Time and time again, youâ€™ll have come across marketers saying that the trick to a successful Internet Marketing business is to develop and sustain a great relationship with your audience.
True. Very true.
But how many of them have actually implemented this internet marketing wisdom? Hardly a few, and thatâ€™s a very optimistic statistic right there 😉
Ever heard of Relationship ROI (Return on Investment) in Internet Marketing?
Probably not. Itâ€™s a term coined for us in the corporate or offline sector more than any other, but it applies to every business possible, even if itâ€™s a business as tiny as a website selling an eBook about how to make money online â€“ yes, thatâ€™s a very small business if you compare it to what else is going on in the â€œrealâ€ world 😉
The real world of Internet Marketing operates in MUCH larger numbers, starting with four figures on most occasions.
Firstly, your email list, or your twitter following, or your Facebook following, are all human beings. And if theyâ€™re connected to you through any of those three means (email, Twitter or Facebook), then its not asking much that you treat them for what they really are, human beings. Internet Marketing has seen the rise of many paradigm shifts in the past decade, and one of them has been to consider things like email lists, twitter followers or Facebook friends as just â€œassetsâ€ in your marketing arsenal and nothing more. This attitude has been perpetrated by several hundred marketers who to this day treat their audience like commodities and not real people. Yes, they do treat them like people, but people who are basically just sitting at the end of an email or tweet or Facebook message/post/tag.
If youâ€™re on a few email lists for instance, youâ€™ve probably noticed how many times youâ€™re communicated with on a weekly basis, sometimes even on a daily basis. Most of these emails will contain promotion after promotion after promotion.
Would you call up a friend on a daily basis, talk to them in a few sentences about an exciting new product you or your â€œfriendâ€ has developed, and ask them to go buy it off website â€˜xâ€™ right now?
I seriously doubt it 😉
The whole problem with internet marketing approaches being delivered today is that we are constantly being fed strategies to do with audiences that treat them like â€œobjectsâ€ and the people they really are. These are people for crying out loud. They are not puppets sitting on the edge of their seats waiting for the next tug of a string to determine their next move. These are people, moms, dads, university students, husbands, wives, grandmothers, grandfathers, uncles and aunties, to name a few, who are, like you the reader at the moment, and me the writer, just people, people with minds and bodies, people with perceptions, opinions, thoughts, needs and demands. If you treat them like theyâ€™re a commodity, they will slowly but surely lose interest in you altogether, leading you to the inevitable â€œunsubscribeâ€ or â€œunfollowâ€ or â€œunfriendâ€ (if thatâ€™s what the action is called).
To build a successful internet marketing business, you need to introduce yourself to the concept of Relationship ROI.
Relationship ROI is in a nutshell, the concept of measuring how much you give to your audience vs. how much you seek from your audience. In the world of Internet Marketing, it is not â€œuncommonâ€ for you to have to â€œgiveâ€ A LOT more to your audience than â€œtakeâ€. The B2C industry is like that. The average personâ€™s ability to spend on demand is much lower than say the B2B industry where appropriate budgets have been put in place for meeting any and all demands that surface within organizations, or even to â€œresearchâ€ the potential for having certain unknown demands in future.
To really and truly build a relationship with your audience, you not only have to invest time and effort into developing things to â€œgive away for freeâ€ to your prospective audience, you also have to invest time and effort into building a relationship with them â€“ a real one, one where you actually interact with each and every one of your subscribers, friends or followers in some shape or form.
That sounds like quite a task if youâ€™ve got a tonne of people in your subscribed audience doesnâ€™t it? How on earth are you supposed to go about communicating individually with each and every person on say your email list? It seems next to impossible doesnâ€™t it?
The truth of the matter is that itâ€™s not as impossible as it sounds. Internet Marketing has matured over the years and several means have been engineered to allow anyone and everyone to communicate with their audience in profoundly interactive ways.
For exampleâ€™s sake, weâ€™re going to talk about a little hypothetical Twitter scenario throughout the rest of this post to highlight what Relationship ROI is all about and what you need to do to bring it into your Internet Marketing strategy.
Say you have 10,000 followers on Twitter (thatâ€™s a lot of people right?), but everytime you send out a tweet containing a link to something or the other, you donâ€™t get much of a response (not many people click your link â€“ if at all).
Sounds weird doesnâ€™t it? Thatâ€™s 10,000 people apparently not interested in you at all 😉
The problem lies most predominantly in the â€œrelationshipâ€ you have with these people. You canâ€™t just build a real â€œrelationshipâ€ with people by giving them things. Did you eventually ask your girlfriend out, or asked her to marry you, by first showering her with things and only things and not allowing her to actually â€œlikeâ€ you or think fondly of you enough to make those decisions?
If you did, I donâ€™t know what to say, youâ€™re a genius!! But Iâ€™m going to assume for realityâ€™s sake that you didnâ€™t 😉
How silly did that sound?
Exactly! Now letâ€™s think about those followers of your again. If you constantly bombard them with freebies, ebook after ebook, free software after software, free tips after tips, are they really learning anything at all about you as a person or are they just aware of the fact that you give out a lot of free stuff?
Thatâ€™s precisely my point. To build a proper internet marketing relationship with these Twitter followers you need to learn a few things about them first.
Did you ask your girl or guy where they were from, or what their interests were, or what they liked doing most on a Sunday afternoon so you guys could plan something up to each otherâ€™s liking? Did you or did you not?
If not, Iâ€™m guessing your other half wasnâ€™t exactly a very outgoing person 😛 Nah, I tease.
Point being, you took the time and developed an interest in finding out more about your other half before he or she actually became your other half.
The same applies to your Internet Marketing prospects (audience), believe it or not!
A few things you need to do with your Twitter following (like you would with your girl or boy friend) are:
1. To find out where they are â€œlocatedâ€.
2. To know their real names so you can communicate with them more personably.
3. To know what they tweet about so you can gauge their interests better and know what your audience is actually â€œintoâ€.
4. To know what the interests or tweets of the people â€œtheyâ€ follow are all about, so you can even better understand what your audience is into.
5. To know how often they tweet to gauge how likely it is that youâ€™ll find them on Twitter when youâ€™re sending out tweets.
These five steps above allow you to â€œlearnâ€ more about your Twitter followers. So the next time you tweet something, youâ€™ll know exactly how much of your Twitter following will actually find it useful or be interested in what you have to say.
Would you bore your girl or boy friend with countless tales about how you got totally smashed at that Guns n Roses concert even if he or she had no interest in rock music whatsoever and hated it like the plague?
Probably not I think 😉
The five steps outlined above are only â€œsomeâ€ of many steps that form a part of the overall â€œeffortâ€ you put into your internet marketing. This form the â€œinvestigating and giving accordinglyâ€ bit of Relationship ROI.
Once youâ€™ve learnt more about your following, you can then tailor your tweets to fit into the categories that are or relate strongly to your followers interests, just like youâ€™d tailor what you say on a first date to your potential other half for fear of scaring him or her away 😉
This whole scenario with Twitter followers is applicable to any other medium of communication as well, be it Facebook, Email or even Telephone. Just make sure as of today to invest efforts in Relationship ROI and the returns of your investment will actually come to fruition 🙂
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Ali is also an Affiliate Marketer, Product Creation & Launch Consultant, Copywriter, and one of the most Highly Recognized Programmers in theÂ Home Based Internet Marketing world, the Lead Technologist behind the Blockbuster Launch of The Internet Time Machine, and Search Engine NowRelevant.com, and mentioned in several International News Publications such as Forbes, The Chicago Tribune, NY Times, LA Times, and Reuters, to name a few, for his work.