At Indispensable Marketing we think a lot about how we can help midsize companies address marketing and the realities of the new marketplace. We continually listen and keep up-to-date with sources that connect with midmarket business leaders about their needs and preferences. Every Wednesday we publish a post called #midsizewednesday to help midsize businesses take advantage of these changes to evolve and ultimately grow.
How do you turn social media into a real customer acquisition channel? In this post I’m trying to answer that question, in six steps for midsize businesses.
Converting potential prospects into customers via social media takes labor. Furthermore, a midsize businesses (or any business for that matter) customer engagement doesn’t end with the close of the sale, but that’s where it begins.
With that mindset in place the focus, then of midsize businesses should be on lifetime value. This means a very strategic approach to getting that customer to buy more from you again and talk about your products to their peers and friends because this is where the major impact of social media is—word-of-mouth. As a result, social media conversion is a constant process that requires continual refinement.
To convert prospects into customers via social media here are 6 Steps For Midsize Businesses to Master Social Customer Acquisition:
#1. You can’t hit a target you cannot see, and you cannot see a target you do not have. Know who your prospects and potential customers are. Think as if you’re selling to a network of people. Consider outside influences, decision makers, the end-user, LinkedIn connections, Twitter Followers, FB Likes and the public. This helps your team better know your target market and craft effective content that works as marketing.
#2. Deliver independent value with content before you attempt to make the sale. Offer useful, relevant content prospects and customers search, want and need. Make this content they seek in plain English, and easy-to-understand. Specifically, give them useful service or product information, answers to their product/service-related questions, demonstrate how your product or service solves their problem, and infuse customer ratings and reviews into this process.
#3. Pricing only matters when customers and prospects can’t tell the difference between your products and services and a competitor’s. Showcase the differences/benefits of your offering. Use the appropriate social media channel that works with the use photographs and videos. Customers need this information both pre-purchase and post-purchase because if your product doesn’t get used, customers won’t buy from you again.
#4. There’s a huge difference between action and awareness. Include contextually relevant call-to-actions to motivate prospects to act. Don’t assume potential prospects know what to do. Also, they may need to view your content several times. Content marketing works best through repetition. Repetition establishes contact and starts a relationship with the prospect.
#5. You want to know where you are going. Measure the results against your overall business goals. This means determining your metrics so that they’re aligned with your goals. You’re only allowed to decide what you want to happen before not after the marketing. Also, reviewing your analytics can capture useful information at each step of the process.
#6. Improve results through testing. Test using either A/B or test different ways of presenting your product or service for every aspect of your conversion process to determine where you can improve results. (A/B testing most commonly fails because the test itself has unclear goals, so you’ve got to know what you’re testing.)
Conversion via social media is an ongoing, work in progress where you gather incremental learning from each marketing campaign. You must continue to rinse and repeat the process to improve your results since social platforms, contexts and effectiveness change.
Question: What has been most effective in your conversion process? What challenges have you found?