Lately I’ve been talking about a lot about social media marketing and it’s applications for selling offline.  Today, I read a great article on that very subject.  It seems there are people in marketing that believe social media should be used to build followers, interact, and engage, but never to sell.  The article’s author, Johnathon Fields makes the case that selling is still the end-game – and I agree.

Anybody using print, direct mail, promotional products, media advertising and other tactics knows that when used correctly, these tools can help build brand awareness, generate leads, and increase speed to close.

As Fields points out, the goal of using these traditional direct response tactics is to build a funnel.  At the top of the funnel are people who might be interested in what you have to offer.  As you continue to interact with them, they become more interested, and some eventually decide to buy.

Fields does a great job of describing that process:

  • “Step one is you use a wide variety of strategies to find likeminded people who have a problem you can solve. You may buy lists, run ads, do JV (joint venture) promotions, reach out to people in communities and more
  • Next, you drive people to a lead generation offer, you give away something with a high perceived value for free in exchange for joining your list.
  • Then, you “warm” your list by sending out regular, non-monetized, high-value, offer-free messages. If you’re a really savvy marketer, you even promote other peoples’ non-commercial high-value content, solutions and ideas. (Just like I’m doing right here, right now!)
  • Finally, every once in a while, you mix in a commercial offer.”

Social Media Funnel

While the methods may be different when using social media, the goal is the same.  Convert prospects into customers. As Fields points out, people who are successfully selling with Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms are using the same funnel concept:

  • “First, they use a variety of strategies to get people to their twitter pages, blogs and facebook fan pages and become followers. Sometimes, they leverage content to attract folks or search for people with relevant interests and follow them. Local businesses are getting creative, some restaurants are adding calls to action on menus compelling diners to follow them (the direct response equivalent of finding a list of affinity buyers and emailing/mailing a lead-gen offer).
  • More and more, local businesses and content creators are incentivizing the follow (on blogs and facebook fan pages, incentivizing subscriptions and fans is very common now)
  • Then they mix in a healthy dose of non-commercial tweets, posts or updates (the functional equivalent of direct-response list warming).
  • Finally, after building a bit of a relationship, showing a little personality, establishing value and spending a bit of time leveraging the reciprocity impulse, they then mix in…a purely commercial, response-driven offer.”

His point?  Social media makes it easier to interact, appear trustworthy and create conversations with your audience.  It’s hard to argue this is not the future of marketing.  The speed of innovation in this field is going to make it very difficult to market without interaction.

Text "SPEAKTOME" to 41411 to see text marketing in action.

Even traditional marketing tactics are becoming interactive.  Magazine ads and billboards now  allow viewers with smart phones to scan a QR code on the ad which takes them to a web page.  Direct mail pieces can include highly personalized web landing pages as the call to action.   Marketers are even creating promotional products such as t-shirts with text message short codes.

Once viewers respond, they’ve entered the funnel and the conversation begins.

Want to learn more about how to use new media to fill your sales funnel?  CONTACT US TODAY and we’ll help you develop a strategy to build awareness of your brand, generate more leads, and close business faster.

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