Engaging content drives sales, right? Actually, no, and it’s a dangerous myth.
In reality even the most engaging blogs, YouTube videos, Facebook timelines, or LinkedIn discussions fail to produce leads and sales. Does your business engage customers and create profitless prosperity? In other words, are you creating impressive marketing statistics that don’t ultimately help generate leads and sales? Let’s discover what “it” is that businesses who do create leads and sales using social media know that the rest of us don’t.
Why We’re Failing
Ron Perlstein says it so well when he noted that, “Frequency is the benefit of success, not the key to success.”
In other words, you can increase frequency once you’re generating sales revenue!
Jim Novo (one of the smartest marketing experts I know) says, “I find it really interesting that whenever there is a discussion of measuring the value of social media, thereâ€™s such a bias towards believing there is value in social beyond what can be properly measured.”
Jim and Ron are on to something. Most of us are failing to sell with engaging social campaigns. We’re failing because we’re building content marketing strategies on an outdated foundation. We’re clinging to mass media advertising ideas and values. Meanwhile, those content marketing programs that create leads and sales are exploiting direct response marketing concepts and values.
The Secret to Always Creating Sales
Direct response is the secret sauce, the untold truth that top social sellers realize and act on. It’s how they are making social media sell for them. Engagement alone isn’t enough for them.
After all, why do so many of us pursue getting Liked on Facebook or followed on Twitter? Because of this single idea: getting lots of customers’ attention (reach) over and over (frequency) is enough to earn a sale… somehow, sometime. It’s no surprise since this is how “brand advertising” is conducted. I’m not saying attention doesn’t matter. It does. But it’s not enough to be momentarily memorable, funny, human, or engaging.
Jim Novo says, “Social events such as ‘Likes’ or comments are simply representations or affirmations of awareness already created by other media, so by themselves, create little value. Â In other words, events such as Likes might track the value of other media spending, but may not create much additional marketing value.”
Stopping at earning customers fleeting attention or amusement is a surefire losing strategy for an online campaign. Does this mean that brand marketing or engagement without calls-to-action don’t sell products and services? No. But it does mean that it’s a weak strategy when compared to direct response. The Internet, after all, is interactive and built for direct response!
How to Make the Sale
Today’s best social sellers do not believe for a minute that exposure to engaging content will result in a sale. They have no faith that it will produce a lead. Rather, the content they create solves customers’ problems or vividly demonstrates (proves… think infomercial) compelling experiences relating to their service. They believe in, and execute on, carefully mixing in calls-to-action. They make it irresistible for customers to take specific actions that connect to pre-designed experiences and marketing processes.
The best way to sell on Facebook is to solve customers’ problems (yes, for free) in ways that earn trust and ultimately help them navigate their way toward your paid products and services.
Flip the Paradigm!
Ignore the “experts” preaching aimless engagement. Get focused on purpose: the behavioral outcome of your social campaign. Is there one? If not, make it so or don’t make it at all.
Don’t get sucked into the profitless prosperity black hole! When I speak to audiences, I encourage them to think (and act) in terms of direct response marketing when engaging with social media and content marketing.
Jeff Molander is the authority on making social media sell and corporate trainer to small businesses and global corporations like IBM and Brazilâ€™s energy company, Petrobras. Heâ€™s an accomplished entrepreneur, having co-founded what is today the Google Affiliate Network. Heâ€™s adjunct digital marketing professor at Loyola Universityâ€™s school of business and author of Off the Hook Marketing: How to Make Social Media Sell for You.