Are you listening to the changing marketplace? People are connecting in different ways today. If you want to connect with more customers you need to adapt your marketing efforts accordingly.
The best way to connect with new customers is to understand what they want. They want to make meaningful connections using the Internet. Through opt-in newsletters and e-mail updates, blog posts, and social networking you give useful information to potential customers. They will respond to you through e-mail with questions and requests for more information. With this kind of dialog, you’ll earn the long-term business you’re looking for. Plus, you’ll leave a clear trail for additional customers to find you.
How many trails lead back to your business right now? What plans do you have in place to increase the number of these trails?
Internet marketing is not the only game in town, but it is amazing to see how many established businesses have no Internet game at all. You can jump in the game very easily. You could join a business-related networking site likeLinkedin or Biznik. How about a social site like Facebook or MySpace? You can share your experience and knowledge on a forum, just be sure you leave a link to your site.
Basic Internet marketing doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. But you do need to lay the tracks if you want customers to be able to find you today.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is not a one-time event where a computer geek comes in and rewrites a few lines of code on your website, even though that may need to be done. SEO is more about content, relevance, vision and hard work.
SEO is simply the efforts put forth for organic search results in your market(s); it is the placement you can’t buy (luckily your competition can’t either). You have to earn it with a clear, long-term vision and daily, weekly, and monthly efforts. A solid optimization normally requires some “out of the box” thinking and implementation. The good news is that in today’s “local internet” it is infinitely easier to carve out a local niche, and claim first page results for your company.
Find the help you need to shape the vision necessary to slowly and consistently drive your business to the top of the pile for your market. Bring in a hired gun that sees more of the Internet than you do. You may want to consider a copywriter as well.
As you go along, you’ll find that leaving lots and lots of content on the Internet will help your company website find its way higher on the search engines.
Here is a story about how a local client used email to ask their customers to vote for them in a local TV station’s “Best of” contest. Now don’t think for one second that email made them the best. What makes them the best is the absolute dedication to looking out for the best interest of their customers and employees for the last 75 years. That being said this client was able to mobilize their customer base to earn the well-publicized distinction of “Best of” title with a rapid use of their email list
This contest ended on October 13, 2008. The television station had given the people of Western Washington the previous month to vote for who they thought was the best in the state. The only problem was that my client and their loyal customers didn’t even know the there was a contest. The morning of October 10th, my client had exactly zero votes. Many competing businesses had links on their websites and were asking their customers to go to the TV station’s website and vote. They had a full month to “get out the vote” we had 3 days.
That is where email comes in. Now it would be nice to tell you that my client had done things perfectly over the years and had collected all of their customers’ email addresses. The truth is they hadn’t, in fact, they had email addresses for less than 20% of the names in their database. The whole truth is that like most businesses, they had struggled over the years to collect email addresses. In fact, at one point they used a company like Ascendance Digital Media to append their list with known email addresses from a national database. That append plus frequent efforts to ask customers for their email address was enough to get the job done.
The morning of October 13, 2008, just 3 days after they had launched their email campaign they had more than twice as many votes of the second place company in their category. They had succeeded in encouraging more than 1 percent of their database to go and sign up at the voting site and leave a testimonial about their experiences with the company.
All of these testimonials have since been picked up by Google on their local business tool and my client has literally 10 to 20 times as many positive comments as their competitors. That’s a story for a different day. Here are a few key points to take away from this:
Get ready now so that you can contact your database on a moment’s notice.
Don’t underestimate the length’s a customer will go to share their experience with others. (this cuts both ways)
You don’t have to be perfect at collection but you do need to have a plan.
Having an email list and the ability to broadcast your email list on short notice is an absolute business essential today. Email is the preferred mode of communication for an increasing number of people. What’s more is that if they don’t want to hear from you, they simply don’t read the email or they remove themselves from the list. You don’t have to be an expert to get the job done. A basic understanding of the Internet and word processing is enough to get started. If you want a more professional look and some awesome tracking tools you may want to consider having your email campaigns managed by a professional (we do that). You can try it for free with our tool.