In their book No B.S. Guide to Direct Response Social Media Marketing, business coach and consultant Dan S. Kennedy and marketing strategist Kim Walsh-Phillips show you how to use direct response marketing principles on a variety of social media platforms to drive real results and profit. In this edited excerpt, the authors offer some on-point advice about how to best use social media to create effective marketing campaigns.
Many direct response marketers think social media is complete fluff -- and for a lot companies, it is. That’s because most marketers do not apply any direct marketing tactics to their strategic approach (if they are even strategic at all).
Anyone who either doesn’t know if their marketing is working and/or thinks the focus should be awareness building and not revenue generation could make some small but significant tweaks to their efforts and drive huge results.
Let’s cover a few key business principles as applied to social media:
1. Have a plan to sell from the very beginning.
In social media, you never want to come across as the used car salesman pouncing on his next kill, but you do need to ensure you give your prospects a consistent opportunity to connect and do business with you. If you don’t, you won't realize a return of your marketing dollars and staff resources spent online.
There are two types of offers:
Lead generation. This is an incentive for your recipient to provide contact information. This is done through offering something of inherent value that's so good your recipient would pay for it, except they won’t have to because you'll be giving it away for free. This can include such incentives as a report, white paper, gift certificate, or ticket to a live event.
Sale. It is possible to sell directly to cold traffic on social media. We do it every day for many of our clients using Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook, but there are a few key things to remember. There should be something special about your offer, such as it is being sold online first, or it should be offered at a special price, or at least it's positioned as though it's something special.
If in contrast, you sell the same thing at the same price on social media as you do everywhere else, then you're most likely not going to realize great results. Social media is a cocktail party, not a shopping mall, and the only way to get people to pay attention to something being sold is to make sure it's a really good deal. Do that, and everyone pays attention and wants in first.
One example of someone who does this right is financial expert Pamela Yellen, who offers a free chapter of her book, The Bank on Yourself Revolution: Fire Your Banker, Bypass Wall Street, and Take Control of Your Own Financial Future. Prospects are then put into a nurture sequence that encourages them to talk to a financial planner. This campaign drives leads for $18 each.
2. Don’t make delaying a desirable option.
While automation is possible in social media, setting up your offers and just letting them run forever isn't effective in the least. Your offers should be fresh, new, and ever-changing with clear deadlines. Offer weekly perks to purchase, opt-in, comment, or share. Always give a deadline and incentive for taking action now.
3. Give very clear instructions on what you want them to do right now.
Want your audience to click over to your website? Tell them to do it, clearly. In posts, be sure to put your link on its own line.
4. There will be tracking and measurement.
How will you ever know the ROI on your social media marketing efforts unless you track it? Use the tracking options available in each social media network profile and advertising platform. They all have conversion tracking, analytics, and insights. Use them! On your end, you should also track unique forms, landing pages, and URLs. All of this is hard or easy depending on your back-end program -- not all adapt well to intense measurement. This is why most of our private clients use Infusionsoft and why we got certified as one of its partners.)
5. Branding should be a by-product of effective direct response marketing, not the other way around.
In social media, all of your posts, promotions, photos, and posturing should have a goal of sales, not branding. This may seem in conflict with the strategic approach to present valuable content 85% of the time and only sell 15% of the time, but the opposite is true. All of your content should be developed with a goal of selling 15% of the time, meaning your posts should be cultivating interest and need in whatever pain your product will relieve when you make your pitch. In addition, this means money should only be spent on driving leads and sales, not on post engagement or building “likes.” Your page will not end up with 1 million engaged posting fans. Your goal should be ROI instead of popularity.
6. Results rule. Period.
There's an endless supply of conjecture by social media “experts.” Be very cautious whenever you hear a universal truth about any type of social media marketing. Nothing can be deemed a universal truth, not even within the same industry. The only thing you should use to determine your spend and marketing direction are the results of your ads and posts. Any other information is fluff and should be ignored. This is why everything needs to be tracked and checked every day. Yup, every day.