Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Real Time Research Using Social Media Tools

Trust me.  I can research and analyze anything to death.  What?  You too?  I hear you.  Well read on because today, I'm taking you on a real time tour of a project and promotion process that I'm working on over at


My objective was to incorporate eCourses, webinars and teleseminars into in order to build membership AND to generate revenue.

Deciding on Topics

This is the ideal place to do some market research!

  • I used IdeaScale (the feedback tab) on my site and wrote posts about getting ideas on what people wanted to learn about.  It appeared that social media marketing was ranking fairly high on the list - but these comments were general.

  • I did a scan of re-tweeted articles by thought leaders I follow such as @smallbiztrends or @mashable or simply watching my Twitter stream and seeing what gets passed around my network.

  • I also use a tool called Pretty Link. This is a WordPress plugin that allows me the ability to shrink a link and then track how many people click on it.  Go ahead - give it a try.  Click to read this article and see what happens: Power LinkedIn Strategies for CEOs.  Pretty Link told me that articles about LinkedIn were by FAR the most popular. So that's what I chose to do as my first teleseminar.

  • I also used MicroPoll to find out what social media tools my audience was most interested in -- and LinkedIn came out on top there too.

What Actually Happened

  1. I sent the referral emails as attachments to my personal list of people who I thought would be interested.  They passed those on to their contacts and the results were EXCELLENT.  My response rate (or conversion rate) was about 10%.  Not stellar, but not bad either.

  2. I wrote some blog posts outlining some of the points that would be covered in the event ahead of time with links to the registration form.  This was NOT NEARLY as responsive with about a 2% conversion rate.  That's about average.

  3. I sent a broadcast message to my list.  This was also very responsive.  About 40% opened the message and 20% clicked through.  But then something interesting happened -- I noticed that about 10% went through the registration, but didn't complete it.

  4. I used my email marketing tool (aWeber) to send a message to those who didn't complete and asked them WHY?  The answers were very helpful -- "they didn't want to pay for something without a sample"  was the prevailing response.

How I Adjusted My Approach

Now this all happened in a matter of days.  And this is what has blown me away!  I took that feedback and created a WHOLE NEW OFFER - to the list.  I allowed them to listen in on our practice call where we will go over the outline and prioritize the specific issues that we'll discuss.

I wrote an article about the process - on my PERSONAL blog Strategy Stew -- where I shared much of what I shared here -- AND I gave them the opportunity to fill out a form to get on the free call.

Now I wait to see what happens.  I wonder if  offering a sneak peak bring more registrations?  I'm following the links and I see that people are clicking and some registrations are tumbling in -- but not nearly as many as I thought.

Another terrific opportunity will be to collect the information in all of these events and create new content around it and then measure response to that.

The Lessons I Learned

  • Don't be afraid to take some risk - you will make mistakes.  But you will make mistakes anyway - this way you have data to fix them quickly.

  • Use the social media measuring tools as research metrics to supplement your overall research plan.

  • Use a low impact, high-value event to test your theories and make improvements so that you're not testing on something REALLY BIG and important.

If you want to take a sneak peak at how this worked visit these links:

How are YOU using social media to track your success and what's your experience with this?  Have you been able to make changes on the fly and improve your results?  Leave a comment and let us know.
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