When thinking about marketing for your business, you might hear about the two different strategies of direct marketing and indirect marketing. Both can be very effective, but they have different approaches.
Direct marketing refers to paid advertising and promotions. It is what you do to get the attention of your client so that they will buy from you. It can be lucrative when done well and can be a huge money drain when done poorly.
Indirect marketing has almost the opposite purpose of direct marketing and paid advertising. It is designed to build brand awareness, customer trust, grow engagement and to create momentum for the business.
Many business owners still question the effectiveness of indirect marketing because you can’t directly track the sales from it. The big question is how do you track your success with indirect marketing results?
In this article, we will explore some of the best strategies for measuring the success of your indirect marketing.
Transactions vs Relationships
With a direct marketing or advertising campaign, you can track your results quickly through link clicks, impressions, and sales. It’s much easier to see the advertising dollars you’re spending per sale.
However, with indirect marketing, you are building relationships with people through the virtual medium. Only 20 years ago, this idea might have seemed ridiculous, but today it is commonplace to have strong connections with people and brands through social media.
Today, people have connections, interactions and relationships with companies that increase (or decrease) loyalty and sales. Here are the main types of indirect marketing that businesses use:
- News articles
- Product announcements
- Useful or entertaining blog posts
- Social media posts
- Social media influencer collaborations
Have a consistent strategy
Most businesses are very diligent with their direct marketing because it costs dollars. The advertising platforms need a lot of detail to be able to post an ad. However, the consistency in indirect marketing is harder. You must hold yourself accountable to be consistent.
The very best way to do this is to create (and stick to) a content calendar. This is a list of all your upcoming content by date and subject, based on the strategy you are using. If you have specific products or services you want to market at certain times, it can help to have them mapped out ahead of time.
Measure your reach, impressions, and engagement
With indirect marketing, you measure not through sales, but through engagement. Engagement is a broad term and can be confusing to measure. Think of it as how many people are interested in what you have to say, and don’t ignore you when you post.
In technical terms, you can break the measurement into reach, impressions, and engagement.
Reach measure the number of people who see your content.
Impressions measures the number of times your content is displayed. Content can be displayed multiple times for some users, for others, it is just once.
Engagement is the number of interactions people have with your content. This is in the form of likes, comments, and shares (we will explore this later).
Track followers and fans
The people who follow you (or become fans of your page) are those who want to stay connected. By clicking like or follow, they are saying ‘keep me posted’.
There is some contention in the social media world, as some people have used the follow-for-follow strategy to grow their follower base, but overall, if you have a valuable product or service that meets the needs of your customers, you will find that they want to be connected with you.
Track likes, comments, and shares
For each post you make, you can track shares, likes, and comments. Each is important for their own reasons.
Likes – when people choose to acknowledge your content. On Facebook, this most commonly with a thumbs up, on Instagram and Twitter it is a heart (often referred to as a ‘like’). This is their way of telling you they enjoyed what you shared. It also means they are likely to see more of your content due to the algorithms that lie underneath the surface.
Comments – taking the like a step further, some people will take time to comment and offer their opinion or feedback on what you’ve shared. This is even more valuable, as it is a chance to interact with them. Many businesses won’t take the time to acknowledge and reply to comments, so by doing this you make a marked difference to your followers and fans.
Shares – when a person enjoys what you have posted, they may share it with their own users base. On Facebook (via sharing) and Twitter (via retweeting) this is easier to do. On Instagram, it is more difficult, but can be done through third-party apps. The value of your followers resharing your content is that it vastly increases your exposure. This is the goal of all content: be valuable and shareable.
Indirect marketing is the key to brand attention
In the modern era of marketing, you can see a lot of engagement on social media platforms that can translate into actual sales. If your brand has a strong enough following, it means your loyal customers will buy almost everything you produce. Just look at brands like Apple and Lululemon to see this in reality.
While slacking on indirect marketing might not cost money in the short term, it does cost you attention. Today, people’s attention is constantly divided, so being spotty with your indirect marketing can prove to be a huge loss for you. If people aren’t regularly hearing from you, they won’t keep you top of mind.
People who think of your business as the ‘go-to’ for a product or service are much more likely to keep buying from you.
But it all starts with attention. If you create compelling, valuable content for your potential customers, you will see your business success begin to grow.