Sometimes it is good to refocus ourselves and go back to marketing basics. We live in a society that suffers from information overload especially for people looking online. The opportunities for online promotion are truly vast and if we so choose we could all spend our working lives just trying to keep up with the hundreds of networks out there in order to reach that extra prospective customer or 2. So with this post, I want to remind us all of some basics of marketing that we should bear in mind as we disappear in a sea of icons and posts.
Who are you?
The most important thing in marketing is who you are, online or off. Your brand needs to be relatively consistent across the different channels that you use. Whether you want an informal approach, a serious one or a more jokey personality – consistency is important. That isn’t to say you can’t have a more relaxed approach and we all have different sides to us, but flirty on Facebook and stuffy on twitter may confuse people. Of course you can get round this to an extent by giving your staff their own personalities in the ether but keep your corporate brand consistent.
Can potential customers find you?
Making sure people can find and contact you is vital. If you have a website then you want to ensure people can find it and once on it they have alternative ways to contact you. If you have a physical presence make sure the signage is clear at the entrance. For you website, search marketing is important for people looking for you and central to that is identifying the key words and phrases that your potential customers will enter into a search engine when looking for your products or services.
What are you?
Once someone finds you what will they think? The content you create on and offline helps potential customers for a first impression and garner further information about you to move them along the buying process. If you have a website, what content is on it? If you have a brochure, does it give people the information they need to make a decision about engaging with you? Are you giving too much information in the wrong format?
Relevant engaging content is vital for customer engagement so tailor content for different consumption channels to make sure it is of interest to your readers. If they get there and leave immediately then you’ve wasted the effort of getting them there anyway. Online, consider a blog to engage customers – if it has relevant content they will return. Yu can also reach out to other bloggers to feature your content on their sites and vice versa.
Where are you?
Where you undertake your marketing and PR is important in terms of it’s suitability for your business and whether potential clients are likely to engage with you in that setting. When embarking on a social networking strategy or online advertising program, choose sites that your potential customers visit but that also that match your personality and brand. Yes Facebook is the largest social media site and has the broadest reach but is it right for your business? Other sites need even more careful consideration. Just because your potential audience is there, it doesn’t mean they want to talk to you there. Twitter is used by a lot of professionals looking for snippets of information and professional interactions (but is it clients or peers?) Pinterest is great for more visual brands with a primarily female target audience where as Hacker News has a more entrepreneurial technical user base.
If you have a product that appeals to parent, school fairs are an obvious choice initially but If they are rushing their children round will they want to stop and talk to you?
Know your audience
One big advantage of the digital age is the data and insights we can get on those finding us. Look at Google Analytics to get more data on who is visiting your site. If working offline consider a couple of hours surveying customers or potential customers on the phone or in person. You can incentivise them if you feel it’s necessary. Online, Facebook will give insights into those reading content and most sites offer some form of demographic feedback on your audience. Offer a download for free, but decide what you want to know about your potential customers and put it in the download form. If in doubt Ask! You never know, you may identify a new opportunity.
So before you embark on an all encompassing strategy, think about who you are and where you want to be then plan accordingly. And track your efforts then stop what isn’t working!
PS Keep an eye out over the next few weeks for a upcoming series on engaging customers at each stage of their relationship with you.