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Using the ACT method to build a successful online marketing approach

Social media belongs to consumers. As a result, traditional marketing rules don’t apply. In the last issue, we discussed the need to market to each generation differently since a one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work. Similarly, we’d be wise to take the time to understand the mindset of people using social media so we can use it to our advantage.

Shama Hyder, founder and CEO of Zen Media is also the author of The Zen of Social Media Marketing, a book I’ve been using for the class I teach at Johns Hopkins University on using social and digital media. It’s an excellent book and very approachable for both newer as well as seasoned users of social media.

In her book, she outlines how to apply the ACT methodology to help develop a successful online marketing approach. I’ve condensed the concept here to give you a better idea of how it works.

A = Attract: which means to get attention or stand out. Think of bringing new customers to your website as an example of what this category means. It does not mean securing a sale.

C = Convert: which happens when you turn a stranger or someone “just looking” into a customer.

T = Transform: “You transform when you turn past and present successes into magnetic forces of attraction,” Hyder says.

How does this translate to our industry? She offers the example of Sue who sells quilts online. Obviously, Sue isn’t the only person selling quilts online so how can she leverage the ACT method to secure sales?

 

A >> ATTRACT 

Sue uses a platform like Facebook to help attract people to her website by creating an album of her quilts. A friend of hers notices a picture on Facebook so she clicks on Sue’s website. This is what it means to ATTRACT or get attention. Facebook served as the catalyst. {Notice, a sale hasn’t been made here.}

C >> CONVERT 

After Jane clicks on the website, she makes a mental note to buy one for her granddaughter for the holidays. What are the chances she’ll remember to come back to buy? Unlikely. Sue needs another method to keep in touch. To help gain emails for her newsletter, which she has prominently displayed on her home page to gather, she offers some tips on quilt-making. Sue sends her emails around the holidays which remind Jane to buy the quilt for her granddaughter. She’s moved Jane from the A category to the C category because she’s now a customer. {Note that this is a combination of social media (Facebook) and digital media (website and email newsletter) working together.}

T >> TRANSFORM 

The sale could be the end of it, but we can further leverage this method. Social proof is the equivalent of online word of mouth. Jane takes a picture of her granddaughter loving her new quilt and sends it to Sue who asks if she can use it for her blog. She is given permission so she shares Jane’s delightful picture with an explanation on how each quilt can lead to life-long memories. Another potential customer reads this blog post and sends it to her husband, thinking maybe their granddaughter might like a quilt. The husband clicks on the blog post, loves seeing how happy Jane’s granddaughter looks and decides to buy one for his own granddaughter immediately.

We need to remember that social media is not a selling tool. It’s an attracting tool. Stories help us connect with each other.

“Stories establish your expertise, attract fresh customers and even help convert faster,” adds Hyder. One way you can get those stories is to ask your customers for feedback or testimonials. Then use those stories on in various ways, from sharing on your website, blog posts to including in email newsletters and social media.

None of these approaches is hard and not all will obviously translate into immediate sales, but Hyder encourages organizations to think about all of their online marketing tactics as falling under at least one of these categories.

“It’s a simple yet effective process,” says Hyder. “Whenever you think about marketing, ask yourself this question: ‘Am I using this technique to Attract, Convert, or Transform?’”

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Megy Karydes

Megy Karydes is a marketing and communications consultant. She’s also an adjunct professor at Johns Hopkins University and working on a book about how businesses can better market themselves. Sign up to get her marketing tips every monthly at MegyKarydes.com.