advertising, which makes you pay for the possibility of a sale, regardless of whether you make a sale or not
Here’s a few more reasons why affiliate systems are an alternative to paid ads:
- Long-term returns. When a person becomes a customer through an affiliate link, the affiliate can receive monetary returns for years to come. Online paid advertising asks you to pay for the possibility of a conversion and sometimes it doesn’t work at all.
As an affiliate, when a customer converts (buys something), the affiliate get a guaranteed percentage return. Depending on the affiliate service you’re working with, that customer can keep yielding returns for a long time. It all depends on how the affiliate system is set up.
- For businesses, affiliate systems can allow you to target specific types of relationships. Who do you want to share the link to your business? Compared with Facebook’s interest targeting this is miles ahead when you want to cultivate a values oriented customer base.
- Creating display ads or Facebook ads can take some skill. Affiliate systems often provide media assets with embeddable code that you can copy and paste on to your website or into a social media post.
- Affiliate systems offer easy promotions with very little effort. Maybe you don’t want the assets the affiliates system provides. That’s ok. You can upload your own promotional banners. Once approved, the system will embed them with your unique affiliate code allowing you to match the look and feel of your nonprofit.
Very soon, we will release our own commercial co-venture software to enable highly-targeted relationships. We will help build the specific kind of relationship that are a win-win for nonprofits and businesses.
Relying on Facebook and Google Ads Isn’t the only way
Some people may worry that a small platform will be less effective, or that it isn’t worth it to get involved. After all, we’re drowning in a sea of SaaS technology. Our inboxes are full to the brim with automated messages from every company we’ve had a point of contact with over the years and it’s overwhelming. You might wonder, isn’t it simpler to stick with the top dogs?
In the short term it may seem convenient to stick with “what works”. We also know that there are deep social problems associated with these platforms. If we could reform platforms like Facebook, many of us would jump at the chance, but we can’t. What we can do is build systems that work to support businesses and nonprofits. It’s what we’re doing at Support4Good.
Our solution is a system to enable commercial co-ventures at scale. We are building it for both non-profits and businesses who love causes and are looking to succeed together. Commercial co-ventures can increase sales and boost the goodwill toward brands. Nonprofits can share a fundraising model with their donors, and increase donation yields. It’s a win-win.
So if you’re thinking that relying on Facebook and Google ads is the only way, it isn’t. There are many alternatives, smaller platforms that are more aligned with your interests. They’re out there – hello. Glad you found us.