This post originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com - #Growing Your Business
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The following excerpt is from Dan S. Kennedy and Kim Walsh Phillips’s No B.S. Guide to Direct Response Social Media Marketing, Second Edition. Buy it now from Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound
There are just a few plain and simple direct-marketing rules to follow, and by committing to them, you’ll reap the long-term benefits you desire and develop a long-lasting business foundation.
These basics are skipped by most businesses using Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn as their primary sources of communication. Realize you have choices, and you can make your marketing dollars work harder for you by offering people more than one reason and more than one means of responding to you.
However many channels you market in, there are six basic rules you need to understand in order to succeed. These foundational concepts must be fully comprehended, practiced, managed and enforced.
Related: How to Uncover Hidden Sales
1. There will always be an offer
There’s a popular saying out there that content is king. I would disagree. The sale is king. Without it, you have no market share and no kingdom to rule over. Your social media marketing needs to have an offer, telling your ideal prospects exactly what to do and why they want to do it right now. It should be irresistible and time sensitive, and it should give them some type of transformative value if they take action.
Ideally, it’s a Godfather’s Offer — one that the appropriate prospect or customer can’t refuse.
2. There will be a reason to respond right now
The hidden cost and failure in all advertising and marketing is in the almost-persuaded. They were tempted to respond. They nearly responded. They got right up to the edge of response, but then they set it aside to do later or to mull over or to check out more the next time they were at their computers. When they get to that edge, we must reach across and pull them past it. There must be a good reason for them not to stop short or delay or ponder. There must be urgency.
3. There will be clear instructions
Most people do a reasonably good job of following directions. For the most part, they stop on red and go on green, stand in the lines they’re told to stand in, fill out the forms they’re given to fill out and applaud when the “Applause” sign comes on. Most people are well-conditioned from infancy, in every environment, to do as they are told.
Most marketers’s failures and disappointments result from giving confusing directions — or no directions at all. Confused or uncertain consumers do nothing, and people rarely buy anything of consequence without being asked. Sharing content alone will not bring measurable results from your social media. You must walk your prospect through the steps you want them to take in order to make the sale.
4. There will be tracking and measurement
If you want real profits from your marketing, you’re no longer going to permit any advertising, marketing or selling investments to be made without direct and accurate tracking, measurement and accountability. You’ll be given all sorts of arguments against such a harsh position by media salespeople, by online media champions talking a “new” language of “new metrics,” by staff and peers. You’ll hear terms like “engagement” and “reach” and “virality,” with no data to back up the results. You’ll smile and politely say, “Rubbish.” Each dollar sent out to forage must come back with more and/or must meet predetermined objectives. There will be no freeloaders; there will be no slackers.
5. There will be follow-up
Often, I find business owners with more holes in their bucket than they’ve got bucket. People read your ad, get your letter, see your sign, find you online, call or visit your place of business, ask your receptionist or staff questions, and that’s it. There’s no capture of the prospect’s name, physical address, email address and no offer to immediately send an information package, free report, coupons. This is criminal waste.
I’ve been poor, so I abhor and condemn waste. Just how much waste are you permitting to slop around in your business? Probably a lot. When you invest in advertising and marketing, you don’t just pay for the customers you get. You pay a price for every call, every walk-in. Every one. Doing nothing with one is like flushing money down the toilet.
To be simplistic, if you invest $1,000 in an ad campaign and get 50 phone calls, you bought each call for $20. If you’re going to waste one, take a nice, crisp $20 bill, go into the bathroom, tear the bill into pieces, let the pieces flutter into the toilet and flush. Stand there and watch it go away. If you’re going to do nothing with 30 of those 50 calls, stand there and do it 30 times. Feel it.
You probably won’t like how it feels. Good.
Remember that feeling every time you fail to thoroughly follow up on a lead or with a customer.
6. Results rule
Results rule. Period. Consider the simple agreement: You want your car hand-washed and waxed outside, vacuumed inside, for which you will pay your neighbor’s teen $20. If he doesn’t wash or wax or vacuum the car but wants the $20 anyway, what possible “story” could he offer in place of the result of a clean car that would satisfy you? I would hope none. You didn’t offer to pay for a story. You offered to pay for a clean car. The same is true with advertising and marketing investments in social media. Don’t let anyone confuse, bamboozle or convince you otherwise. Further, no opinions count — not even yours.
Only results matter.