All of us have competitors, whether it's someone who is pumping out a similar product, or someone who wants to snag our top job candidate. Whatever the competition, we want to win.
Highlight deficiencies by competitors. Find opportunity where competition fell short. If prospective clients share how they've been burned in the past, show proof of how your company excelled.
Offer a diverse suite of services. Don't make this so extreme to where it's tough for costumers to make an association, but make your company a one-stop shop for customers. For instance, if customers use your product or service as one part of a larger process, consider offering those other points of that process.
Offer insight. Be selfless and offer expert knowledge and suggestions. Building rapport early is key to not only facilitating communication, but building a credible reputation. Give the contact you're calling on suggestions on better options based on market intel, even if that means not taking their business because your company truly isn't the best resource for them. Deflecting that sale and giving up half a million dollars may seem crazy now, but circumstances can change and they could be a $50 million client five years down the road because of that built trust.
Understand your client's industry. Show how you fit into the prospective client's world. If they produce products, take a picture of your staff using them and send it to them. Have you bought their product as a gift for someone? Take a picture of them unwrapping it, sharing how the company is a part of a personal experience. Show them how your company can be an extension of theirs. This is just one creative way of doing that.
Don't be annoying. Picture being in their shoes and develop a sense of empathy. Would you want to receive three calls from the same person in one week? Or would a hand-written letter make more of an impact? Being respectful of a person's time and treating them like an actual human rather than a sale can go a long way. Send them a congratulations banner if they were promoted, a welcome mat if they move. Think of ways to connect past the scheduled phone calls.
Customer Experience: So while the company may be great, the reputation relies on the last transaction or interaction with the company. A reputation can be diminished if the delivery was late, if the employee was rude, or if the order was wrong and the cost wasn't covered. This bad experience can either diminish the possibility of that customer becoming a repeat, or prevent them from referring the company to their network. In the world of word-of-mouth referrals, a bad experience can cause a downward spiral...quickly.
Hire smart, nice people. In order to execute any of the above effectively, this is crucial.Be known in the marketplace as the company with the fun group of professionals who are not only intelligent and hardworking, but who are nice and empathetic...the staff that will hustle and stop at nothing to get something done. Be known as the company whose employees pick up every call, who come up with solutions before there is a problem, and who are honest when things aren't going as planned. Be known as the company with the staff everyone wants.
Did you know that social media marketing has a 100% higher lead-to-close rate than outbound marketing? Or that 84% of B2B marketers use social media in some form? No matter what you sell and who you sell it to, using social media as a marketing tool can help you grow your brand and pad your wallet.
At this point in the game, not having an active social media presence is kind of like pulling out a flip phone at a business meeting and then not understanding why your boss keeps giving Brad all the new accounts.
But some people still own flip phones, and some people dig in their heels and say, what is social media marketing going to do for me? Do I really need it? Yes. Yes you do — and here are some of the most compelling reasons why:
The Importance of Social Media for Web Traffic
Social media posts can be used to drive targeted traffic. Creating a new page on your site is like taking a really great selfie. You want the world to see it and bask in its brilliance, but you don’t want to beg for attention (or worse, pay for it). That’s why for selfies and landing pages, well-placed social media posts can make all the difference. We’ve seen a single link on Reddit drive over 20,000 visitors in one weekend and links submitted to StumbleUpon can take a page that was consistently earning a handful of visitors a day and increase that number to hundreds. Who wouldn’t want to capitalize on that?
Using social media for business boosts your site’s SEO. Search engine crawlers know which pages are consistently earning traffic and which are just floating out there, forgotten and ignored. A killer content strategy for SEO is the most important part of earning top spots in search engine rankings, but driving traffic to your optimized pages will cause them to climb much faster in the search engine results pages (SERPs).
Quick case study: Astroglide is one of TCF’s clients, and in less than a year we got the website to rank in the top 100 SERPs for 15,000 new keywords – as a result, traffic to the website has increased dramatically. A solid and consistent presence on Facebook, Twitter and other social channels was a BIG part of that success.
If you’re doing it right, social media will lead to real relationship building. Part of what makes things like Twitter and Instagram marketing so cool is the interaction you get to have with your customer base — you can read their tweets and status updates to get insights into their daily lives (and maybe adjust your marketing strategy as a result). What products are they buying and why? What are they doing on the weekend? What kind of posts do they love to share, and from what websites?
You can also use social media as a tool for connecting with complementary, non-competing businesses, thought leaders and tastemakers in your space, as well as journalists who cover your industry. Sometimes, becoming besties starts with a simple retweet.
Users are receptive to your messages. People view Twitter and Facebook as social networks, not marketing machines. As a result, they’re less likely to see what you post as an advertisement and will be more likely to hear what you have to say. This translates to serious web traffic when you link to your site and posts that market themselves as your friends and followers share what you’ve posted.
Social media ads allow targeting and retargeting. One of the reasons social media is important is because of the highly customizable nature of social media ads. Facebook ads, for example, allow you to target users by things like location, education level, industry and even purchase history and the pages they’ve liked. You also have to the option to install a Facebook pixel on your site and use it to retarget the users who visit you — these people are far more likely to convert into solid leads and sales!
Social media can help you get noticed at events, and even generate earned media coverage. Whether your business is sponsoring a charity fundraiser or attending a major trade show, there’s no better way to leverage your presence than with the help of social media.
You can respond to problems immediately. If there’s a problem with your product or service, you want to know about it right away. With the feedback you get in the process of social media marketing, you’ll be the first to know when there are issues – and you can take steps to resolve them right away. Studyafter study has shown that consumers appreciate companies that respond to customer complaints (and don’t hesitate to rant online to anyone who will listen when companies don’t take the time to make things right).
A strong social media presence builds brand loyalty. A report published by Texas Tech University found that brands with active social media profiles have more loyal customers. It’s easy to imagine why: when you’re engaging and interacting on social media (not just tossing your posts out onto the web hoping someone will stumble upon them) you become less like a corporation and more like what you truly are — a unified group of people who share a vision.
The Right Social Media Marketing Strategy Can Help You Slay the Competition
Your competition is getting social, so you should too. Did you know that 91% of brands are using more than one social media platform? This isn’t something you want to fall behind the competition on, because it’s much harder (and more expensive) to play catch up than it is to get in on the game early. If your competitors get to your potential customers first, they’ll earn their loyalty and you’ll have a hard time winning them over. If you’re active and engaging on a variety of networks, you can gain those friends and followers first and your competition will be playing catch up instead of the other way around.
The social media marketing arena is a (fairly) level playing field. Some brands may have bigger ad budgets than others, but all companies start off on pretty equal footing when it comes to social media marketing. The people and brands who thrive and go viral in are those with the most clever, attention grabbing tactics (and the most ridiculous gifs) and the most useful, link worthy content. In short, they’re providing value to their target audience while also showing personality and being entertaining. If you want to get lots of traffic and really increase your sales online, you’re going to have to outwit, outnetwork and outwrite your competition while offering superior products and customer service. Isn’t that what business is all about, anyway?
When it comes to newsjacking, social media is king. Sometimes your brand is mentioned on a cable TV show. Sometimes it’s not, but you know just how to slide your product into the story to aim the spotlight in your direction. Facebook, Twitter and even Reddit marketing give you a front row seat to the news that’s becoming viral right as it’s happening. Jump in at just the right time and you’ll earn some major media attention — and that’s something you just can’t do with a traditional ad campaign.
The Importance of Social Media Marketing for Sales and ROI
Social media marketing will get you more sales. Did you know that 70% of business-to-consumer marketers have acquired customers through Facebook? Or that 84% of CEOs and VPs say they use social media to help make purchasing decisions?
Not surprisingly, when you stay in front of your customer base, they’re more likely to buy from you when they need the products you sell. Social media marketing doesn’t just keep your company’s name in front of potential buyers, but it also gives you the opportunity to constantly give them incentives to buy. Try sharing coupon codes, with a unique code for each social channel – you may be surprised at which social network drives the most sales.
You’ll find customers you didn’t know existed. If you set up streams to follow keywords in Twitter (Hootsuite makes this simple), you can find people who are looking for the products you sell and direct them to your site. Using Twitter for marketing is great that way – telling people who want your products how to get them from your company is just an @ away.
Customers you didn’t know existed will find (and buy from) you. In the process of marketing with Facebook, you’ll probably join a ton of groups related to your products, industry and customer base. By posting links in these groups, you’ll help influence customers to check out your site. Answering questions on Quora is another option. Post a link today, and two weeks/months/years later you might see a sale from it.
You Can't Beat the Price (or ROI) of Social Media
You heard that right — it’s free. How can you argue with that? If you handle your own social media management, running a social networking campaign is as cheap as it gets. If you hire a social media management or online PR agency, it will cost around $3,000-$7,000 per month, but it’ll be an investment that you’ll be likely to see a return on. If you’re intimidated by interacting with people online or your writing skills leave something to be desired, hiring an online PR agency is definitely the way to go. Posting poorly written content or conveying the wrong kind of messages on social networking sites can seriously affect your digital PR presence.
The ROI on social media ads is unbeatable. The average cost per click on Google Adwords is between $1 and $2 and depending on the keyword targeted, you can end up paying $50 or more for a single click. Through targeted boosted post, we’ve been able to send traffic via Facebook and Pinterest for as little as $0.12 per click. Why pay ten or twenty times as much for each visit when social media ads make earning that traffic quick and easy?
Simply put, social media marketing is part of doing business in the new millennium. If your business isn’t already active on social networking sites, now is the time to start.
Why is Social Media Important?Why is social media important to businesses? Because your brand doesn’t really exist online if you’re not represented across all social channels – and regularly interacting with your followers, journalists who cover your industry, thought leaders and tastemakers, etc.
Here’s one very important reason you may not have considered — it’s fun! Hosting a Twitter chat to celebrate a new product launch, getting your geek on while you A/B test Facebook ads, or sharing pop-culture polls for your followers to weigh in on — these are all activities that build brand awareness, boost web traffic and lead to loyal customers. But unlike many traditional marketing tactics with the same goals, these tasks are actually fun in addition to driving real value for your company.
Welcome To The...