How Can Online Communities Yield Product Sales Results?
In recent times, online communities have become the target of some multichannel marketers seeking a new way to increase sales. For those who haven’t, the most important questions are how to address these groups and what tactics can be used to draw them in. Three marketing experts — John Trimble, SVP of Branded Sales for Fox Interactive Media; Larry Harris, EVP, director of integrated marketing at DraftFCB and Michael Sanchez, CEO of Cafemom.com and Clubmom.com spoke on this subject during a session on creating engagement and response within online communities seminar last week at the DM Days New York Conference & Expo. Below is a guide to their best tips.
* “Control your brand,” said Harris, who mainly works on Facebook.com. “Give attention to get attention.” Create engagement with consumers by keeping your site fresh. Use videos, customize your page. Give them a reason to keep coming back.
* Question your consumer on what they want, Harris said. Testing your product first to see how people respond to it will get you feedback that you can use to improve marketing strategies. The goal is to get the audience talking about your brand.
* Offer value as reward for interruption. Push through the traditional offer and provide something that others can’t offer, such as exclusivity or a forum for self-expression on a global level. “What’s something you’re giving them that makes their 20 minutes that day so much cooler, so much better that they will relay to their friends,” Trimble said, who manages the Myspace.com Web site.
* Target within your site. Tactics include targeting keywords and local textlinks. Know your demographics and be able to capture life changing events (a move, birth), Sanchez advised. The tighter you can make your target audience, the more likely you are to reach it with a certain product.
* Create a social network environment. Find relevant influences on certain demographics (music to college-aged kids on Myspace.com for example) to help increase traffic. Amplification is the biggest key. One click leads to 10 clicks.
* Focus on the user experience. People are looking for relevant brands that add value to their lives. The panelists agreed, point one is to have a great product. “We can target the eyeballs, you need the message,” Sanchez said. Whether it be a teenager visiting Facebook.com or Myspace.com or the first-time mother at Cafemom.com, they identify with what is relevant to their life.