Online marketing

Online Marketing


When marketing for an on-line business, the old axiom is never truer - who is your ideal customer? Since they won't be drawn to a common storefront, you must look for what your on-line clients have in common and what they are looking for, ie., develop methods to get an appealing marketing message in front of them.

It's important to understand how your potential customers communicate and search for what they need and the best methods to reach them. Once you've identified your ideal customers, determined how they communicate, pinpoint their needs, then you can outline the best strategies to use in your marketing plan. Once you do a little research, you will probably discover, if you haven't allready, that the majority of buyers turn to the internet when looking for a product or service. The following are some ideas on how to develop an internet presence.

Blog


Having a blog, which is short for web log, is of course what the b2b newsletter is. It's dynamic, in that the content is constantly changing and is usually search-engine friendly, so potential customers can find you and will want fresh content so they will keep coming back to your site to see what's new. You can often set one up for free, but make sure it still works with your other on-line web pages.

The Expert


You can become know as the expert, by writing consistently and distibuting your advice to appropriate audiences. Your writings instantly add credibility to your name, brand and business. Post them to your blog, your wesite, send them out in newsletters and submit them to industry publications and association newsletters that your target customer reads frequently. You can also submit to article websites such as ezinearticles.com or freearticledirectory.co.uk/

Social Media


Social media sites are great places to meet customers and potential virtual team members. The most popular are Linkedin, Twitter and Facebook. They are all used in business marketing; Linkedin caters to the professional audience and serves as an online resume, testimonial and contacts bank. Twitter is a quick forum for finding interesting and valuable information, as well as following those of similar interest. Facebook leans toward more personal social interaction. They're useful as you can join groups, participate in forums, post comments about other businesses and ask for testimonials for yours. Keep in mind, your goal should be to build positive relationships before they need your product or services.

Get Listed


The name of the game on-line, is to be found. So any links that drive visitors to your website/blog/etc. are highly desirable. So if you have a business, whether you market to consumers or business owners, it needs to be listed in as many directories as possible. Getting listed is as simple as filling out a form and registering your business for free. Some of the most widely used are yellowpages.com, kudzu.com, superpages.com, switchboard.com and local directories such as evliving.com.

Strategic Alliances


Develop alliances with other businesses owners who work with your ideal customer by identifying and building mutual relationships that involve referring business back and forth to each other. Just make sure your referral partners share the same proactive approach, values and deliver the same quality that you expect and that you offer! Interview potential referral partners to make sure you have found the "right" person to build a mutually beneficial and profitable relationship. This can be taken one step further by starting a networking group focused on your core customer profile or loosely affiliated around a particular business practice. You can also join existing groups through bni.com, letip.com and meetup.com.

Hold a Contest


Set up an event worth talking about that touches upon the "hurts" of potential customers. Sponsor a contest and invite others to submit entries, with the winner receiving free services from your company. All those who enter become future leads as well. Just make your contest unusual, fun and colorful. Promote it everywhere you can and make the winner's final result a big deal.

Here are some other fun marketing ideas: Sponsor a Good Cause, Celebrate a Special Holiday or Create Your Own, Submit Press Releases, Free Samples to Community Leaders, Wear a Hello Nametag, Followup and Ask for Feedback, Add a Surprise Gift

You have to create a memoriable experience and be committed to new, welcoming experiences that engage customers in a personal way. It's in difficult times that people want—no, they desperately crave—experiences that help them feel better about themselves or their situation! They want authenticity, they want to know that people care for them and they want to feel secure and comfortable. Once you create that special experience, keep shaking it up by creating new or unusual experiences. Keep them guessing about what exciting twists will come next and they'll keep buzzing about it (and keep coming back for more!).

Source: Wendy Kenney via 23kazoos.com

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