Turn Your Online Followers into Paying Customers: 5 Strategies to Turn Likes into Business Revenue.
Raising your online profile and engaging people through effective SEO strategies and social media platforms is a must-have marketing strategy in the online age. Getting eyes on your website, reading your blog posts, and racking up ‘followers’ and ‘likes,’ are all great things. But unless those contacts and relationships translate into getting sales from social media, their value to your bottom line is still minimal.
Unless you’re giving your online audience incentives to convert into paying customers or clients, it won’t do much for your actual revenue numbers. To ensure your followers show their virtual support with their actual wallets, here are five approaches and tactics to help convert fans to customers:
Relate ‘Trending Topics’ to your service or product.
An ongoing concern for any business is to identify the problems or needs their customers have, even if they aren’t aware of them yet. You’re the expert in what you do or make, and this means you have unique insight into how your services or products can impact and benefit your customers. Keep an eye out for news stories, online topics, cultural trends, and viral memes that can relate back to your business. What’s trending? Say there’s a news frenzy over the latest scary report on indoor mold growth and allergies. If you run a cleaning business, or an HVAC company, or are a health clinic that treats allergy patients, opportunity knocks. Generate a blog post, send out a relevant tweet or two, or maybe offer a special discount or a ‘free inspection’ for concerned customers. Not only will this be a timely and well-received value-add going directly to your online fans, it ties it to a compelling and timely reason to click on your offer and take action.
Create a sense of urgency.
This is the oldest marketing tactic in the book, but it still works – and is so much easier now with the instant impact of social media. Plan out targeted social media posts that let people know you have a high-value offer that will only last for a limited time. Reinforce the urgency with “only ___ time left!” updates. Make sure to include a link back to the appropriate sales page and provide all the information that they need for taking advantage of the promotion. In addition to fostering rapid and positive purchasing decisions, creating buyer urgency is also a great way to offload products that are collecting dust on warehouse shelves or nearing their expiration dates.
Contribute to a worthy cause.
Empathy is a powerful emotion, and consumer buying decisions are often influenced by a desire to do good for others. As long as genuinely motivated and promoted with care, business philanthropy supports the bottom line. When researching trending topics, look for a cause that you believe in and comment on it in your social media posts. Consider if your service or product would assist with the latest natural disaster, especially if local. If you care enough about a cause, or if a disaster situation in the world needs support, you can set up a company-hosted donation page. Or. simply let your followers know your business will be donating or banking a portion of sales to a specified cause. Be genuine, and never approach these efforts as a sales tool. However, done authentically, engaging your followers through worthy causes will still generate good will, customer loyalty, and could later be the X-factor that spurs them to buy with you rather than your competitor.
Take it to the media.
Going back to the ‘trending topics’ idea – if you see a hot news story that relates to your business (or your expertise) let external consumer and industry media know about that. Offer your company as an ‘industry expert’ for interviews or background info. Media coverage and its implied ‘stamp of approval’ can be invaluable in converting awareness to sales. Media coverage is a great boost for your SEO, and acts as ‘third party’ endorsements with carry much higher value than paid ads or self-promotion. Launching a new product or service? If you’ve been in contact with the media in the past, they’re more likely to cover it – and give you free publicity as a result. And every mention, article, or quote should be featured on your social media platforms, with links back to the original articles, posts, or videos. If the media consider your business as being worthy of coverage, customers will consider it worthy of their cash.
Solve problems for free.
Promotions and giveaways don’t create customer loyalty or trust for your business. You’re an informed, experienced expert in your field and this means that you have valuable information to share. Use your online posts and how-to insights to help people troubleshoot common problems themselves, understand how something works, or learn something new and valuable. First, authentic content like this will keep followers interested and watching for your posts, rather than tuning out. But more importantly, it will allow you to establish and build a reputation for trustworthiness with your audience. When it comes to choosing a product, supplier or service provider, most people heavily prefer (and buy from) the companies that they trust. You may give away an occasional trade secret or two, but your ‘free’ advice and problem-solving will translate into revenue soon enough.
Ultimately, when it comes to building a robust, revenue-producing customer base through social media marketing, it’s not enough to just attract large numbers of followers and fans. But, the very nature of this audience means it can be a tightrope walk to make sure you’re not perceived as being overtly or solely sales-oriented. The leading strategy, which search engines also love, is to give your followers excellent value with worthwhile, authentic content. Getting sales from social media starts by incorporating this philosophy into the DNA of your business. If you do, they’ll keep coming back, and with repeat visits come sales.
Curious to learn more about how to tell if your social media marketing is converting well enough to return positive value to your business? Here’s another post about measuring social media ROI.
Kris Asleson has been immersed in digital marketing since the early days. He was an Ebay Powerseller at 13, and hand-coded a profitable e-commerce website when he was 15 in the early 2000’s. Today, he leverages his expertise to help businesses grow by using digital marketing tactics that reflect the strategically integrated marketing and PR approach offered by the FireCircle Agency, which he co-founded.