How To Convert Subscribers Into Salespeople
Customers aren't just marketing targets. Columnist Jason Warnock explains how you can elevate them to become valued members of your social sales force.
Social media spending is at an all-time high. But most marketers still struggle to nail down the quantitative impact of their brand’s social investments. So what gives? When you get past the hype, is social media really a bust for marketers?
Not at all. Part of the problem may be that you’re looking for outcomes in the wrong places. By implementing a social attribution strategy that identifies and rewards subscribers who share, you can quantify social performance — and in effect, multiply your brand’s sales force without spending a dime on new hires.
The Value Of Tracking Social Attribution
Research from Duke University shows that while 40 percent of marketers can identify the qualitative impact of their social media investments, only 15 percent of marketers can quantify the impact of social media for their brands.
Even more disturbing, almost half of all marketers can’t identify any impact social media spending has delivered for their brands. That’s a problem because social media is supposed to help marketers achieve a range of outcomes, including:
- Broader Reach: Social sharing multiplies the audience for brand content and promotions.
- Greater Transparency: Audiences view peer-to-peer messages as more trustworthy than messages shared directly by brands.
- More Brand Advocates: Social initiatives should enable marketers to develop and nurture passionate brand advocates.
The combination of email marketing and social media opens the door for marketers to improve the outcomes of social media investments. With social attribution, marketers can identify individuals who are sharing brand content and track the revenue they generate.
Armed with information about their brand’s most valuable subscribers, marketers can create incentive-based campaigns that motivate influencers to increase reach and add new subscribers.
How To Elevate Subscribers Into Influencers
The use of incentives to convert subscribers into salespeople is more than just another social marketing tactic — it represents a shift in the way marketers approach social media.
Ultimately, it’s the elevation of the customer from a marketing target to a valued member of the company’s social sales force.
Here’s how it happens:
1. Identify Sharing Subscribers: The process of converting subscribers into salespeople begins with identifying subscribers who are sharing your content. It’s not enough to simply discover who is sharing — you also need to track the performance that is being generated by individual subscribers.
How do you do that? Email to social attribution tracking technology identifies shares, new subsequent subscribers, revenue and other outcomes on a subscriber-by-subscriber basis — allowing you to quickly rank your brand’s most valuable subscribers and attach ROI to social media investments.
2. Provide Visibility to Subscribers: After you have gained visibility to the performance of your subscribers, the next step is to share that visibility with the subscribers themselves. Subscribers have to be able to see how well they’re doing before they will work toward achieving goals and earning rewards.
You may eventually want to stimulate competition by creating a public leaderboard. But for now, start simple — give subscribers access to a personalized performance tracking page that they can use to monitor their progress.
3. Define Reward Packages: Your ability to build a social sales force hinges on your reward package. The idea is to create a clearly defined system with achievable goals and rewards that offer real value to subscribers. It’s possible to offer various types of rewards (e.g., free shipping, free products, etc.), but the most effective social attribution rewards are discounts.
For example, subscribers who generate an additional five subscribers through social sharing could receive a 10 percent discount on their next order. Since the reward system is progressive, 20 new subscribers could earn a 20 percent discount and 50 new subscribers could earn 50 percent off their next order.
As subscribers progress through the various stages of the program, the rewards they earn can be significant. But the cost of discounts and other rewards actually represents pennies on the dollar when you consider that it can cost as much as $10 to acquire a new email subscriber.
And here’s the best part: With a little work, each new subscriber your brand acquires through the rewards program has the potential to recruit new subscribers and eventually be elevated to the social sales force.