Social media and organic traffic has become the sales funnel of choice for many businesses. Everybody (almost) is in love with social media. Way to go!
The Forgotten Channels
Yet you might attract more customers to your business if you adopted the use of the traditional channels of Earned, Owned and Paid media. (Thanks to Business Wire for the graphic above).
The Internet has spawned a whole new vocabulary. When I was starting out there was advertising and public relations. You paid for advertising and public relations — or publicity — was free (of course, it’s never free because a company has to pay people to generate PR).
Now Owned media is your website and blogs (like this one). Paid media is advertising and marketing, Earned media is public relations, and Social is social networks and audience and employee engagement.
The lines are being further blurred because you can pay to advertise on the major social networks and paid media is now featuring what’s called native advertising. That is advertising that looks like a regular story in a magazine or newspaper – or earned media.
Native advertising is somewhat controversial because it can be deceptive. A reader thinks a story is editorial when it’s actually paid advertising.
It’s all getting mushed together and can be confusing.
Let’s Get Real
For sure it doesn’t pay to put all your eggs into one social media basket as Facebook Page owners learned to their dismay last month.
As I mentioned in my recent post, Facebook announced that effective January 15th, “Facebook Pages that post promotional creative should expect their organic distribution to fall significantly over time.”
Many business owners had built their entire businesses around their Facebook Pages accounts. Poof, gone.
How about building your business on your Owned media. No social network can take you down. You are in complete control. But how many visitors do you attract to your site every month?
I tried to find an average number of visitors statistic and everything I read said, “It depends.” It depends on the type of business you’re in, what you’re selling, where your business is domiciled.
Having blogged every week for six years, I can attest that it’s heavy lifting to attract visitors to your site and have them stick around for a while. Most bounce off right away. You weren’t what they were looking for.
If you’re promoting your self-published ebook, can you realistically expect to sell enough books from your own website and via social media to earn a living? There is always Amazon where the ebook best sellers there sell for $5 – $7.
Last year, when “Twelve Years a Slave” won the Academy Award for best picture, the HarperCollins ebook by that name made the best seller ebook list at a price of — 99 cents! And that was a best seller that benefited from all the publicity for the movie. How many ebooks at 99 cents would you have to sell to make real money?
What Will Work For You?
This is not to place a damper on your plans for your business. Maybe you’re selling a high-ticket item. You may not need more than a few sales a year. I’m just injecting note of caution to carefully examine the sales funnels that will work for you – in combination with social media.
For example, AdWords Target Locations may be the answer. AdWords location targeting allows your ads to appear in the geographic locations that you choose: countries, areas within a country, a radius around a location, or location groups. For example, you could target high net-worth individuals in New York if they are your targets.
A friend is married to an attorney with a very specialized niche. He pays $100 a month for his ad and gets the majority of his referrals that way.
Then there is Earned media (PR). Remember the Ice Bucket Challenge to benefit the ALS Association? A former Boston College baseball star named Pete Frates, who has this neurological disease, started the Challenge that soon went viral. It also garnered publicity in print and broadcast media and donations poured into the Association.
That promotion didn’t cost a penny – it all started with a simple, but powerful idea that involved celebrities like Mark Zuckerberg who then nominated other celebrities. They all made news for participating.
Direct Response Advertising
Then there is direct response advertising. You wonder why these companies keep sending out “junk mail” that no one reads. Well, they aren’t stupid. If only a small percentage of recipients do open the mail and buy something they make a profit.
I decided to call a list house (found by clicking on a Google Adword) with a hypothetical example of a gardening company that is targeting Nassau County, NY, an affluent suburb of New York City.
Within minutes of my phone call with Jeff, at MediaListQuote.com, he sent me this email:
“I have a gardener demographic in Nassau County, NY. The cost is $100 per thousand with a minimum order size of $410. The bulk-pricing discount takes effect at 20,000 contacts for $1,500.
“All contacts are updated every 30 days and we track these individuals based on their consumer spending habits reported by the credit bureaus.
“Each contact will come with their full name, postal address and a matching email if available for that contact. Lists take 3-4 business days to process after payment is made. The list will come to your email in a Microsoft excel file 3-4 days after payment is made.”
Note that you will get email addresses too, where available. No slaving away to capture one email subscriber at a time for your blog.
According to Jeff, 3-9% of direct mail pieces get a response while email solicitations get a 1-5% response.
It’s usually a good idea to have product that is somewhat unique to sell so I looked up gardening tools. On one site I discovered that the Royal Dutch Hoe by Sneeboer, made in Holland, is sold out. I’m assuming it’s a popular gardening tool. It retails for $84.30 so there seems to be room for a nice profit, after your all-in costs. Suppose those costs are 50% of your selling price.
If you mailed out 20,000 pieces, and got an average response rate of 5%, that’s 1,000 responses x $42.15 – or $4,215 in profit. These are back-of-the-envelope calculations. But I’m using this example to make a point.
Social media is just one piece of the marketing mix. It isn’t a silver bullet that will make you rich overnight. Let’s not forget there are other ways to reach your targets that have been tested over many years. Why not try them to see if they work for you, too?