By Eric Goldman (Bit-by-Bit #67).
Please hold off on the indignation which my attempt at a catchy headline may have generated, but I truly believe this statement. Allow me to illustrate it by way of a short story told to me by Gary Vaynerchuk.
When Gary first launched his online wine store, and before it reached the more than $60 million in annual sales it now has, he spent 15 hours a day on Twitter.com/search. He said he was marketing! He told me that he’d found the Twitter handle and thus the tweets from a guy who had just ordered $300 worth of wine from his store. He noticed that the guy was the president of a local wine club. Gary also saw from the man’s tweets, that he was a Chicago Bears fan, and especially one of Jay Cutler’s.
Gary bought a signed sweater of Cutler’s off Ebay for $325 and sent it to the man. Based purely on ROI, you’d say he was nuts: he spent more on the sweater than the revenue he earned from the sale, let alone his profit. But since getting Cutler’s jersey, this customer has ordered more than $100,000 of wine for himself and his club members, simply because Gary sending him that sweater blew him away.
I learned one lesson from this tale, and had another reinforced:
- The real power of Twitter is that it can reveal the inside of people’s heads! Where else, other than something like Facebook, can you learn so much about your prospects/clients?
- I always knew that ROI is never just about the current or present-day value of a client; it’s always about their lifetime value to you. But this story emphasizes that the precise moment you choose to calculate ROI is just as important as the rest of the data you feed into the calc.
Okay, you’re saying: Twitter is obviously an important part of any modern marketer’s toolbox. But breathing? Yes, breathing because I’m specifically talking about Twitter’s ROI, or the perceived lack thereof. It’s not easy to calculate ROI at the best of times, but for something like Twitter it can be complex. And that’s why I’m comparing it to breathing. Breathing is work, it takes effort. But you never try to justify its existence with an ROI calculation, do you?
Gossamar’s slogan is Its all about profit and our website’s ROI calculator is a destination of choice amongst savvy marketers wanting to calculate the ROI of their campaigns. But despite all this, yes, I am saying screw the ROI, just do it! Go ahead and breathe your tweets…
Why the change of heart?
I don’t think we have any choice and let me prove it by asking you a question: “What kind of marketing/advertising produces results these days?”
When did you last actually watch a commercial on TV, listen to the whole radio ad, or read an ad in printed form? Most of us fast forward commercials on TV these days, switch radio channels when they advertise things and simply flip the pages in magazines which contain ads.
We do this because we’re all sick of ads! The only kind of advertising which does work these days is the personal kind. The kind with a message aimed directly at you. One which takes you by surprise before you can change your focus of attention. And that precisely sums up what Twitter does, if you use it correctly. Given how inexpensive its use can be, how can you afford not to use it?
Here are my 8 tips to help you use Twitter in your own space:
- Set up and then monitor on Twitter a set of keywords for your industry and solution.
- When you find a person who uses these phrases in a tweet, follow him or her on Twitter. And follow the people who they follow and who follow them. Obviously you do this with care, as you don’t want to follow too many people: pick the ones with merit. Use the number of followers to followed ratio if you’re in doubt (more followers than follows indicates leadership), or use a tool like http://commun.it/ to help understand the person’s Twitter universe.
- As an added extra, look up the person on Facebook (don’t friend him or her yet – that will come later).
- Monitor the stream of tweets originating from these people. Read everything you can about your prospect, especially making note of personal likes and dislikes, hobbies and interests mentioned in a tweet.
- Now send a direct message or a tweet, or perhaps retweet something of theirs. Anything to get the ball rolling and make sure it’s not about you, or your solution. Something like this, in other words: See you’re interested in cars. Want some tickets to the car show in 2 weeks in your hometown? Of course you pick something you can deliver on and which isn’t going to cost you a small fortune (Gary could spend $325 on his first contact because he had it to spend!).
- Now the person has not heard of you or may not even follow you, so you have to use the Twitter method which will reach them (can’t direct message them if they don’t follow you, for example). And when they get a message offering them something like this they will be intrigued. They will most likely respond with something like who are you, or why are you doing this? So you tell her you’re interested in the same things and you saw her tweet. Not a lie, this, and while you may not give a hoot about cars, you surely do care about your solution and so does she or you wouldn’t be talking to her.
- When you have established a relationship and exchanged some tweets, you wait for the next time your prospect tweets about a solution like yours. And then you send them a link to a free, non-partisan e-book on how to select your kind of solution (or to a discussion forum, or to a blog post – whatever you can find that provides real value to the prospect).
- When she acknowledges your tweet, you follow it with a free consultation offer to explore the contents of the PDF with her and to help her understand the options and feature sets so that she can match a solution to her needs.
- You do all of this via Twitter, of course, so there’s no unanswered cold calls, no annoying unsolicited emails, no rejection!
I can’t think of another medium which allows you to get this close to your clients and prospects. If you aren’t using Twitter like this, are you really still breathing?
Am I honestly suggesting you throw away the ROI calc? Yes and no. Yes because lets face it, most of us are not going to work Twitter for 15 hours a day like Gary did. For most of us, our Twitter activity is a small part of our day and thus the cost of the effort is low. And No because ROI is always important. So how about a compromise? Why not calculate the ROI of your Twitter campaigns the short way – without trying to estimate the lifetime value of a client, for example. Sure it will be less accurate this way, but if your calc shows you’re doing well, keep on doing it. If it shows you’re doing badly, stop. And if the result is borderline, factor in the lifetime value and see if it makes you want to continue or stop.
Our website’s calculator gives you all you need to perform your own ROI calculations: Step-by-step guided instructions teach you what to do and where to find the data; slider controls give you best practice guidelines while allowing you to estimate what if scenarios quickly and easily. Please use it whenever you wish. It will even give you some help figuring out the lifetime value of your clients.