Note: This was published on another website that is now defunct, so I’m putting it up here. I’ve left the original opening intact, which suited the original audience but is not to my current taste.
The way business is conducted in almost every market has changed fundamentally, and on a global scale, in just the past few years. Jobs – and profits – are lost to competitors overseas, entire industries have been disrupted and the economy is crumbling around our ears. The business world has gone digital, and those that haven’t moved with it are just gone, period.
But it’s not all doom and gloom – those that will survive and thrive in this changed and changing environment will do so, ironically, by embracing some of the oldest, most fundamental business practices. The tools have changed, but the principles remain the same.
A sound marketing strategy, a systematic process for converting visitors to customers and a reliable way to continue marketing to your best clients are the base of any successful business. Here are the three top strategies to make that happen, today:
1. Get customers into YOUR marketing system – not just “fans” on someone else’s:
Part of the problem with the shift to digital marketing is that many people, including some very smart people, throw away the tried and true goals and methods of business when presented with a new medium or platform. Make sure that your marketing process drives fans from places like Facebook into a marketing sequence that you control – like an email marketing auto-responder for prospects, then one for your customer list. This is so cheap as to almost be free, and yet could easily become the most profitable place to make offers on your product or service. The goal isn’t to get as many “likes” as possible – it’s to get as many customers as possible.
2. Make regular offers to your existing customers:
Jane just bought your mid-range widget; what will you do now? For most businesses, sadly, their answer is… nothing! This is not what successful businesses do! A successful business owner might: find out what Jane and customers like her want that widget for; craft a short sales piece educating Jane about why a related product or service is perfect for solving her problem or goal, and; send out that piece, selling her that product or service! A customer is the most valuable asset a business has – not finding what else you can offer them is a near-criminal waste of business resources and disservice for your clients, particularly when the whole process of providing value and making a profit can be automated via an email list.
3. Automate the followup:
You’ve made the sale, got the customer on an email list… now use it! A simple sequence of emails educating your customer on a product or service that would complement their purchase is one of the most effective ways of making a sale – and they only have to be written once. If you’re concerned it won’t work, keep in mind many businesses do no followup marketing, and suffer for it. Getting something up and running puts you way ahead of the pack.
The principles have been the same for decades, but applying them effectively to new technologies and platforms is how businesses will successfully navigate the choppy waters of digital marketing.