Marketing has not changed. With that being said, if you have not been paying attention lately, there are many new tactics and strategies to use to reach your customers. Even some of the strategies that you used a few years ago may be forgotten or have evolved to a new level.
Just because you had an understanding last year does not mean you can fly by the seat of your pants and effectively market this year. If you have not kept up with changing strategies in the past year, here are a few to catch you up.
Quick Response codes, or QR Codes, are turning up everywhere on advertisements, television, billboards and business cards.
QR Codes are two dimensional bar codes that can be placed on just about anything you can print. By use of a mobile phone or a camera on a computer, customers can scan the bar code and be led anywhere you would like on the Internet. These destinations include websites, audio files or even videos. This is a great way to lead your customers directly to the place you want them to go so they can get information on your products, services or even contact information.
For the past few years, it has been a best practice to place customer testimonials on your website. This may not be enough anymore because testimonials are only good if they can be verified.
Search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing are collecting online reviews that customers have made about your company and placing them in one spot for future clients to review. These “testimonials” may be glowing reviews on how great your company is, or they may be from unhappy customers who want to share their experiences with others.
These reviews are online whether you authorize them or even know they exist. Make sure your company is responding to reviews so customers know you are listening to them. A great idea is to provide your happy customers a link to review you online in the various places they are gathered.
Your company has a page on all of the major networks including Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, but what are you doing with these pages? Marketing using social media is all about the engagement and conversations with customers.
It is not enough to just have the page and push out messages on the page; it is the two-way conversation that is effective online. Are you promoting your social media pages via other means such as your brochures and business cards?
Social Media is not a stand-alone type of marketing; it needs to be a part of your entire marketing program.
Marketing is continually changing, and it is necessary to stay up to date on the latest trends. Make sure that your company has a basic understanding of all techniques and strategies and use them if they fit the image and market of your business.
Kyle Hensel is the area director of the Savannah office of the Georgia SBDC Network. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.