Marketing is about communicating your value proposition, not just to anyone who will listen, but more specifically to people who have a need that you fill. Using Internet tools and technologies for this task can allow you closer communication links with your target audience - segmenting your message to suit the audience in order to produce better results. This article introduces the top four ways in which Internet enabled forms of marketing should be used to spread your message.
1. Permission marketing with Email campaigns
Email marketing has become a mainstream, accepted method for communicating with your existing customer base. Additionally, many businesses collect email address through newsletter signup mechanisms. Gathering email addresses for your database doesn't need to be restricted to a newsletter sign-up though, customers who provide an email address and do not opt out should be added too.
Trading a promotion code for an email address is also a useful strategy, using an autoresponder to provide a discount code takes the work away from you too.
2. Social Networking and Community Interaction
When you sell widgets offline you interact with the widget loving community. You attend conferences or other gatherings and discuss all things widget related. When a customer asks a question about widgets you wax lyrical about the wonderful widgets. It's the same online. Find out what forums or social media your widget loving audience hangs out on the internet. Answer questions, question answers and engage with your audience. Ocassionally you'll have an opportunity to link to your content and your products. Carefully ensure your profile displays your website or shop link.
For many people a blog is a time sink of hassledom. It doesn't have to be though. A blog is the place where you get to display your expertise. It should be located on your own website and you should link to your products and services, and other blog posts where appropriate. For example, we offer search engine optimization and conversion optimization services directly as well as providing you with a useful free guide with SEO top tips. These posts can be syndicated out to your social media accounts and can be linked to again and again to answer questions, or repost seasonally relevant content. For example, a florist that blogs monthly about the relevant birth flower. These blog posts can be used over and over again, and may be updated or just re-used as is.
4. Offline/online integration (and the simple power of viral)
Many businesses run events around their products and services such as a product presentation in a shop, a family day, open day or seasonal event. You can promote these events by creating a Facebook event and inviting contacts there, where you can explain what the event is about and provide updates before, during and after the event. At the real event, resist the temtation to take lots of photos of the speaker or the product at the centre of the event and take more photographs of the people in the crowd instead. Facebook is designed to share photographs of experiences. When speaking yourself at the event, tell people to watch out for the photos on Facebook and to tag themselves. The average number of friends a person has on Facebook is over 100, so if you have just 1 photograph with just 10 people tagged in it then up to 1,000 people will view that photograph.
These four strategies can gain real strength over time but are also very effective very quickly. Much of this can be time-released, e.g. you can write four or five birth flower posts in one go and only publish them (or finish them off) at the relevant time. These strategies are also interrelated, you can use your blog posts as content in your email campaigns and syndicate the posts to your Facebook fans, Twitter followers and your LinkedIn contacts. Much of the content you use and certainly the methods that you learn in the process are completely re-usable too, so over time you build up a large repository of quality content supporting your product and service offerings.
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