Remember when you were a kid, you ran out the door and then heard your Mother calling, where are you going? That’s what many local businesses are doing with their customers today. If you are the one calling, it’s most likely too late because your customers are off looking for what you didn’t have to keep them around the supper table. In this picture you are behind them calling out not in front of them engaging and sharing, drawing them in building a relationship, a relationship that builds loyalty and increased return on Investments. For many this sounds like way too much work and don’t have time for this new way of doing business. This new way is happening and you will have no choice, this new way is called Social Media, resistance is futile, you will be assimulated.
Businesses today will have to figure out how to integrate multiple Social Media Networks into there web presence, their marketing strategy and above all incorporate it into the business plan as a another way of generating a ROI. Keep in mind that Social Media is not the Messiah, it is one of many tools to use to build a stronger more viable business. Reaching out to millions of consumers who thrive online around the clock requires an investment, a different type of thinking and some courage too. Many business are still wedded to a traditional marketing approach, based on TV, radio and print ads, Social Media seems harder to understand.
The biggest change taking place, or the shift as I see it, there is no gap between the CEO and customer. They now talk directly to each other, there’s no need for the middleman. Support costs are dropping, some businesses are using these Social Mediums to reach customers and save large dollars in doing so. Take Comcast as an example, for more than a year Comcast has pioneered the use of Twitter to speak directly to it’s customers. It’s Twitter page @comcastcares has 28,000+ followers. Software maker Sage North America, to cite another example, routinely receives instant feedback from hundreds of people within an hour on specific products and services. Another example is in sales, those who visit MyFICO’s community website are spending 41% more than other customers!
Businesses don’t think in terms of inbound marketing, they are very good at outbound marketing. Outbound Marketing is only half the equation in today’s new market place. A great resource to learn about Inbound Marketing is Chris Brogan & Justin Levy’s Inbound Marketing Summit.
There are multiple shifts taking place but increasingly, consumers don’t search for products and services anymore. Rather, services come to their attention via social media networks like Twitter. So if you are wondering where your customers are going, look to the Social Networks a plenty, don’t believe me, here is another example of a National pizza chain, Papa John’s added 148,000 fans on Nov. 17, 2008 through a guerrilla marketing campaign on Facebook. It offered a free medium pizza to anyone who signed up to be its fan on Facebook. The promotion gained it thousands of customers and drove its Web traffic up 253%. It now has more than 300,000 fans and hopes to top 1 million by the end of this year.
I could list many, many more examples of how businesses are winning and using Social Media to enhance existing marketing efforts. When was the last time traditional marketing campaigns garnered such ROI’s as some of these businesses are experiencing in today’s new social environments? Your customers are in these social networks and you had better be there to.
Now you know where your customers are going, the question is….are you going ahead of them?