How people buy things and services has changed. “More and more and nearly exclusively, people are turning to peers for products and service recommendations. Transparency, Sincerity and Authenticity, are what people are looking for in product recommendations and in advertising. For these reasons, there is a fundamental shift of power in influencing people to purchase products and services away from traditional media such as print and TV toward social media. It is word of mouth at the speed of light.” A quote from Lon Safko, author of The Social Media Bible and a founder of fourteen successful businesses.
The new way to sell is not to sell at all. It is a two-way communication, not a pontification.
The basic approach does not change whether you market B2B or B2C. They are all customers with whom you need to build a relationship of trust before they will buy.
With social media, the content is by the people, for the people. It is ad hoc, fresh, and spontaneous. Content should not be commercial or corporate sounding. Production quality should not be professional but rather be perceived as homemade, honest, truthful and trustworthy. This especially true if you are a local business as most small businesses are.
If you mention your product, your company or yourself, do it tastefully and keep it to a minimum. Do not sound like a sales pitch.
Your To-Do List:
1. Create your Profile and join Groups on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Foursquare. Choose which is appropriate for your target customer.
2. Participate in discussions in these Groups: Listen first; then, comment!
3. Build your own network: Blog on your website and other blog forums such as Groups in LinkedIn and other sites appropriate to your target audience.
4. Post comments at least twice a week. Use catchy blog post titles.
5. Be sure to include your website link in every one of your blogs.
Email's Role: Email is a very effective tool for marketing and the cost is largely your time.
The Preview Pane: You have 1.5 seconds to convince reader to open email. Make the subject compelling with a "What's In It For Me?" message.
The Body of the Email: The Email message should be easily read in 5 seconds and should convince reader to click through to website! Keep focused on the "What's In It For Me" message.
This message must compel the recipient to click on your website.
Keep it short and to the point.
Your Website is the Center of Your Marketing Campaign; It is the Center of Your Marketing Effort
You must use all media that are effective for your target audience to draw potential customers to your website. You must keep content fresh so that customers keep coming back to your website. Do not forget the What's In It For Me message (WIIFM).
•Your home page should show you are a real company with real people engaged in servicing your customers. Use photos to emphasize authenticity.
•Don’t forget the WIIFM and the Call to Action!
•This page is meant for branding but it can be your awareness page.
•Give them a reason to search for a solution on your website that satisfies a perceived need on your search page.
Search Page: Your search page needs to be a little more specific such as a brief product/service description for all services and products offered with a brief WIIFM and Call To Action message for each one.
Research Page(s): The research page(s) needs to be even more specific and describe the distinct qualities of your product/service so that prospects can compare the value of your offerings versus a competitor.
Buy Page: Gives your prospects the opportunity to order your products or services and complete the purchase. Make this buying process easy like Amazon's buying process.
The right keywords are essential at each stage of the buying process. Choose them wisely
Don’t forget the Call To Action and the "What's In It For Me" in each Page that draws them to the next page..These four pages represent the four stages of the buying process which is fundamental to any marketing effort.
It is also essential to ask the question, "How did you hear about our company?" Make it a multiple choice question and track the answers so that you can measure how effective your marketing campaigns are. Calculating the Cost of Customer Acquisition and the Value of a Customer Acquired are covered in an earlier blog post.
Dr. Horan, Author
Career Wall Street Professional, 40+ years of experience in analyzing and forecasting income and cash flow statements and balance sheets for businesses in variety of industries. Strong skills in business planning, forecasting and risk assessment as well as mentoring. Strong modeling and database management skills in, Excel, Access, MS Office and QuickBooks used for 20 years.