This article is about how to get influential so that your readers and email recipients bother to open, read, like, share, comment, and even answer your emails. This indirectly increases the odds for your company to sell and close more. I call it Spiral marketing.
It’s a lean startup approach that aims at helping any startup to reach its marketing targets faster.
What is Spiral Marketing?
A race for optimization
For businesses, optimizing marketing strategy is a matter of life and death. There is constant research on how to get as much as possible from the ever-changing online media channels.
For this, content marketing is one of the best options. Publishing niche articles to generate new leads can help your services be found faster.
The marketing strategy in our company was based on email marketing 100%, with zero content marketing, We sent thousands of cold emails to niche-related contacts on Linkedin, Twitter, and Crunchbase using our own product to find their email addresses. We had a pretty good open rate in the beginning.
Our user base was 9000, quite good for a small chrome plugin, but after a while, the response and conversion rates began to weaken. A new update to our marketing strategy was necessary. Here it is.
Real influence vs. perceived influence
Real influence is something that can only be achieved in the long term as opposed to perceived influence which you can get in the short run.
A good example of perceived influence is the case where someone is sharing content from an expert who is knowledgeable on a precise subject.
Just because we are distributing content from experts, doesn’t make us experts ourselves, but certainly gives the public the perception that we are.
So if you reach a good degree of real or perceived influence, you will get more shares and recommendations from those that also want to get more influence by associating their names with yours. Feeling dizzy? I do!
So how to get perceived positively in your niche market by gaining both real and perceived influence in the eye of your market?
You can try and try to be the king of the hill (Or king of the niche!) by making as many promises as you wish, but you need to show that you can keep up with the challenge, or your reputation, expertise, and influence will suffer from your recklessness. You may get a glimpse of the dreamt glory, but that will probably be all of it.
With Spiral Marketing, the first goal is to reach influencers. The next is to win good advocates. Advocacy marketing is one of the best ways to generate positive buzz for your company. It occurs when customers are happy with your product and willing to recommend it.
Advocates tend to recommend a product or service talked about by influencers more eagerly than anyone else’s. Some advocates will even recommend products or services they haven’t even tested, just because they like the looks of the brand, what they have heard about it or the influencer that talks about them.
“Spiraling” intends to help you accelerate your momentum with each previous effort, letting social inertia build your presence and pushing you further to the top of the hill, where you won’t need shouting out to be heard, and where your real or perceived influence will shine.
Nature is all about spirals! It’s a pattern that keeps repeating itself. Just take a look at the galaxies and the water swirling in the oceans, or even at DNA strands! Learn from nature because it’s been there long before you or me.
Without metrics: no win
Of course, this strategy will show its merits with good metrics. As a lean startup enthusiast, I know that a good strategy is the best growth hacking trick.
Without a clearly and well-defined strategy there is no way to control or steer your efforts. Every intermediary step needs to be measured in order to solve any issues and react quick!
The more you need to steer the wheel of your car, the more gas you will need to burn. In terms of marketing, this gas is your budget!
So get ready to set up control points in the spiral stages.
How to spiral
In order to set this up you need to create good and interesting content for your potential clients. You need to know who your best potential customers are. And target them.
When you write content I recommend using the sandwich approach. This consists in starting a subject. The first part of the article is meant to attract attention, the middle part to create expectation, and the end if for closing up the loop, where you answer the initial question.
You can extend this strategy to the whole series by writing the first articles in order to open the loop and the last ones to close it. This is done by the best writers around, so there is no reason you can’t do it! Of course, if you are a bad writer you should consider outsourcing this to someone better at it.
Even great content fails so get inspired by your niche influencers.
Organize a list of bloggers, and influencers that you think can be beneficial to your business.
In our case, our company helps entrepreneurs, recruitment specialists, and small SAAS to get more leads, so we created a list of bloggers that write content on lead generation, growth hacking, recruitment, and startups.
Use ranking services such as Alexa, SimilarWeb, or Follow.net to calculate the ranking and authority of their website and social profile.
Be aware that these services have limited precision but they still offer useful metrics that can give you a hint on the number of visitors a website or blog gets during a 3-month period, and therefore the level of exposure a post is getting on that blog.
Similarweb gives you more insights about the visitor’s provenance to the page, which adds more precision to the ranking. Actually, SimilarWeb tends to broad their statistics to a 5-month period.
As I said, these services tend to offer you a mid-term statistical approach. This can make you lose some opportunities that are necessary for your spiral strategy to work better.
How to know what’s going on in real-time?
Twitter is a great way to know if anyone is getting the buzz. When a blogger or an influencer goes viral, you will for sure know it by checking the number of their follower’s fluctuations. To get this type of data you can use tools like twitonomy.com or socialcount.io. The first one gives you lots of options for a reasonable price. If you want to push it further, which you should, depending on your budget, you may want to take a look at semrush, which will give you a great deal of data, and see how many backlinks someone is getting, this, on real-time too.
With this backpack full of actionable info, you can target bloggers and influencers that are getting big exposure almost in real-time.
Remember the nature metaphor I made relating to the spiral of the DNA molecule? It wasn’t just a piece of poetical dissertation!
The first spiral spins slowly. It’s the one you create based on non-real-time statistical data like the one you collected with Alexa and similar web, and that expands to a three to five-month period.
The second one is based on real-time data, which you will gather up with tools like Twitonomy and Semrush.
Now you have two spirals that can be interweaved like in a DNA molecule.
Did you know that DNA is used by nature to conserve genetic hereditary information because it’s extremely stable? Think about it and how it can help your marketing strategy become just as stable!
You may want to also try other services like klear.com, that offer you useful info about influencers based on search parameters such as field of expertise. This can help you get the previous info faster.
Hit the start button!
Once you have ranked your bloggers, influencers, and media agencies, you can start promoting your superb content. Get in contact with the lower-ranked ones first.
Write comments on their blogs, pages, social profiles, etc. If you can, write them an email, if you have their email address. contact them on LinkedIn, through their connections in common, if you have them. You can additionally use our plugin for chrome to find their business email address.
Start first with the ones that have the smallest influence based on the data you have collected. Act on both strands of your marketing DNA! The time it however you like. With two different marketing speeds, you are sure not to miss anything and if you are able to time the two together, by finding any particular patterns, don’t hesitate to use them to your advantage.
These patterns are like marketing genes in some way, and you may actually have discovered something that can be part of your marketing toolbox, and that you could even sell if they are good enough.
Hurray! You got published!
Once you get published add the news to your website. Update your company’s social profile and show where they are talking about you.
Whether your product stands up to what it offers or not, this spiraling strategy will guarantee you get the buzz! Let the advocacy begin!
From now on when you think about DNA, you will probably think about Spiral marketing.