Saturday, November 1, 2008

Direct Marketing over to Social Media Marketing - a strategy

(photo credit: Wolf Tracking)

Moving from Direct Marketing over to Social Media Marketing - a strategy (that might just work...)

Anyone covering this blog for the last year will see that I went into a "quietus" as I researched eBay (expensively and at length). And then find me rolling along into Jack Humphreys' rather involved methods of training people to become "Authorities" in their chosen niche. As well, I checked out a very user-friendly "30-Day" program (link eludes me at this point).

Today, while riding on my tractor picking corn (does wonders for intensive thought to be away from computers) - anyway, I found that I had completed all the training I needed to do. I now feel I know how to move from conventional marketing over to social modes.

A Summation

Basic facts:
  1. Social media is social, not broadcast. They reject broadcast announcements here and embrace personalities who interact, not just pontificate.
  2. The basics of marketing work - if you throw out the methodologies of the 50's-80's and start embracing the core principles from history - the local community marketplace/bazaar/farmers' market. (Visit one of these festivals with small booths selling a handful of items and you'll see what I mean.)
  3. Problem is that marketers are trained (even today) to do broadcast methodology, not socially interact. And the largest corporations are having the hardest time with this. Smaller start-ups almost intuitively embrace these features, since they personally only deal with a handful of staff and can talk with their handful of customers on a one-to-one basis as well.
  4. There are actually broadcast technologies within social media. These are the bookmarking sites. You are supposed to put your bookmarks up there. And the most popular bookmarks win.
  5. However, self-promotion is frowned upon. Posting your own stuff up on the "news" sites will get you banned sooner or later.
  6. Basic principle: develop word of mouth.
  7. Basic technique: craft clever link-bait that people will talk about and make this easily sharable.
  8. That's pretty simple for corporate trained marketers, since this is their stock in trade. However, properly done - the ROI or conversion rate is much, much higher with social media, since you can get free evangelists to do your marketing for you. (See "Tipping Point" by Malcolm Gladwell as an introduction to this concept.)
The trick to social marketing and word of mouth

Trick is to get the ball rolling, since if you are an individual - they don't know you. If you are a corporation, you are in the hole - since they don't trust you.

Jack Humphrey pointed out one hole in this, along with his own technique of making yourself an "authority". Essentially you craft your link-bait and then "buzz" it yourself by using free blogs that you control and post links back to your link-bait on your main blog. He also says to contribute back to these communities by posting links though those free blogs to other areas, in ways that each free-blog community would embrace and appreciate. The more you contribute useful posts and comments in your niche, the more people trust you and look to you as as an authority in that niche. Your traffic goes up and then you can convert this to sales.

Why use a blog? Because it is an easy way to add content and update it. Plus it has built-in community support through comments. Google loves blogs more than corporate sites - because they are more popular, and popular content drives blog use (and advertising).

Here's the interesting part. Through various programs like the Blog-Rovr plug-in for Firefox, and also using Google Alert (now with RSS feeds), you can keep track of influencer's and evangelists in your niche and comment on their blog posts. That piques their interest eventually, and they start visiting and linking to your blog. Meanwhile, you post from your main-blog with links to these - which then then give you a trackback for, which increases your link-love.

You also apply these same tools to see who is linking to your main blog. Track them, comment on their blogs. Also do this for appropriate forums and groups.

You also need to do articles, podcasts, and videos, but your main approach above is to:
  1. Create Linkbait Weekly.
  2. Bookmark (OnlyWire) each one to as many as possible.
  3. Buzz your linkbait - using varied text and graphics - from as many free blogs as possible (preferably several overseas as well).
  4. Track posts about your blog and return the favor - both blogging about their site and also commenting on their blog posts.
  5. Also track anyone who posts anything about you, post and comment as above.
  6. Similarly, track forums and groups - both post and comment.
  7. In your spare time, put up viral media - such as articles, podcasts, videos, and anything else that comes along. All prominently feature your main blog - and link back to these as simply as possible. (You'll need to overlay your blog address on the video, for instance, as well as getting a live link in the comments.)

It almost goes without saying that you are answering questions and interacting realistically/honestly with everyone who posts and comments.

Means a lot of work on your part. Welcome to the geek club.

Where's sales and monetization in all this?

You also still have have some part of your week devoted to creating more products to offer and getting them sold - your backend.

What you want is followers and subscribers. Preferably paid subscribers. Possibly eBay's one contribution to this is that you can get a "reverse funnel" (they buy first and then subscribe) from selling on eBay and getting them to your site. You really want them to opt-in to your mail list and then use the various write-ups on sales pages, repetitive contact, a "sales funnel" of increasingly higher valued/priced items - and ultimately turning them into affiliates and evangelists for your site (as well as starting them over from the beginning of your funnel with the new products you are creating all the time).

And this last paragraph above is the subject of several posts and ebooks. Too much to go into here.

- - - -

And now you see how to move from gratuitous broadcast marketer to a social marketing genius, in just a few steps outlined above.

I'll tell you that it isn't easy; it's a lot of work. But then, so is marketing as you may have understood it up to this point...
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