After many a client request, the European side of our business, for which we also hold a license as an advertising agency, recently started offering Facebook advertising services (via our German-language site www.facebook-werbung.com). It includes purchasing ad space, copywriting and, if applicable, translating the ad, reporting on the success of the ad, etc. One of our clients is a charming swim instructor with whom we have great rapport. However, she seems to have fallen for one of the many obscure “get rich on the internet” schemes. While there are many respectable affiliate programs out there (e.g. Amazon), the personalized horoscopes she tries to sell are not among them. (It took us a while to realize who is behind this specific scheme.) It works like this: some shady self-proclaimed internet gurus promise easy wealth on the internet by becoming a reseller of their products. They then urge people to purchase overpriced websites, databases, accounting software etc. from them. It’s the same old story: the ones digging for gold are not getting rich, but the one selling the shovels are.
As an affiliate partner, you “just” have to attract people to your new website selling these personalized horoscopes. So the swim instructor turned to us. Obviously, she has a limited budget for Facebook ads. Right now she’s attracting about 50 persons a week to her external website (to which the Facebook ad is linked). Problem is: the conversion rate for purchases on the internet is no more than 5 percent. To date, she has sold nothing. To increase her sales, she would have to spend a substantially higher amount of money in advertising, but she would end up not making any profit.
She wants to continue placing the ads, but we know it’s useless. During an hour-long (!) conversation last Friday, Dagy tried to diplomatically phrase her reservations. However, the client didn’t seem too receptive. She seemed indoctrinated by this business idea. She would like to continue placing her ad in December, but we strongly believe it is time for her to quit. Not just Facebook, but this whole horoscope thing altogether. While we do not want to tell clients what to do, we do feel the ethical urge to keep clients from getting exploited. The client is very happy with our copywriting work and with the ad placement and advice we have given her thus far. However, her desire to get rich fast might be keeping her from seeing through this rip-off scheme.
What would you do? And if you refused to continue the Facebook ads, how would you explain that to the client? We appreciate your thoughts on this tricky matter.
On another note: happy Thanksgiving to all our colleagues, friends, clients, and family in the US! We know it's just another Thursday in Europe, so Dagy will be working while Judy will work on increasing the amount of food on her plate without looking like a glutton.