In the past I’ve talked a bit about social networking, posting on blogs, using forums and the like (you can check out one such article, 6 Ways to Build an Internet Audience (and Web Traffic) for your Comic Book Launch, if you are interested in seeing some of what Ive said). Building and maintaining the Internet community for any product is a must — for a creative product like a comic book series (or a film), then it can mean the difference between success and obscurity.
While most comic publisher do play around with some social networking, none of them are using the Internet to its fullest potential. My recent discussion of Boom Studio’s Hellraiser Prelude and Product launch goes in to more detail about some of the missed opportunities by publishers due to a lack of knowledge (or experience) in Internet marketing techniques.
The key to social networking in general is to build a relationship with your fans/customers/audience. Keeping that in mind will allow you to grow. If all you do is focus on “hard” selling your product (say, by blitzing Twitter with propaganda on the day a new comic releases), then you’re missing out on its true potential. You want to grow and nurture the social networking relationships because of three very important things those relationships can give you: higher sales conversions, a higher percentage of return customers and easier access for new customers.
That’s right – more sales within your current market, more of those customers coming back AND more new customers willing to take a chance on a new (or even unseen) product.
What I’m going to give you today is 4 techniques to build up some of those online relationships and, in return, make more sales.
4 Tips for Social Networking Your Way to More Sales
Before I get to the tips, I do want to comment on a couple of things I’m not talking about in this post: Twitter/Facebook and Company message boards. My article is assuming you are already active with both of those things. They are essential to any company (or creator) doing business online. I will be talking about techniques for maximizing your uses of those social networks (and a couple of others) down the road. However, for this post, I’m focusing on some of the less utilized techniques you can use to help increase your sales conversions.
OK, on to the list!
1. User Generated Content & Reviews
Amazon is an absolute master of this, having realized it about 6 years ago and then spending tens of millions of dollars to achieve. One of the most tedious (and often expensive) components of succeeding online is content product. Your website needs a constant influx of new content to continue to rank well with search engines, as well as to capture every longtail term your potential customers are using to shop. There is no better method of generating copious amounts of content than by having your own customers/fans do it for you.
This is one of the main factors behind why a properly maintained forum/message board/community is essential to online success. Not only does it allow you to monitor and “herd” those interested in your products all in one spot (giving you great insight and even some “focus group” like testing ability), but it also gives you a whole lot of content, written by those very people you are trying to target.
Taking that community one step further, one often-overlooked form of user generator content is the consumer review. For some reason, a lot of companies are scared of consumer reviews, especially on their own sites…generally from fear of negative reviews. To those people I say “You are wusses.”
In the modern world of Internet shopping, there is nothing more powerful than a consumer review. Potential customers will be more easily convinced by reviews from other buyers who have already purchased a product than by almost any thing you can do as a company. Period. Consumers are just regular people and nothing stimulates a person more than the sort of confirmation reading another consumer’s review of a product they may be “on the fence” about.
In fact, over 3/4 of all online shoppers read customer reviews before making a purchase. I know I read reviews of almost everything I buy on Amazon and take them to heart on any item I haven’t physically held in my hand. For me, like most Internet shoppers, reading customer reviews is what gives me the confidence to finally pull the trigger and make a purchase.
Be you publisher, creator or retailer, get a system in place where customers can leave reviews about your product. Make those reviews easy to leave, easy to find and easy to share with others.
What about negative reviews you ask? Well, make sure the reviews require an administrator’s approval. That way you can weed out any Internet “trolls” looking for a reaction. We all get those people and it is one of the costs of being online…live with it. Beyond that, if a product is getting consistently bad reviews from the people you are attempting to sell to, then it is probably an indication you have a problem on your hand. Don’t think of negative feedback as a problem with your customers, think of it as a way to improve your product and your service.
Finally, and this comes from a ton of experience, a few negative reviews help to give your site a bit more believability and a great feeling of trust for your customers. People like a little bit of sour to make the sweet more acceptable.
Read the rest in my new book, “Comic Book Marketing 101,” now available as an eBook for only $4.99!
- Doing marketing analysis and research to maximize your comic’s potential for success
- Developing a marketing plan
- How to do a proper Product Launch
- Hands-On case studies using the work of publishers IDW Publishing, Boom Studios and Moonstone Books! Learn from their mistakes!
- And more!
For the Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/Comic-Book-Marketing-101-ebook/dp/B005PPPRIU/
In multiple formats: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/91945
-Mat Nastos, Super Genius