How Automated Is Your Digital Strategy?
In a human world, are you forgetting about people?
Regardless if your business is B2B or B2C, treating people as humans is critical to your business.
Engaging with business and people in general seems to fast becoming a forgotten art. With many social media and digital marketers relying on automation and broad range methods of getting their message out, personal services, advice and interactions are increasingly leaving businesses scratching their heads and confused about how to communicate effectively with their clients.
Much of the advice given by agencies, as well as independent digital marketers, forget that you know your business better than anyone. Ensuring people are interested in what you offer and building effective relationships is of critical importance and can make the difference in retaining good customer relationships, for the long haul. Having said this, business owners expanding your efforts through inbound marketing, organically and broad range, can be highly effective at creating leads. But don’t forget to communicate and nurture those valuable relationships.
Mix it up.
Today buyers and business owners/managers are more tech-savvy and quite competent social media users. Most under 40’s B2B use social media more than those in their 50’s, but don’t let age be a barrier. Statistics show that under 40’s tend to follow Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, where more business professionals and over 50’s use LinkedIn, particularly in Australia. And although Twitter seems to be the most powerful social media site, it may not suit your business.
Just because a product or service is popular in the U.S.A, or Europe, doesn’t mean it would have the same popularity in Australia. Knowing the culture and market of your clients and where they hang out on social media is of the utmost importance, before deciding to promote there, whether it be organic or paid articles and promotions.
A friend of mine worked at a media company who sold Google Adwords, an outbound marketing category. The company began seriously pushing the sell objective rather than focussing on customer service, so he resigned and is now a successful freelancer and certainly gave me a great insight into the world of google AdWords and Analytics, which really helps me to be the best I can be in my line of work.
“Not having compassion and the right customer care, your business won’t be successful. Old ways may work for sometime but you should evolve your strategies in order to succeed”. Maria Johnsen.
The six “Ps” have long been the provision of the comprehensive framework to develop an effective marketing plan, often identified as the “6Ps” or ‘marketing mix’: This should also be applied to your digital strategy.
Ok; what is it you are really selling here? It could be any combination of goods and services that your business offers, including quality, style, variety, design, features, services, warranty, sizes, packaging, brand name and returns.
How and where does the consumer come into contact with your product or service? What are your; distribution channels, logistics and retail outlet location and how do you get your product to them?
How is your product priced within the market? Do you offer discounts or add on incentives or extended payment periods? Do you provide credit?
It's not about you telling your customers about you, it’s about communicating with your customers. Try a mix of brand exposure exercises, advertising, one on one selling, getting current customers to refer you, promotion and public relations. See what works and develop it.
Your staff and loyal customers are envoys to your business, ambassadors if you like, but ultimately they are your representatives. Give your staff the knowledge, experience, skills, communication, environment and attitude they need to help you be successful. And reward those loyal customers for beating your drum.
Ensure the processes that you use on a daily basis have a flow-on effect through to the customer's experience, effectively manage orders and services. Follow processes in planning, procedures, quality control, and handling of customer responses. Review and ensure you are diligent in continuous improvement, documentation and feedback channels. And most of all communicate.
Regardless of what style or platform you market to, remember there is a person at the other end who ultimately makes the decision as to whether or not they will utilise your products or services.
Adapting a flexible marketing mix, using the best of both inbound and outbound methods, ensures you create the right atmosphere to generate results. Outbound marketing may be seen as being without direction, broad range and not delivering definitive results. But understanding your customers and where they hang out allows you to tailor your marketing to the people who likely utilise your product or service, effective outbound strategies may well help seal the deal at the end of the day.
When content is delivered via a blog, relevant video or article on a landing page, it can be sent to possible customers by newsletter, subscription or direct to your followers on your social channels. These channels provide an “outlet” for the outbound marketing, creating better quality content for the inbound marketing to work.
Sharing your content with potential customers and making it relevant and enjoyable ensures stable connections that give you credibility. Most readers enjoy stories, with engaging imagery and/or video content that is well presented and personable. Show your personality and include strategies to maintain and promote the relationship:
Create a conversation
Motivate your reader to take action
Be an Inspiration to them
Solve a problem
Ensure quality content
Don't take everything too seriously, be humorous
Be true to yourself and your business
Tell a story
Show your personality
Be accountable for what you say and do
Many companies are unable to truly recognise their customers, preferring to only look at revenue or ROI. Without maintaining relationships and standing by your product or service, this becomes short lived and unsustainable income.
Small businesses can be competitive:
Showing your personality can give small business the edge when marketing online. People crave attention and providing a resolution to their problem, gives you the edge big business is unable to compete with. Through your social media platforms, every bit of personal attention and responsiveness provides your best method of competing with social media giants. But let’s face it, many small business have a full time job just managing the day to day aspects of their business, so don’t be shy about hiring an account manager to take care of this for you on social media, just be sure you provide a detailed objective and personal brief, or bring them in, to understand your business.
Being loyal, thoughtful, compassionate, responsible, and determined are traits of a real person, ensure you treat them as such.
I regularly keep up to date with Ukrainian digital specialist Maria Johnsen, who recently published a post on Why Human to Human Marketing is the Right Formula for Success, and although it is more applicable to the European market (most we see nowadays are applicable to a very different US market), Maria maintains a human element to all of her books and blogs, something many businesses seems to have forgotten.
So let’s get back to being real people and provide products and services to real people, not an anonymous computer at the end of an ethernet cable.