Where there’s opportunity, there’s challenge. Advertising is often about noticing opportunity and creating a plan to overcome the challenges; and if you’re successful, you’ll make a profit.
I use a renewable energy company who have a referral scheme that allows you to make £50 per person you sign up for their services (they also get £50), and on your yearly anniversary of using the service they bump this referral up to £100 per person. I had forgotten about the referral scheme until I saw the email about having 3 days left to use my £100 per person referral link, and I realised I had to take advantage of this the only way I know how; through advertising.
Deciding on the advertising platform:
Initially, I immediately thought of doing Facebook ads, because of the low cost-per-click. However, I realised a few issues, mainly that I needed a Facebook page to pair the adverts. If I was to make a Facebook page for the adverts it would probably look like spam, so I decided this would probably result in low return on investment. I posted an advert to a Facebook group, but this as far as my advertising went on Facebook.
I did post the link on Twitter, but it’s common knowledge the conversion rate on Twitter is low so I didn’t do paid promotion.
I then realised that Google Ads were the best option, as I won’t need to imitate the energy provider or make a new business profile. I checked on the energy provider’s website to ensure they didn’t have anything against marketing the referral link. Aside from posting links on review websites or on their social media, every other platform is fair game.
Talking about the maximum number of people you can refer, they say: “26 million.” That’s all the permission I need.
Keyword research / budget:
The biggest challenge is working around the energy provider’s existing ads. As they are a bigger advertiser than me, I can’t occupy the same space as them (they’re prioritised by Google).
The solution was finding the space where they weren’t advertising, where people were already interested in joining the energy provider. Generally speaking, the energy provider isn’t advertising in these spaces because the people searching here are already about to join (it would be like preaching to the choir). However, I want to target these people, because they could utilise my referral link.
As the energy industry is highly competitive, the cost of advertising locally would be expensive, so I decided to yield maximum searches (I targeted all of England) with a lower bid per keyword. As I had very limited time, I decided this would be the best course of action for gathering data and generating results.
I went for a variety of different keywords, some vaguer than others, with differing budgets (up to £2 per click). I set my budget for the per day at £20.
Initial issues with these ads
At first my ads were not being approved, which resulted in initial scepticism. I then upped my lowest budgets a bit higher, and gave the ads some more time. Within an hour I had received 35 clicks and 1 person switch using the link.
Looking at the search terms I realised that a lot of these clicks were from people trying to login to their accounts, or finding customer support numbers. I then needed to create a negative word list to ensure I wasn’t advertising for these searches.
The cost-per-result, & what was next:
Luckily nobody was doing similar ads, or that would have interrupted my plan considerably.
I’d gained 5 referrals (meaning I’d made £500) within the first day. 1 switch was from my Twitter post, and the rest were from my Google Ads. Overall, I was surprised, if one person switched using the ads I would have thought it was worthwhile, but 5 was a phenomenal result.
The second day I made some further improvements and saw an additional 8 people join, another £800. I estimate that a maximum of 3 were from a Facebook post I did on a local group page, and the rest from Google Ads.
The third day – the final day for the offer – we received 9 referrals, bringing the total amount to 22 people and the credit to £2,200.
As with all of these quick money schemes, I do not see this as a viable future revenue source. I imagine the energy provider will see how I (and probably others) abused the £100 link and then discontinue this feature. Hopefully the £50 referral scheme will continue to exist, but there is a chance they will limit the monthly amount of people you can refer.