I recently read an article on the Harvard Business Review, “Sales Reps Should Avoid Customers Who Are Ready to Buy.” While I agree with the article’s overall message. One sentence goes by without much fanfare:
“…the average customer’s decision is nearly 60% complete by the time they engage a salesperson”
So what does this mean for your company?
If your potential customers are making an informed decision about a product or service that you offer, you had better have a place for them to find it on your web site.
Action: A simple, professional web site is all most companies need. Begin to think about what you’d like to have on your web site. A home page with some call to action statements, a contact form, a page featuring all of your products and/or services and a blog. That will be a good start.
Get Started: You could certainly create a web site on your own, but for the most part – you’ll be happy that you hired a professional to make it look clean, simple and easy to use. The time you’ll spend configuring one of those $5 site templates to look ‘adequate’ for your needs is much better spent finding a reliable web site design firm (ahem…) to make it look and work exactly like you need it to.
If you want people to find you, you need to go where the people are. And the people are on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and other social networking sites. By making your presence known on these networks, you’ll give your potential customers yet another opportunity to find information from you.
Action: If you haven’t already created a presence on some (or all) of these networks, get to it! They are all free to use and are fairly simple to manage. Where it gets tricky is finding the time to keep all of them updated.
Get Started: Research some of the demographic information on these networks and see where your customers hang out. Each social network has its own specific demographic. It might be better for you to focus your energy on Facebook and Pinterest if you have a company that has a lot of images or videos to share. Or, if you cater to a more professional crowd, or are looking to make more connections – LinkedIn might be a good fit.
Potential customers that are really looking to gain some knowledge on your business will likely sign up for your newsletter. A monthly or bi-weekly newsletter is a great way to keep your current clients informed of what is going on with your business and in your industry. But it is also a great marketing tool for attracting new clients.
Action: If you have a database started with your current clients, let’s start integrating that into an email marketing database. It isn’t a good idea to send bulk emails from your own address/computer. Sooner or later you’ll get listed as a spammer and you’ll have a difficult time clearing that up.
Get Started: However, if you don’t have a list started already – get started. Capture all of your client’s emails – give them an incentive to sign up – a discount on products or services, a whitepaper or e-book on something interesting, or whatever. Put a sign up form on your web site and give them a similar incentive.
Competing for customers these days means competing for web traffic. You need to be able to win the war (or at least be competitive) for search engine results to find any consistency in your internet marketing efforts.
Action: Spend time researching two things. One – what are people searching for when looking for information about your product or service? What keywords and keyphrases are the most searched in your area? Once you’ve done your research there – see what your competition is up to. How do they rank on those keywords and keyphrases? What are they doing on their site (and off) to drive traffic?
Get Started: Create a blog on your site if you haven’t already. Look to post 1-2 articles a week based on those keywords and keyphrases that you researched. You’ll begin to rank higher in the search engines with the keywords you post in those articles with a minimal amount of time or money.