Many small businesses struggle with their online promotion because the online world is so big. Even a local business has to market on distinctly non-local platforms, such as FaceBook and Twitter. And, while there are ways to geo-target only local audiences on many of these platforms, that is not a complete marketing plan and there are still so many marketing options to choose from.
Some business think social media is only for selling. They announce sales and new products and maybe even talk about themselves. But that’s not what social media is about. It is about building a relationship. Yes, you can sell, but only in the context of a relationship. See how many of the selling steps in this Forbes article on social selling are actually about building relationships?
Why? Because social media is where people interact informally, socially.
But email is where you have a direct line to your loyal contacts (your groupies!), people who have given you permission to communicate directly with them.
Some businesses also think that email is a tool strictly for selling. They might use email to announce new products or to announce sales. But again, they are missing a great opportunity to further the relationship and to harness the power of their loyal contacts as ambassadors to increase the company’s influence.
And that is how email and social media can work so well together.
Here is how the process works:
- Email reaches your groupies and tells them about some great content on the website or on their FaceBook or Google Plus page. Here is my guide to creating great content .
- Groupies enjoy the content and share it on social media to their audiences. There’s a great little image of email social sharing stats here.
- Because the content is awesome, social media brings in new contacts. “Social media drives traffic,” in the words of online marketing luminary Ann Smarty.
- New contacts are impressed enough to sign up for email and become groupies
- And the cycle starts over.
So what is the missing ingredient in this marketing circle? The content. An amazingly helpful (and entertaining) article. A slide show with step-by-step instructions to do something new. An Infographic with useful data that actually interests people. A meme or cartoon that makes people laugh. A short and helpful video.
That’s right, if you are doing business on the Internet, you’ll do it best by being a publisher, not just a store. You can outsource the publishing or do it yourself, or you can curate content others have published. (Before making a content decision, check your bookkeeping software or documents to review how much money you can dedicate to online content. Content is key, but you shouldn’t stretch your monthly expenses into the red.)
Some people have suggested that for every sales related email, you should send as many as ten non-sales-related emails. Just make sure they are relevant and that they add value. If it doesn’t sound too salesy, you might even be able to sneak in some examples of how your product has been used by others.
In your social media channels, you have to be more careful about sales pitches, since your groupies are mixing and mingling with all sorts of casual surfers. That does not mean you can’t announce new products or sales, but you certainly want to be more sensitive to how you frame things and make sure to engage your followers in as much non-commercial conversation as possible between announcements. As you build the relationship with social media followers, you can pull them in to your mailing list, where you can be a little more explicit about your offerings.
VerticleResponse found that active engagement on social media led to a 28 percent higher open rate for their emails. Quite simply, when most emails are ones a consumer welcomes, they are more likely to open the email than if they expect it to be just another sales message.
Social media drives email sign-ups.
Email drives social media shares.
Some people think one is more important than the other, but both email and social media work best when they work together. That’s why I say that social media and email are a match made in marketing heaven.
Picture quote derived from http://blog.wishpond.com/post/70494294231/50-inspirational-marketing-quotes-2013