Digital marketing expert Ron Cates is a frequent contributor to Travel Market Report.
Even though many of the most powerful marketing tools are now found online, the basics of marketing have not dramatically changed. Marketing has always centered on getting attention for your business, and getting attention continues to be a prime objective of good marketing today.
The challenge marketers now face is that people communicate in such a wide variety of ways.
Some of your customers and prospects love Twitter. Many are on Facebook. Most of them communicate via email. Some still want direct mail delivered to their mailbox.
Even though some of these may not be your preferred methods of communication, what segment of your audience are you willing to ignore? What segment can you afford to ignore? And, if you can't do it all, how do you decide what type of communication is most effective for you?
Go with ‘engagement’
I suggest you decide where to spend your time and resources based on customer engagement. Engagement marketing is the most powerful form of marketing there is today.
Engagement marketing is the process of encouraging your clients and customers to tell your story for you, through socially visible word-of-mouth referrals. These “social” referrals are noticed by your customers and their friends, families, and networks, leading even more people to your business.
Here’s a look at why engagement is so powerful and the key elements of success.
We trust comments and reviews (even from strangers), not “marketing.”
We've become smart consumers and know that traditional marketing exists solely to sell us something. Naturally, we trust our friends and our networks more than a commercial. According to Neilson, 14% of people trust ads, while 78% trust consumer recommendations.
Your customers’ friends are your next best clients.
Who are your best prospects? People who are like your customers. And who do your customers network with? People who are like them.
Powerful acquisition begins with your existing customer base. They’ll become your referral engine if you ask them to and if you make it easy for them.
Rise above the ordinary in small and large ways to wow your customers.
You've bent over backwards time and time again to turn a customer into a fan, now you want to give your fans reasons to become advocates on your behalf.
Attention to detail will create WOW! moments, without necessarily costing much in the way of time or dollars.
I recently visited London for the second time in six weeks and there was a handwritten note on my hotel bed thanking me for returning. Why would I stay anywhere else next time?
They won’t join your network if you don’t ask. (Yes, you really have to ask.)
Make it easy to join your network wherever you connect. Put sign-up links for your email newsletter everywhere on earth you can put a link.
Let every customer know you're on Facebook and Twitter and let them know you love reading about their experiences with your business.
Engagement sets the stage for social visibility.
Your engaged customers will talk about you to their entire network. Their followers will talk about you to their followers.
The viral effect of social is unlike anything that's ever existed. Put the power of social to work for you today.
Digital marketing expert Ron Cates, director of new market development for Constant Contact, is a popular presenter on the topics of social media and email marketing, as well as host of Email Marketing Radio and Social Media Nation.