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Archive for the ‘Social Media’ Category

Weed out the fads as direct sales channels

Monday, October 1st, 2012

A recent article in Biz.com reports that “In “The Purchase Path of Online Buyers 2012″, Forrester reveals that, while marketers focus on social, it’s not the channel that drives consumers to open their wallets. Almost 4 in 10 new customers who make a purchase arrive at a website via organic or paid search links. Three out of 10 transactions by repeat customers are initiated after interacting with an email from a retailer, 13% after reading an email and 17% after seeing an email and interacting with other forms of marketing. However, less than 1% of transactions could be traced back to social media activity, concludes Forrester, after analyzing 77,000 online transactions over a two-week period.”

In an marketplace that includes sites like Face book. Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram new is not necessarily better it is just different and needs to be evaluated against basic marketing tenets that have been in practice for years as well as by the analytics that cutting age technologies now provide. No matter what is new in the marketplace unless it fits in with your current strategy and marketing plans by allowing you to reach your customer, reach similar prospects by tried and tried methods like segmentation, to initiate and complete some form of call to action and build and understand your customers life time value the new fads amount to just that… new fads.

Our Executive VP of Sales, Dick Weissman, also a very astute marketer often said ” unseen and untold is unsold”. If your customer doesn’t know about your product and they don’t have enough information about why they should consider a purchase then just “liking” something on a web page might help build a brand community but as current research shows it is not a direct sales channel. Being present in social media is not enough. Integrated marketing programs employing print, direct mail, web, email and social media components have been shown to get your product noticed by speaking to the buyer in the language that they best like to listen to. You can move your product into their consideration set and can convert lookers into buyers by grabbing their attention. Companies marketing dollars are being very closely scrutinized and if you are going to spend money on promoting your product shouldn’t it result in sales? Forrester has found that Face Book ads are producing minimal sales where according to a recent Direct Marketing Association (DMA) study more than 80% of U.S. households read some or all of their advertising mail. A recent DMA study has found that direct mail boasts a 4.4% rate, compared to email’s average response rate of 0.12%. One reason why direct mail continues to be a go-to strategy for marketers is that improvements in printing and database technology as well as analytics have allowed direct mail and other offline media to deliver consistent response rates. Studies have found that integrated marketing programs have increased sales to a greater degree than the aggregate rate of return of all their components combined. Just something to consider to increase your ROI.

Should we really be on FaceBook?

Monday, July 16th, 2012

It is a question a number of my, smaller customers have been asking. The decision to use Facebook or other social media really depends on whether you have a clear strategy and are willing to devote the time every day or week to execute it. If you decide that being on Facebook or other social media network makes sense for your business consider developing a content strategy and a planned schedule for posting material. Start slowly and share the content with employees or friends and then expand your reach to the “world” once you are comfortable with your site.

If you are then perhaps the first thing that you might want to consider would be writing a mission statement to let your audience know who you are and what you are about. It is a nice way to introduce your company and products or services and also to reach out to your target market. After that you need to make appropriate, honest authentic posts that are relevant to your business or give a greater insight as to who you are as a professional.

Make an effort to add value to someone’s life for them to “like” you, to friend you or spend any time on your page. One way to do that is to share information, it can be something original you have found, created or developed or something that you have recently read in a trade journal, found in a catalog, read in a blog or book. Be helpful. You can help your audience connect with relevant pieces of information that you have found through a link. People are willing to click on a link from a trusted source in a way they were not willing to do just a few years ago.

Facebook is a great place to ask questions of your audience. Thinking of adding a new product to your line? a new service? Here is the place for you to ask that question of your market, unofficially.

Don’t forget the power of social media is in the conversation. You can keep a dialogue open. Face book gives the responder to a question some of the same anonymity that the person sitting next to you in an airplane has. They know that they will probably not see you again and can tell you a lot of things that they would never reveal under normal circumstances. Your goal should be to share value but you can also place a link to your web site, hopefully an interactive web site, that is helpful to your customer with features like directions, place an order, make an appointment, find out information about you and what you do, get an estimate on line, just for a few ideas.

Facebook can be the digital equivalent of inviting your customer into your living room or even better into your kitchen to have a virtual cup of coffee and a chat about what matters to them. It is social media after all.