Earlier I wrote an article about effective ways to use business to business social media to not only get new leads, but build in-person relationships with those businesses. Now that we have identified the strategy, I am going to explain how to measure the ROI (return on investment) of Business to Business Marketing.
The strategy is to offer to promote anothers business, and then when you have something to promote, they will be willing to help you in return. My colleague is a leasing agent at an apartment community, and her target was a local fashion boutique. We aimed for local businesses, as the big brands may not be as receptive or able.
The fashion boutique wrote a story about their business and at the end, included a discount to the resident of the apartment community. We post the article on our blog, and sent an email Friday evening, just before weekend shopping . Keep in mind that this is me testing a strategy, but we’ll follow up with the fashion boutique owner to see how many of our residents made it to the shop.
The email that was sent to the residents was a plan text email and had a call to acton.
“x Boutique is offering our residents a considerable discount. Head to our blog to see what they are offering”
The email included a link to the blog. This email accomplished two things, it draws attention to our blog in general, but it also doesn’t give the full details, which will make them go to the blog to find out all the details.
What I could have done better
a. We used a plain text email with no tracking capabilities. I have no idea how many of the 350 residents opened the email, nor will I know.
b. I should have made the coupon offer downloadable, so I would be able to tell how many people downloaded or printed a tangible coupon. The blog just said to come in and mention you were a resident of the community.
c. The tangible coupon would give the shop owner and ourselves a hard count of how many of our residents used the offer. Not that we don’t trust her, but she may not have an accurate count, which isn’t helpful.
We have now built this strategic relationship, posted it on our social media sites and emailed our residents as a reminder. Now we wait. Monday will come and we’ll call, or better yet, stop by the boutique and ask if any of our residents came in and mentioned our email. We obviously want her to say yes. Whether or not she says yes will dictate how we handle the rest of the conversation.
Follow up and put out some feelers
If she answers yes, we respond with…
“Fantastic! I’m so glad that us working together brought you some new businesses. I wanted to tell you about an offer we are having. We are currently waiving application fees and we’d love to have you post on your social media sites about our offer. They’ll have to mention that they saw your post in order to redeem”
If she answers no, we respond with…
Pro Tip – Her saying no is not the end, it’s an opportunity!
“Oh no, well we’re going to post your blog again during the week and we’d love to put some physical coupons in our leasing office too (now we have a tracking system, and a tangible item to give those that come into the leasing office). We really want to promote the local business, but it also provides a great service for our residents. I’ll be in touch next week to check-in”
The difference between the two responses is that you don’t want to ask anything of the boutique owner if she hasn’t gotten anything from the relationship. If this strategy takes a while to play out, that is perfectly fine, but the idea is that both parties are happy with the effort they are putting in. If both parties are happy, the new relationship will have a better chance of growing.
You want to start a business to businesses social media strategy, but have you thought about what your goal is? I am finding that there is so much pressure on businesses to be on social media, but they either think that they will make money directly from social media, or they have no idea what they are doing. The above strategy has a few goals…
– Indirectly get new customers
– Determine the ROI (Return on Investment) and ROT (Return on Time) Thanks Mark Cuban for learning me something on Shark Tank.
– Make more money
– Build relationships with the community and other businesses
– Give your customers an added incentive for being your customer.
Pro Tip – Consider designing a coupon that your partner businesses can post, that way you have a tangible piece of paper that you can count. This is where you can start to measure your return on investment on your business to business social media strategy. Up until we came up with the waiving of the application fee, we haven’t spent any money on this strategy, just time. I always tell people, social media isn’t free, the time you spend on it is what is costly. Don’t let that deter you, you will see a ROT and ROI.
If you are reading this blog, social media isn’t your only job, and you have other duties to accomplish to keep your businesses going. If you get to0 busy, is social media going to be the first thing you skip? Set a time each month/week to think critically about how you are going to apply this strategy.
If the fashion boutique says yes to the question above, you’re going to want to create an offer of your own that she can post. You’ll be loosing out on income from your offer, but the volume of people coming in the door should outweigh what you are giving up.
Don’t give up
The business to business social media strategy is not an overnight fix for getting more traffic to your business. It is a strategy that will work overtime, you just need to be patient and you’ll start to see results. There are plenty of businesses out there that will want to work with you. If one says no, don’t get discouraged, move on to the next one and start a new strategic relationship.
Good luck and please be in touch if you can offer any extra advice or have tried this strategy and have had success.