With changes in algorithms and credibility with consumers–social media changes affect how small business will build new prospects and leads.
The burden is shifting more to the small business owner to be seen in an online world; getting customers to provide positive ratings and reviews as well as shareable content is booming in online branding.
What we use to do with testimonials and word of mouth is now front and center in prospects minds in making decisions.
Small business owners need to have a grasp of how to make this shift and enhance their brand to get more customers and reviews of their experience.
Today’s Digital Marketing Update
In today’s Digital Marketing Update, Video Podcast #86, host John D. Verlin discusses How Is Your Business Building Ratings And Shares?
When it comes to marketing your small business to consumers, promoting business to business to get clients or using social media marketing to advance engagement; adapting to changes made at Facebook or any other social platform can be challenging.
For small businesses who rely for day to day exposure on social media channels–this can impact their results and advertising budget.
Just as in other media–changes in their format and demographic are sure to disrupt marketing and advertising plans for businesses who struggle to maintain customer relationships and user experience.
Today’s Digital Marketing Update
In today’s Digital Marketing Update, Video Podcast #72, host John D. Verlin discusses How Does Your Business Adapt When Facebook Changes The User Experience?
Comments are his take on Manta’s article by Brian Lindamood.
On Demand Advertising Solutions Three-Part Strategy
It’s all a part of our services and three-part strategy to drive SEO and web traffic so your business exceeds the profile and exposure of the competition!
The Extended Marketing Platform
We do this through an extended marketing platform–the perfect compliment to current advertising campaigns.
It’s a challenge that all businesses face as online credibility continues to affect brand image with new prospects, clients and patients.
Who would have thought just a few years ago that having a five-star rating would make any difference in the doctor you chose, the car dealership you went to or even the restaurant you dined at?
But more and more of us are using online ratings, social media comments and search rankings in our decisions as to what business we would do business with.
In today’s Digital Marketing Update, podcast #49, host John D. Verlin discusses key marketing tips professionals and businesses need to use in order to grow their brand online in 2018 to stand out from the competition.
It’s all a part of our three-part strategy to drive SEO and web traffic and to make your business exceed the profile and exposure of your competitors!
We do this through an extended marketing platform–the perfect compliment to current advertising campaigns!
How well do you know your customer? Well, customer engagement is the new marketing. That’s what I’m going to talk about today.
And, Sajun Patel had an article or post in July of Inc. I ran across this last week because I was trying to put my notes together doing prep for this podcast as I mentioned last week. He had this post and I think it’s great. You might want to check it out.
He talks about four things of how customer engagement is becoming the new marketing. It’s really what I’ve been saying and trying to say over the last several months since I started this business.
The first thing he points out is to understand how customers are driving revenue. They’re not only driving current revenue but they’re the key to driving future revenue. I’ve talked the last few weeks about getting referrals.
And that’s part of it, they offer up referrals to you to continue to drive revenue in sales and they may themselves continue to buy from you, as well as recommend people.
He says that, the first point is that various changes in business models and trends have shifted alternately shifted power from the seller, you to the buyer, your customer. In general, less commitment is required on the part of the customer.
It’s easier and cheaper than ever before to leave and seek alternate solutions when value isn’t being delivered. And because of this, great customer experience can become a prominent competitive differentiator . Boy, that is an excellent way of saying it.
It’s because of this shift I’ve been talking about to more online experiences, where people can read reviews, comments, whatever, changes things for all of us as business owners in how we treat the customer.
And he talks about that great customer experience. Michael Fallon who is the director of Customer Success at PTC says that “customers have a voice and choice with the power to remain or take their business elsewhere, and to tell others about why they decided to do so.”
Wow, we didn’t have this before. Now you did, but it was word of mouth. But it’s now that times ten because of the social media platforms. And the fact that people are using these so often to state their feelings—particularly if they’ve had a bad experience.
Maybe they go online to Facebook or somewhere else and start spewing forth whatever. So he talks about “happy customers” go under utilized as an asset when it comes to driving acquisitions and increase sales.
He calls them customer advocates that can go online to write reviews, referring prospects, acting as references, driving event registration, giving product feedback, writing testimonials, increasing social shares, engagement with your content and even creating content. He says the possibilities are endless and depend largely on company use and strategies.
That’s another good way of summarizing the value of the customer, of all the things they can do for you if you ask them to. Customer testimonials, you can’t beat that. They’re great. That’s one reason we suggest in content, in podcasts or video or whatever you use, to increase or encourage some of your best customers to be involved
Tell them you’d like to feature them you’d like a testimonial and you’d like to interview them in a podcast. To talk about not only your business but their business. How your business might be helping their business. Or how they use your product or services.
The benefits they get and they’ll be thrilled. Tell them you’re going to put them in the podcast and record them. And they’re going to want a copy of that and send it to everybody they know.
And you just multiplied the potential people exposed to it. That’s why we like podcasts so well as well as written content, even though it’s transcribed as written content. Because people are excited about it and they want to send it out to everybody they know.
Now advocacy he talks about is a proactive process. Relationships must be formed and nutured before customers can be mobilized as spokespersons.
And it all comes back to, who’s going to own that customer experience? He talks about within an organization. Is it sales or marketing? Who’s going to manage that. You’ve got to decide that. But really, as I’ve talked about before, the customer experience starts probably before you even know it.
They’re probably going online checking you out. Reading reviews about you, what people have said. And that’s why I emphasize so much, particularly for small business to get involved with social media. Get online. Get your message out there. Do it not only with daily posts on Twitter, on Instagram, Facebook—but with content on a blog. Like these podcasts.
Why? Because it’s accessible content for people who are checking you out. And they’re getting to know you. You’re listening to this getting to know me. And I don’t even know you’re probably listening. But on down the road you might contact me and say, Oh, yea—I’ve been listening to your podcasts…I like podcast 23, etc.”
That’s why these are important. It’s pre-selling yourself, your brand in various platforms, in various ways before they even do business with you.
This is again, becoming more and more important. Who’s going to own that experience? You can be proactive in starting that. And it must be, he says—continuous selling, you have to constantly be doing it.
Now, fostering this continuous selling, you have to incentivize a sales team to be involved and stay involved by basing part of their compensation on advocacy customers as measured by references they give, referrals, case studies, testimonials, in other words, incentivize your sales team to get that information from these people and then compensate them for it.
So you don’t drop the customer and they leave. You forget about them. So all of this is part of the selling process.
He talks about this, surrounding customer success in advocacy need to shift in identifying nuturing advocacy must become as much of a priority as upselling and renewing.
And the real key here is, he says that customers represent something very real that you can lose. Because they’ve used your product and formed an opinion. Think about that. That’s going to get referrals because they’ve formed an opinion.
And that’s why this continuous selling, this continous communication with them not only might upsell them down the road, it’s going to keep that opinion high.
If it ever changes, and they let you know about it, you can answer them right away. Because you’re engaged with them. And again, this is why customer engagement is the new marketing.
Because you’re consistently out there with them and you don’t forget them.
Now, next question he asks is, do you really know your customer? Confusion he says surrounding ownership is a recipe for customer neglect. Especially as you begin to add marketing automation and technology into the mix. That’s why it’s important to decided who’s going to manage the account so to speak.
Now he says that the problem with technology is that you can remove that humanity from engagement.
But you can use technology to do messaging, emails, videos, social or other mediums. You can collect more personal customer data. Create relavant nuture campaigns based on customer interests, product usages and community building and networking. That’s how you can use technology.
As I mentioned earlier, monthly emails, a newsletter, an occassional survey sent to an email to keep monitoring what your customer needs are.
But it’s understanding that they are human and not a number. You’re using technology to keep them front and center.
So they feel like you’re their friend. And again, I keep coming back to these podcasts, one reason I like them is that they can listen to them at any time and feel like they know you.
This is the magic of repetition of an audio format. You can watch videos about them, but these are easier to engage. They can listen on a smartphone. Sit back and listen and have a cup of tea.
But they feel like they know you. This is all a part of that selling experience of the customer getting to know you and wanting to do business with you.
He points out that when customers make purchases from you, they do it to solve a problem. The value you offer in your solution will be unique to each of those customers. And to make it intregal that you understand each individual need.
Fallon says that “tomorrows leaders in customer engagement will be the ones who truly lead with knowing the customer and their outcomes in a very detailed level.”
It’s really, getting back to talk about customer surveys. It’s asking them what their needs are. And learning basically, a lot of times we have a group we send emails to. Sooner or later, they’re going to get burned out with our communications.
It’s consistently I would say having a methodical plan to stay in front of them. Whether its a survey, understanding the cost per customer, the cost to keep a customer, the lifetime value…total active users.
All of these metrics of understanding the value of the customer, but then keeping that customer. That’s why I keep saying it’s so critical to stay in front of them.
So basically customer relationships are an incredible way to drive revenue, it’s just knowing where to start.
And that’s why we recommend starting immediately on social media and getting podcasts and content on your blog to start a process with people who you invite in to to read your blog or listen to your podcast or whatever that is.
It’s you taking that step to move forward with your brand by engaging prospects that eventually become customers.
There are basically four reasons why I believe podcasting and video promotion are the future of small business customer engagement and marketing.
In podcast #19, I’ll discuss why I believe this–compared historically to how small business were marketed years ago, and what opportunities this affords today’s small businesses to grow their business.
Today, I’m going to call it 4 reasons podcasts and video are the future of small business marketing. We could reverse that question and say, are they?
And I’m going to tell you why. Let’s consider thirty years ago. If you’re old enough to remember back then. If you had a small business, what you did to market back then.
Let’s say you had a jewelry store, in a shopping center, or strip mall type of thing. And you were going to have a grand opening. You might do a post card mailer. A letter or direct mail piece. A flyer. Inviting people to your grand opening.
And you might do that in an eight to ten mile trade area of your business. So, you have direct mail, you might take out a quarter page ad in the newspaper, which backed then they ruled. And in a majority of cities, they were the dominate media.
You probably spent good money to be listed in the Yellow Pages. I don’t know who many times I had clients put aside a good budget for the Yellow Pages. I’ve got to be listed in the Yellow Pages. Much like today, it would be like I’ve got to be listed on Yelp.
But back then, you had to be listed in the Yellow Pages to be considered a viable business among small business owners.
You had TV, you still have TV. You had radio, you still have radio. Cable was breaking into the scene back then. Cheap, very…a lot of cable channels. Very diverse. Questionable effectiveness because it was so diverse, where you’re reaching often enough. Even though it was cheap, cheap didn’t matter if you didn’t get anything back, so to speak.
So, those primarily are the options you had back then. And today, these are the four reasons I think podcasting and video will be the future of marketing for small business, at least for the for seeable future.
Because we know that virtual reality, automation, robotics—all of these things are coming into the fore.
But that will take some time to develop, just as everything else did over the last five to ten years.
Here’s four reasons why. We just talked about the typical media that small business had back then. Today, those platforms and channels have changed. I’m talking about Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram.
These were things that were a dream, weren’t even thought of back then, that small businesses can use to pinpoint and target customers—of varied interests to connect with a communicate with them.
And the platform today are smartphones. Obviously you still have desktops, tablets. Didn’t have those years ago.
That’s changed everything for small business. Using those channels to communicate. Compared to the traditional thirty years ago.
Now, the second reason I believe that podcasts and video are the future of small business marketing are because of the nature of what they are and how they communicate.
They can engage customers and prospects…and they can do it with fun content. Video content even audio content can be creative and it can highlight your expertise. Five minutes, ten minutes…a half hour podcast.
Thirty minute video. Thirty second video. Thirty second podcast. You have a range of ways to communicate. Because of the ways in which you can communicate, you can engage people.
For example, I have a large scooter. I saw a new model—futuristic of a scooter, concept scooter, the other day it was on a Youtube video. Really cool. And they were showing what this was going to look like. And guess what? That piece of content got my interest. I showed it to several people. I’d even call to see if it’s available.
That’s because it caused me to be interested. It got my attention with a concept video, about a concept scooter that’s not even been built yet, but I’m interested.
They engaged me as a prospect, just because I happened to see it on the scooter website of what’s upcoming. That’s an example of how they’re engaging with a video—a prospect that could go out and buy it tomorrow.
So they’re using that to get people’s interest. The same thing could be said for small businesses today. By using podcasts and videos to connect with your customers.
The third reason I believe these are the future is that they’re accessible. Podcasts and videos, you can listen and watch at ten at night or three in the morning. Twenty-four, seven, this content is available.
And particularly when you’re talking about your expertise or your business. For example, looking at that video, I wanted to know more about it. It got my interest. Well, your prospects and customers want to know more about you.
You’ve got their attention because of your product or service, and they want to know more, so naturally you should tell them more.
To get them and engage to do business with you, as your competition is out there, walking around and stalking like a lion waiting to devour any customer they can.
So, doesn’t it make sense, that you have the capabilities today to further your brand, further your expertise by informing prospects and customers about what you do? And not everyone may be interested in a three quarter karat diamond and how it’s made.
But if you’re going to spend ten grand on one, you just might want to know, because they “feel” like they know you better once they see that or hear about it.
And that sure may beat the competition who’s not doing anything like that. So, it’s accessible twenty-four seven.
And finally, the fourth reason—these platforms and these engaged pieces of creative content, videos and podcasts, allow you to use them in a promotional capacity.
It allows you to keep your name in front of them, so it’s on-going, everyday. You don’t have to buy a radio ad ten times a day, that costs a fortune to get your name out there.
You can do this on a regular basis through social media, utilizing those videos and podcasts on posts to promote your blog. And you do that on a regular basis.
My question is, are you using podcasts and videos to share your expertise with your prospects and customers on a regular basis on a blog to tie people to lure them into your website?
That’s how you can build your business. It doesn’t happen overnight. But you’re not having “sales” every night either. So, you’re getting to use tools that thirty years ago were a pipe dream. And cost a lot of money to build a customer base.
And I know this because I worked with a radio background in announcing, writing commercials, producing them. And I did this for clients.
The very things I’m doing for clients today, and offering, podcasting, videos…blogging, social media, I did that for my clients thirty years ago in a round about way, because they were spending a lot of money to market themselves. And I found out what they did because I did it for them.
So that’s why I know this. And that’s why I’m telling you a podcast is a great way to highlight your expertise, cost-effectively. Posting it on a blog and promoting it with video and posts on different social media.
That’s what I call the marketing platform, that’s the basic thing. But these are four reasons why I believe this is the future of small business marketing. Because not all small businesses are doing this right now.
But they know, particularly with video that it’s the upcoming thing, but they’re just not doing it. My guess is they’re a little intimidated. They don’t know how to do it. They don’t want to take the time to do it or have the time to do it.
They’re going to delegate it to their son or daughter who are familiar with social media. But they may or may not take the time to do this everyday and connect on a regular basis.
It’s familiarity. If you got a memo from someone, you might say oh yeah, I kind of know that person. But if you got it everyday for a week, you would get to know them a little more. But if you got that for a month, you’d feel like you knew them. You might say I’ve seen that person, I know how that person is because you see that memo from them all the time.
It’s the same deal. Repetition. So those are the four reasons I believe podcasting and videos are the future of small business marketing because, again—all these platforms and channels have changed and accessible on a small phone that fits in your pocket.
It engages prospects and customers with creative content highlighting your expertise, answering questions, whatever your prospects or customers need.
It’s accessible twenty four seven, they can learn about you day or night. And they allow you to have a marketing platform with on-going promotions. To be able to keep your name out in front of your prospects and customers on a regular basis.
It’s all coming down to the customer experience.
And that’s why I believe at the end of the day, podcasting and videos are a way to create a full filled customer experience. Because they’re learning all of this and once they feel good about you, guess what? They’re going to do business with you.
So, if you’re not doing those, I’ll be happy to answer any questions you might have about them. It’s what we do to help our clients, and I think it would be well worth your while because they’re cost-effective, and yet they give you a base from which to work from on all of your other marketing.
Direct mail you may be doing, email marketing, radio, TV ads, print, whatever—you can lead them back to your blog and your content to access your website to get to know you.