How many of you remember the days when you would casually glance out your window and see a salesman or two slowly closing the distance to your doorstep as he strode confidently from house to house? Did you experience a twinge of excitement and curiosity as you wondered what wares might be offered for sale? Perhaps it was an experience such as this that made you interested in pursuing a career in sales and marketing.
Now, as someone who stands on the other side of that proverbial door, you know firsthand that direct selling hasn’t isn’t always so easy as it might have appeared back then, especially when cold-calling. However, a natural evolution of direct sales techniques has led to a revolution, making it much easier to reach consumers.
It goes by the non-threatening moniker of “social media,” and like a Trojan horse, it has slipped effortlessly into nearly every household in America.
From Avoidance to Desire
Direct selling to a target market used to take a lot of time, effort, research and expense. You had to research demographics, find new prospects and build relationships. Those three core concepts haven’t changed much, except now, through the magical, mystical gateway of social media, you can do it all with a few clicks of a mouse and the clattering of keys on a keyboard.
The best part? Your target market will come to you.
Using social media, you can directly target a market that actually wants to hear from you rather than avoid you as if you are just another pesky telemarketer.
As an example, let’s say you are a company selling tea. You set up a Facebook page and make certain to use SEO on your page that is relevant, such as “tea”, “teapots” and so forth. You will start to gain followers who are interested in what you have to offer. But the fun doesn’t stop there!
Next you create a Facebook post or Facebook ad (also using SEO—one can never discount or forget the importance of SEO for any online marketing endeavor). You can then choose who you want your ad or ad to target; let’s say women between the ages of 20 to 50 living within a 30-mile radius of your store location and whose interests include “tea.” Next, you set your budget and Facebook will tell you how many people you can expect to reach within that target market each day based on the budget you’ve selected.
It’s that simple. And again, the most important part is that the people you reach actually want to hear from you. They’ll want to hear more, and they’ll want to engage with your company.
Building a Relationship with the Consumer
Direct selling relationships used to mean lots of phone calls, maybe a few lunches and dinners and a whole lot of time and effort. Now you can build relationships within minutes by engaging with your customers over a few Facebook or Twitter posts.
Consumers today want a rewarding experience from the companies they choose to do business with. Social media has made it possible to offer that rich, rewarding experience by showing the customer that their comments, questions and opinions matter. When you react to a customer’s comment, answer their questions, share a story or encourage their feedback, the potential for relationships can blossom a hundred or a thousand-fold.
In the new landscape of direct selling, social media is the sea upon which today’s fleets of ships are sailing. Some may sink, but many will crest the waves and emerge victorious upon the sandy beaches of direct selling success.