In case you’re keeping track, this is post 4 in our series on Social Media Marketing Success. Today, we’ll talk about converting traffic through list management as a way of creating social media marketing success. Problogger posted great advice on how to use your list to generate social media marketing success, so today, I’ll focus on creating the list.
A Roadmap to Social Media Marketing Success
8 Ways to Build Your List
Ever since the invention of the modern postal service, a company’s mailing list has been one of its most valuable assets. Back in the early days of working with AT&T direct marketing mobile phones (which required mounting in your car), we respected the value of our list because we knew every time we went to the list with a new offer, 30% of the list would buy. Certainly, not every list performs this well, but your list is still valuable and carefully guarded. So, where did the names on the list come from? Here are a few sources we used at AT&T along with some more modern alternatives since the advent of the Internet and social media:
- Traditional advertising. Prospects clipped coupons out of newspapers and sent them in to receive more information about the phones. Alternatively, they sent back BRCs (business reply cards) bound into magazines requesting information. Even radio and TV helped create the list, as promotions suggested calling into our center for more information. Of course, all these advertisements were coded so we know exactly where responses were coming from and could improve our success over time.
- Promotional events. Periodically, AT&T would set up at trade shows and collect business cards in a fish bowl — usually in exchange for a chance to win a prize. Again, list additions were coded so we knew what trade shows performed best.
- Customer lists. We’d add contact information from businesses (individuals didn’t really buy phones back then when it cost over $1000 just for the installation) matching certain criteria, such as industry and profitability.
- Purchased lists. AT&T would buy lists containing contact information for folks matching our criteria. Lists are available through list brokers and are gleaned from magazine subscriptions, public information, association membership lists, etc.
- Unsolicited contacts. Sometimes people just called in for more information. Maybe they heard about it from a friend or just saw someone using a phone and wanted more information.
- Website. Today, your website is a valuable tool for generating lists. Forms encourage visitors to subscribe to a newsletter or offer incentives like contests in exchange for contact information.
- Registrations for free products or information such as ebooks, software, apps, and tools. This is a great way to gather mailing list entries and can be incorporated in your Facebook fanpage or other social networks.
- Refer a friend. Gathering mailing list information by getting folks to suggest friends is also a great way to build your mailing list. This works especially well if folks have an incentive to turn over their friends. For instance, Dropbox gives me extra storage space if I get my friends to sign up. Working towards a social cause also works for encouraging folks to give you their friends’ email addresses.
Here are some tricks for getting more list subscribers. Some sound very obvious, but you’d be surprised how many mistakes I see.
- Make sure your subscription form is obvious — don’t make folks hunt it down. Online, that means your subscription form should be above the fold so it shows up without scrolling around the site. In both online and print, put your subscription form in multiple places. Make the color stand out. Surround it with white space to help is stand out. Point readers to the form, much like Facebook pages commonly use a large red arrow pointing to the LIKE button. Make your form visible, but don’t make it annoying.
- Ask people to sign up, don’t just assume they will. Put in a compelling call to action. Highlight the benefit of signing up.
- Encourage folks you meet at networking events to sign up for your newsletter. If you’re the speaker, it’s fine to have them sign up at the event.
- Keep your list current by updating and deleting undeliverables.
- Don’t use the list for anything other than the purpose stated when folks signed up.
- Don’t sell your list — it quickly looses value if others are also hitting the list.
- Don’t be unethical by approaching folks on your list with products your wouldn’t use yourself.
- Don’t overuse the list or folks will stop opening your letters and emails.
Final Thoughts on Social Media Marketing Success Through Lists
I’m working to build up my list and encourage you to sign up for my newsletter. I promise not to spam you and I rarely try to sell you anything. I just want you to be a social media marketing success story. Please share your adventures on this journey and I’ll include them in future newsletter updates.