Get the Customers That Are Out There, Just Waiting For You!
Business just isn’t conducted the same way today as it was in 1980, 1990, or even 2000, is it? With advances in technology, the face to face medium has really started to disappear. We have gone from businesses that spend a fortune on travel to have meetings with clients overseas to having instant meetings via webcam. Thanks to the internet, each local community has become more and more a part of a global community, and if your business isn’t on there fighting hard every day to get a piece of the billions of dollars of global commerce that occurs daily, then you are simply not going to be able to survive.
Why? Because just 3 out of every 100 customers of every business don’t use the internet to find a local business. With applications and platforms available that let customers see exactly what your business sells, what customers think of your business, and even how much business you do every year in sales, if you do not have at least a minimal web presence, you are going to lose access to 97 out of every 100 customers – scary thought, isn’t it?
But that’s just the tip of the iceberg – you’ve got figure out what it’s going to take to convince as many of those 97 customers who are using the internet to shop at your store or your website. Your online presence can literally make or break you – so how do you become a “make it” business instead of a “break it” business?
You’ve Got to Go Where Your Customers Are
Just like in traditional marketing, when it comes to an online marketing presence, you’ve got to go where the most people are so that you can have the greatest impact on your time and monetary resources. Think about how much time you spend on the internet every day. Where do you end up spending most of your time? If you’re like most people, you spend most of your time on a social network either chatting, updating your status, or playing socially networked games. The question then becomes this: how do you make a legitimate marketing pitch to people when they don’t really want to be disturbed? After all, an aggressive sales pitch while someone is playing a game is about as positively viewed as a telemarketer always calling during dinner time.
It starts by you building a relationship with the people whom you want to market to online. Without the relationship, you’ll only get a few stragglers with the monumental effort it takes to continuously be marketing online. In fact, without that relationship, you’re almost in worse shape than if you had never begun online marketing in the first place because now people will have a forum in a public place to talk about what a terrible business you have and what a horrible business owner you are.
By establishing a healthy relationship online, you are creating loyalty to your brand – just as if you were doing it in an old fashioned face to face meeting in the 1980′s. When you create loyalty, you create amplification. When you create amplification, you get free online marketing that is positive and better than anything you could ever pay for or create. Word of mouth is still one of the most important mediums out there even if it is online – without it, you’re not going to be in the black financially – you’re going to be in the red.
Empower Your Customer to Shop With You
Let’s say in the best case scenario that you’ve converted 20% of your target customers who shop in businesses like yours to come look and purchase things from you. That means out of the 97 people that use the internet to find your business, you’ve managed to convince 19 people to come in and maybe purchase something from you. That sounds nice on paper, but unless you’ve got a high priced standard service or top of the line products, you’re average sales point is probably around $20. That means you’ve managed to bring in $380 in revenue, and that’s not good enough to stave off failure. You’ve got to do more.
Customers these days want information. They want to know what other customers thought of you. They want to know what other customers think of your products. They want to know what you ate for breakfast today in some instances. When you can give your customers the information they want to know, then you are empowering them to come over to your side and shop with you.
There’s a number of ways to be able to do that, but the most effective way is to start up an e-mail list. When you have the e-mail addresses of your customers, you can provide them with information and value that makes them want to shop with you again and again. It could be as simple as offering exclusive discounts through their e-mail address, or it could be as extravagant as a free ebook that you’ve written talking about the pros and cons of the products or services that you sell. Either way, when you can offer your customers added value, even if it is just perceived, they are going to be more likely to stay with you when they need products and services like the ones you offer and are also more likely to continue staying loyal.
You’ve Got to Be Able to Change With the Times
One of the hardest things to do in today’s business world is be flexible enough to stay on top of the changes that happen almost daily in the marketplace. Though your local economy is usually pretty consistent, if you are looking to expand and go global, you need to know what people are wanting, looking for when it comes to new products, and how they are searching for them on search engines. That’s why search engine optimization has become such a booming industry.
Did you know that if you have the appropriate keywords in your web content at the right percentages that you can have your website get ranked higher than other websites when someone specifically searches that phrase? That’s really all there is to it when it comes to search engine optimization, or SEO, writing. With proper SEO content, you can get traffic to come to your website or store every single day without ever needing to do anything else beyond what you have already written. When you can combine a little sales technique into that as well, you’ve got yourself a winner because you are literally attracting customers to you that want to purchase your product. If you aren’t doing this, you’re going to fail as a business because I can guarantee you that your competitor already is. Customers click on the links that come up first – they don’t click on the links that come up on page 9.
Don’t Become Just Another Statistic
A vast majority of small businesses that start up end up failing and are often in bankruptcy or are just plain out of business within 5 years. That happens because business owners don’t utilize all of the resources that are available to them online, and the shame of it is that a vast majority of the resources that are open to every business owner are absolutely free. Don’t give up simply because you’re not sure what something is, what it means, or how to do it – take the time to research it and do it right yourself, or even hire someone who can do it for you. Spending a few bucks on your online marketing isn’t going to kill you and put you under for good, but many business owners really feel that it does.
Online marketing when it is done correctly is just a gateway – it’s a gateway to new customers, to getting more from your existing customers, and to limiting the damage that disgruntled customers can cause. If you’re not online much, you have no idea then what someone could be saying about you there, true or not, and that’s ultimately why your business will fail without online marketing – because you are letting someone else control your reputation instead of yourself.