In my role as an Internet Sales Manager for a broadcast company, I often tell clients during consults that if they execute an effective new media campaign, it is possible for them to grow their own audience comprised of so many qualified individuals that they will outgrow the benefit of using traditional media to broadcast their message. You can image that some of the traditional salespeople (at least the smart ones) cringe a bit at this statement. After all, they earn a living selling spots and dots to advertisers who find value in delivering a marketing message to their viewers/listeners/readers — and there’s nothing wrong with that. As a matter of fact, it’s the primary reason I chose to work as a new media sales manager at a legacy media company — they have a great and loyal audience base that is easily accessible by virtue of their interest in the programming and content of the tv station/radio station/print publication.
Advertising to the audience that traditional media attracts is a phenomenal way to quickly invite a large number of fairly well-targeted individuals to become members of your own audience (fans, followers, customers.)
Here is where new media (and the flawless execution of your marketing campaign) change the game.
When broadcast your message via mass media, the campaign needs to attract those audience members (the ones who have a need and interest in your product or service) back to an online space that you own — an online landing page, microsite, lead form, Facebook page, email list, etc. — where they can opt-in to receiving additional information about you and your company. Voila! You just started recruiting your own audience. The creme de la creme of ultra-self-qualified prospects gleaned from the members of the mass media’s fan base. It’s like running their audience members through a filter, draining away those individuals not interested in what you have to offer and leaving those people who will become your probable purchasers.
Do this a few times (and do it right) and now YOUR new audience is made up of more members who are likely to do business with you than any traditional media’s audience, no matter how many categories their industry ratings say they possess the number one position in the market. You have a solid list of people who raised their hand, trusted you with their contact information and said “Yes, you may contact me with more information on your offer because I think I’m interested.”
While some people who’ve executed this strategy might say they made this effort and ended up with 500, 200, or even 50 people who decided to opt-in to their list — I argue that list (no matter how minimal you think it may be in relation to the larger audience promised by mass media) is a more likely collection of people who will buy what you’re selling. You just need to do it more, and to turn those people who did sign-up for your list into walking referrals to get more people who are just like them to sign-up for your list. Sales guru Jeffrey Gitomer says, “the easiest way to double your sales is to simply get each one of your customers to bring you one more customer just like them” — and that’s exactly how you grow your online audience. Get your existing members to bring you another member just like them.
This happens over time, not over night.
It doesn’t happen in a day, it happens day-by-day.
Think I’m full of it?
Witness this article from MediaPost: “Starbucks Tops 10 Million Facebook Fans.” Ten MILLION… Facebook Fans! That’s an audience collected of customers who converted their friends to customers. That’s an audience assembled from inviting the magazine readers and tv watchers to connect. And now with ten million members of their own audience, there is a real argument that they’ve perhaps outgrown the need to appeal to the audiences of mass media.
“But, Don” you whine “they’re STARBUCKS. We’re not Starbucks!” Let me remind you of one thing: When Starbucks created their Facebook page, they started with the same number of Fans that you did — zero.
Now what are you gonna do about it?