There are two questions we are often asked;
“What relevance are online communities to my business?”
“Can you measure your return on investment in social media?”
We thought we would let you know Coffee Marketing’s perspective on this. Do drop us a line if you want more information on how this might apply to your business directly or challenge anything we have written!
The Social Internet and Marketing in Yesteryear:
The Internet from the start attracted an almost infinite range of online communities or groups, who actively collaborate across interests, beliefs, locality, employment etc. It has since provided more ways to communicate with greater effectiveness. Consumers have always wanted to be able to interact and share information; since it is core to human nature. We are a social species.
The arrival of dynamic and streaming technologies pulled the development of websites to offer a more sophisticated, varied ways for people to interact and feedback on websites. Interaction and social behaviour on the Internet is not new. Communities existed on the Internet back in 1998 in newsrooms and text chat rooms for example. Marketing on the Internet however was primitive and generally limited to text links directing to a basic image/text-based advert, using traditional offline marketing practices.
Understanding where businesses sales came from was difficult without the Internet, as you mostly needed to rely on people filling in a survey or telling you what made them come to see you in person. As a result, if you were spending money on marketing offline then you were unlikely to know how much revenue you made from this budget, but also which efforts paid off the most.
The Social Internet and Marketing Today:
The spark of real growth to the Internet marketing industry came when people could start to understand its effect and measure the results through tracking clicks. Today technology has taken this to a point marketers would have dreamed of in the past (although probably not as they would have had to work on media Friday and that would have been no good!) With detailed Internet analytics (including user segmentation, technical analysis of the users computer and much more) now being available for free, you are able to see exactly where your customers are coming from and how much return you are getting on every marketing investment you make.
The ability today to be able to track people’s use of the Internet and their journey though your website, provides an explosive mix to grow any business. Simply put;
SOCIAL MARKETING + WEB TRACKING
= PROFITABLE RELATIONSHIP MARKETING
We know this works and so do you- just look at how companies generate their best prospects, makes a sale and repeat business. The business owner or sales people open a DIALOGUE with people potentially interested in something (or similar to) something they can provide. By building PERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS with these people they begin to trust the company and product and make a purchase. People are also known to come back to your company, if the last experience met their expectations, as you TRUSTED.
Relationships only exist with trust.
Combining an understanding of how to develop personal relationships within the “social web” and what trackable actions they lead to (including a sale), enable us to calculate the return on investment. Today profitable relationship marketing is a reality.
Note to marketers: I acknowledge the potential for “brand effects” to lead to a sale and bypass online tracking. However with a strong call to action and sales funnel built into the social marketing effort, the majority of the marketing’s response would be captured to understand the ROI with high enough validity.