What Would a Real Business Do: Educational Marketing

Deepening on what your business sells, you can keep existing clients engaged and win new clients by educating them. If you can determine what their most frequently discussed problems are, then you can get their attention by demonstrating your understanding of them. You can win new clients by providing solutions for those same problems. Educating clients keeps them inside of your marketing funnel until they are ready to make a purchase.

One of the great things about educational marketing is that it does not rely fully on your sales message. It relies heavily on your research of your customers’ problems and your ability to articulate your understanding to them. Once customers feel as if you “get” them, they will be much more open to hearing about the features of your product.

Traditionally companies have used webinars in order to educate their prospects and customers. Webinars are, as their name implies, web seminars. They allow the presenter to show an audience online what is on their computer screen while communicating with them audibly/verbally.

In order to attend the webinar, individuals must sign into a facility online. Some companies use that opportunity to double as an opt-in. Therefore, when the webinar attendee adds their name and e-mail address to the webinar company’s sign up form, a third party script is then used to have that same mail and name transferred to an autoresponder like Aweber or Constant Contact.

The difficulty in this method is that the attendee only expects to sign up for the educational webinar. They do not necessarily expect to be added to a marketing list. Companies that begin to market to these individuals using their autoresponder could irritate them. However, some marketing experts have countered this with the fact that that if an individual leaves or unsubscribes from a mailing list for this reason, they are unlikely to have ever become a paying customer anyway.

Once on the webinar call, it is the presenter’s job to clearly state the problem as they understand it. While doing so, the presenter should be asking their audience for feedback. Are they stating the problem correctly? Do they understand the depth of it and what it means to the attendees? These are all things that should be answered at the very beginning of the webinar.

The company should then discuss what will happen if the problem being discussed gets worse. Examples should be provided of those that have experienced this worsening condition. This is an important aspect of the presentation, although the goal should ultimately be education. If there is to be any subtle selling activity in an educational webinar, it should be the discussion of what would happen if the problem persists or gets worse.

Once the presenter has thoroughly discussed the problem in terms that the attendees understand, a solution should be provided. While the solution is likely to be a product or service that the company offers, it does not have to be. If the goal of the webinar is to build relationships because of the education, then the presenter could direct them to helpful resources regardless of their source. Of course, this would build trust and give the customer the impression that the company’s first concern is their well-being.

Reaching customers on their mobile device

One of the fastest changing aspects of marketing involves reaching prospects and customers on their mobile device. As little as two years ago, the most important factor that a company needed to pay attention to was there website. In other words, they needed to make sure that customers could see their website properly on a Tablet PC, iPad or smart phone. In fact, there are many companies that are transitioning to this way of website marketing now.

But even mobile marketing is changing quickly. There are a number of companies, that are already making them self a presence on mobile devices. They are creating their own mobile app, and convincing customers to download it in order to get discounts and specials.

This is important for two reasons. The first reason is the fact that most customers want opt for the most convenient option when accessing things from their mobile device. If your company has an apt and it is easily access, customers are more likely to use it instead of typing in the web address of a competitor into their browser.

There is a second reason. When you are mobile app is part of the downloaded group of programs for your customer, you can conveniently message them using push notifications. Push notifications allow you to send a short broadcast message that does not depend on the device user to check their SMS inbox or their e-mail box. It’s like sending a message at will, to those you might consider to be your best and most loyal customers.

In addition to this, the technology is moving forward at a rapid pace. There are plans by some payment oriented companies to make it so that consumers will be able to leave their while it and or pocketbook at home. In other words, they want to make it possible for a mobile device user to make payments and be properly identified without using anything in a physical form. This means that now more than ever, you’ll need to make sure that you are doing what is necessary to make your business convenient to those carrying mobile devices.

And although other forms of technology are in their infancy and impractical to some degree, they too are making their way into the conversation of marketers. One such technology is proximity-based marketing. This allows you to send messages to those that come within a certain distance of your store a location. Much of this is based on having an application resident on the phone or mobile device of the customer or prospect.

In order to prepare for what this could mean for your business, you need to make up a true assessment about your market. Do your buyers use mobile devices, at all? Do you sell to a demographic of buyers that can or will be using mobile devices in the next 6 to 12 months? If the answer to either one of these questions is yes or maybe, you will need to take the minimum number of steps toward making sure that you have a proper mobile presence online. The best way to ensure this, is to work with a local professional that can show you how to build a system that will not cost you significantly yet will provide you with an Avenue to reach your customer.

How to Generate New Lead

The lifeblood of every new business is getting new prospects into their pipeline and subsequently converting them into buyers. Regardless of what a business sells and/or the way they market their company, new leads are needed to help a company to grow its profits.

Competition with Other Businesses
However, every company exists within a competitive environment. First, companies compete against other businesses that offer similar products. They engage in their battle using pricing, quality, features and value. They use some combination of these tools in order to win potential customers over to their products and services.
Competition for a Customer’s Time
Second, companies are often in a race against time. Customers often have good intentions about making purchases, but often feel that they can wait until an opportune time for them. Of course, they can use good copywriting and/or incentives to get buyers to move forward with their purchases, instead of getting them at a later date.

Competing Against Consumer Distraction
Companies are often competing against consumer distraction. Customers often have a desire to make a purchase and know they need what a particular business has to offer. However, they often become engulfed in the grind of everyday life and put their purchase on the back burner. Businesses often combat this, with a combination of promotional efforts, including branding, direct advertising and online ‘re-targeting’ ads.

The Multiplication of Channels
More than any other factor, companies are now dealing with the multiplication of channels that people have open to them to feed them information. In times past, there were only a couple of real windows into a customer’s life to promote products to them and they were all based on the mass market. In other words, if a business wasn’t on mass market media such as Yellow Pages, radio, television or newspaper, they might struggle to get new people to hear about their product and/or their business.
However, customers now get information through search engines, social media, Internet radio, podcasts, blogs, and a number of other ways in addition to mass media. This means that any given customer could be listening in a number of different ways to marketing messages.
Is it possible for a company to be visible to their prospects on all of those channels? If not, what can a company effectively do in order to put itself in position to meet people that might be interested in their product or service?

How to Reach Multiple Channels: Content Marketing
To generate leads effectively, companies have turned to promotional methods that are better suited for the fragmented nature that people get their information. The old method of promotion based on the price and features of a particular product can only be effective with in the context of a content marketing strategy.

Therefore, how does a company use content to generate new leads on multiple channels? How can companies engage in this kind of marketing, while still being able to maintain staff for other business purposes? With business owners being inundated by customers’ insistence on getting more value for less money, it may be difficult to see how staff resources could be spared in order to “create content”. Many companies, wisely enlist local marketing consultants in their efforts to create content to reach people on these new mediums. But whether a company hires employees or contacts with consultants, what is it that they engage in that would constitute “content marketing”? And how will that activity give businesses more leads?

Alternative QR Code Strategies

QR codes give you a number of different options that you can use to promote your business to mobile device users. In some ways, they overlap other forms of advertising. For example, if you’re going to advertise in a print magazine, your QR code would be added to an existing magazine advertisement.

It’s unlikely that you would place the QR code all by itself in a printed advertisement. The same would be true for brochures, newspapers, special reports, white papers, etc. Anyplace where you’re using printed materials where you’re to promoting your business, you can add-on QR codes.

Any Physical Presence is A Good Place for QR Codes

Depending on what your business is, you can use them anyplace where there is a physical presence for your business. For large gatherings of consumers, a number of companies will place QR codes on employee clothing. QR codes have been used on baseball caps, T-shirts and hooded sweatshirts. If you think of QR codes as an addition to any physical presence that you have, you will think of a number of ways to use them in order to get people to your offers.

The Best Way to Use QR Codes

The best way to use QR codes is to direct customers to a buying offer. In other words, if you’re going to have prospects scan a QR code and be directed to a particular page, you don’t want to have too many steps between them and their buying process. That means that coupons, discount codes and premiums work extremely well when consumers access them from a mobile device. The best business use for a QR code is to structure them so that consumers act on the information immediately.

Outdoor Advertising and Signage

Some companies have taken to using QR codes to use on their outside Billboard advertising. In that way, signage and other external forms are making a comeback. If you think about it, any signage that’s placed in the way of consumer eyesight, can now get noticed over and above some forms of Internet-based advertising.

Creative Use of the QR Code Scan

Companies are also getting more creative in where they send their visitors from the QR Code Scan. Although it is true that sending QR code visitors direct to an offer that they can act on immediately is effective, companies are experimenting with taking other steps.

For example, in some cases the offer being made is for the individual to opt-in to an e-mail marketing list. In other cases, the enticement is set so that individuals can then like a particular Facebook FanPage or provide a review for a product on the Google plus network.

QR Codes are Like Every Other Form of Marketing

QR codes are like every other form of marketing; you should be testing the effects of your campaign. Every QR campaign should have a definite goal and you should be working to make sure that it is appropriate for your target audience.

If your targeted customer, is unlikely to use their smart phone, then they’re probably going to be less likely to use a QR code scanner. The process is a little more technically involved than simply answering text messages and or sending e-mails. If you choose to use QR, make sure that you watch whether your customers and their prospects are taking the action that you desire when they scan your code. Make all of your adjustments accordingly.

What Would a Real Business Do: Good Reviews

Because people are shopping on the Internet in increasing numbers, the way they make decisions about who they’re going to buy from has changed. Throughout the 2000’sthousands and early into the 2010’s tends, consumers relied on the information that they had historically used.They relied on their personal experience, their knowledge of the brand and the recommendations of personal friends and associates. Interestingly, another less talked about trend had come about: consumers had grown skeptical of the claims of advertisers when speaking about their own products.
Even the old-style ‘customer testimonial’ used in television commercials, was making less of an impact on consumers in early 2010 than it had been traditionally doing. At the time, there were discussions within consumer advocacy groups that the people stating their testimonial common amongst users of the product or service being promoted.

While these trends were progressing in consumer goods and local services, Amazon.com was developing an interesting reputation in selling books and media. While their primary goal was to make it easier for a buyer to get what they wanted online, consumers found their website helpful for another reason.

Their review system of products and services became a trusted method for determining whether a book, album or video game was a good purchase as determined by those who had used them. Consumers learned to trust their system.The review system began to take hold than in other areas of consumer product sales. Other websites began to give users the opportunity to rate their purchases and to talk about their experience with them.
Currently, it is an expectation to see reviews of a product or service before one commits to doing research.
In fact, one of the first things that consumers do is to check consumer reviews by glancing at star ratings. Companies with 4 to 5 stars, are typically given more consideration by the searcher. Those with 3 stars and below are typically dismissed without the searcher ever reading further. This is an important trend for small businesses. It means that they must be active in managing their online reputation. While it is unethical for businesses to incentivize customers to give them a good review, it is smart business to make sure that the customer feels as if they had a positive experience before they go online to report their thoughts to other Internet users.

But this primarily speaks to scenarios that would indicate a company would have a less than positive review. What should a company do if their reviews are largely positive? Should they allow this information to be stated only on the review websites? Or should they use this information to their advantage in their own marketing and promotion?

Just as authors and musicians use the Amazon “best seller” status to market themselves, businesses should use the same kind example in their own promotion. If their average review is roughly 4 to 5 stars around the Internet, it’s important for them to state this publicly wherever consumers are evaluating their products and services.

A simple statement and visual aid (displaying gold stars) is often enough to help consumers that want to trust the business to make a purchase from them. If you are considered to be a reputable provider of your products and services in your local area by most of the review sites, including Google, Insider Pages, Yelp, Angie’s List and Merchant Circle, then you should use this to your advantage.

What Would a Real Business Do: Mobile Marketing

Because prospects and customers are using mobile devices to access the Internet with increasing frequency, you will need to meet them there. While that doesn’t mean that PC users will no longer visit your site, it does mean that communication methods have changed. As a result of that, marketing and advertising must change also.

One of the most important emphases of mobile marketing is convenience. Apart from the particular ways that you can reach a prospect on their mobile device, the principle to keep in mind is convenience. Most users will opt for the easiest possible option. The company that can make it easy to buy, will win when all things are even.

Understanding this, you’ll want to make sure that your site is as easy for them to navigate as it is when using their pc. You’ll also want to make sure that your site loads quickly and has all of the essential information that they’ll need in order to make decisions.

You’ll also take into consideration that it is difficult to read large blocks of text on a small screen making sure that your writing is tailored to this new medium. That means that you’ll use short but impaction words as well as short sentences.

It follows that you won’t create long paragraphs that will cause a potential website visitor to tune out before he or she has seen your sales message. As is the case with many marketers, you’ll make sure that your content appears in the same way that a news column would on a newspaper. In other words, smaller columns make it easier for a reader to digest all the information that you’re giving them.

You’ll probably also want to get your prospect to download your mobile application. This will give you the opportunity to market to them easily, without relying on solely on SMS messaging. Because the user will have your software on the memory of their mobile device, you will be closer to them than you would by using traditional tactics.

Moreover, you will also use e-mail more creatively, understanding that the use of mobile devices has actually increased e-mail activity despite what experts predicted. Of course, you’ll want to use e-mail to your advantage. That means that your e-mail should not have extensive graphical content that takes a long times to load. What you’re basically doing is a making it convenient for them to buy from you.