Any business or company or professional that wants to approach the online world or wants to develop its presence on the Web, today, must take well into account some fundamental aspects of this industry (Internet Marketing), which should definitely not be overlooked or underestimated.
As the Latins used to say repetita iuvant, so I'd better repeat myself and return to some topics that have already been covered extensively (see this video of mine on the fundamentals of online marketing) and then delve into the key concepts of this new post, which many people miss or don't think about (or pretend not to think about).
Never ever forget the importance of lead generation, i.e., contact acquisition, which of course must be followed up with an effective email marketing strategy, whether it involves sequences of nurturing Than engagement and sales.
The said the money is in the list is still relevant and valid. To think of running any online business without a mailing list is foolish, and no, email marketing is not dead (almost certainly if it were, you wouldn't be reading these lines, right?).
The second aspect that we absolutely must not overlook when making the decision to launch a product or service online is the funnel. From English funnel, indicates the structure, more generally of the web pages, and more specifically of the content (videos, emails, offers), to which we will submit our audience (the leads we have collected on our mailing list), and which they will see as soon as they come into contact with our marketing activity.
Bringing leads on cold bidding is very risky because they do not know us and, mind you-we do not know them! But we will come back to this last statement of mine in a moment.
Going back to the funnel, what should definitely not be overlooked are: ultimate goal and pathway.
The end goal is usually a product (and therefore an offer) to which we take our lead, by the hand, through the planned path made up of lots of content or intermediate offers. This can all take place at higher or lower speeds (steps).
Social Engage and Social Care
Finally, perhaps the absolute most overlooked elements by those venturing into the world of online marketing or considering moving their business online are social engagement and social care.
That social media are the megaphone to attach oneself to in order to spread one's message, one's voice and one's know-how, is a concept that has been more than assimilated (I hope!), it still remains to be cleared that they are not channels on which to sell directly or shamelessly place one's product, insistently and continuously, let alone spasmodically chase the growth of one's followers without a conversion strategy.
However, and there is a rather important though, social needs to become part of the steps in your funnel because it offers something more than email marketing, videos and special offers: social creates relationships.
Establishing and managing effective relationships with your leads will, in my opinion, be the best tactic for any type of online business and in any niche in 2016. With a strong two-way relationship with your audience you will surely achieve amazing results.
WITHOUT SOCIAL ENGAGE: THE PROBLEM
Starting with the most important obstacle standing between a potential customer and his or her conversion into a paying customer is, without a doubt, the initial distrust that anyone may feel when faced with a cold offer (advertising, blog, sharing, email), to which they respond with a dry "NO, I don't care." or worse "NO! But who are you?"
By now we are all bombarded with advertisements, promos, coupons, carousels, and the remarketing gives us no escape, we are chased everywhere as soon as we we touch a product (the technique by which the seller marks our visit with a cookie that will allow him to continue showing us his ads wherever we go, despite the fact that we have left his website).
The result is, in many cases, an aversion to the product itself or the seller, of course with exceptions: extremely convenient offer, seller who enjoys in high authority or strong need for that specific product.
Fortunately, overcoming the obstacle of mistrust is easier than it seems, and by its nature the social tool already offers us the solution, putting it under our noses ever since we decided to exploit it, thanks to its natural predisposition to the engagement.
ENGAGE USERS AND TAKE CARE OF THEM
The user of social channels, unlike when receiving a newsletter or seeing a banner, can have a say and speak directly to the person who published that post. That blinking cursor on hold, or the "reply" link, have entered daily use and it is now spontaneous for anyone who is prompted in the right way to interact with a comment of their own, to participate in the discussion already underway by posting their own reply, and to have their say whatever the intentions, whether it is a comment of approval, disapproval, annoyance or delight.
This brings us to open another topic that, not surprisingly, has spawned the emergence of new, extremely specialized figures that flank (or incorporate) the social media manager, I'm talking about the experts in social care. Their task is to maximize loyalty, dampen argumentative tones, reconcile with disappointed contacts, offer customer care services with fast response times, and increase conversions (sales) through a subtle psychological game that ranges from "what a pleasure to find out how much you like our product." a "thank you for your comment, please know that we took your criticism very seriously and will treasure it to improve."
INSIGHTS AND TOOLS FOR SOCIAL CARE AND SOCIAL ENGAGEMENT
If you want to learn more, I point you to this free ebook by Valentina Vandilli which is really about social care. I think she is the first professional in Italy to have published something about it with a business perspective and zero side chatter.
Going back to the engagement talk, one of the difficulties you have to overcome if you want to manage your brand in relation to your audience, effectively, is time and organization. Fortunately, there is a right tool to solve these problems as well.
If you already know me, you know how attentive I am to new platforms and new tools created ad hoc For professional marketers.
On this occasion it seems appropriate to give you an important tip and point out to you Social Connect.
This cloud platform allows you to add a social connected comments area within your websites or landing pages. Something that until now was only possible by carrying Facebook code, which unfortunately offers no integration with other platforms or marketing tools.
Social Connect, inserted, for example, on your sales page at the end of the funnel or in your e-commerce, allows you to create a real community made up of visitors and potential customers, offering them an area where they can leave commentsand interact directly with you.
Unlike similar tools that already exist, Social Connect integrates with your writer's social profile, captures the commenter's email and puts it into your autoresponder (Getresponse, aWeber, Infusionsoft, ActiveCampaign, etc...) helping you increase your list. By then having a very pleasing graphic that manages to highlight, but discreetly, this section of your page, it incisively and directly prompts people to participate in the discussion.
Social Connect would be great on its own already with the features I just listed, but its real strength probably lies in the centralized control panel. From a single online management page (you don't have to go to every page where it's installed to interact with your contacts) you can access and respond to all the chats you've activated, review the history of all conversations that have taken place with each individual person, and analyze the statistics of your engagement activities.
With Facebook's comment form, this is not possible at all.
Other very interesting functions include the Social login through their Facebook and Twitter profiles, a nice convenience for the user, who can join the conversation without creating any password.
Of course, it doesn't end there, there are many other features that make it a unique and advanced tool, such as different graphical chat templates, the ability to be used in multiple languages, spam control that eliminates unwanted messages automatically, and so on...
The best tactics of 2016: Social Engage and Social Care
These topics, as you may have guessed, are very broad and extremely important, one could talk about them for hours, but already the fact that you become aware that interaction with your contacts is crucial, gives you a great advantage over your competitors who are already in the online marketing arena with the idea of promoting themselves and gaining ever larger market shares.
Being able to overcome the mistrust of those who read us and respond to juxtapositions about the price or quality of what you offer in an elegant, effective, and above all professional way will be one of the best tactics you can use in 2016 to get important results.