Tuesday, October 4, 2011

How to Maximize and Monetize Your Friends, Followers, Fans & Customers

Precision Marketing ezine issue 10/04/11

Today's issue features some useful and practical excerpts from my new, best-selling book, Content Is Cash: Find out how to convert your 'Triple F's' to help grow your business as well as discover what to do to 'know your list' better. Also, learn the trick to getting high-performing, lost cost print ads and how to understand the customer life cycle for maximum results to your bottom line.

Yours for success and profits,
Wendy Montes de Oca, MBA
~President, Precision Marketing and Media, LLC.
~Publisher, Precision Marketing eNewsletter
~Author, Content Is Cash: Leveraging Great Content and the Web for Increased Traffic, Sales, Leads and Buzz [Que Publishing, 2011, Paperback]
~Blogger, MuscleMarketing.Blogspot.com


Quick Power Tip: How To Get A Cost Effective Print Ad

This channel often gets a raw deal. One reason is because it's typically a costly platform.

To place an ad in a high-circulation magazine or newspaper, you could shell out serious money. But you don't need a big budget to take advantage of print ads. If you don't have deep pockets, consider highly targeted newspapers and periodicals in specific geographic locations.

For example, let's say you're selling an investment product or service. Before taking out a print ad in a large scale magazine or publication, such as Forbes, Money, Wall Street Journal, or similar, begin your search on the Web.

This is something I've done many times before and it not only worked wonderfully, but it brought in highly qualified leads. The following is an example for a specific niche. Your search queires may be different, but this gives you a solid idea how to approach this task.

First: Search the Internet by a targeted query albeit niche, geographic location or similar. In my case, I searched for the wealthiest cities in America.

Second: Several lists came up. I picked the top 20 and then did a second search for local newspapers within those communities (cities). These smaller newspapers hit my target audience (wealthiest cities) and had a decent circulation size. Even better, because these were local papers, the ad rates were much than some of the larger, broad-circulation publications. Bottom line - you end up getting quality rather than quantity.

Third: Email each paper asking for print ad rates, paid and free circulation, ad size and location. Put all your information into a spreadsheet then send your ad to the top 5 papers based on price and coverage.

I once paid for an ad in a local newspaper in Aspen, CO and Rancho Cucamonga, CA - two highly affluent areas - each with flat rates of less than $500. Both ads brought in tens of thousands of dollars in client revenues. My ROI turned out to be much more than 1,000%. This is a great, cost-effective way to drill down to your target audience, test out new creatives, and save money all while you're getting your feet wet with print ads.

Converting Your Triple F's: Friends, Followers and Fans

I recommend that you make a special conversion effort to encourage social media followers to give you their email addresses with you (as mentioned in my last issue, having an email address opens up the line of direct communication and list building) -or, as we say, opt in to receive your marketing messages. This typically involves creating strong promotional copy, which is sliced and diced and then used for social media posts and updates.

This promotional copy drives followers to a lead-generation landing page (or squeeze page), where the goal is to capture the email address of the friend, follower, or fan.
The offer should be something that will resonate with your follower, such as a useful freebie-perhaps a bonus report, e-zine subscription, audio download, bonus video, webinar, or teleseminar.

Ideally, this is something that has a perceived value and is immediate and relevant.
You run the campaign for a two-week period at a time, mixing your conversion messages with your regular, organic daily tweets or Facebook status updates. Then you monitor email sign-ups and website traffic (via Google Analytics), to ensure list growth and traffic source referrals. Aside from captivating copy, many variables come into play to make sure the effort is successful.

These include making sure email collection boxes are at the top, middle, and bottom of the lead-generation landing page being used. There should also be links to your privacy policy and an assurance statement alleviating any concern about email addresses being rented or sold to third parties.

It's also critical to clearly disclose before users submit their email address that opting in to receive your freebie also gives them a complimentary subscription to your e-newsletter (if applicable), along with special messages and offers from time-to-time.

Finally, you should follow up with a series of autoresponder (targeted messages) emails welcoming the new subscriber, offering strong editorial content and special offers. These emails facilitate bonding; validates that the correct email was given; ensures that the user is aware of the sign-up; and helps reduce false "do not mail" reports, email bounces, and general attrition.

Maximize Your Customer Life Cycle For Better Life Time Value (LTV) and Conversions

One of the most profound business books I ever read was Permission Marketing by Seth Godin.
The ideas in the book were very innovative at the time. The Internet and e-mail marketing were still young, and, like the Wild Wild West, most marketers and business owners were still trying to "wrangle it in" and figure out how to leverage the Web's possibilities... and, more important, turn those possibilities into profits.

In a nutshell, the book explained "how to turn strangers into friends and friends into customers." The principle behind this is to first understand the difference between cold (or interruption) marketing - like those annoying phone calls you always seem to get during dinner asking you to subscribe to the local newspaper... and permission marketing - where the prospect is actually giving you permission to contact them by "opting in" to receive your messages.

To help you get the most out of your Internet marketing, I have expanded on Mr. Godin's "stranger/friend/customer" concept and added two key components: multi-buyer and advocate. And I'll show you how you can leverage each of these segments to help grow your business.

Leveraging Your Customers Throughout Their Entire Life Cycle
You may think that a customer is someone who buys from you - period. But that's a very limited view. From the instant you "meet" your customer... until he's become a VIP buyer who's spent hundreds or thousands of dollars with your company... you should be interacting with him in different ways. Treating him properly every step of the way will create a true win/win situation. Your customer will continue to enjoy satisfying experiences with your company, and your company will enjoy the positive effect this relationship will have on its bottom line.

Here are the five stages a customer can go through during his life cycle, and how you can make the most of each one...

Stage 1: Stranger
The stranger or "prospect" doesn't know you. Your job is to get her attention. You have only a few seconds to get her to react - whether it's by asking her to click on your ad or open your e-mail message. Which means that your copy for the ad headline or e-mail subject line is critical.

Once you've captured her attention, your #1 goal is to have this stranger "opt in" to receive your messages, giving you a chance to continue to bond with her. This is also the time to start to build trust. Show your creditability. And explain what you can do for her (fill a desire, answer a need).

Stage 2: Friend
The friend has demonstrated an interest in your initial promotion and has opted in to receive more information from you. This gives you an outstanding opportunity to introduce him to your philosophy, your company, and your mission, and to re-enforce how you can help him.

During this stage, it's best to send a series of introduction e-mails (anywhere from 5 to 7) and withhold your new friends from your general mailing list. You don't want them (the newest names on your list) to start receiving promotional messages BEFORE they receive some of your editorial messages.

For most of my clients, I recommend sending introductory e-mails to new subscribers. Each e-mail is a special issue that's composed of articles that present the publication/gurus core philosophies. This gives new subscribers a chance to "warm up" to expert contributors, the format of the enewsletter, and the topics typically addressed. Only after they are warmed up do they go into 'general population' - that is, I start sending them editorial and promotional emails as usual.

Stage 3: Customer/Client
The customer (or client) is someone who has bought into your philosophy and purchased a product (or service) from you.

Many companies make the mistake of ending the customer relationship at this point. But after reading this article, you'll know better... you'll know that getting the customer is only the beginning. Keeping him is another story.

You don't want to put all your eggs into one acquisition basket while having few or no retention efforts. Good retention strategies entail ongoing communication (both promotional and editorial), outstanding customer service, quality products, and fulfilling your promises. Of course there will always be things outside of your control (like losing customers to market conditions). But the idea is to be proactive and not reactive. Keep the "80/20 rule" in mind - which states that 80 percent of your sales come from 20 percent of your customers.

Stage 4: Multi-Buyer
The multi-buyer is a customer who is tied into your brand and demonstrates product loyalty with your company. Multi-buyers have purchased several products from you, and are not afraid to spend money. These folks are your best list to roll out new products to or test higher price points. If you are thinking about creating a "VIP" or "Lifetime" product, you're going to want to advertise to this list. Multi-buyers will have a high lifetime value (LTV) for you, and will likely purchase cross-channel. In other words, they will buy from you no matter how you contact them - whether via banner ads, e-mail marketing, direct mail, or telemarketing.

Stage 5: Advocate
This segment of your customer database is your holy grail. Your list of advocates is made up of the most satisfied and loyal of your customers - and contains your best "unpaid" employees. Advocates will do your advertising for you by telling friends, family, colleagues, and acquaintances about your products and services. And in today's Net-based environment, advocates are a major force in getting your name in the blogosphere and social communities... and spreading your marketing message virally.

So how do you create advocates? Well, advocates are not created, they're cultivated over time. The advocate must, of course, believe in your products and services. But for this special group, the customer experience goes deeper... to an emotional level. The advocate feels personally touched by your service, product, or guru. Because of you, her life is changed - and she's busting at the seams to help others as she has been helped.

Your advocates are people you want testimonials from. People you can invite to be in BETA test or focus groups. And people to get feedback from to help develop future products. Even better, this group can help you make more money in the future. For my clients, some of the best JV (joint venture) partnerships have been with advocates - people who understand the core values, respect the business, and have a company or product that is synergistic to my clients.

You want to treat these folks like the VIPs they are and invite them to special events or let them be the first to receive discounted offers. You may even consider creating affiliate marketing or referral programs to "formalize" this group's verbal recommendations.

Always keep in mind that the effort does not stop at the sale. Since it costs more to obtain new leads than to retain existing customers - now, more than ever - you have to know how to optimize the five stages of the customer life cycle.

Know Your List!

The most important rule in publishing is to know your list, your audience, or your subscribers. Knowing your current readers (customers) also helps you find new, targeted prospects.

If you haven't done so, I strongly recommend that you conduct at least one subscriber
survey per year (most of my clients conduct two per year-one at the midpoint and one at the end of the year).

This survey should include demographic, geographic, and physiographic questions. Find out who your subscribers are, what other newsletters they're reading, what their interests are, and things they like and dislike.

The more you know about your audience, the easier it will be for you to write useful and relevant information. Knowing who makes up your list and gearing specific content for your audience will get your articles read and passed around to likeminded readers.

You can use the data in your survey to create a subscriber profile both editorial and marketing staff with critical information about who an ideal subscriber is. If you understand your ideal subscriber, you'll understand your target prospect.

This information is invaluable for acquisition and retention efforts, so make it readily available to key staff members for easy reference. It's a constant reminder of who you're writing for and who you'd like to add to your database. In addition to its editorial and marketing uses, this information can help with media buying, joint venture opportunities, and creative and product development.

'Content Is Cash': #1 Web Marketing Best-Seller on Amazon

September 26 was a memorable day for me as an author. Content Is Cash hit #1 best-seller on Amazon for Internet marketing with it's Kindle version and simultaneously hit #4 in the same category for the paperback version.

In addition, the book was ranked 1,806 out of over 8,000,000 books on Amazon as well as #13 best-seller in the broad 'Business and Culture' category.

I was nearly doing back flips when I saw the stats in Amazon's Author Central area and even took a screen shot for posterity and posted it to my Facebook page.

It means so much to me that the public has embraced the book and it's resonated with so many marketers, entrepreneurs and business owners. Consumer reviews have been simply amazing.

No doubt the pre-launch buzz from industry legends such as Michael Masterson, Bob Bly, Martin Weiss, MaryEllen Tribby, and many others who have all praised the book helped set the tone.

And on top of that, the book was also featured by Newsmax.com, Amazon.com, and Target Marketing magazine as recommended reading for business and marketing enthusiasts.

If you're looking to grow your business using FREE, proven and high-performing organic marketing methods, then you gotta check this book out. Amazon has several chapters online to peruse.

The SONAR Content Distribution Model featured in Content Is Cash will work for virtually any size company, in any niche and with any budget.

The book is available on Kindle and Paperback at Amazon.com, read more at http://www.amazon.com/Content-Cash-Leveraging-Increased-Biz-Tech/dp/0789741083

The book is also available in ebook and special bundle packages by the Publisher, read more at http://www.quepublishing.com/store/product.aspx?isbn=0789741083.

Happy reading!
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