Driving New Sales and Customer Acquisition
Everyone seems to be talking about and spending a lot of time focusing on social media marketing these days for their business – But Why? Research shows that email marketing is still far more effective and outperforms social media marketing in every way. Customer acquisition via Email Marketing has quadrupled over the past 4 years. Email Marketing now accounts for 7% of all new customer acquisitions. While organic search via Google is still the most powerful marketing and acquisition channel and accounts for almost 16%, all other social media platforms lag far behind. Facebook is insignificant and a worthless time waster for customer acquisition and Twitter is even worse.
Plan for Mobile in your Email Marketing Strategy
Mobile devices are here to stay and 45% of users check email on their smartphones and mobile devices. This within itself provides a challenge for most companies email marketing efforts. 65% of all mobile users will unsubscribe if the email message you are sending has rendering issues or doesn’t look right on their mobile device. Optimizing your email marketing messages for all platforms is critical to the success of any email marketing strategy.
Losing Sight of Home Plate while Rounding Third
Too many companies are looking for the next best thing and losing sight of the most important and proven methods of marketing their businesses. Being the first company to use a new social website or a new marketing strategy isn’t always the best idea, especially when you forget the core marketing practices that are proven to work. Being well ranked organically, utilizing PPC, email marketing and insightful blog articles to drive sales should be at the top of your list. Don’t get blinded by all the hype of the “next best thing” when it comes to marketing your business. Stick with what works and try to improve upon them. While social media might be an enhancer to your overall marketing strategy, it shouldn’t be what you focus on to drive sales and new customer acquisitions.
Is Social Media Marketing a Huge Waste of Time?
I think social media as a whole is a monstrous waste of time in an attempt to acquire new customers. Let’s look at Coca-Cola and their 50+ million Facebook fans as an example. They seem to do a good job in providing a constant flow of content in their social media stream. How many of Coke’s 50+ million followers do you think they’ll reach with a status update? How about 5%? If Coca-Cola wants to attempt to reach the other 95% of their Facebook fans, they will have to pay Facebook to do so. Who wins in this scenario? I can give you a hint – It’s not Coke. This isn’t 2008 and the perceived “Like” value isn’t what you think it is. Likes are worthless, well almost worthless.
Focus Your Marketing on What Actually Works and Generates Results
The secret to good social media marketing: Sell and deliver good products and offer great services. If you can’t trick people into “Liking” your brand, maybe you can try to make them actually – you know – like your brand. How you ask? Under Promise and Over Deliver. Sell and deliver quality products and offer services that are really, really good. That’s not to say you should completely forsake social media marketing communication altogether. Every once in a while if you have something interesting to say, then by all means use Twitter or Facebook to say it. But stop posting pictures of cute kittens in an attempt win cheap, meaningless Likes.
Much like a major corporation, a small business is nothing without its customers. They buy your products, use your services and keep the wheels of commerce turning. In general, the more customers you have, the more revenue you’ll generate—and vice versa. Of course, retaining clients, converting prospects and generating sales requires an investment, often in the form of marketing. While big business with big budgets can throw money at it, the most plentiful resource at many smaller companies is time.
Fortunately, time is often enough, especially when you’re planning to market your company online. As long as you have a sturdy foundation—namely, a well-designed website that is functional, easy to navigate and full of high quality content—there are literally hundreds of free (or almost free) approaches you can take to attract the interest of your target market without a marketing budget. With most methods, consistency is essential for success (there are no shortcuts) so we suggest focusing on a few key aspects that will give you the greatest bang for your metaphorical buck. Don’t try and take short cuts, because they will not help you and can definitely hurt you. Shortcuts are usually referred to as “Black Hat” SEO methods and the only thing they are likely to do is either get you banned from Google’s index, delisted or stuck on the 94th page where no one will ever find you.
According to the Direct Marketing Association, the return on investment for email marketing is $39.40 for every $1 invested. Keep in mind, that investment doesn’t have to be in cold, hard cash. Time has a dollar value as well. The more time you put into creating engaging, informative, useful email content, the greater the return you can expect. Of course, you’ll need an email list first.
It won’t cost you much, unless you can do it yourself, to add a newsletter sign-up link to your website, enabling you to build a list of warm leads from people who opt in to your communications. These current customers and eager prospects are the people who are most likely to buy from you—so it should take less time to convert their interest to sales.
While it is possible to send emails from your desktop client, this is a really bad idea, for many reasons—especially as your list grows. Consider a professional email service provider, also known as an ESP or a managed email marketing service provider who is experienced and knowledgeable. This might be your path of least resistance and a worthy investment, and it may be more affordable than you think.
The higher up in the rankings your website appears in search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo, the more potential customers will click through to view it. According to one study, the top ranking site in any search will receive 37 percent of the clicks generated, while 60 percent will go to the top three. This doesn’t leave many customers for the rest of the first page, let alone those that follow.
You can use search engine optimization methods to raise your site’s ranking—and position within search results—without spending a dime. Of course, you will have to invest time. Success in SEO depends on hard work, diligent review of the latest algorithms, and carefully selected content and keywords.
Learn more about the process when you read Unmasking the BIG Secrets of SEO. Then Google “SEO basics” to find everything you need to do it on your own.
Every business can benefit from a blog, whether you’re selling toaster ovens or retirement plans. Not only are consumers attracted to companies that share great content, but also blog posts are an excellent place to put relevant, linked keywords. Even search engines love them. Publish high-quality information regularly and they’ll reward you with better rankings, which, as you may recall, means more prospects. In fact, according to one survey, companies that publish 15 or more blog posts a month generate five times more Internet traffic than those that don’t blog at all. Blog nine to 15 times a month and generate three times more traffic.
At Email Answers, our blog accounts for 21 to 24 percent of our unique monthly page views. Once visitors come to the blog to read a specific article, they usually look around to see what we do. The average, unique visitor stays for nearly five minutes—a pretty impressive figure. According to some sources, the average page visit on the average website lasts a little less than a minute.
All of our blog articles land in Google’s organic index, allowing prospects to find us who might not have normally done so. We ensure this happens by linking our blog content to our website as efficiently as possible. Of course, you can also promote your blog on social media, as we do.
From Facebook (with 1.11 billion users) to Twitter (500 million) to LinkedIn (225 million) and Pinterest (48.7 million), you have many social media options. Choose one or more that is particularly suited to your potential client base and create a free profile. For example, according to one recent report, female consumers are more likely to have accounts on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter. A survey found Facebook to be the most important social network among small and medium sized businesses for business-to-consumer marketing, while LinkedIn tied with Facebook in the business-to-business arena.
As mentioned earlier, accounts on these sites are free—as is adding the appropriate link to your website and outgoing emails. Your only investment is time, so use it wisely to build relationships. You can share useful, entertaining or otherwise value-added content (like excerpts from your blog)—eventually driving traffic to your website.
So there you have it: four free (or almost free) online marketing approaches you can use to retain customers and attract prospects—the lifeblood of every business. Invest your time in email marketing, blogging, SEO and social media and your reward will be greater sales revenue—no marketing budget required.
Is there a mathematical formula to calculate the value of a “Like”?
Dan Zarella from Hubspot seems to think so, but I’m not sure the math works. Let’s take a closer look at Dan’s (VOAL) “Value of a Like” formula and dig a little deeper.
The VOAL formula ends up looking like this:
L (Total Likes): The total number of audience members connected to your social media account. On Facebook, these are Likes of your page, and on Twitter, these are followers.
UpM (Unlikes-per-Month): The average number of fans who “unlike” your social network account each month. On Facebook, this is an “unlike,” and on Twitter, this is an “unfollow.”
LpD (Links-per-Day): The average number of times you’re posting links, and potentially converting links driven from your social media account. On Facebook, this is the number of posts you’re making, per day, that lead to a page on your website. On Twitter, this is the number of times, per day, you’re Tweeting these kinds of links.
C (Average Clicks): The average number of clicks on the links to your site you’re posting on your social media accounts.
CR (Conversion Rate): The average conversion rate of your website, from visit to sale or visit to lead. This can be an overall average, but for increased accuracy, use the conversion rate measured from traffic coming from the social network you’re calculating.
ACV (Average Conversion Value): The average value of each “conversion.” In this context, a “conversion” is the action you’ve used to measure CR for. It could be average sale price or average lead value. For increased accuracy, use the average conversion value of traffic coming from the specific social network.
Although this seems to be a valiant effort to calculate a dollar value for a “Like”, it falls short of being fully vetted and has some major flaws and holes that we will look into. Before we dig into the math, I think one of the biggest omissions is the cost to generate the Facebook “Like”. It’s all well and good to be able to try and calculate the value, but without knowing the cost, how could you determine if it is a profitable venture. Whether you believe it or not; there is an associated cost with garnering a Facebook Like. Is the ROI of the time, effort and associated cost it takes to generate Facebook Likes worth it? That’s probably a good topic for another blog.
The value calculations used above are more in line with calculating the “Value of a Network” versus “Value of a Like”, although still problematic. Firstly, there should be a limit of time greater than 30 days. You can set the lifetime length to 12 months, so uninterested fans of your page aren’t skewing your value per “Like” based on a 5 or more year span. This would be calculated as (L/UpM).
The one very simple but critical flaw in the equation: if you have “L” in both numerator and denominator, it cancels out and doesn’t play any role at all. So the number of likes or the number of followers is not at all a factor in the calculation of “value”.
The formula used in this calculation has some major problems. Looking at the value of a “Like” or “Follower” is highly flawed logic. It really is not the right way to think about Facebook “Likes” or ROI at all. The inherent value of a “Like” is zero. An engaged community creates brand value, not an individual “Like”.
I used the formula above in an effort to determine the value of Email Answers Facebook Likes. Based on this formula, the value of a “Like” is $4.35. Besides the fact that this amount is so far from the true value, I am not quite sure what else to tweak to make it work.
So, what is the value of a Facebook “Like”?
For most small businesses, a Facebook “Like” is not worth the time, effort or cost involved. The ROI, or lack thereof, should be the only factor in determining the effort.
I think Einstein might have said it best; “Just because something can be measured doesn’t mean that it should”.