Having spoke about making the most of twitter previously, it makes sense that I continue the theme of effective use of social media for selling online. The reason I say effectively is that as Richard Branson says "There’s no guarantee that spending a huge amount of money on marketing will slingshot your business forward." You can chuck mud at the wall all you want, but only so much will stick and what sticks for you will not be what has stuck for someone else - aka what works for amazon isn't what will work for you (in general).
Branson, who is a big inspiration to me, has learnt many lessons in marketing over the years - having begun with pretty much nothing and reached the dizzying heights of multiple global organisations as well as many national operations around the globe - plus his charity ventures. One of the biggest lessons he talks about learning in his books and speeches is that you don't need a huge budget for marketing to take on the big names in an industry - you just need an effective marketing campaign.
Bootstrapping Your Marketing Campaign
Bootstrapping, for those unaware, is the practice of using your own means to reach a business or marketing goal - so using your own savings to fund a business is a common example. Ultimately it means most with a small budget can and do achieve great things - pretty much sums up how each of the Virgin brands has begun it's life.
To bootstrap and effective marketing campaign today there are a number of things you will need:
- A real MVP (not a real product) MVP - minimum viable product If you ask a business person, a MVP is the product you can begin to sell on the market effectively to make an impact somehow. For me a "real MVP" is the germ of your idea, when you speak to your potential audience with an idea doing a single thing and they want that product or service - that is a real MVP before you even waste time developing anything. This germ idea will develop in time, but keeping the germ and product simple at this stage and at launch means you can be passionate and on target for your audience.
- Keep Your Message Simple
If you've got a 'real MVP' then you will have something you can easily talk about and discuss - and no doubt you can do it swiftly. A good way to think about this for most is as an elevator pitch - butthats a bit boring - so instead think that you are pitching to that one person at the top of the industry that inspires you, and you only have 1 tweet to get their interest (140 characters) ... sounds like a challenge? Then your message isn't simple enough!
Take Action: I want you to take your business or product and in one tweets length explain to me what it does. Leave your answers in the comments before the end of August 2014, the best one will win a free copy of "screw it, lets do it" by Richard Branson and an hours Skype consultation for digital marketing with me.
- Use Yourself to Market Your Product “Use yourself. Make a fool of yourself. Otherwise you won’t survive.” - Richard Branson If you truly love what you do and you have a passion for it, it is you and not your product that is your best marketing asset. If you look under any successful organisation you will find core leaders who themselves have a following or are known for being "the experts", Virgin has Richard Branson, Google has Larry and Sergey and Microsoft has Bill Gates - they themselves are as well-known as their brands, and occasionally more so. But the common thing they have is a love and passion for what they do, they've found a voice and tone that suits them, challenges that make them stand out and more than anything they have fun doing it. You are the front line of your business and it is YOU that will make or break your business.
- Love Social Media Social Media isn't about your business transaction, it's not about the hard sell and it's certainly not about bombarding the world with your 100 blogs posts that you've written in a vague hope to drive traffic to your website. But social media is about selling your product, whatever that is. If you use social media to communicate and engage, and not to just sell, then actually you will attract an audience to yourself and your brand - it's this following who will hopefully come to love what you and your product do, and do the real selling for you. Social Media is about listening to your audience and learning from them, they know best - no matter how awesome your product is, without them onside you won't sell anything, and it could end really badly for you.
What are your tips for making the most of social media for selling, or using yourself for business marketing. Leave a comment below or let us know on social media!