3 digital marketing tips that have nothing to do with social media
Thursday, May 25, 2017
No matter the industry, running your own business is challenging — especially if you are running your own small business. Faced with tight budgets, small business owners are often forced to wear many hats, including that of the chief marketing officer.
When customers search for a product or service, they usually turn to a quick internet search that can easily overwhelm them with options. With so many companies readily accessible with a click of the mouse, your business needs to stand out.
Here are three simple ways you can boost your company's digital marketing presence today to ensure you win more business.
1. Create a professional website
Critical to your business's perceived overall professionalism is your website's design. Your website is usually the first representation of your business a potential customer sees. If your website looks outdated and plain, customers may be inclined to think your products or services are, too.
According to marketing studies, it takes users only 50 milliseconds to form an opinion about your website. Without an engaging design, your customer is gone.
Your website should incorporate brand-related colors in a clean and easy-to-navigate layout. You will first need to decide what tone your company is trying to convey. Using flashy, interactive design aspects will reflect a younger attitude, while a content-based website can evoke a more formal feel.
Interactive tools, however, can be beneficial for companies across the board because they encourage the user to keep scrolling, enticing them to click on other links on the site. Be careful though — you don't want to go overboard with a bevy of interactive tools and images. Too much clutter will confuse the user and will encourage them to search elsewhere.
Instead, carefully choose the images and content that best represent the message of your brand. If you choose to make your website content-heavy, use a conversational tone as though you are speaking to customer directly. Conversational writing is more personalized and will help the user better connect with your brand and its overall message, turning website visits into actual conversions.
2. Shorten email response time
You may be one of the few points of contact for your small business, or even the sole point of contact, but your email response time matters when you are trying to secure business.
The reality is that your company is probably not the only company that customer has contacted. The internet makes it easy for customers to find and contact multiple providers in the span of minutes for the same service or product. Responding to that inquiry as soon as possible will put your company at an advantage.
Because we are constantly connected to the internet, traditional work hours have fallen by the wayside, with 87 percent of people admitting to checking their email outside of work hours. Customers are going to expect that you are doing the same.
So when you receive a business inquiry, you should do your best to follow up in a timely manner, definitely before the 24-hour mark. The sooner you respond, the better. And if your response is swift and personalized, you will have a significant advantage.
A hand-crafted email addressing the customer's specific questions will have much more of an impact than an automated response. Customers want to feel that their individual needs are important to you and that your company is interested in establishing a relationship with them.
Making the customer feel valued upon first contact is a sure way to start off the business relationship on a positive note. A quick and tailored response reassures customers that you are eager to do business with them and that working with your company will be an easy process.
3. Generate positive reviews
Reviews — both negative and positive — are ubiquitous online these days. Whether they are on Yelp, Google or an industry-specific site, negative reviews can significantly affect business. However, generating positive reviews is not as elusive as you many think.
The No. 1 factor that will compel someone to write a positive review is a great overall customer experience. Someone who has had an exceptional customer experience is likely let you know. Oftentimes, this person will recommend your services to others and may even inform you of their intent to do so.
These are the customers you want to ask to write a review, but you must ask them for the review soon after doing business. Asking for a review at the correct time is crucial, because you want the customer's experience to be top-of-mind. The more details the customer remembers about their superior experience with your company, the better the review will be.
Let customers know that you would like them to write an honest review. If the review is not the positive review you had hoped for, use that criticism to improve upon your current business practices. Asking for an honest review rather than just a positive review establishes trust between you and the customer by giving significant value to the customer's opinion.
If possible, ask the customer in person. Digital marketing industry publication Marketing Land has found that asking for a review in person the most effective way to generate reviews.
Take a step back and carefully examine your current business practices. Is your brand being accurately represented through your overall online presence and communication practices? If not, it may be time for a total revamp on the way you conduct business and present your company to the public.
Your website and communication skills set the tone for what the rest of the business relationship will be like between you and the customer. By putting yourself in the customer's shoes, you will be able to deliver a superior customer experience that will drive satisfied customers to leave positive reviews.
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