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Archive for the ‘lead generation’ tag

Follow Me! Converting Social Media Leads

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I have been receiving a lot of spam messages lately from hucksters offering to sell me Facebook “Likes.” The most common come-on is $60 for 600 Likes:

Addition of 600 REAL Worldwide Facebook Fans’ “Likes” for $60

- All Likes/Fans Will Be a Mix Of Male And Female Real random Worldwide People.

- Likes/Fans come from real active people from our Facebook applications(~400) and websites(~200).

So is your online loyalty worth a dime? I think it’s worth more than just $0.10.

True online followers want to read what you have to say, and comment. They are engaged because you have given them something interesting and informative and entertaining that keeps them coming back for more. Your followers are putting a degree of trust in the online experience they will get from following you, which means you need to work to honor that trust by providing content worth reading.

Of course, lead generation and revenue generation have to be a priority for any social media campaign, but if you use hard-selling content, you won’t attract many followers, and you won’t keep the ones you have already acquired. You need to give followers a reason to follow you; you want to attract prospects and nurture them until they are ready to buy from you. Remember that no one is sold a product, but they will buy a solution that solves their problem.

Why is social media so valuable for lead generation for a number of reasons:

  • It’s basically free
  • Your prospects are self-selecting; you are attracting pre-interested parties.
  • It’s viral. Like attracts like, so your followers are likely to share with their followers so you social media base could start growing geometrically (if you entice them with interesting content).
  • It’s intimate. Social media gives you an opportunity to get closer to your prospects than direct mail, advertising, or any other vehicle. You can see what they respond to, talk to them directly through comments and Likes, and get a true understanding of where their interest lie.

How do you convert social media fans into paying customers?

Not all Facebook followers are created equal. Some are qualified prospects who ultimately will buy from you. Others may know qualified customers. Still others are just interested fans, but you never know who they know. So how do you convert followers into customers?

  1. Understand where social media falls in your sales process. If you are using content correctly, then you are using Facebook and other channels to herd followers into your sales process. To do that you need to understand how social media generates leads. Do you need to offer a gift of coupon for a trial? Do you need to get them to a webinar? What mechanisms do you need to apply to incite your followers to become active prospects?
  2. Remove any obstacles to lead conversion. Don’t make it hard to go from social media to a more direct interaction. Use easy to complete landing pages, e-book downloads, white papers, case studies, and other mechanisms that make it easy to ask for more information, and ultimately a sales call.
  3. Offer baby steps for soft conversion. Don’t use a full-court press to convert followers. Let them get to know you better at their own pace. Offer softer conversion mechanisms, such as giving up an email and no more. Maintain the trust you nurtured through social media throughout the sales process.
  4. Treat your fans with greater respect than traditional leads. Your followers are used to valuable content from you. Respect that and continue to provide value and insightful information that directs them to a buying decision. Be prepared to engage, answer questions, overcome objections, and convert the fan to a lead, without hitting them over the head with a sales message. They will tell you when they are ready to migrate into the traditional sales channel.
  5. Measure the results and refine the program. Determine what content and social media channels are working for you. Specific messages and social media outlets will yield better quality results and remove barriers to entry into the sales process faster. Identify them and measure them.

Starting with quality content to help prospects make a decision to become followers is the first step. Once they become followers you have the opportunity to talk to them, nurture them, and persuade them to become customers. And no matter who your followers are, they all have value because you never know why they are following you, or who they might know. And treat your social media followers like gold, because that’s what they’re really worth, not just a measly dime.

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Written by Tom Woolf

September 20th, 2013 at 11:19 pm

“Excuse Me; May I Buy Your Product?” – The Inbound Marketing Payoff

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Wouldn’t it be great if you didn’t have to promote your company and customers just beat a patch to your door? You don’t need to invent a better mousetrap to get that kind of customer attention. You just need to find a better way to communicate with them to get them to want to do business with you. That requires better content to attract them and better channels to reach them.

Thanks to the web, customers have become self-selecting and proactive in their search for new goods and services. Rather than responding to outbound marketing – advertisements, billboards, TV spots, etc. – they are more inclined to respond to inbound marketing – a two-way dialogue often empowered by social media. If you think about it another way, you are earning the trust of your inbound marketing prospects instead of shouting at them to get their attention.

Inbound marketing is all the rage for some obvious reasons:

  • 44 percent of direct mail is never opened.
  • 86 percent of viewers skip through commercials.
  • 84 percent of younger buyers (25 to 34 years old) have clicked out of a website because of an intrusive popup ad or an irrelevant ad.
  • The cost per lead in inbound marketing is substantially less than traditional outbound programs.

What drives inbound marketing programs is content – blogs, social media posts, white papers, videos, podcasts. You have to use informative content that entertains and adds value to create a positive connection with the consumer. Once you engage with the consumer, he or she is more likely to take a closer look at your products, feel a connection to your brand, and ultimately make a purchasing decision.

While this is a better mousetrap, it requires patience and persistence. Conversion doesn’t happen overnight. In fact, it often never happens. But permission-based inbound marketing campaigns, where you invite participation, are always less expensive and promote greater customer loyalty than outbound programs.

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Written by Tom Woolf

April 29th, 2013 at 2:16 am

What Is the value of a case study?

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Customers are risk-averse.  They want a proof of value before they buy

Case studies are one of the most effective forms of marketing content. People feel more confident about a  product or service when they can see demonstrable results from someone who ‘was there before them.”. As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. Paint a picture or tell a story about a customer success, and you reinforce your marketing messages and brand image.

Customer testimonials and success stories have been a component of marketing for centuries. No matter what your brand promise, no one wants to be the first to step forward and try something unproven. Even the earliest of early adopters don’t want to pay to be guinea pigs for something unproven. Case studies provide a degree of assurance, demonstrating the potential value of a solution, with the understanding that “your mileage may vary.”

I always think of Geoffrey Moore of the Chasm Group and author of Crossing the Chasm, and his model of the technology adoption cycle. There have to be a few brave souls who are the innovators and are willing to try something new. Once you have proven value for your product or service from the innovators and early adopters, the majority of your customers will follow.

Buyers want reassurance before making a buying decision. A Forrester Research survey shows that 90 percent of buying decisions begin online, and 71 percent of buyers base their decisions on trust and believability. Unbiased, informative content helps establish immediate reliability, and relating other customers’ positive experiences help build trust and credibility. That’s why sellers scores on eBay, Yelp! evaluations, and Amazon reader reviews have become so important to potential customers; prospects want reassurance and validation before making a buying decision.

A well-crafted case study demonstrates why happy customers love your company and its products and help build empathy with other customers and online visitors. They can be one of the most effective tools in your marketing program, and they are very easy to craft.

In future blog posts, we will discuss the elements that go into a winning case study, and ways to use case studies to convey your brand value and build sales.

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Written by Tom Woolf

January 31st, 2013 at 3:00 pm