Knowing that this is going to be mostly consumed by online marketers, know that the purpose of this piece is not to insult you. Instead, take it to heart as the advice of someone who cares deeply about your profession and industry.
Marketers ruin everything. The great, loud, always-everywhere Gary Vaynerchuk is a fan of the phrase. By it, he basically means that anywhere the people go, there’s money to be made, so marketers will follow them in droves. If marketers follow them in droves, that means so do their advertisements, spammy private messages, and promotional outreach. Eventually, another place will become cool, the digital hangout to be a part of, and the cycle will repeat itself.
It’s not something that’s going to end any time soon, but it’s good to think about how you can best take advantage of it, and communicate in a way that doesn’t make you the badguy.
The first thing you have to understand is that everyday consumers are becoming aware of the cycle. It’s not something they think about and analyze as much as you do, but they’re far from oblivious. This means that trying to be sneaky or pretend you’re not being promotional when you are isn’t the way to go.
On new social media platforms especially, marketers tend to think that the best way to promote their products or services is by disguising them as learning opportunities, free ebook giveaways into a funnel, etc. The truth is that, if you’ve built a relationship with people and they like the content you put out, they won’t have any problem handing over money all on their own when you ask.
Rather than focusing on sneaky funnels, put your effort into genuinely providing really great, valuable information for your followers. If you’ve already helped someone for free, they’re more likely to be interested in or at least hear you out when it comes time to pitch something.
In a high speed, more transparent world, most of the time you just can’t market like it’s 2007 anymore. What’s more, most people still do this, so you can stand out from the crowd by being the one brand or marketer not assuming they’re smarter than their market.
What are some ways this philosophy can actually be put into use? Here are a few:
– On Instagram, avoid falling into the trap of leaving automatic or, if they are manual, thoughtless comments that don’t serve any purpose. Nobody becomes a huge fan of someone after they auto-comment “NICE!” on a photo tribute to their recently deceased grandfather. Instead, offer real interactions, ask about the context of the pictures people post, etc. Score some people points by acting like an actual person!
– Use a social platform for warming up a prospect, not for the hard sell. Community or social media platforms are meant for reputation and personality building. Instead of going directly for the kill, if you’ve built a rapport with someone and want to pitch them something, use twitter to ask their permission to send an email or schedule a Skype call to discuss your offer.
The media through which we excel and sell out brand the best vary from person to person and organization to organization. The best way to get through to your customers becomes not only an exploration of their demographics and where they spend their time, but also of where you and your team can best come across in your content.
Are you comfortable in front of a camera? Well, you might want to brush up on your news anchor skills, or at least find someone who doesn’t mind getting in front of the lens and talking up a storm.
Why? Because while content is still and will continue to be absorbed in a number of different ways throughout society, consumers are more and more expecting brand content to create an experience (and a valuable one at that), and those who innovate the quickest are reaping the rewards.
For example, let’s take three different social media apps that have all created a stir in the tech community over the last year: Periscope, Blab, and Meerkat. What do they all have in common? If you’ve been following any of them, you’d have instantly answered, “Hey, they’re all apps that let you stream video from your phone!”
In fact, many of last year’s social media darlings (Snapchat included) have allowed for the easy creation and sharing of video content. Many businesses and entrepreneurs building a brand will continue the classic resistance habit: “Everyone has been fine just reading my blog for years, why would I start doing video instead? What’s the point?”
The point is that the way people like to consume things has evolved, those growing up in the golden era of television might have trouble imaging a generation who prefers to watch video on a 4 inch screen, but it sure as heck beats reading text on it.
Plus, creating interesting video content takes more effort, and it’s becoming more and more transparent which companies are putting in the work to make sure that the content they create is useful and helpful.
Plus, the realtime nature of live-streaming apps like Periscope means that people get a chance to send messages, questions, and replies to video content in realtime. Plus, much like its less visual content counterparts, video content can be created about virtually anything. In fact, in many cases it make topics that aren’t that fun to read about more compelling.
Make a plan to win with video right now by thinking about how you can translate your niche or market’s interest into video content. And if you think your business is too boring or not flashy enough for video, think again. There are landscapers getting hundreds to thousands of views on every video they put on their snapchat story where they just explain their plans for someone’s yard or talk about what kind of tools they will use to dig up soil – these show expertise to their target audience and can result in real sales.
Once you’ve got an idea, start executing. Opt for speed over perfect and you’ll quickly find what pulls in the attention of your target market.
Do you need more customers?
Are you sick of people visiting your website or business and not buying?
Well keep reading as we will show you How To Attract Customers To Your Business Who Are Ready To Buy.
Much worse than having no visitors to your website or business premises is actually getting visitors, but no sales. That is so frustrating.
If that has happened to you, don’t despair. We have worked with a number of existing and start-up businesses and know a few tricks to help you attract not only new customers to your website but ones who are ready to buy from you.
Identify your target audience – don’t try to reach out to everybody
The first and most important step for any business is to identify your target customers. Do it right, and you will have a much easier time converting visitors into buyers. Do it wrong, and you risk creating a product/service that nobody (or not enough people) wants.
It is well known customers want to interact with brands they can connect with.
To do this, you need to know what kind of company and image you want to portray and then adapt your marketing to directly appeal to the ideal brand of customer you want to attract to your business. This is done by creating ideal buyer persona (an image or profile of your ideal customer) based on their buying habits and lifestyle.
So instead of searching for customers, help them to find you. Go to the sites and places they go to – put yourself in the places they want to be and invite them to come and see you. If you have a clear image of who you want to serve, you are going to be in a better position to give them what they want.
A lot of companies make the mistake of thinking that everybody is a potential customer. They are not! You need to focus on the dreams and desires of your top customers, then pay them special attention by treating them well.
Don’t try to rent your audience, build your own instead
Some businesses we have worked with have tried to take a short cut by renting eyeballs or clicks. They buy and rent email mailing lists in order to get extra customers. Sometimes the gamble can pay off but if you want customers who are looking for a business and services like yours, it is far more profitable to grow your own list instead.
This is not hard to do. For example, on your Facebook page you could provide shareable, inspirational and humorous content – images and quotes to encourage visitors to engage with you.
The people who enjoy the content on your site are generally the ones who will respond to your specific offers and products and you can quickly attract a lot of eager new fans and customers.
Word of mouth marketing
The best way to attract new customers to your site is by word of mouth, and social media marketing, like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc, makes this easier to do than ever before. It is fast, free and easy.
Ditch the large scale marketing campaigns
What? Is this really a recommendation from a marketing company? Yes!
In the old days, marketing used to be large scale isolated advertising and media events but things have changed. Your customers don’t live on a campaign schedule. They are always on the move and are constantly being bombarded with new information and offers wherever they go. As a result they have become more discerning and advert aware.
So instead of investing a large amount of money on a big campaign it is better to drip feed your offers through continuous engagement with them.
Social media makes it easy to follow a customer from their first visit to your site, to the point that they become a lead and eventually through the sales process.
The relationship doesn’t end there as your constant engagement and relationship building with them continues long after the initial sale. You can easily get repeat business and referrals from them if you handle it right.
Copy your competition
Do a bit of research.
Find out how your competition is attracting customers:
Do they advertize on the Internet or is it mainly offline?
Do they buy advertizements in local media like newspapers and radio or do they have a large social media following online?
If they are doing something that clearly works for them and are getting customers (your potential customers), you need to try and adopt similar measures so that you don’t continue losing customers to them.
Attract new customers who are actively searching for your product or service
Purchasing pay-per-click (PPC) advertising using Google Adwords is a very effective way to instantly connect with new customers who are not only eager to buy but have got their credit card at the ready to buy there and then.
Unlike traditional forms of advertising, like the Yellow Pages or ads in a local newspaper, with PPC you are not handing over money and paying for an empty promise of perhaps getting new visitors to see your site. You are paying for an actual result, a click.
With PPC, you don’t pay if nobody sees your ad; you don’t even pay if someone does see it but doesn’t click. You only pay when someone literally clicks on your ad.
This is generally called buying clicks because that’s just what you are doing. You’re paying a PPC company each time someone clicks on the link that is pointing back to your Website.
These ads are highly targeted.
So, for example, when a person does a search for a Wedding Planner in your town or area, Google will bring up a list of targeted adverts that wedding planners and related companies have paid to advertize when a customer types those key words into the search engine. In most cases these are customers who are very eager to buy, and you can see how this works over the page.
This is basically how it works:
• You join a search engine’s PPC program (for example Adwords by Google) and add some funds to the account. You set a limit on the maximum amount you want to pay so you don’t go over budget.
• You create a small text ad (in some cases, PPC can include images).
• You specify exactly what words or phrases a customer should type into the search engine before they would even see your advertizement, which will ensure the ads are targeted.
• You specify how much you are willing to pay each time someone clicks on your ad.
• You are now ready. You wait for the next person to arrive at the search engine, enter one of the keywords or keyword phrases you specified, and click the Search button.
• The search engine finds the matching ads (including yours) and places them on the results page.
• If the searcher clicks the ad, he is taken to your Website, and you will be charged for that click.
• Once the budget limit you set for your advertising campaign has been reached, your ad will no longer be shown until you add more funds to your account. By this time you should have received some targeted customers who have bought from you.
Attend industry specific conferences and exhibitions
We are big fans of attending conferences, exhibitions and networking events. It is a great way to make new connections and spread the word about your business to new targeted clients.
People buy from people they have met, so if you are seen and active at events, people will be more inclined to buy from you.
This type of event is also perfect for showing potential clients how caring you are and that you strive to make your customers happy. Exceptional customer service plus excellent products or services will always ensure that you have a thriving business.
Use these events to get people to visit your website and join your mailing list so you can stay in constant contact with them using the engagement tips mentioned above.
By using some or all of these methods you will be able to attract brand new, eager to buy customers easily.
The internet has made it a level playing field for small to medium sized businesses. You can reach thousands of new customers every week from all around the world or locally, by having a well thought out online presence.
It is an exciting time for small businesses and you don’t want to miss out on the revolution that is happening at the moment. Old marketing methods no longer work. The way that consumers buy is changing and you need to change with them, knowing who they are, where they are and why they buy.
Were you involved in the online marketing world back in 2010? Earlier? Ever as recently as a couple of years ago, actually, the strategies that were considered surefire paths to SEO domination were completely different from what they are today.
Interestingly enough, however, Google was saying the exact same things about how you should try and rank a website then as they are now: Provide detailed, relevant, helpful content, network naturally with others, and Google would notice.
Unfortunately, their desired reality just wasn’t the case for most marketers. Hitting the top of search results meant putting in the hours to create backlinks, make sure the anchor text of your links matched the phrases you wanted to rank for, etc. These practices were considered spammy by Google, but they worked… and so people kept right on doing them.
Now, however, Google has finally caught up with its own mantra, and since early 2014 those adhering to old school link building practices are probably walking away a little disappointed.
For Google, it’s a win.
For us marketers, it makes things more complicated, but it’s a win as well.
Right now, SEO is actually simpler than it has ever been, but it’s not easier. That is to say, there’s a lot of work involved, but the work you put in is more valuable to all parties involved now.
In fact, pages are ranking fairly easily for many website owners now, provided they do a great job of providing content. A key component now is Google’s paying attention to social media cues when determining how much of a buzz a page is creating, and therefore how many people find it interesting and useful.
Right now, you can create a page and be ranking on Google within a couple of hours, provided your piece catches social media fire and gets shared around.
Of course, that means you’ve got to come up with something really good. Honestly, though, this can only serve to elevate the level of content that gets produced, as webmasters will be able to spend more time focusing on creating really useful, interesting content for their sites instead of focusing on the post-care SEO of creating countless backlinks.
In order to win, then, you need to be onboard with this new thinking. In fact, if you’re still working within the old framework of SEO, you’re likely going to see more problems than benefits. Sites are constantly being penalized and thrown into the SERPs abyss because they have tried to game a system that has always been about staying one step ahead of those trying to game it (and a goal they’ve finally achieved).
Will SEO professionals still have specific strategies you can take to give your site a leg up?
Will they work? Probably, but you need to think of SEO best practices these days as a side dish, because there is no longer a substitute for the main dish of hard work creating genuinely awesome pages for Google to crawl.
So now that the ice bucket challenge craze has died down, and we’ve had a few minutes to not be frightened by every video we see of our friends and family pouring water on their heads lest they say our names, it’s time to analyze the social phenomenon. As any successful internet marketer can tell you, everything that happens on social media is related to marketing, whether we choose to see it or not. So even if you think the ice bucket challenge has nothing to do with how you make your living, think again.
Here are some key points to take away from the ice bucket challenge while you’re setting up your next social media marketing campaign. These tips will help you achieve a higher level of virality, though probably not as high as seeing Hollywood’s celebrities dump your product over their heads!
Low Participation Barriers are Key
People want to participate in online challenges and events. They want to be part of the trend and they don’t want to have to buy any crazy ingredients to do so. What was so brilliant about the ice bucket challenge? It took ice, water, a bucket and a camera to participate. It’s safe to assume that the population of people who frequent social media has access to ice and water free of charge. It’s also fairly likely that they have a bucket around. And a camera? Name the last phone you saw that didn’t have a video camera.
Takeaway: If you want people to participate in your social media marketing campaign, make it easy for them to do so. The less friction there is between initial contact and participation, the more people will engage. Throw in some forms to fill out, specific sites to upload the videos to or an entry fee and the ice bucket challenge is a failure.
Self-Promoting Mechanisms Work via Social Invitations
The “challenge” aspect of the ice bucket event was brilliant. This plays right into peer pressure, with your friends and family looking “directly” at you from the camera and calling your name out. To drive the point home, they tag you in their post and everyone knows that you’ve been called out. You have to respond or you’re a horrible person who wants people to die! (Okay, not really, but that’s how it seems!)
Takeaway: Any marketing campaign where people are sharing the idea of their own free will, directly with other people is a winner. You don’t have to do anything to spread the campaign; it does it on its own. Keep in mind that the ice bucket challenge was initially only a three-person challenge, meaning you aren’t calling out a whole crowd of people. This makes it much harder to “hide” or get lost in a sea of tagged names. You’re in the spotlight and you must perform (or be shamed on social media), thus spreading the campaign once again.
Pay Attention to the Time Frame
There are two interesting factors built into the ice bucket challenge that have to do with time, both of which play directly into the success of the campaign. First, the urgency that is created through the issuing of the challenge, you have 24 hours to complete the challenge or you have to donate $100 to ALS. Now, forgetting the fact that people are dumping ice water over their head to avoid donating money to a good cause, focus on the fact that a deadline for action has been set, urgency created. Second, think about how short these videos are, 60 seconds was the longest one I saw and that was from a self-professed camera hog. Keep the content short and fun (yes, I do want to see some of my family members drenched in water and screaming, call me sadistic) and you’ll be successful.
Takeaway: Timing is important in that you:
1) Create a sense of urgency by building in a timetable during which the participants must act or face consequences AND
2) Keep the campaign short, sweet and fun.