How to sell social media marketing to your customers

In this blog post I’m going to give you five killer methods to selling social media marketing to your customers.

If you want to learn how to sell social media marketing to your customers, or start a social media marketing agency, this blog post is going to outline the reasons that people by social media, how you should sell it, and overcome some of the classic mistakes that lots of social media marketing agencies make.

The world DESPERATELY needs another SMMA

Frankly, every fuckwit on the planet seems to sell social media marketing right now.

This is down to 2 levels of ignorance. The ignorance of customers, and the ignorance of marketers.

Many customers will hear about social media and think “I need to get some of that”. And many marketers think that everyone could use social media. Even if both parties often don’t really understand what social media is or does for their customers.

This means for marketers like you looking to sell social media marketing, you are up against people who have either been conned in the past, or who don’t really understand the true benefits.

Even if a business thinks they need social media, if they don’t understand the pure benefits, they’re not going to pay much for it. Basically, unless they understand what it does for them, they won’t care.

If your customers have bought social media marketing in the past, from a marketer who didn’t really understand its purpose, they are going to feel like they have been conned or short-changed.

Many marketers don’t fully understand the role of social media within a business, and therefore do a poor job implementing basic bitch style social marketing.

I’ve got like, 872 followers. I’m an influencer

Social media marketing is not having a Twitter profile, or an Instagram profile and trying to grow as many followers as you can.

That’s a bit like the restaurant that gives away free samples expecting people to come in, only for people to take the free sample and never return.

To this end we need to understand both the benefits that social media marketing brings to the customer, and whether that benefit is suitable to all businesses.

It’s also critical to understand that not all businesses suit social media, because the business refuses to change. There is zero point installing an eco-friendly motor system into the car of someone who doesn’t believe in climate change.

If your customers are already shifting away from product centric marketing, and starting to think about customer centric marketing, then you might have a shot.

For example, if you have a customer who doesn’t call themselves an accountant, but rather focuses on their ability to save their customers money, that is shifting away from product centric towards customer centric.

It’s an extremely simple to understand system, but so many businesses still market themselves as accountants or solicitors or manufacturers or engineers.

Rather than marketing themselves as security experts for three generation families, settlement dispute experts for housing, reliable suppliers for eco-friendly businesses or safety when farming businesses.

If your customers refuse to move away from focusing on the product, and refuse to focus on the customer, no amount of social media marketing is going to help them.

New from Cinco – the internet

Social media is really just a name for the internet. Social networking or “being social”, is the equivalent term for the marketplace on the internet.

Despite being around for almost 10 years now, many businesses still struggle with the fundamental principles of social media marketing.

This is to be expected however as most businesses struggle to understand the fundamental principles of marketing, yet alone a subset of marketing.

As an internet marketer, you might see all the amazing things that social media can do. Influencers with thousands of followers, large audiences of people reviewing and using products. There is no doubt that social media marketing can add massive value to businesses.

But unless the customer is willing to either change or embrace a new business model, social media marketing is a little bit like a mule with a spinning wheel. No one knows how they got it and I’ll be damned to know they know how to use it.

Maybe it’s you?

On top of all that, there are ideal customers for your product who don’t want to buy from YOU. At least not yet. That’s because you’re still trying to sell social media marketing and YOU are still product centric rather than being customer centric.

This post is going to teach you how to move away from being product centric, to customer centric, and sell social media marketing to your customers.

How to sell social media marketing

Stop calling it social media marketing

Truly I can’t stress this enough. Rule one of selling marketing funnels is don’t talk about marketing funnels. This can be said the same for social media marketing as well.

If you want to sell social media marketing, don’t call it social media marketing.

Social media marketing agencies or SMMAs have a nasty habit of being, how do I put this, excited by the smell of their own farts. Aroused by the sight of their own naked body. Amused at the writing of their own jokes.

I’m not saying that you are like this. But to many customers, social media marketing agencies are the height of overeducated, middle-class darlings who don’t quite understand what exactly it is that they’re selling. But they know that they are geniuses and should be rewarded and paid as such.

I’ve seen

All fashion is of course susceptible to the changes and whims of the market. There was once a time when “foam” not only sounded appealing, but was lauded as the next evolution and wave of innovation in cooking and restaurants.

Personally, I’ve always felt that if someone offered me foam on a dish, I’d tell them to continue cooking it until it’s an actual sauce, but I’m somewhat of a Philistine.

Social media marketing is relatively similar. It’s so new to the marketplace, that most people don’t really know what it is. I’ve seen everyone from media buyers and advertisers, to content creators, call centres, video production companies, copywriters and dozens of other businesses call themselves “social media agencies” because. Just because.

It’s a bit like calling yourself an internet marketing agency.

I’m not asking you to come up with a new category name, or even more bullshit title such as “audience value conversion specialist” or “social love generator”, but you need to stop using the term social media marketing agency.

Here’s a hint, if you call yourself a job title, but still have to explain what it similar to, the job title is meaningless.

If you’re an networking event and someone asks you what you do, and you tell them that you run a social media marketing agency, they can turn round and say stuff like “so like, Facebook and stuff?”

If you have to correct them and say “no actually we are a community building marketing agency that helps Sass businesses lower their cost per acquisition”, you’d be better off calling yourself community marketing.

Find businesses that can truly benefit

This is perhaps the hardest part of selling social media marketing, is finding the business can truly benefit.

You might believe deep down that all businesses would benefit from your social media marketing expertise. And you’re probably correct.

The reality is that there are many businesses who will not benefit from social media marketing. The reason they won’t benefit is not because you do a bad job, or social media is inherently useless. It’s because they won’t do anything with it.

The question of whether someone would benefit from social media marketing, can be answered simply with “do they want the benefits of social media marketing?”

Not do they need the benefits. Not would social media marketing work well with their business and processes? But do they want the benefits that it brings?

We’ll talk about some of the example benefits below. But for many businesses the leap will be too great. If your customer is already whining and moaning about spending too much time online, or as one of my customers called it “a load of old shite this internet thing”, it’s unlikely that they’ll finally and suddenly click that social media could be the key to unlocking their business’ true potential.

Almost every person on the planet would benefit from eating fewer processed foods, more fruit and vegetables, and better-quality meat. But it’s only those that want those changes (and genuinely want those changes) that will ever benefit from them.

Therefore, it is a massive waste of money, energy and time to try and change the minds of people, and instead you should focus on those that want the benefits.

I think a lot of people get confused about the role of marketing and messaging and communication. Your job is not to change the minds of whether someone can benefit. Your job is to change their mind that you are the best path to that benefit.

If customers really don’t want to spend more time managing an audience or dealing with more sales (which is surprisingly common), you can have a hard time selling anything to them.

The fact of the matter is some businesses and customers just don’t care enough about their own businesses to buy services from you.

This is not a reflection on your business, this is a reflection on their business. So you need to be extremely aware of how a business benefits from your social media marketing, and then ask yourself “does this business really want that benefit?”

Example benefits for selling social media marketing

Below I’m going to outline five specific benefits that social media marketing brings.

These benefits are not only going to make it more obvious what you should be selling, but are the entire marketing angle and hook you should be bringing to your customers.

Increase the speed at which people become first-time buyers

Whether using paid social media or organic social media, social media marketing has the potential to increase the speed at which someone becomes a buyer.

On average, it takes around 90 days for someone to go from a lead or subscriber, to a customer. That number can wildly vary, with some people discovering a business on day one and buying at the end of the day. And of course some people follow businesses and brands for months or even years, before buying their products.

However long that period is between lead and customer, businesses would always like it to be shorter. And that’s where social media marketing can come in.

If you approach a customer who knows their average sales conversion window, or lead time between brand-new lead and a customer. Or, between a first purchase and the next purchase, you’d be best off positioning social media marketing as a way for them to increase the speed at which someone becomes a customer.

This is for a variety of reasons and methods. For example, if someone is a lead and then you invite them into a private social group, it’s a fantastic way to indoctrinate them into your way of thinking. It’s a great place to position products, offer additional training, share content and do market research.

In Google’s Zero Moment of Truth research, they found that in order for someone to make a buying decision they need roughly eight touch points across four different media and something like, three hours of contact.

Typically email and advertising are the two core media that we used to appeal to customers. A website and a blog being another. A social media group and organic social media can make an extremely powerful fourth medium to strengthen the trust with a customer.

You’ve seen how powerful social groups can become, especially during periods such as a launch. Allowing new leads to engage with your business, consume extra content and be surrounded by other fans has been proven to increase the speed at which someone buys.

Reduce churn for recurring revenue/subscription products

Product “stickiness” has proven extremely difficult for many businesses. If you have a subscription product or a recurring revenue product, making sure that customers stay with you is as important as that first initial sale.

It’s considerably cheaper to keep the customer, than to keep finding new ones. And social media marketing is an outstanding way of keeping customers engaged.

First of all, there are the obvious choices such as private members groups. However, despite how obvious it might seem to you or I, many businesses with a subscription product still fail to understand the potential power of a private group.

Everyone from gyms, Telco businesses, training groups, coffee suppliers, audio engineers and authors should be running private groups for their paying customers.

As a rule “people join for content but stay for community”. If you offer customers a chance for them to bond and connect with other like-minded individuals, you’ll find subscription rates are more stable.

If you can find a customer that has a recurring revenue product, or a subscription, understanding their churn rate is a powerful motivator to selling social media marketing.

The biggest problem that you can solve for subscription businesses is reducing churn, and for the sake of creating a couple of private groups, it’s such a low-cost option for potentially saving subscriptions from dropping off or lapsing.

Reduce cost per acquisition both leads and customers

CPA or cost per acquisition, is probably one of the most important metrics that a business could measure. While revenue and profit are obviously extremely important. The amount of money that a business must spend in order to acquire a customer, is often the make or break result for many businesses.

For example, back when I worked with insurance companies, they would be willing to spend $50-$70 PER CLICK on an ad. Insurance businesses know that this is a price game, and people rarely change insurance providers once they’ve landed one.

So they’re willing to spend more in order to acquire that customer.

Broadly speaking CPA is measured in the amount of money you spend in order to acquire customer. If you spend $1000 a month on advertising and you land 10 customers, each one of those customers cost you $100.

For many businesses, they understand that their profit margin is often tied to that cost per acquisition. If you can lower the cost per acquisition per customer, you can immediately increase the profit margins of the business.

The old adage is “profit is made when you buy, not when you sell”. That phrase has predominately been tied to stocks, shares and property. But now with customers opening up the market across hundreds of countries and thousands of industries, your profit margin is found when you acquire the customer, not when you sell a product to the customer.

Most businesses make the mistake of either trying to sell more products to a customer, which absolutely can increase profits, but only if the product is profitable. You’d still be surprised how many businesses make that mistake.

Or they try to increase profits by squeezing margins at the product delivery. Which is to say if the service is sold for $1000 and the margin is $200, most businesses will try to find profit in squeezing that margin to $230.

When in fact, reducing the cost per acquisition is in fact one of the fastest and most scalable routes increasing profits of your customers.

Social media marketing has an outstanding ability to reduce the cost of acquisition both leads and customers. Just like we had a group previously for customers, having a group for new leads and audience members is an extremely cost-effective method of marketing to a group of people without paying for advertising.

I’ll never understand the hesitance I see from many businesses, to manage a community, on the off chance that they might get some negative feedback. I got news for you bud, you’re already getting negative feedback.

It seems crazy to me that a business would try to avoid negative feedback, than to deal with it and work on it. Besides, most businesses aren’t in telco or insurance, so the negative feedback is only likely to be opinion based. And in fact, has been shown to further polarise both people who love your brand and who don’t love your brand.

By having a social media group, and a social media presence through other paid acquisition methods such as paid videos on Facebook or Instagram. You can tag and track views in viewers as well as page members for cheaper advertising downline.

Very basically Facebook allows you to post videos and pay for views for cents per view. If you put that out in front of a million people, and 100,000 people watch those videos, you can then further target those 100,000 viewers with another advert. But this time that second advert is much cheaper than just putting an advert out to a cold audience.

Imagine putting a group together for a customer, of people who are interested in their products and services and want to learn more. Of course email subscribers are categorically the number one asset business should build, and a Facebook group allows you to interact with them, post live videos, answer questions and much more.

Imagine putting all of your efforts into growing that group rather than paying for advertising. But creating a private community of like-minded individuals would create an incredibly cost-effective launch platform for new products.

It also creates an incredibly cost-effective launch platform for current products.

Finally, social media can reduce the cost of acquisition, by offsetting the initial advertising price. I know this sounds very complex, but it’s really not. Imagine spending $100 and attracting 1000 clicks to a landing page, $0.10 per click. That landing page offers something for free, like a lead magnet, in exchange for an email address. With a 10% conversion rate (easily achievable) that’s 100 new leads. Each one of those leads cost $1.

If you invited those hundred new leads to a private group and continue to market products to them, a 10% sale rate from those 100 leads would result in 10 sales. If each one of those 10 sales was $10, that’s $100 revenue. That means your initial cost per acquisition of $100 has been paid for by those first customers.

This means your cost per acquisition is technically zero. It also means that businesses can then look to increase what they are willing to spend to acquire each customer, because they know that sales can be made much quicker to offset those initial costs.

This can also be done with thank you pages and one-time offers. But social media is proven with multiple methods of being able to reduce those initial cost per acquisition. It’s also much cheaper to acquire a social media follower for further marketing than it is to attract a customer from cold.

Increased launch success

I would say without question that launching new products, services, training and everything else has been made much easier with a social media group. Now again, it’s critical to understand that an email list is the most important asset you can build.

However, the power of dozens or hundreds or thousands of people watching a product launch, interacting with it in real time, with a group of people at the same time, is only just being fully understood.

I’ve personally seen this first-hand with the launch of my book Five Figure Funnels. My social media presence is pretty mediocre, but I have a very loyal Facebook group and YouTube following.

My email list absolutely was the catalyst for telling people that the launch was ready. However within my group on Facebook the launch was fun and interactive with every single person within the group. The same could be said for new products, courses, training.

Having customers and fans engage with your products and services in real time, in front of other people, is a type of coverage that you can’t buy.

This isn’t even a particularly new method. The De Beers group that owns and controls the majority of the world diamonds, marketed diamonds as an engagement ring back in the 1940s. The way they did this was by targeting groups of people and communities and essentially launching the diamond engagement ring to multiple communities.

They relied on people showing off their purchases, people being interested about what other people have bought.

With relatively little effort, and a few hundred dollars, you can flood social media feeds for a time with advertising, PR and content. Called a lightning strike campaign, the idea is that you strike multiple different media and locations with the same message at once.

Nothing new, nothing revolutionary, but extremely powerful. And social media marketing can absolutely make launches much easier and more successful the businesses.

Better market insight and customer research

Finally, perhaps the most powerful yet the least used aspect of social media, is its potential for free-market research.

Outside of Facebook and Google’s free audience research tools, which will tell you demographics, earning potential, locations and interests and affinities, for free. Having a social media group and presence is an outstanding way to understand what your customers and audience want to buy.

A friend of mine runs a very successful parenting blog, and she is currently thinking about different products to bring to market. With hundreds of thousands of followers and subscribers across multiple channels, any content that she produces with a clear message, is essentially a beacon.

Anyone who interacts, likes or comments on those posts is providing feedback as to what is popular.

The easiest possible method of doing this would be to post on Instagram something like “who’s interested in learning how to write a book?” With a photograph of laptop or a printed book. Every single person who interacts with that is a lead.

You can take this one step further by asking in private groups a very open and honest question “we are thinking of putting some new training together, what are you interested in?”

Through regularly interacting with my audience, I have found that their core concerns are attracting clients, defining a niche and self-confidence. Previously I would not have gauged these particular 3 problems as the core problems in their life.

But rather than trying to guess what my customers and audience want, I’m able to listen to them. Businesses pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for market research. Which seems insane to me, when they haven’t set up their own internal think tanks yet.

Focus groups are certainly on the way out. Their input is found to be flawed at best. But just listening to a group of people who follow you, and watching what they share and say, is like an insight into their brain.

George Orwell’s 1984 posited the idea of governments and corporations spying on us and we having to accept it. When reading 1984 we throw our hands up and say “unsolicited surveillance is against human rights”. But now, people will gladly post and share all of their thoughts, feelings and interests.

As businesses, this kind of data is worth its weight in gold. But right now, it’s treated more like spam and unnecessary noise, than a direct line to your customers by button.

But how much should I charge for social media marketing?

I’ve got a lot of content on deciding your pricing. However if you are asking how much to charge for social media, typically people ask this because they feel their customers don’t really value social media marketing.

Therefore you feel you can’t charge a high enough price for it. My rules of pricing are as follows.

  1. Your time on the market has got nothing to do with how much you can charge, neither has your experience
  2. Don’t listen to your customers or competitors about what you should charge
  3. Your price is your price. Everything is negotiable except price.
  4. Tell me what you want to earn and I’ll tell you what to charge

If you want to earn $250,000 per year, and you feel that you could work with 10 customers. That means each customer is worth $25,000, which means they’ll roughly need to charge $2000 per month.

If you don’t think of social media marketing is what you are selling, and instead think of it as the benefits I’ve outlined above.

  • Increase the speed at which people become first-time customers
  • Reduce churn for recurring revenue
  • Reduced cost per acquisition for leads and customers
  • Increased launch success
  • Better market insight and research

You’ll find it easier to increase your prices and charge a decent sum when you start selling the future not the feature.

Starting a social media marketing agency

Social media marketing is an outstanding product and service to sell with your agency. Social media has the ability to increase the speed which customers buy and reduce churn thus massively affecting profitability. Couple that with deep market research and a lower cost of acquisition, you have a launch process that could potentially make businesses millions of dollars.

Your job is to come up with the process and use these benefits as examples. Pro tip: I would even focus on just one of those benefits and go deeper into it and that’s what you should be selling as a social media marketer.

Every clown with an Instagram account who’s taken a cheap course on Facebook ads now considers themselves of social media marketer.

If you want to start playing in the big leagues, scoring massive deals and working with really interesting customers, call yourself a “customer by button locator” and tell people that you help discover what their customers will buy.

How to sell social media marketing

A big part of that process is defining and refining your niche. Telling people who you work with, is far more powerful than telling people what you do. So if you can understand the benefits you bring, you can define what type of customer wants that benefit.

I’ve got a free list of 49 niche examples, which you can get for free sent straight to your inbox.

Click the button below to get 49 free niche is sent to your inbox, just for marketing agencies.

Mike Killen

Mike is the world's #1 sales coach for marketing funnel builders. He helps funnel builders sell marketing funnels to their customers. He is the author of From Single To Scale; How single-person, small and micro-businesses can scale their business to profit. You can find him on Twitter @mike_killen.