How to build your Tribe besides via email marketing?
We all know that email is still the most preferred way for online marketers to communicate with their Tribe (prospects, leads, buyers, and fans).
But did you know that consumers prefer messaging above email as preferred channel for customer service?
According to a Twilio’s survey, 66 percent of consumers now prefer to reach brand (or be reached by brands) though messaging apps.
Which apps they want to use depends on geography. Globally, 47 percent of users prefer native text messages when communicating with brands, followed by Facebook Messenger (21 percent), Whatsapp (18 percent), LINE (6 percent), and Snapchat (2 percent).
What’s also interesting is that 85 percent of consumers surveyed here want to be able to not just get messages from brands but also be able to answer them using the same channels.
Now that’s for customer service. What about communication between brands and consumers in general?
In a little older study from Marketingsherpa, you can see that email is still number one under all age categories as you can see in the image below:
However, there is a trend going on…
Younger people do prefer mobile, social, chat applications, and videos!
So, in this article, I will discuss some “new ways to build and communicate with your Tribe” and what tools you can use.
What are these other “new” ways to communicate with your Tribe?
- SMS Texting.
- Messaging Applications (as Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Line, Snapchat).
- Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube).
- Groups & Communities (Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Skype, WhatsApp, Slack).
- Push Notifications (Browser, Mobile App & Facebook).
- Custom Audiences & Retargeting.
To be compliant with anti-spamming rules, in most countries, the first two types require opt-in by the customer. Messages initiated by customers don’t require explicit opt-in but do not constitute permission for broadcast or personalised notifications. It is important to know that texting compliance varies by country, and instant messaging compliance varies by app.
You have seen them before on websites or sales pages, the “Text Us” buttons…
The “old way” is that you have to enter the number yourself, but a better way is to use a texting widget that automatically opens your texting app on your mobile phone.
Now, you can either enter your question or you enter a “keyword” to get specific information. A great and easy way to let prospects contact you.
I found this great article on the OptiMonk blog: What Every eCommerce Store Needs to Know About Texting with Customers.
(OptiMonk is a great Popup Builder – or “On Site Retargeting Platform” as the vendors call it themselves – that uses actual visitors’ behavior to show real attention grabbing pop-ups at the right moment, f.e. if someone leaves the checkout card without buying!)
Inside you’ll find 18 practical tips “How To Get The Most Out of Text Messaging With Customers”.
These are all great tips to let your customer start the conversation.
Also, there are many suppliers who can offer you Texting solutions (for your location).
But what about building your list with mobile telephone numbers and using your list to broadcast SMS messages to your list?
A great “SMS Autoresponder Platform For Internet Marketers” is TextDeliver.
TextDeliver allows you to get better results than with Email as you can see in this infographic (taken from the sales page).
Yes, maybe a little biased, but as you pay as little as $0.007 per click, it’s worth to try it out yourself.
And yes, you can use Texting in almost any niche or market as long as your prospects/clients are using a mobile phone (and who isn’t).
Messaging Applications (as Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Line, Snapchat)
Source: Twilio’s survey
As these messaging apps are becoming more and more popular, it makes sense to invest in them and to build your “lists” as soon as possible – before people’s messenger inboxes are as crowded as their email inboxes!
Actually, since about half a year, Facebook allows you to build your “FB Messenger list” from people who either commented on your Facebook page before or did message you before. You can send broadcast messages and/or use automatic chat bots to communicate with your FB Messenger list.
An easy tool to do that is via FanContact (click on the link to read my review).
Or if you want to build your “FB Messenger Leads” via Facebook advertising, check out ClickMSG. With this cloud-based app, you can directly show a personal Facebook Message when your lead clicks on your ad.
From there you can start the conversation or use an FB Messenger Bot…
Looking for a FB Messenger Bot Tool?
Check out ChatFuel, a free FB Messenger or Telegram Bot application. You can use ChatFuel to create all kind of auto reply messages if someone enters a “keyword or phrase” inside the chat box. And you can even setup full autoresponder messages campaigns. (And yes for free, no hidden charges!)
A recommended blog post from HubSpot about starting and using ChatFuel is Creating your first bot.
Another recommended FB Messenger Bot tool is ManyChat (comes with basic free plan or $15.00 p/mo subscription plan).
Update: there is a new all-in-one FB tool SociBot that allows you to use FB Messenger bots, to build FB Messenger List and to use FB Messenger as your Chatbox on your website with preset questions (the Chatbox feature is an extra “Gold Upgrade” feature).
WhatsApp has more than 1.2 billion users globally and it’s becoming (or already is) the most popular app for connecting with friends and family (above SMS and FB Messenger).
For business purposes, WhatsApp is less popular (in comparison to native texting and FB Messenger), but smart online marketers are investing in and searching for new ways to reach out their Tribe.
WhatsApp can easily be used for people to contact businesses for support questions (just as native texting). However, WhatsApp also allows you to send files, images, and short video clips about your products and services!
So, for one to one communication, you can give way better support than via native texting.
On the other hand, to build your WhatsApp “list” is more difficult. You (as administrator) first have to add new contacts to your “WhatsApp Group” (thereafter people can reject or stay inside the group).
I don’t know about any tools to facilitate this “inviting” process.
That said, WhatsApp is a great tool to use as communication media for Groups (see below).
Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube)
We all know that we have to connect with other people to get Fans (likes), Followers, and Channel Subscribers on Social Media platforms. Either you publish content that people can like or share and as a result will become your Fan/Follower/Subscriber. Or you go out and do like/follow other people in the hope they will like/follow you in return.
Below a list of tools that you can use to (auto) follow other people/influencers:
- Twitter: CinchTweet and WP Tweet Machine 2.0.
- Instagram: don’t use an automated tool to auto follow because Instagram bans accounts who use automation as result of their new Internal Anti Spam Update.
- Pinterest: PinFlux, Board Commander.
But many online marketers still struggle with their content marketing on social media. Not only do you have to regularly publish quality (and preferable viral) content that will be liked and shared, you also have to follow up and respond to comments and questions (i.e engage with your audience).
And as an online marketer, you want to promote products. However, people are on social media for socializing and not to be sold.
Besides your own content, it’s common practice to use and/or curate other people’s viral content and publish/share it on your own social media accounts (profile, pages and groups).
Tools to find viral content and publish to your own social accounts:
- Facebook: Social Kickstart 2, WP FanMachine 2.0, Fan Marketer or SimplyViral.
- Instagram: InstaPilot.
- Twitter. Social Kickstart 2, AutoSoci.
- LinkedIn. Social Kickstart 2.
- Pinterest: PinFlux.
All (cloud-based) products that you can use to easily find viral content (from all kind of different sources) and semi- or auto publish/schedule (after curation) on your own social accounts.
However, don’t setup Facebook Fan pages or other Social Media accounts with just auto posts from other sources sprinkled with your “promotional” posts.
Try to build your following with at least some of your own quality (non-promotional) content as Neil Patel clearly explains in his excellent blog post How to Get 200 Targeted Facebook Followers Per Day. As Neil stated in his summary:
“Offering value is the only consistent way to get people’s attention on social media”
and “If you’re not making me laugh, you’d better be teaching me something”
How to manage your Social Media accounts?
There are so many (free and paid) tools to manage your Social Media accounts. There is no one “best solution”. It all depends on your situation and how you are using your social media platforms.
To give you a start, check out this list of 101 Facebook Tools.
Or check out 3 of my favorite tools not on this list:
- SociDeck. Cloud-based app to easily manage all your Facebook (Pages & Groups), Twitter and Instagram accounts from one central dashboard. You can instantly interact (reply, comment, like, post/schedule, retweet etc.) from within one central feed without having to log into or open individual social accounts.
- BleuPage Pro. Manage all of your 8 main social media accounts from one central dashboard. Easily find (viral) content and schedule all your posts for publishing at the right time.
- SociTrafficJet. WordPress Plugin to easily auto (re)post/schedule your blog posts to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. And find Facebook Pages and Groups where you can publish your content with one click.
Other smart tools:
- FanInviter. Easily mass invite people who liked your post(s) on Facebook to like your Fanpage as well.
- SociLiveStream (cloud-based) and LiveCaster (Windows PC) to schedule prerecorded videos as Live Streaming videos on Facebook or YouTube.
So, Social Media is a great way to build your following. However, it depends on the (Edgerank e.o) algorithms whether your posts will actually be seen by your Fans/Followers.
The more engaging, the higher your exposure (from the Social Networks and via sharing) but there is a limit to the number of actual Fans/Followers you’ll reach.
A non-engaging post will only reach maybe 2% of your Fan base, while a really engaging post can reach 20% or more.
And in both cases, you’ll often reach only the most engaging people (who like your content the most). This is not bad and actually preferable, but on the other hand, you won’t reach 80% or more of your Fans.
The only way to increase your reach is by promoting your post via advertising on Facebook by either:
- boosting your post (show post to all your Fans),
- target new audiences (lookalike or based upon interests/demographics etc.),
- target your custom audiences (website visitors, email subscribers).
Of course, the more engaging your post, the better your results. That’s why it’s smart to use a regular post with high engagement (instead of a “dark post”) and increase your reach by advertising to that post.
This way, you still get some organic traffic even after you stop your ad campaign.
So, overall you can and should build your following on social media, publish valuable and engaging content, but you’ll never reach out to 100% of your fans (and you’ll have to pay for ads to get scores above 20%).
If you compare that to email and texting. With both, you can get a delivery rate of almost 100%. However, of course, not everyone will open your email/text message. Which is comparable with social media posts – people scroll through them in their timeline and will often take notice but won’t read your posts.
That said, content on social media has one huge advantage above email or texting… It allows your fans/followers to comment, share, and like “in public”. Hence, other people will also see the post and conversation (i.e. new “organic” traffic to build your following).
Plus on all social media platforms, the trend is from text, link and image posts to videos and live broadcasts. Especially live streaming changes the way you can communicate with your audience. It’s no longer one-side mass communication, but “real live” interaction.
(Check out FB Live Mastery, a great video course to learn how to plan, setup, and run FB Live broadcasts for maximum results)
Groups & Communities (Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Skype, Slack, WhatsApp)
Besides traditional forum and bulletin boards, there are now several “new” types of groups and communities where everyone can start, participate and enjoy a group discussion.
Inside a “closed community” – i.e only accessible for group members, people are freer to share their (personal) information and stories as trolls and other uncooperative members can be excluded from the group by the administrator/owner of the group. Also, there are often more “rules” to ensure that people will treat each other with respect.
This is a huge advantage in comparison to publicly open groups and/or Facebook Fan pages.
As administrator/owner, you can come up with subjects, start conversations (questions) and demonstrate your authority and expertise.
So, as an online marketer, groups and communities are a great way to build and stay connected with your tribe.
All mentioned examples above have in common that you have to be a member and logged in to the related platform to see and take part of the discussion.
As these platforms are more or less free to participate and you won’t have to invest in the software. Hence, it’s a very cheap way to keep contact with your Tribe.
Furthermore, these platforms use all kind of “notifications” to stimulate your members to come back and see what’s going on. Think about browser notifications, emails, counters etc.
Use groups for your best “Fans” i.e. people who already know you and are either in the “Like” and/or “Trust” phase and who will actively engage with you or your brand. In return, you can give excellent information, gifts, coupons etc. – resulting in a platform where people really participate and help each other.
Anyway, you have seen these groups and communities yourself.
Just think about how you can use groups in your online marketing strategy the most efficient way.
Or read this Free Ebook…
Browser, App & Facebook Push Notifications
I know you have seen them before, but just to be sure…
Web or Browser push notifications are clickable messages that come from a website and alert you on your desktop or device even when the concerned web page is not open in your browser.
Push Notifications are a great medium to re-engage your visitors without knowing their email or other contact details.
It’s one-way communication. As a sender, you can only send out your Notifications and your viewers can’t respond. Hence, you can see these Notifications as kind of a “small popup ad”. A short message to attend people on “something”. Either about a starting event, a new blog post or product launch, a reminder (f.e. end of promo discount) etc.
To send Push Notifications, you have to get permission from your web page visitor. The way that’s done is by popping up a short message on the web page where you ask for permission.
Therefore, you have to add a short script in the header of each page where you want your pop-up to appear.
My favorite Browser Push Notifications app that I’m using myself is LetReach 2.0.
LetReach allows you to not only send out a single broadcast message, but you can also setup sequences of different messages following each other at preset time intervals. You can even send different messages to people who clicked on your prior message and who did not!
Hence, a great way to send a “reminder” to all the people who didn’t click the first time (and no or another message to people who did click).
(Click this link to subscribe to my Browser Push Notifications)
From the same vendors, the LetX team, you can get LetSocify for Facebook Push Notifications.
Click on the image below to subscribe to my LetSocify Facebook Push Notifications List:
As additional benefit…
By using Facebook’s one-click authorization process, your subscriber also agrees to share their email address.
Hence, you can build your email list and Facebook Push Notifications List at the same time!
Especially if your are active in the gaming niche, but applicable to any other niche, Mobile App push notifications can be very interesting. I’m not an expert in this field and have no experiences with push notifications in mobile apps. So, I can’t help you further, but it can be an excellent method to reach your Tribe.
A great relatively new way to build your Tribe is via podcasting.
Not only can you easily publish Podcasts on your blog/website (with free plugins as PowerPress Podcasting), but you can publish your own Podcast on iTunes and Google Play. Either automatically via RSS Feeds or manually for each Podcast individually.
Google Play and iTunes, together with Podcatchers (as Pocket Casts, Overcast, and Stitcher), allow you to increase your audience because podcast app users can actively search for new podcasts by either keyword or scrolling through popular/trending podcasts.
Furthermore, with these apps, people can subscribe to get a notification if you publish a new episode.
It’s relatively easy and cheap to create podcasts. Below a video to give you an idea how you can setup your podcasts for free…
Note: inside this video the presenter uses Spreaker.com to host his podcasts. However, you can use other hosting options as Amazon S3 or Google Drive as well.
Another great article to start with Podcasting is this one from BuzzSprout “How to make a Podcast“. (Note: BuzzSprout is another podcast hosting platform, again you won’t need their hosting solution)
As last resource, I recommend this article How to auto publish your own Podcast on iTunes via RSS Feeds.
So far the technical aspects, but to be successful with Podcasts, the marketing around your podcasts and especially how to promote your first Podcast launch is extremely important.
Read this awesome post to get great tips and insights from Nathan Latka “How I Launched Fastest Growing Business Podcast Ever: #1 New and Noteworthy, 75k Downloads in 45 Days“.
Custom Audiences and Retargeting
I think you already know what retargeting is. Otherwise read this article on Hubspot “A Beginner’s Guide to Retargeting Ads”.
In short, you either use a pixel to build custom audiences from people who visited one or more of your web pages.
Or you can build a custom audience by uploading a list of (customer) email addresses on a social network (like Facebook or Twitter) where you want to advertise, and the platform will identify those users with the same email addresses in their database, creating a sub list (of recognised) users.
In both cases, you can use the custom audiences as target audience to show your ads to.
Retargeting ads are in general by far the most profitable ads. Why?
Because you can target to people who know you and who “consumed” (parts of) your content. Hence, people who often just need an extra reminder about your “offer”.
And did you know that you can often exclude people?
For example, people who already took your offer. Or visitors who left your page immediately (and didn’t show any interest).
A great tool to include your best visitors and exclude your “worst” visitors for behavioral Facebook retargeting is ConnectRetarget ($197.00 per year).
With ConnectRetarget you can create custom audiences based upon real actions they took on your webpage as the Time they spend on your Site, How far they scrolled down your page, which Browser Language they use, Page they came from (Referral Source), Number of Visits, Date of Visit, Visiting Device, Number of Sessions, and UTM Campaign data.
And did you know that you can retarget based on video behavior?
Check out my demo and review about SproutAudience.
SproutAudience is an App (SaaS) that allows you to run video behavioral retargeting campaigns on Facebook. Now you can segment and retarget your video viewers based upon the number of seconds they watched your video. It works for Facebook native videos (posts or ads) as well as for embedded videos on your website!
Finally, did you know that you can retarget based on Email behavior?
Check out my demo and review about ConnectAudience.
ConnectAudience is a new cloud-based platform to create specific (i.e. segmented) Custom Audiences and run email retargeting campaigns on Facebook based upon your email subscribers’ actions.
ConnectAudience supports all major Autoresponders and automatically connects with them via an API.
You can filter and create your Facebook Custom Audience based upon these specific actions.
The email subscriber…
- Is subscribed to email list.
- Is not subscribed to email list.
- Has received the email.
- Has not received the email.
- Has opened the email message.
- Has not opened the email message.
- Has clicked a certain link (or multiple links) inside your email message.
- Has not clicked the link(s) inside your email message.
And the best part, you can even combine these “filters” and use the logical operators AND and OR to really specify your audience.
So, by combining user behavior (website actions, video watch time, or email actions) with retargeting, you can really drill down and target to the most engaging, interested and probably highest converting segment of your website visitors.
And that’s why “smart” retargeting is a must for any serious online marketer.
Note: Email Service Providers are adding new features to integrate with Facebook Custom Audience. Drip is by far the best ESP/Autoresponder at the moment. Drip allows you to segment your leads by Website Activity, Purchase Behavior, Custom Events, Email Behavior, and Funnel Progress. Read this blog post Automated Ads with Drip’s Facebook Custom Audiences Integration to learn more. (So, there is no need for ConnectAudience if you’re using Drip)
I hope you found some interesting “new” ways to build and communicate with your Tribe and the right tools to help you get the most out of these new list building strategies.
Maybe, you’ll ask what’s the best way to start and with what medium?
My answer is that it depends on your niche/market and the way you want to communicate with your Tribe.
Don’t start using them all at once. Start with one medium, give it a real try and try to master it before jumping on to another medium.
That said, at least start adding your Facebook and Google (Adwords) pixels to your site. Maybe it’s too early to start doing retargeting campaigns but at least you are building your custom audiences (and it costs you nothing except a little time to add a short block of code to your website pages).