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Archive for August, 2012

Online Marketing Campaigns: Have a Target

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

A common mistake in online marketing is not having a clear client target for individual campaigns.  The thinking behind it is usually,  “cast a wider net to have more opportunities to catch something.”  The problem is there are a lot of nets in the water, so the people that know how to catch a particular fish stand a much better chance of landing them.  Every online campaign should be built around attracting a particular target.

The first step in making a target is the overview.  Consultants, trainers, and professional coaches usually focus on executives or business professionals of a certain job role.  Let’s use sales training as an example.  The overall target could be sales professionals, sales managers, customer service professionals, business owners, and service professionals.  This is the businesses target focus but not specific enough for a single online campaign.

The second step is picking out a subsection of your target market that is suitable for your call to action.  Let’s use sales managers from the example above.  If a manager event is coming up then the campaign should be built around problems that a manager faces.  Topics of making prospecting calls or dealing with budgets will have less impact than building a sales team and sales debriefing because these are topics that sales managers directly deal with. 

The third step is identifying group subsets.  The event might be centered on managing a sales team in a particular industry.  If this is the case then targets should be related to that industry with a certain size sales force.

The point is that every online campaign should have a very clear target.  Ideally communications via email will be segmented to that group.  For web and social media communications, (or in cases where email segmentation isn’t possible) communications should clearly define who the offer is for.  This casts a smaller net by eliminating poorly suited people but adds credibility to the message for the target group.  A side benefit is that people outside the target group can quickly see it’s not suited to them and are more likely to take notice when they fall into a target segment for a future campaign.

There’s nothing complicated about defining a target.  It’s simply a matter of taking some extra time to focus the campaign and having the guts to let people know who is and is not a good fit for the offer.

Social Media Automation: Pro or Con?

Wednesday, August 8th, 2012

At its best social media is an interactive tool for businesses to engage their clients and prospects in meaningful interaction.  At its worst is regurgitated content filling a stream of SPAM.  It would seem that automating social media would lean toward the latter rather than the former, right?  It doesn’t have to be that way.  Setting automation for business social media is often the only practical way to ensure that social media channels are providing valuable content.

Automation is vital for many businesses because it’s often a time suck.  Trainers, professional coaches, and consultants especially don’t have blocks of time to dedicate to social media.  Many anti-automation proponents for social media claim to have the 10-minute a day solution.  The fact is without automation, 10 minutes becomes 30 which becomes 60 and so on.  Furthermore some small businesses don’t even have the 10 minutes to dedicate.

That’s why a dedicated social media automation program is vital.  It let’s businesses use singular content across several channels.  When done well, it’s better for the user as well. The information is available across the board so they can access it in a manner they like.

So where’s the down side?  The down side is that many people abuse automation.  They regurgitate information or seed their profile with anything, whether it has to do with their stated topic or not.  This is a waste of time as it requires audiences to sift through loads of information to find what they want.  People simply will not put that much work into a social media presence.

I recently had a person claim that they ignore all automated social media posts.  He only read what was targeted to him.  I don’t buy that for a minute.  Imagine screening the internet for what was only targeted to you.  Your email, a few personal social media posts, and websites of interest would be all that’s left.  People simply don’t do that.  When a question or problem arises, people venture out to learn solutions.  If they find your social media content and it offers valuable insights, they won’t care whether it’s automated or not.

The goal is to ensure that your social media automation isn’t robotic.  Automate recurring messages but be sure to intermix personal notes.  Also respond to comments or feedback.  If people want to interact on your social media channels you should be able to oblige.

Automating original content geared toward your target audience is vital to keeping business social media campaigns consistently providing value to drive business because doing it manually just isn’t practical.