Articles written in April, 2010

April 29 2010

Your Customers Can Be Your Best Sales People

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With the explosion of social media, it has become essential for companies to leverage the marketing strength inherent with social media participation.  Even if you are hesitant to jump head first into social media marketing, there are a few aspects you can control as a business that doesn’t require heavy investment in time or resources.  Customer testimonials are an excellent way to help promote your business and increase your chance for more conversions with minimal time and resource allocation.

If you already have a Facebook or Twitter account, you can use those channels to encourage your customers to talk about their positive experiences dealing with your company.  One idea is to give an incentive to customers to “tell their story” and those who decide to provide a testimonial are entered into a drawing for a gift or special discount.  The only caveat here is that you will have to manage the interaction and quickly respond to and diffuse any negative feedback.  However, if this does happen, quickly move to resolve or respond to the negative feedback.  Your quick and decisive action can go a long way in building a positive reputation as a business that cares about their customer’s concerns.  Turn the negative into a positive and you gain a loyal customer who may in turn, provide a positive testimonial in the future.

Another way to leverage positive customer feedback is to create a customer testimonials section on your website.  This could be placed in a prominent section on your homepage, or it can be a unique page within the site structure itself.   There are many companies who use this strategy, but I am still surprised when I visit a website and can not find any content related to their customer endorsements.  Another idea is to create a blog on your site and allow your customers an opportunity to post articles talking about their customer experience.  Choose one blog a week as the “Customer Blog of the Week”, reward the winning “blog post” with some nice discount or special incentive and watch your blog entries grow over time; all customer generated and touting their approval of your company.

Today, more than ever, social media and social interaction are driving buying decisions.  It’s no different than your classic word of mouth advertising; it’s just on a much larger (and digital) scale.  You would be hard pressed to find a business owner who didn’t value the power of the referral.  Your customers can be your best sales people.  Use them, and reward them, for their positive testimonials to help grow your business and attract new customers.

April 22 2010

Summer’s Coming..Time To Be Social

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Finally, summer is right around the corner! Soon children will be out of school and at last people can enjoy the outdoors once again. What does that mean for your business? For many advertisers, summer months are a slower time of year for sales. Now is the perfect time to take advantage of sponsored advertising through social media sites like Facebook and LinkedIn. Sponsored advertising in social media platforms is a great way to reach new customers and keep your sales numbers up.

Advertising special summer deals, promotions or sales through social sites helps you to stay in front of your audience during a time when they may not be thinking of your brand. Since social media sites like Facebook target users by interest, you can market to your exact demographic. This feature is particularly attractive to advertisers with unique products or services.

However, this approach does not only apply to business to consumer (B2C) advertisers; business to business (B2B) can also reap the benefits of summer social media marketing initiatives. Since LinkedIn is specifically aimed at business professionals, advertisers can target by industry, as well as title and location. This option makes it easy to be conservative with an ad budget, while still appearing in front of the appropriate audience.

Whether you are a B2C or a B2B advertiser, social media advertising can unlock possibilities you never imagined, especially during a season where it can be difficult to obtain new business. If you are not already participating in social media advertising, why not start now? After all, summer is almost here!

April 19 2010

Foursquare: A Location-Aware Social Application

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Foursquare is an application (app) for your iPhone, Android, Blackberry, or Palm that takes social networking to the next level. Users can update their location and send reviews about their favorite hangouts. This app uses a list of restaurants, bars and nightclubs and it integrates with Yelp and Google Maps, making it ideal for quick reviews and directions.

Foursquare lets other users know where you are. You can even “check-in” someplace to let your friends or social contacts know you are there. You can also let them know any specials or other things to do nearby. There is a competitive element to Foursquare that creates engagement. For example, you can earn badges and points for each action you complete, including “checking in” or becoming the “mayor” of a location. As more of your friends use Foursquare, you will learn more and more about the places they frequent and you can discover new places.

Foursquare goes beyond the typical online reviews seen in directories. Got a favorite local hangout? Local businesses that use Foursquare begin to recognize patrons and reward them with special offers, deals and incentives. For example, a restaurant engaged in Foursquare may want to offer a devoted customer free coffee, appetizers, ice cream or otherwise. Businesses should take this and other opportunities like Foursquare and run with them. Reward customer loyalty. It is a great way to get repeat customers and gain their social contacts as customers through word of mouth recommendations.

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