Across industries, there are a lot of articles that suggest sales is dead. The argument is that web provides a content rich platform for buyers to “self-sell” and there is no longer a need for a salesperson to drive awareness, shape and develop needs and craft tailored solutions. Some studies found that 70-80+% of a decision is made on the web and through trusted networks before a person ever engages a sales person. The sales rep’s role is reduced to order taking at the end of a self-sell cycle.
This is the time of year for lists – holiday shopping, family dinners – why not add on one more: Getting started with your 2010 new media marketing agenda!
During 2009, you likely learned about the potential role of social media in your marketing plan. You recognize how the explosive growth of social networking – with tools like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Viddler, BlogTalkRadio, and YouTube – is fundamentally changing the way your clients learn, evaluate and ultimately make their decisions. You recognize that these web 2.0 tools are an increasingly important influence in the buy-sell process. Buyers seek evidence online to validate decisions and get instant feedback from others by listening and participating in the online conversations.
We work with leading wealth managers and financial advisors who recognize that their clients are using social media and the web to help them evaluate an advisor. The content and professional credentials visible online are an increasingly important part of their decision process. Successful advisors use their online presence to drive new business. They use blogs, Facebook Groups / Fan Pages and Twitter to engage in the online conversation increasing referrals and attracting new clients.
However, new media marketing is not a panacea. Your online presence and activity won’t replace your existing relationship building activities and the quality work you perform with clients. Your approach to new media marketing should be authentic – engaging in meaningful activities around the quality of your work and personal relationships. Tackled the right way, a new media marketing approach will further accelerate your growth.
But where do you begin? Which networks should you join? How do you build an online presence? How do you avoid introducing risk with your current brand? What is involved in using social media and inbound marketing techniques day-to-day? To help you get started, we developed the following checklist. This ten-step plan will guide you in taking positive steps forward in your new media marketing plan. With a thoughtful approach and a committed strategy, you will be rewarded with professional online presence and accelerated growth.
10 Steps to Get Started with New Media Marketing
- Define your purpose. Determine in advance why you are engaging in new media. Is it for educational purposes or to market your business? If you don’t have clear intentions, how can you expect to have clear results?
- Find your target market. Join the social networking sites which are comprised of your target niche market. Remember that the most popular social networking sites might not be the sites where your ideal clients visit. Go to where your potential clients are and don’t just spend time with your peers.
- Craft your message. Your audience will only hear bits of pieces of your message at a time, so it is critical that you consistently and frequently broadcast a clear message about who you serve and what you offer. Don’t make your audience guess what you do, make it clear to them.
- Gather and create content. Content is king in new media marketing. Demonstrate your expertise by educating your audience through blogs, articles, videos, or podcasts. Gather or create useful content to aid you in your new media marketing efforts.
- Build your web presence & social media profiles. As you build out your profiles, you will be building a web presence that will give you a footprint beyond your website. This presence will increase your exposure to potential new clients. As you decide to participate in LinkedIn, Facebook, or other networking sites, it is important that you complete your profiles. A person is likely to only visit your profile once, so make a lasting first impression.
- Build your network. The more people you connect with on social networking sites, the more people will see your message. Make a conscious effort to continually build your connections on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter and other networks you are targeting.
- Promote your profiles and cross connect. Let people know you are on the various social networking sites by promoting links on your website and email signature. This will help you organically grow your network. The more sites where you connect with someone, the stronger your relationship will become. Where it makes sense, find and connect with contacts across multiple social media sites.
- Build an inbound strategy. Craft a strategy for your own website and your email/newsletter marketing programs. It is important that when potential new relationships click back to your website that they experience your brand in the right way. Ensure your website is professional and visually branded for your target audience and includes interactive web features like RSS and social bookmarking. Search engine optimization (SEO), landing page lead capture, and lead nurturing should be part of your website strategy.
- Communicate Persuasively. Ensure your messages are sharp and clear. Are you delivering a persuasive message? Is your logic clear and concise? Are you listening and empathetic to client needs?
- Actively engage. Use social networking sites and your website as a way to promote your content to your targeted market. This helps educate your audience and keeps your name top-of-mind. Social media is the same as any networking or marketing strategy – the more consistent you are, the better the results. Actively participate in the various social networking sites on a weekly basis to achieve the greatest results.
About Kristen Luke
Kristen Luke is the Principal of Wealth Management Marketing, a firm dedicated to providing marketing strategies and support for financial advisors. Kristen works with independent advisors to develop effective marketing plans and provides the back office support required to implement the strategies. For more information, visit www.wealthmanagementmarketing.net.
About John Stone III
John leads Revenue Architects and provides consulting, general management, education and solution services focused on profitable revenue models and integrating sales, marketing and technology systems. Clients include Putnam Investments, Natixis Global Asset Management, Charles Schwab, and HighMark Funds. For more information visit revenuearchitects.com.