Do you rent or own?
I’m not talking about your home or condo. I’m talking about your audience and potential customers.
Sure, we don’t technically rent or own anyone, but if your marketing strategy puts the focused on social media to drive business, and you’re not pushing them to your website to capture their information, then you are one algorithm change away from losing it all.
This isn’t a new concept for marketers and business owners who publish content on social platforms. Content Marketing Institute, an online education and training company, focuses on teaching marketers how to create better content. In a podcast, Robert Rose and Joe Pulizzi discussed this problem on “This Old Marketing.”
Although this podcast was two years ago, the principle is the same. If you spend too much time building your “tribe” on social platforms, where you mostly have no control, then you give ALL the power to that platform. This leaves businesses hoping nothing changes so you can still reach your audience.
But what if it does change?
Over the years, marketers and businesses have loved social media to promote their product or service. They can gain key insights about customers that we, yes we, freely give them. On the one hand, all this information has made marketing, even for the smallest company, more accessible due to the powerful customer database reaching our target customers. This information has been virtually free. If you have ever looked into buying ads and use platforms like Facebook, then you have seen just how much data they have on platform users. Think creepy accurate type of information.
If you have used social media for your business over the past five years or so, then you know that updates on these platforms happen quickly and sometimes, with little to no notice. One day you’re talking to thousands of customers, then something changes, and it’s like the party broke up and you’re wondering where everyone went.
This only became more of an issue in light of the Facebook Cambridge Analytica scandal. As a result, our privacy on these social platforms will increase, but as a business, your access to customer data will most likely change too. If you aren’t spending time gathering your own information, then one change to the algorithm or privacy settings and you will lose everything you have built…on your rented land of social media.
How can you build your marketing house on the solid ground without completely ditching social media?
If your social strategy isn’t driving traffic to your website, then you may find one day, the house you built is gone, and you have to start all over building an audience, nurturing them and building loyalty. Don’t waste another minute.
Build your own house so you can speak to your customers and provide what they need when they need it.
You need a good reason for a customer to want to hand over their information. This goes beyond a newsletter because no one wants a newsletter before they really know you. You need to build trust by providing them VALUABLE information so your audience will take action.
Proving a PDF or white paper to help a customer solve a problem is the best way to get their information. You want to give them the rich information they can’t believe you are parting with and they can take action on right now. You’ve probably seen these before or even clicked on them. This could be in a “list” format such as “5 Way’s to Quickly Spring Clean”, free trials offers product videos walking them through a process or activity. Whatever you decide is best for your business, make the information so valuable they can’t wait to download.
Once it’s created, you want to “gate” this content, meaning you want customers to give you their information in exchange for this amazing content. Typically this is a Call to Action(CTA) button on a page or a pop-over. When you are capturing their information, be sure to get just two things: their name and their email address. That’s it! Don’t ask too many questions about their income, how many kids they have, or what’s their favorite way to buy something. Any additional information you want you can gather later. For now, get their basic information.
CUSTOMER MANAGEMENT TOOL (CRM)
Now that you have a PDF/White Paper/Video on your website and have created a way for customers to download it, you want to capture these customers in a CRM. This allows you the ability to send follow up emails, newsletter, special promotions and other communications to them when you want. Since you have their first name, this also allows you to personalize emails, giving recipients the feeling you know them.
There are dozens and dozens of CRM platforms to choose from. Many of them have free versions if you are starting out all the way to premium and corporate plans if you already have a good list. I recommend you research to see which platform works best for your needs and then giving it a try. Most allow you to export your contacts if you determine it’s not the best fit for you. If you decide to switch, be aware that you may lose some detailed information on those contacts. So do your research on the front end to save you headaches if you determine it’s not the best fit.
SOCIAL MEDIA TRAFFIC
Social media marketing does have its place in your marketing strategy. It’s a great place to build a community, provide added content, engage in discussion, but also drive traffic to your website so you can build your own list.
To drive your audience to your website, don’t make every post focused on sending people for the freebie offer. Instead, direct them every fourth or fifth time will help you build your following without penalizing you on the platform. Most social platforms want to keep people engaged on their page, so spreading out when you direct people to your own platform, you increase the visibility of when it will be seen.
You can also use internal messaging from platforms like Facebook, to build customer relationships. This is a great way to talk with your audience before directing them to your website. It also allows you to connect with customer personally, building that relationship, which could lead them to your website to learn more.
The purpose of engaging your audience on social media and then driving them to your website is so that you have control of your audience, how you reach them, frequency, and capture your own data to grow your business.
The constant disruption of our day with never-ending messages makes it hard to reach customers and get them to take action. Customers don't by your products and services, they buy solutions to their problems. ClearMark helps you uncover your customers needs and the create the right messaging breaking through the noise so they buy and your business grows.