Do Early Adopters Have All the Glory?
One of the greatest obstacles that small businesses face today in their online marketing is DISTRIBUTION. Email lists have to be built. Mobile opt-in subscribers have to be accumulated. Social Media connects have to be established. All this takes time. Lots of time.
Companies that were diligent with collecting emails in the early days now have thousands of emails to show for, which is important as it becomes increasingly more difficult for people to fork over their email address.
Those that offered text messaging, or SMS, a year or two ago now have more luxuries because they can more easily reach peoples’ mobile phones and devices and produce higher response rates.
Likewise, those who dove in to blogging and social media a few years ago and kept with it, now have tons of content online and a more established presence, giving them more flexibility and maneuverability than those new to the space. In fact, for those new to any or all of these mediums, building your distribution lists is going to become increasingly more difficult, timely, and expensive.
Chicken and Egg
For celebrities and big name brands with lots of clout, resources and capital this is not an issue, but for everyone else it is potentially one of the biggest stumbling blocks getting in the way of your online success.
Like all new marketing and advertising mediums, there is a chicken-and-egg dilemma, and social media is no different. It’s not worth doing if not enough people are going to see you, but no one can possibly see you if you aren’t doing it. Therefore you have to somehow create the chicken to lay the egg.
Social media has evolved to the point where it has become almost essential to your overall marketing strategy, so how do you as a small business owner already strapped for time and capital, leverage this potentially powerful and hyped up medium?
While there are proven methods and tactics that are known to work, there is no “one way” to do things in social media, let alone any silver bullets. If you study online marketing trends, you are probably inundated with ideas, statistics, do’s, don’ts, and how-to’s.
Unfortunately, most marketers and small business owners have little visibility into their advertising results and are “blindly investing in strategies, unsure of the outcome.” This is what is called “advertising in silos” and Adobe recently published a white paper about the subject. But that information like this is not useful to you if you do not have large enough numbers to work with.
If you have 200 or 300 people on your Facebook page and you run a message on it or a campaign, you would be lucky to get 5 or 8 people interested, which is 2.5% of 200 and 300 respectively. This type of response rate for direct mail would be awesome, but are the expectations of social media any different?
The only way to increase this number (as opposed to the percentage) is to increase the number of people that can see your ad. This might be easier than increasing the percentage.
So what are some ways we can do this? Here are TWO:
Ask People to Connect…BORING
One way is to reach out to your customers and ask them to connect with you. This is always a good first step but you can’t do it very often. Your customers want and need information they can use, not chores to help you out. Therefore, it might be good to find alternative sources, or what I like to call Channel Partners.
Channel partners are people and businesses with audiences that might like your product or service and who have agreed to work in conjunction with you to exchange audience members. This is a great way to attract more interest in your brand from people not already familiar with you. How you work with these channels is up to you. Here are a few methods you could try:
- Sharing blog posts and information in social media
- Commenting on one another’s material, or
- Doing joint campaigns that are mutually beneficial
These are only a few examples, I would be curious to see what other ideas people have for increasing their distribution so if you have suggestions please share.
Establishing channel partners can take time, and they don’t always work out as expected. What you expect from social media is up to you. But what you get from it is simple math. Get your message in front of more people, get more response. It’s easier said than done, but that shouldn’t keep you from doing it.