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All Marketing Is A Conversation

For one- and two-person businesses online advertising has become a dead end, and in many cases a complete waste of time and money. This post is for people that are like my clients – one- and two-person operations that have a business website with a blog, and want to sideline all the tricks and crap that gets in the way of getting more business. If that sounds like you, please keep reading and let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Mass communication has been around since the invention of radio. Television was the next horizon followed decades later by the Internet. Websites turned the volume way up for advertisers by providing literally millions of new outlets for ads. Today, literally everywhere we go, online and off, we’re bombarded with messages. Because of the increased competition for our attention, advertisers try all sorts of tricks to get their messages heard over everyone else. This model is beginning to crumble. because today, it’s about the conversation.

Content marketing is nothing new. It’s been around since before it was re-labeled inbound marketing. The basic idea is to create content for your ideal customers which is optimized for search engines and easily shared on social media sites. The other side of this entails capturing leads on your website using additional exclusive content such as ebooks and videos, or simply providing a contact form.

When you search online for ways to increase conversions on your site there are thousands of programs waiting to provide the “latest and greatest” method to help you get more traffic and convert more leads on your blog. There is no shortage of premium WordPress themes and plugins people are happy to sell you as well to help with these “problems”. I’ve tried quite a few over the past 6 or 7 years. At the end of the day though I’ve found that one thing works better than any trick you’ll pay to learn – creating relationships by having conversations.

The services you provide are not for everyone. Neither are a Mac, Kindle, Android phone or a million other things. And with that being the case, does it make sense to try or even believe that you should try to convert every person that comes to your website? No, it doesn’t. In fact if you aren’t turning away a lot of folks I’ll assume that you don’t have a very well defined ideal customer you’re going after.

As a geek my problem isn’t finding problems I think I can solve by creating a website or app, the problem is thinking I can solve most problems by building a website or app! The KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) acronym is one I need to remind myself of on a daily basis. Thankfully I also have friends and a family to keep my on track. Speaking of staying on track…

I was reminded of this when my friend Sharel Omer, founder of the awesome Commun.it, was showing me the latest updates to their site (video coming soon). You see, I’ve been thinking of ways to gather, in real-time, all of the tweets from my followers and apply statistical analysis, clustering, and all sorts of other geekery. All of this with the purpose of getting to know my Twitter community better. I even started building an app and got part way down the road. Then I spoke with Sharel and tabled the entire thing.

When I asked Sharel what the best way to use Commun.it was he said simply:

  1. Use the segments they create
  2. Look at individual people – their profile, their tweets, and the engagement that we’ve had
  3. Star the people that I find most interesting as potential relationships
  4. Start interacting. Retweet them, say hello, send them a DM. Start shallow and then go deeper over time.

That, in a nutshell, is how you use Commun.it and Twitter to begin building relationships through conversation. And that’s what it’s all about.

So what about a blog? Easy peasy. If you have comments enabled, and I hope you do (and seriously shame on you if you have a business and you don’t) then your comments section is where the conversation is! And guess what?! Each time someone leaves a comment you have an email address and can follow up. Whatever you do, DO NOT add them to your newsletter or any other email list without their permission. That’s spam, and we all hate spammers.

As with Twitter you can send them a personal thank you email. If they’ve been a commenter for some time ask to speak with them on the phone or Skype. Don’t try to sell them anything on the call – build the relationship.

And that my friend is really it. That’s the secret to getting more business – conversation.

What do you think? Is this how you get a majority of your business or are you heavily focused on converting people from online ads? How’s that working for you?

Let’s talk about it in the comments. See you there!

P.S. I have 24 invites left to Commun.it. Click this link right here to get one. They go fast so hop on it. And if you have any questions about Commun.it I’m happy to answer them. They don’t pay me or anything, I just love these guys and what they’re doing.

Comments

  1. Thank you for this great post!
    Since starting working on Commun.it I’ve seen taht every user that signs-up is an opportunity to create a relationship and to learn from him – what he heeds, what he wants. I suspect it’s not very different from blog readers.Thank you for sharing this article.It is very helpful.
     

  2. MikePolis says:

    Hi Rob,
    Thank you for this great post!
    Since starting working on Commun.it I’ve seen taht every user that signs-up is an opportunity to create a relationship and to learn from him – what he heeds, what he wants. I suspect it’s not very different from blog readers.
     
    But conversation on Twitter though isn’t a simple thing to achieve. Aside from the short form factor, we all have to cope with this neverending overflow of tweets and people showing up in our feed. How to prioritize, how to know which ones to focus on? That’s what we have been trying to do at Commun.it. We still have a long road ahead of us – the challenge is not a simple one :)
     
    p.s.
    Thank you for giving a shout about Commun.it. – you have been with us since the early days… thank you pal :)
     
    p.p.s.
    Looking forward for the video. Your first one was amazing! :)
     

    •  @MikePolis Great points Mike, and thanks for coming and commenting.
       
      I remember when Twitter first started – it was much easier back then to have conversations. But like anything awesome it will be found and used, so it’s definitely more difficult to know who to connect with. Using Commun.it in combination with a long-term conversation strategy is the best way I’ve seen to really make Twitter work.
       
      Keep up the awesome work Mike!

  3. Hi Rob,
     
    Thank you for this post! it rock!
     
    The passion for relationship building is changing the way people communicate online… I really believe in the power of social relationship and super honored to see my mention, on a subject that is so close to our heart.
     
    With Commun.it we try to help people to scale the way people build meaningful personal relationship on twitter :) Indeed it’s not trivial, but required :)
     
    Much love,
    Sharel

  4. Thanks for the reminder of how important DIRECT communication is, Robert.I have signed up for Commun.it
    Fun to see someone else using (dot)it
    <a href=http://youcanbuild.it”> YouCanBuild.it</a> has worked very well for us

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