By Chris Wendel, Regional Director
The internet and other related technological advents are drastically changing the way businesses market themselves. Gone are the days of guessing the demographics of a perceived target audience and somewhat blindly sending out advertising message, hopefully garnering some kind of response. How many times have we been told that a great response from a direct marketing piece is 5%?
The new model is more permission based, with customers finding your unique product or service through a network of likeminded customers that spread the positive word of mouth for you.So, how does one go about implementing such a program? The first step is to collect and organized your customer’s email addresses. Sending out timely emails and promotions to reward established customers creates the community of devout followers. A program like “Constant Contact” works well for organizing the data and for comprising content and determining the frequency of email offers and communication.
A simple informational blog website can offer product information, discuss pertinent topics, and start customer discussion in a personable way that a static web site cannot. Blogs are easy to start and are free (that’s right, free). Two recommended sites for blogs are wordpress.com and blogspot.com. Remember; think of a blog as a more personable way to compliment your regular web site and as a way to build your community of customers.
A prerequisite for this permission based marketing is great customer service and a unique product niche. Without these, you could be building a community of people who bash and trash the negative aspects of your business.
Overall, the idea of the time is to have customers come to you because they heard about you from someone else, rather than throwing money into the sky with blind faith advertising. This doesn’t mean that you abandon previously proven advertising and marketing efforts. But in the long run the new model of permission based marketing will save you marketing dollars.