In October I wrote a piece for my blog on amino.dk – that was wildly popular. So I decided to translate it into english and post it here as well – enjoy =)
I have made an ally with an advisor in my business Toothless Tiger
(she’s cool, she rocks and she’s called Mercedes), and I have found out that it might have been her that was the business backbone of Toothless Tiger instead of me. That’s just not an option, because I had to be a large part of the business backbone myself.
She has however, been a lot of value. Kicked my sweet behind and inspired thoughts about my business, and that’s just super cool.
She had me define my sales funnel, something I haven’t been using a lot since I left business school. I know it’s really important, but it’s just not something I have prioritized a lot. â€¨Now a sales funnel is an interesting tool – especially for me if you do a funnel based on social web – which is my god given metier. When I look at a sales funnel as a model, I see it as a model that’s both really good at defining where you are in your sales process, but ALSO a tool that’s really important if you want to get people closer to your company (warning: social media rant alert =))
(This sales funnel I have borrowed from http://www.getentrepreneurial.com)
Well, what should we use the sales funnel for on social media then? We should use it to get “top of mind” when people need a person in your EXACT field.
Let’s walk through it and start “above the red field” on the model. That’s where you’ll find twitter. Twitter is a promised land to make new contacts (and eventually get new leads). You just need to make it strategically targeted (a good way to start out is to find 5, 10 or 20 people that you really need in your future network, and after that you put aside 1 minute a day to talk to each one of them), no sales-pitchy bullshit; just genuine human conversation.
Between the red and the yellow field is facebook. Facebook is for people who are interested in you, and you want to hear from as a continous part of your network. I see facebook as a bit closer to you than twitter, because people also get access to other information about you (pics, more info), to me, facebook is more about a universe for your current social network, where twitter links to a more “formal” part of you – your webpage or someplace else where there’s a part of you that you want to sell =)
Where it get’s really interesting business wise, is at the beginning of the yellow area: where the newsletter and the blog lies. The newsletter and email are generally fantastic ways to convert social media into something closer to a sale.
So how do you get people from twitter and facebook over on your newsletter or your blog?
1. You ask them 1 after 1 in a context where the initiative is on them. If there’s someone on twitter asking a question about something and you know something about it, then it’s really ok for you to write the answer to them, and then afterwards write “I write a lot about that in my newsletter, would you like to receive it?”. It’s a pretty resource-demanding thing to start out on.
2. Create flagship content (as Chris Garrett would put it). An eBook, a guide, a how to. Something that isn’t available for everyone unless they “pay” for it, either with cash or with an email signup or something. If you want to receive Chris’ eBook about flagship content, you have to sign up to his rss feed on his blog, and in the bottom of the blogposts in the feed you’ll receive a secret link so you can download it. In Denmark I would change the RSS feed subscription with a newsletter subscription, because even though RSS is on it’s way up here, then there’s a lot of people that don’t know what it is – yet.
You get people to download the eBook by writing out about it a couple of times a day in different settings, where you will either generate more content about it (blogpost, video or something else) or take the quotes or comments about it. It shouldn’t look like a sales pitch, because basically people hate to be told what to do (also in a social media context). What you can do is to become active with other things than your own stuff and messages on facebook and twitter. I would say that you need to be 5 times as active in other places/in other conversations as you post things yourself.
Ok, we need to get to the green part of the sales funnel, and we do that through the newsletter (by writing great valuable newsletters, together with good offers – we do that on a weekly basis). When people have recieved the newsletter over time, it would be ok to add them on facebook or twitter or throw them an email and get people into a CRM system where the contact is closer.
Keep constant contact (in most CRM systems they can tell you who you haven’t talked to in a while). You can also add some keywords to contacts in a CRM system. Then, once in a while you go through it all and add tags to those who are potential clients and those who are close to becoming clients (now we are in the beginning of the blue area of the salesfunnel).
At that point the relation is nurtured to the point of knowing what color people like to wear, and they invite you for family birthdays (just kidding).
No honestly, it doesn’t need to be that close, but you could easily write them and ask if they would consider buying your stuff, and they can always answer no. And ta-da! – people from the internet converted into potential clients.