Blogging, tweeting, posting to Facebook and making connections on LinkedIn are effective ways to build a brand and a loyal following. But how can those efforts generate revenue? Here are five ways:
Understand your sales process. Which marketing channels are contributing leads to your sales tunnel? What is the follow-up process, and how long does it take to get the booking?
It’s likely that social media leads will behave differently from other types of marketing because social media efforts usually reach prospects earlier in the sales process. And getting prospects’ attention early gives you an advantage above the competition. It also provides more opportunities for the prospect to take action because it extends your sales tunnel with three additional levels — exposure, influence, and engagement —which build brand awareness and increase the chances of gaining business.
Make it easy for prospects to book with you. Make sure visitors to your website and social media pages can find your online reservations function right away. Your Facebook page should have your website in the “About” section and you can even embed your website’s online reservations page through the use of a Facebook page app (search Facebook for “iFrame apps” for a free and easy tool to do this).
The same advice applies to blogs. Make sure your blog has multiple conversion points, or links to your reservations page, so that prospects can book with you instantly after reading your post. An example would be a blog post promoting tips for booking their prom vehicles, followed by a link that says something like, “Book your safe and reliable prom limo instantly through our online reservation function.”
Create openings for soft leads. A soft lead is someone willing to give you their email address in exchange for access to content they find valuable and relevant. They may not be ready to book with you at the moment, but they’ve found you because they’re interested in what you’re offering. By adding their emails to your subscriber list, you will be open up more opportunities to convert these leads into solid bookings through e-mail campaigns.
Make sure your website, blog and Facebook page have sign-up boxes for prospects to enter their email address to subscribe to your e-blasts. How to encourage this? Provide them with a free white paper, how-to guide, or some kind of gift when they give you their email address.
Treat social media leads differently than traditional leads. Since social media leads enter the sales tunnel at an earlier stage in the buying process, you have to adjust your e-campaigns to provide value and content to help solidify your company as an authority, build prospect trust, and drive the decision-making process.
Having a Frequently Asked Questions page, for example, is helpful in educating prospects about your service. You could even create multiple blog posts on individual or groups of frequently asked questions. Pre-emptively addressing your prospects’ concerns will demonstrate your thought leadership in helping them to make a decision.
Measure results. Google Analytics makes it easy for you to track not just your website traffic but also the sources of that traffic, meaning you can tell which social media outlets and links are the most effective at driving traffic to your website.
The beauty of social media campaigns is that they can be monitored and adjusted in real-time to maximize efficacy, which isn’t really possible with traditional marketing.
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— Michael Campos, LCT associate editor
| posted on Wednesday, April 25, 2012 10:52 AM