They are lists of course! lists of people who in some way have connected with you and are probably comfortable to receive correspondence from you or your business. Herein lies the secret then behind why we should bother at all to seek people out, follow and be followed. List building… and the good news is that it can be quite good fun too!
Now in our business we have 5 main products offerings… some of these products have an overlapping potential audience, others do not. It may be necessary therefore to have multiple accounts for Twitter and / or a separate talentedhairstudio Facebook page for the different audience. Already you can see that if we are to manage, maintain and post for each product on a regular basis (desirable) then this is a substantial amount of work.
One of the difficulties that some of my colleagues have with building a large list of friends or followers is, ‘How can you possibly keep in touch with all these people?, I struggle to stay in touch with my immediate relatives’ and for sure, personally corresponding with 60,000 people is not viable… but this is not the point.
These social sites represent a massive network of interconnected people, you are not necessarily communicating on a 1-2-1 basis (although you can do this) but rather are broadcasting what you want to say to everyone who is connected and often to their immediate connections as well!! Suddenly we have the ability to get a message to a very large audience with a single post.
Now… most people certainly with Twitter won’t see your post, and a good many won’t in Facebook or Linked-In either, however this is not an issue. It is not our problem to worry about who will see our posting or not, that is not our responsibility and we should avoid getting attached to the outcome. Our role is to provide the information (post), that is it… Now there is a magic number in marketing and sales this is 3%. This little number is very important. It is the recognised average response rate in a cold market… sometimes it can be more, often less. If we sent out 1000 mailshots then it would be acceptable to set a benchmark of 30 as the number of positive responses. This is about the same % that I have experienced in responses to click-through’s on Tweets and Facebook postings. Taking these numbers if we tweeted with a follower list of 30,000 then we could expect around 900 visits. We have absolutely no idea which ones will click the link… or tell a friend or retweet, however the figures can be quite staggering… Imagine if you worked with other ‘Big List’ owners and offered a percentage to tweet to their lists… and you did this 3 times per day… the number of visits could become very large indeed.
The lists provide us with a ‘potential market’ for our products and the purpose of this article is not to go into the detailed techniques for building lists, only that it should be very high up on the list of priorities. So how much time, money and effort should be put into this exercise?
The answer to this question depends on the nature of a business, the ideal customer profile and many other factors, clearly a restaurant has a different set of requirements to someone selling a digital product (such as an ebook) globally. The first thing is to decide an Internet Marketing strategy which is complimentary to the business, once this is defined then the activities required become much clearer.
Once the basic Architecture of the marketing is defined then comes the work and the Investment. If I look at our business as an example, we have invested in three key areas, Colateral, People and services. Lets look at what is involved in each of these -:
We have 5 blogs, 6 websites (some complex, some a single page), 7 Twitter accounts, Facebook (4 Business Pages), Linked-In, Ecademy, Hub Pages, StumbleUpon, Squidoo and other online social networking accounts, all these had to be set up, populated, and now managed on an ongoing basis. This is not something which can be done in 20 minutes per day. We have to work all of these resources on a regular basis to keep ourselves in the ‘Public eye’.
We have invested in 1 full time person, plus both myself and another member of staff allocate 3 or 4 hours per day to Internet Marketing activities. Firstly staff require training to use the tools that enable us to work our internet marketing, including analyze results. These resources manage our social networking sites, engage with our contacts frequently, update profiles as things change and post new content constantly. This cost alone is over $3000 per calendar month, developing and building our online presence.
We utilise a number of ‘helper’ services which are online and rented monthly, these include subscriptions to some Business Networks, Shopping cart and checkout services, Databases that contain sign-ups for ezines and regular communication, Membership platforms, Blogging services and many many more. None of these services are hugely expensive month on month but vital to continue our Online Marketing activities.