Talking to Your Neighbours in the Days of Facebook

chatting across the fence

Static websites are so last year

Why You Have to Try Online Marketing No Matter How Small Your Business Is

chatting across the fence Online marketing is where it’s at and I believe no business, micro, small, medium or large can afford to ignore it anymore.

I know that there are still lots of business owners who haven’t come to terms with it fully, but if you still want to be around in a few years you’d better be online and you’d better be engaged.

In 2015 I would be surprised if I still need to spend energy convincing business owners to have a website, but just having a website is not enough anymore.

I met a web developer the other day at a networking event and he sold websites to small businesses. He told me that: “We create websites for small business and a basic site starts at $750 including design and hosting for a year.” On my questioning he explained that the websites his company sold were mostly what is referred to as static sites. Static sites are essentially brochures put online and once they’re up, they’re actually not that easy to change, they’re designed to be static

Brochure

I suppose you’d have to say that having a brochure up on the web is better than not having anything at all, but only just. Unless 100% of your new business comes from direct word of mouth (“My favorite aunt told me to give you a call to supply me this widget or do this thing for me, please deliver it to my door tomorrow, I don’t care about the cost or anything else, because i trust anything my favorite aunt tells me”), every business is dependent on being found online and most importantly starting and maintaining a relationship with current and future customers online. And if you want to be able to do that at all, a static website is not going to cut it.

There are a bunch of reasons for that… Here are just a few:

  • Your customers want to be able to put your business name into their Google maps and get driving directions to your business, directly from their phone
  • Your customers want to look at testimonials from other people who have engaged with your business
  • Your customers want to be able to compare your product or services with those of others, directly online
  • Your customers don’t use the yellow pages anymore
  • Your customers spend more and more time online on social media of various forms, and they want to interact with business in the places they spend time (BTW that’s why advertising on the walls of urinals in pubs can be so effective… talk to your customers where they hang out!)
  • The big search engines and social media organisations will not rate websites that are ‘static’ well at all, meaning you will not be found if all you have is a brochure website
  • Static/ brochure websites start to look dated and sleepy very quickly, you can always tell a brochure website, they’re usually boring.

So what does that mean for you?

It’s hard to be too prescriptive of course, a local carpet cleaning business has different needs than a PR firm in the city, or a restaurant or a manufacturing business that operates nationally or internationally.

The principles

But let me give you some of the principles of online engagement and marketing to think about.

  • Mobile is getting more and more important for everything. More than 50% of searches on Google are done via handheld devices now and that trend is set to continue strongly.
  • Video is getting more and more important.
  • People spend time on Social Media, not necessarily to buy stuff. Just like you don’t spend time in the pub to buy anything else besides drinks and food. Anyone who walks up to you in a pub when you are hanging out with your friends to sell you something is generally not welcome
  • Your customers want to trust you before they will buy from you. Focus on getting them to trust you, and the rest will follow
  • Your customers will look for you where they are, they will not go looking for you elsewhere if they can help it. So if your customer is on Facebook and he wants an electrician and he can find one directly on Facebook recommended by a friend, they won’t even bother going to Google and find you there.

The backfence

Scary stuff right? But you know I’ve heard it said that there’s actually nothing new under the sun. In the old days we used to hang across the fence chatting to the neighbours and getting our recommendations and introductions that way, now we hang over the fence at Facebook and do exactly the same.

The analogy isn’t totally accurate because in the old days, your fence didn’t have any pay per click advertising stuck all over it, but it’s not that far off. It’s all about trust and being where the customers are.

And they’re online, all the time.

So you better be talking to them there… don’t you think?

PS: If it’s all too scary… drop me a line and I’ll connect you to the right people to help you get on top of this stuff… you probably shouldnt try and do it all yourself anyway

 

Social Media Marketing

trust

trust Build Trust and Watch your Profits Soar.

I bet no one has ever done business with you unless they trusted you at least at some level.

A different level of trust is required to engage with a financial planner than to buy a litre of milk from the corner store, but without trust there is no business.

social media tree Well thought-through social media marketing can be a highly effective strategy to build trust but don’t take the lazy route, because you’ll waste your time and your money.

After years of dabbling in Social media marketing myself and putting the odd toe in the water only to pull it out again a little while later I have finally joined the social media marketing world properly or at least more properly than I ever have before.

I’ve taken on a social media and online marketing guru to drag me along kicking and screaming and make me use the various media they way they are meant to be used. (I’m sure she despairs of me often)

Star-rating

The reason I am finally stepping up is that I can see that trust is becoming more and more important and people expect to be given the opportunity to learn to trust a business before they are prepared to spend any money at all. We expect to be referred by friends, we expect to see testimonials from other consumers and we expect to see star-ratings or similar.

The other day a friend of mine asked his community on Facebook if anyone knew a good electrician. (so as not to end up with an electrical situation like on the photo below!!)

qualified-electricians Several people chimed in straight away, and my friend was able to ring an electrician who came recommended by 5 separate people more or less instantaneously.

I see this phenomenon happening all the time now. I myself gained a client in a similar manner a few months ago.

In 2014, we are simply not going to spend money with anyone unless and until we trust them.

What that means is that social media marketing campaigns (or any other single channel marketing campaigns) on their own are doomed to failure.

The electrician and Facebook

There are two approaches that work… the first is how the electrician approaches it, a three step approach:

1)    Do Great Work: Create incredibly happy customers, Raving Fans (and he does, look him up if you need an electrician in Sydney, David Jones Electrical)

2)    Build Community: Build a community on social media. Make sure that you are connected with all your happy past clients and business referral partners.

3)    Engage: Build your community by posting stuff that is of interest to you, for no other reason than that you think it’s fun or interesting or useful. When the call comes, you’ll be front of mind… just like the electrician.

Taking this approach consistently means David gets regular new business through Facebook and other media. David is front of mind with any of his past clients whenever anyone mentions the word electrician, anywhere, be that in Facebook or at a dinner party or in a cue at the local supermarket. The friend who asked for an electrician in Facebook was bombarded with testimonials and as a consequence his trust level for David was so high, he didn’t even look for a second quote for his work.

You cannot achieve that kind of result with advertising or with single-track social media posting campaigns. You have to carry out all three of the steps above.

Give away your best stuff

good free stuffThe second approach can work in a more single-track kind of way: It still relies on building trust but in a different way. As I said people will not spend money unless and until they trust you. The other way to build trust therefore is to prove to your customers that you can be trusted, by giving a lot of your stuff away for free… Your best stuff even. The stuff that is worth real money and that is truly useful. If you give people a big bunch of really good free stuff, you will also slowly start to build trust.

But be aware, it can take a long time and you have to be ok with giving away all this stuff.

So my own marketing strategies are now based on a combination of the two approaches. I do great work, I am building a community with my Raving Fans and my referral sources, I engage by sharing stuff I find interesting regularly and I also give away lots of free stuff (my books, my webinars, a lot of my resources and even one-on-one sessions). I even encourage my clients to give away my stuff to others too.

Pay per click

Notwithstanding the increasing focus of the social media giants to monetise their platforms and the fact that it is getting harder and harder to talk to your customers without paying for it in ‘pay per click’ type of advertising, it is still possible to carry out those two marketing strategies for free. It is possible but in in fact it is starting to become unrealistic. The time required to run these types of campaigns mean that you should look into hiring an expert to do it for you, especially if you want to base your trust building strategy around giving away stuff for free.

Hence I engaged my despairing marketing guru.

So when you are thinking about your marketing campaigns, especially your online and social media campaigns, ask yourself how you can best build trust real meaningful trust. and make that the corner stone of all of your strategies and plans.

It’s a wonderful experience when it works … there is nothing more fun than having customers knocking on your door saying they want to buy from you… because they trust you.

It feels great… I promise you.

Do you need more tips, advice or training in Social Media Marketing?

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