Ok, so you are ready to take the next step in promoting your business online. You are well aware that statistics show that most of your clients use the Internet when looking for products to buy and you are ready to put yourself in front of them in a big way. The question then becomes, “how do you go about doing it?”
If you listen to what most people are saying right now about online activity, then you are likely to be pointed to one area of interest most of the time…SOCIAL MEDIA. Yes, there is no question that the Internet has evolved into mega sites like Facebook and Twitter where conversations occur between individuals AND businesses and those who are looking to promote their products and services can benefit as a result. BUT, is marketing with social media alone enough to take your business goals to the next level? If you answered yes, then you are making the “Social Media Mistake.”
Direct Marketing Rules
If given the choice between all other activities online and a large list of opted in emails, I would always choose the email list. The fact is, a large list of interested people who want to receive your emails almost always trumps other online activities no matter how ACTIVE they are. This is not to say that social media marketing doesn’t have its place, not by any means, but social media activities should be utilized as a way to grow your email list…not as an end in and of itself. Ok, let me explain…
Let’s say you have created a Facebook Fan Page for your business. It is active and you even have 4000 or so FANS who have decided to connect with your fan page for future updates and hear more about your company and its services. Let’s then assume that you have a Twitter account with several thousand followers as well and you are getting more each day. Let’s again assume you have setup profiles on the top social networking sites and have a large amount of connections on each as well.
Sure, you can interact with individuals and possibly generate some real time sales, but is that really your goal? Wouldn’t you rather convert as many of those individuals into subscribers of your email list where one simple email could generate thousands and thousands of dollars? The answer is yes, you would. You see, when you are active in the social media world, not everyone whom you are dealing with is a qualified prospect. Sure there are 500 MILLION+ people on Facebook but only a very small minority of those folks are truly potential prospects for your products and services. Your job is to utilize social media sites effectively to attract those who might be interested in what you do to opt-in to your email list. The effect is using social media to pre-qualify, NOT close. Make sense?
According to a 2008 report from the Direct Marketing Association, marketers could expect a return of $43.01 for every $1 spent on email marketing. And while the DMA predicts that by 2013 these numbers may decline to $37.99, the expected ROI is still fantastic. By comparison, there is currently no data showing that marketing with social media alone can come anywhere near those numbers.
Let’s look at how you SHOULD use social media in conjunction with email marketing to maximize your spending.
First of all, you need to start looking at using social media as a funnel to collect qualified leads (email opt-ins) from those interested in your products and services. The key is to continually offer value to your networks in the form of free content to build your list(s) of prospective long term customers.
Using Social Media
To get started, focus on the big three: Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Facebook and Twitter are the easiest to get started on while YouTube may take a little more planning to develop some good video content but it should not be ignored.
Make sure that you have a customized landing page where you allow individuals to leave their email address and opt-in to your newsletter or regular email updates. You can offer a free report or other enticement to encourage them to do so, but the goal is to have them give you their email which basically says, “contact me.” If you’re a DIY’er (Do It Yourself), check out this page with instructions for customizing your Facebook page.
For Twitter, make sure you’ve set up your profile and include a link to your website or offer page. If you need help customizing your Twitter profile, click here. You should also be using the free tool SocialOomph to send a friendly automated direct message when someone follows you and to auto-follow them in return. Continually tweet out relevant content for your topic and repost tweets that send people directly to your offer pages. If you’re offering something of great value to potential customers then they will want to know about it. Limit these reposts to 2-3 times a week.
Video is said to be the most hypnotic form of media. Whether you’re sitting in front of a camera or using animated graphics—you should be using video in your marketing strategy. There are some great sites that will help you craft your message with video without a huge learning curve. Check out Animoto and create a few videos for your business and/or products and services to see what you can do.
Additional Social Media Sites
When interacting on Social Networking sites for business such as Linked In, you can tell those you are connected with about your offer and encourage opt-ins there as well.
The bottom line is, learn the different features that exist within the world of social media and utilize them to their most effective means to grow a huge list of qualified prospects that are basically telling you to email them!
Perhaps it goes without saying, but a large email list of opted in subscribers alone won’t do a thing…you have to craft messages that offer value to the members of your email list and keep them intrigued. As quickly as they opted in, they can opt out, so make sure to deliver timely, valuable info to them on a regular basis.
If you have identified a problem that many of your subscribers might be facing and you have a way to solve it, let them know. The more you show that you can identify with them, the more responsive they will be which in turn leads to more dollars that they will spend with you and the more time they will remain on your email list.
As you can probably imagine, the savvy marketers that have spent time learning and understanding the growing world of social media have been able to capitalize on this new and interactive online world to grow massive and very RESPONSIVE email lists. They aren’t as worried about how many Twitter followers they have as they are about how high a percentage of them they can convert to opted in email subscribers.
Until something comes along that outperforms it, email marketing–which was around a long time before the current popular social media sites–is still the king when it comes to earning power online. Thanks to the advent of social media, however, growing a quality email list has just become a whole lot easier.