Social Media Summit: How to Succeed by Continuously Showing Up: Drip Feed Marketing

The keynote of the Social Media Summit that started this week was given by Mike Stelzner. He gave his address about drip feed marketing. He even equated it to watering plants. I found this extremely interesting and relevant, and wrote up my key takeaways for you below. 

Harland Sanders decided to invest in a gas station during the great depression.

  • He was a big deal in Corbin and was located right on Highway 25.
  • He was at the right place at the right time.
  • But there was a problem. Highway 25 moved.
  • Sanders court was in big trouble.
  • He eventually lived out of his car and went around the country trying to sell his recipe for chicken.
  • He was rejected by over 1000 different restaurants.
  • Restaurant 1009 finally said okay.
  • Harland Sanders is better known as Colonel Sanders of KFC.


You may be asking, what does a bucket of chicken have to do with social media and marketing?

  • Passion, personality and good luck are overrated.
  • Simply show up, provide value, and repeat.

Will I remain relevant?

  • Given my limited resources, where should I focus?
  • 84% of consumers trust recommendations from people they know.
  • Referrals matter.
  • The most affective marketing is referrals from people.
  • Trust is essential.

Big marketing questions-

  • How can we encourage others to recommend us?
  • How do we stand out in a noisy world?
  • How can we be “top of mind” when people have a need?


Marketing is like growing plants

  • Option 1: Spray everywhere
    • Feeds plants and weeds.
    • More water is needed to penetrate surface.
    • Resources wasted on walls, sidewalks and areas where there are no plants.
    • Costly use of limited resources.
    • Easy and default solution for many.
    • Translated: Most advertising
      • Traditional advertising: TV, radio, print, billboards
      • Online display ads
      • Podcast ads
      • And in some cases: search
  • Option 2: Drip only where needed
    • Highly targeted to roots of plants.
    • Requires less resources.
    • No waste.
    • More economical.
    • Can send water or nutrients over system.
    • More complex to setup.
    • Translated: Niche content + social
      • Very specific blog posts, podcasts and videos.
      • Using social media to be in front of people.
      • Enabling social sharing.

Drip feed marketing

  • The process of regularly delivering free content only to people who find it valuable.


  • When you provide a lot of value, people: get enriched, come back, refer others.
  • Water people with content.
    • Valuable and relevant
      • Targeted to specific group
    • Content options
      • Articles, reports, etc.
      • Audio
      • Videos
    • Where to find people
      • You have to use two hoses in concert, TOGETHER
      • Hose 1: Social networks: shared platforms
      • Hose 2: Your platform: owned (distribution control)
    • Shared platforms
      • Larger audiences reside here (communal pool)
      • Limited distribution control (large hose that trickles)
      • Goal: drive portion of audience to your owned platforms
    • Owned platforms
      • What you want people to “subscribe to” (blog, podcast, hosted video)
      • You have full control over distribution (small hose that is powerful)
      • Publish your content on owned platforms for maximum effet
      • Shared platforms are for: awareness, providing “curated” value

Compare and Contrast

  • Spray
    • You pay a premium to people who own the audience
    • Your distribution is at the mercy of others
    • Your message hits unintended recipients
  • Drip
    • Less costly to market
    • You have more control over distribution
    • Your message is targeted to smaller, relevant audiences

Consistency yields results

  • How does it work?
    • It starts with content your “prospects” want
      • This is your water
    • Attracts, feeds/nurture a very specific audience
    • Written, audio, video

Seeds to plants

  • Seeds: people who discover your content
    • Your content allows seeds to grow
  • Plants: those people who begin to regularly be nurtured by your content
    • As plants grow bigger, they spawn seeds: social shares and referrals
  • Seeding on shared networks
    • Share others “owned” content
      • You become trusted resource
      • Others content> your own
    • Seeding personally
      • Share “behind the scenes”
      • Share your life

How plants grow and multiply

  • Provide extremely rich content, regularly
    • Draws people in
    • Feeds them
  • People share because it makes them look good
    • Actions form roots
    • Free evangelism
  • How to create relevant content
    • Ask your audience what they want
  • Relevance trumps pizzazz
    • Passion, creativity and luck are needed when you compete on a big stage
    • None of that is needed when you are on a smaller stage, where relevance is king
  • How to encourage sharing
    • Just because you develop great content, people aren’t going to go out of their way to share
    • Have to make it easy for them
    • Digg Pluggin
    • Even in PDF, click to tweet.

The parts

  • The elements
    • Water: create special content for a specific audience
    • Seeds: Draw people to your content with the hope they subscribe and come back for more
  • The platforms
    • Shared: social networks are where you remain “top of mind” and draw people to your content
    • Owned: Where you feed people and hope they evangelize and become customers
  • People will love you

About those challenges

  • Standing out
    • Allows your business to remain “top of mind”
    • Builds a loyal army of fans who’ll gladly refer you
  • Remaining relevant
    • You can directly measure, survey and “see” changing needs of people
  • Got limited resources?
    • Ideal for businesses that don’t have lots of money to spend on advertising
      • Reduces reliance on paid external sources (Google, FB,…) for customer acquisition
    • Yields large returns for regular actions

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