One of the common objections we hear when it comes to getting started with Engagement Marketing is, “I feel uncomfortable asking people to join, share, follow, subscribe, etc.”
Few of us like asking people to do something extra —especially small business owners.
You respect your customers. You know they get bombarded by marketing from other companies. You don’t want to bother them. I get it. But to be effective at Engagement Marketing, you have to build your “ask muscle.”
You build this muscle the same way you’d start a program to build your biceps or quads: you get expert advice, you make it easy, and you start small.
1. Get expert advice
The weight machines at the gym can be a little scary. How do you use them? What’s the best starting weight? How many times a week should you use them and in what order? Instead of trial and error, you can get a trainer to help you develop a program based on your goals. Or, you can read a book and develop your own.
You may have similar questions regarding Engagement Marketing and asking people to connect with you. “Which tactics should I use?” “Which work best and why?” “Should I implement one at a time or do everything all at once?”
You can get answers to these questions by hiring a marketing consultant like one of Constant Contact’s Solution Providers. Or, you can figure it yourself by reading any number of blogs or books.
As an FYI, you can find a wealth of advice on the Constant Contact site. We have blogs that cover everything from email marketing and social media to technology and small business issues. We also have a Learning Center where you can download e-books, reports and past issues of our Hints and Tips newsletter. And, of course, you can read Engagement Marketing: How Small Business Wins in a Social Connected World.
2. Make it easy
To make your new exercise routine pay off, you have to make it “stick”—meaning you have to make it easy to get the gym. Creating a routine helps. So does adding it to your calendar. And, making sure you have clothes, a water bottle, and the right shoes, all help too. The point is you want to remove obstacles that prevent you from sticking with it.
When building your “ask muscle,” use easy-to-implement tactics that become part of your business routine—and that will stick.
Sign-up forms – Whether you have a blog or an email newsletter, a sign-up form encourages people to connect with you. Once you add it, you can forget about it. Easy.
Social icons – People can’t find you on Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter if they don’t know to look. Show them the way by adding social media icons to each page of your site and to your email newsletter. Again, easy.
Collateral or Posters – Let the printed word or picture do the asking. Put out a sign-up book or put up a poster with a compelling reason to join your list or social following. Business cards, name tags, ads, packaging—these are all excellent places to add URLs that direct people to your site or social platforms. To encourage instant connection, use the full URL, like this: pinterest.com/constantcontact. People can quickly key it in and viola, they’re now a follower. Or consider using a QR code that people can scan with their mobile device to open up the web page.
3. Start small
People abandon an exercise routine because they start out too fast get and get hurt: they’ll run five miles on the treadmill the first day out or they’ll lift 25 pound dumbbells when five pounds is more appropriate.
When building your “ask muscle,” start with small “asks.” As you become more comfortable and proficient (and you see what works), you can move on to bigger “asks.” A couple of ways to start small:
Newsletter forwards – Every so often, ask your readers to forward your newsletter or blog post to friends or colleagues. You can also include a “forward to a friend” link in your email.
Social media shares – Create a piece of content that others will want to share: a funny or original image, a discount or special offer, or a report or e-book. Then ask people to share it with their networks. One or two shares is all you need to make you feel comfortable with this type of “ask.” (And don’t forget to celebrate your small engagement!)
As you build your “ask muscle,” you’ll find yourself becoming much more comfortable connecting with others. You’ll find yourself asking people face-to-face if you can add them to your email newsletter (yes, we have an app for that) or to follow you on social media.
And then you’ll know: you now have a well-developed “ask muscle”!
Do you have a tip for building your “ask muscle”? Please share your ideas.