My message is typically related to face-to-face (f2f) marketing. This does not mean that I am not a proponent of social media or online marketing. On the contrary I simply want to remind people not to “throw the baby out with the bath water”. That is to say let’s not abandon a useful tactic because we have a new tactic to employ. Your online marketing and offline marketing tactics should compliment and reinforce one another.
I recently attended a webinar presented by Ben Straley CEO of Meteor Solutions sponsored by WOMMA (Word of Mouth Marketing Association). Mr. Straley covered a lot of interesting information regarding analytics related to social media. Here is an observation he made about twitter clickthroughs that seems counterintuitive on the surface but makes sense as you pause to consider it. He remarked that as your twitter following increases you can expect to see your twitter clickthrough rate decrease. He explained that in the beginning your list of twitterers will likely be people who already know you or have some previous relationship with you. They will probably be following your tweets more closely and will be more apt to clickthrough to your site or your extended message. As your following grows it includes people who are not as devoted to your message, do not follow your tweets as carefully and are less apt to clickthrough. As a result the ratio of clicks to followers drops as a percentage. Mr. Straley reports the good news is that this process typically bottoms out at a rate of 5-10 percent which is still an envious clickthrough rate compared to other channels.
Ben Straley also cited a study by Razorfish that concluded “visits from shared links can convert up to 4x more than paid media.” This means that when an individual is personally referred to a website from someone he knows or trusts he is more likely to purchase or take action on the offering presented. This reinforces what we already know about offline marketing. Referrals are important whether online or offline you need to encourage your network to advocate for your product or service.
Lastly Mr. Straley shared these conclusions in a study done by his company Meteor Solutions and presented in October 2009 that found of the online channels examined Emails and IM were the most effective in stimulating referrals with a 25% share. This was followed by blogs at about 18% then video accounting for about 13% of earned referrals. Interesting social media was in the area of 8% share of the results in this study. This says to me that social media is not yet king. Though it is useful and perhaps the shiniest tool in the box it is not time to discard your tried and true marketing tactics. Whenever a new medium appears we must be vigilant to adjust our marketing mix to accommodate the new arrival but be careful not to be seduced by its newness.
The take away message as this information applies to my marketing interests is first to consider that you need both online and offline tactics including face to face networking or simply meeting more people in person. Also video on the web is a big player. Be sure it is in the mix. If you are a local service provider my formula is this: meet people à send them to your website / blog à show them a video à encourage them to tell their friends (use social media here) à Give them opportunities to purchase throughout the cycle. à Repeat.