The number of interactions taking place at any given moment on the Internet between people in different parts of the world is staggering. The ability to not only reach more customers in more countries but to also get to know them and invite them to share your products is unprecedented. Local listings online are also so much more accessible now that with your smartphone, you essentially have a Yellow Pages on steroids with a GPS that will take you directly to a company with top reviews, 24/7. Perhaps that explains why several years ago, Google saw local search becoming as big as it is and suddenly decided to add 49.5 million Google Places listings out there for the taking. (Have you claimed yours?)
Given these radical changes, I have recently seen a major shift in my own sales process. It used to be that I was like a crazy preacher, rambling on and on about the glorious advantages of Internet marketing. Now when I go to business meetings, many of my prospective clients hand me lists of things they have been hearing about—like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, Flickr, and organic search—and beg for both an explanation and a roadmap. Thus, there is a temptation for many marketers to jump on a particular bandwagon like Facebook or Twitter because it is hot, without really understanding how a particular platform ties in with the company’s own long-term strategy. If you can stick with me through some relatively technical details that are in reality only scratching the surface of the things Internet marketers do, you will start to see how important and cost-effective it is to develop a holistic strategy. Again, none of this matters one lick if your website is not bringing in traffic and getting those visitors to take action.
Engagement is the new metric, since customers want to interact with brands to see if they really have something to offer that fits their needs. They will no longer fall for weak PR spins or fluffy campaigns, and the shift will move from simply acquiring new customers to making good customers happy enough to be brand loyalists and even cheerleaders.
Some of the top techniques you will learn from this blog may be enough to quickly get you up to speed and ahead of much of your local competition online, while you develop deeper strategies either in-house or with a specialized team.
How do you engage with your customers and clients?