The One Word Your Marketing Needs To Focus On Now

by · June 2, 20148 comments

When you deliver a relevant message to a relevant audience at a relevant location and a relevant time, you hit the Relevancy Bullseye. This opens the opportunity for your brand to convert at previously unthinkable rates. We’ve preached this at Social Media Explorer for a long time now. For many brands, they’re only just now discovering what we meant.

Thanks to plummeting organic reach numbers on Facebook, brands are starting to leverage paid media there to support organic social content. For those that are dialing in the targeting, making the posts appear only before the most relevant of audiences, conversion rates are stunning.

We’re running our own experiments with social advertising at Cafepress and seeing some hyper-targeted campaigns converting at 5-6 percent. No, not zero-point-five or zero-point-six, but five to six whole numbers of percentage. And no, not 5-6 percent are giving us their email address. Five to six percent are buying, giving us their money, checking out, making a transaction.

Relevancy Bullseye

And let us use this as our clarification point: For the sake of this argument, a conversion rate is the number of total sales divided by the total audience served with the option. Everything else (lead generation, email capture, click through and so on) is an action rate. Conversion = Money.

But throw all the buzzwords and hype terms out the window. Finally, the one word we as marketers can finally focus on, thanks to social advertising, is Relevance. The more relevant we can make our offerings to a more relevant audience at a relevant time and location, the better success we will see in our efforts.

Traditional advertising channels can’t possibly achieve 5-6 percent conversion rates because brand advertising’s job is to spray as many people possible with the same message, hoping they hit a few who happen to be in the buying mode, or laying a foundation so they might be inclined to buy from the brand eventually. A successful brand advertising campaign can result in zero conversions. Because of the mediums these efforts use (television, radio, print advertising), the tracking is next to impossible.

Offline direct marketing can’t quite get to these conversion rates because the qualifying social and demographic information a company can discover about a household whose mailing address or phone number they have is limited to standard demographics, not interest or social behavior. Also, direct mail and telemarketing is often seen by consumers as interruptive and intrusive.

Search Engine Marketing can’t get close to these conversion rates because the qualify social and demographic information is limited as well. Certainly, SEM has a chance because someone searching for the answer to a problem is in a buying mode. But the lack of layers of social and behavioral data makes this still less effective.

Email Marketing can also, in certain parameters, achieve whole numbers of conversion rates. Email audiences are, presumably, opted in to receive your messages and pre-disposed to respond positively — or at least not negatively — to your communications. But the battle of getting them to first open, then find a clear call to action, then take the action is more difficult. Plus, your targeting information is often incomplete. All you do is send to your list. You don’t segment or know their place in the buying cycle well enough to deliver the full Relevancy Bullseye experience.

But Social Advertising, in some instances and when done well, can deliver a relevant product to a relevant audience at a relevant time and in a relevant location. It can put a maternity shirt with a pumpkin on it in front of a newly expecting mother whose baby is due in October. It can put a buy $5, get $15 in value gift card for a restaurant in front of a person who just liked that restaurant on Facebook.

The social graph data delivers the information you need to turn down the noise and turn up the relevance. And when you do that, you convert better.

How are you leveraging social advertising to inject relevance into your efforts? If you’re not yet, how are you going to now? The comments are yours.

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About Jason Falls

Jason Falls

Jason Falls is the founder and chief instigator for Social Media Explorer's blog. He is a leading thinker, speaker and strategist in the world of digital marketing and is co-author of two books, No Bullshit Social Media: The All-Business, No-Hype Guide To Social Media Marketing and The Rebel's Guide To Email Marketing. By day, he leads digital strategy for CafePress, one of the world's largest online retailers. His opinions are his, not necessarily theirs. Follow him on Twitter (@JasonFalls).

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Comments on Social Media Explorer are open to anyone. However, I will remove any comment that is disrespectful and not in the spirit of intelligent discourse. You are welcome to leave links to content relevant to the conversation, but I reserve the right to remove it if I don't see the relevancy. Be nice, have fun. Fair?

  • http://www.deswalsh.com Des Walsh

    You sure do cut through the BS Jason. :)

    5-6 real conversion, i.e. into a buy, is highly persuasive. Thanks also for dealing with the “What abouts” – as in, what about SEO/SEM? What about email marketing? Well argued, fair.

    And the Successful Communication image from Mark Smiciklas tells the story well too.

  • http://www.deswalsh.com Des Walsh

    You sure do cut through the BS Jason. :)

    5-6 real conversion, i.e. into a buy, is highly persuasive. Thanks also for dealing with the “What abouts” – as in, what about SEO/SEM? What about email marketing? Well argued, fair.

    And the Successful Communication image from Mark Smiciklas tells the story well too.

  • dominiq

    Thanks for this piece. Relevance is clearly key.

    There is another aspect around relevance that marketers should rethink. .

    Marketers still talk about “lists” and “segment”, at a time where their target is organized in Networks. To optimize results, they need to take into account that the people in their “lists” are actually connected one to each other in “graphs” and that you don’t “segment” a network, you cluster it.

    Take emailing. We all know an “endorsed message” from a peer is more powerful than a message from a brand. Still brand email everyone in a list, losing the opportunity to leverage the network.

    This is the way you can take performance to all new levels.

    Best

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