Frank Kenny: Selling Memberships with Social Media
So, you want to make money (a.k.a, sell memberships) maximizing your organization’s social media and digital marketing efforts. Imagine that, right?
You have done the groundwork… your organization is online in all the right places, ensuring your target market is aware of its existence.
You have also engaged with people, going beyond mere awareness of your organization to the point of building relationships and building up the ‘know, like, and trust’ factors.
Now you’re ready to take the next step, that is, turning your online friends, fans, and followers into genuine leads. But how do you do that?
First things first...
Let’s put all of this into something that’s easier to relate to and gives you a better understanding of why this works online too.
If someone caught your eye romantically and you wanted to get to know them better, you would first need the other person to know who you are, that you exist. Simply put, to be aware of you. So, you might go up and introduce yourself.
Social media is no different. The social media activities you have completed so far are similar to a single person going to a church social, nightclub, or community festival. You are spending time where your target market is.
The online engagement you’ve done is like striking up conversations with people you are interested in.
The next step in person would be asking for their contact information. You know, their phone number, email address, Snapchat ID – wherever they are more likely to share to have further conversation with you.
Again, social media is no different. You need to ask for their contact information so that you can further your conversations with them, building a deeper relationship.
In person, after you get the contact information and continue building interest, then you need to propose a lunch or dinner date. It’s easy to see the natural progression.
It seems a little fuzzier, for some reason, when it comes to using social media and digital marketing to actually get sales. But if you approach it as you would offline, the sales will come.
Online, you post content to create awareness and you engage to build the ‘know, like, and trust.’ This opens the door to “getting their phone number.”
In the business world, getting their contact information is called Lead Generation. It includes permission to continue to communicate with them (how they prefer to be contacted). In person, you might ask “May I call you sometime?” Their response might be “text me. I rarely answer the phone.” Now you know how they prefer to be contacted.
Asking for the contact information online is quite easy. Let me explain how:
Offer Lead Magnets
A lead magnet is a valuable freebie that you are willing to exchange for an email address and permission to communicate with the downloader.
Great lead magnets include cheat sheets, handouts, reports, white papers, and other easy-to-create and easy-to-consume pieces that can be delivered digitally.
Offer these lead magnets through social media and on your website. Everyone that takes advantage of the freebie deal becomes a lead.
What do you do once you have permission to connect with them via email or Messenger? (You can also offer these pieces through Facebook Messenger)
- First, deliver the freebie that you offered. Show that it wasn’t a scam and that you deliver on your promise.
- Then, send them a series of 2 or 3 emails (or Facebook Messages) that tell them more about you and how your organization solves their problems. Don’t forget to introduce yourself and be likable or even funny. Send them content that provides more value. Consuming your content is engagement.
- Just like in person, you need to nurture the relationship. You were connecting on social media. Now you are connecting in a much more intimate place, email and/or Messenger.
- Now, and this is important, going back to the dating analogy, if you do get a person’s phone number and you call them, that’s great. You’ve got the number and you used it. But what if you never get up the nerve to ask them for an actual date? You just talk and talk like friends do. You will get stuck in the dreaded “friend zone.”
It’s the same with your lead generation. Getting the lead is great. But it doesn’t really do your organization much good if you don’t move them along to becoming a paying member and/or customer.
You don’t want to wait too long. Make a quick sale early in the relationship. Not necessarily in the first email though. But, after you have nurtured the relationships with a few emails, make an entry-level offer. Something easy for them to say yes to, like a lunch event that you will pick up the tab on, a meeting at their office, coffee, or a webinar.
Once they take advantage of the freebie lead magnet and the entry-level offer, you are most of the way there to making the full sale.
Frank J. Kenny is an internationally recognized author, professional speaker, and consultant. He is on the faculty of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute for Organization Management (IOM). He has taught social media, digital marketing, and technology strategies to business audiences from around the world.