Google offers a great service for businesses with a local business office or retail location. Businesses can add their address, contact information, store hours, photos, and location on a map and even offer a coupon to customers who search for them on Google. The Google Local Business Center lets you add your business location and you can keep it up-to-date. It also has a reporting dashboard so you can see what words your customers are searching for to find your business and where they are coming from.
Social Media Marketing . . . The New Paradigm
By L. Bremner of Digital West Media, Inc.
A few months ago I was at the PGA Show in Las Vegas. I was chatting with a vendor at one of the booths about one of my new Website about golf, DesertCADDIE.com. He asked me how many contacts I had on my email database. He was trying to promote a new book about golf and he was looking to buy some emailing lists. I just looked at him and smiled. “Well, I’ve got a great fan base on facebook and a good sized group of followers on Twitter, but I haven’t even started an email list.”
It was in that moment that I realized my own marketing focus has already shifted. E-mail newsletters and promotions were no longer on the list of my top marketing tools. I now use WordPress, a blogging software, to get my news out to my various Websites. I use Twitter to route news and articles over to facebook so “fans” can read the news summaries on their facebook pages, and if they want the full story, they can then link to my website in one click. You can also use facebook notifications to send direct e-mails to “fans” or “friends.”
What do I need an email list for? My readers and customers either visit my Website for news or they read the same content and promotions on facebook. I have several other Web-based businesses that I do have active email databases set-up for, but I’ve been phasing them out. By the time I send out an email newsletter or promotion with links to articles on my Website, readers have already read them. The news is old. E-mail is becoming the “old” method and social media networks are taking the stage as the new, faster way to connect with customers.
Social Media also makes for a closer, more personalized relationship with customers. The “fans” and “friends” on social media sites feel comfortable joining various business social networks because they know they have control. They can remove their fan connection or friendship with an individual or business by clicking a button. They know they won’t get stuck in the unsolicited email cycle where they can’t get rid of the spam once they sign up for a new email list. People are more comfortable joining a social media network than they are signing up for a new email subscription or list.
While businesses are still behind the social media curve, some innovative companies are figuring out that email is on its way out and fans, friends and followers are in. Social Media Marketing is going to take traditional marketing tactics out of play. While email was responsible for significantly downsizing the direct mail industry and the postal service, social media is going to make email marketing a distant second to a new, more powerful marketing medium.
The good news . . . social media tools are free, there are no printing costs, no postage costs and you don’t have to buy mailing or e-lists. What you will need to do is spend a lot of time on the social media platforms and you will need to build your fans, friends and followers. This is not a “build it and they will come technique.” You have to interact with customers online, provide feedback, get creative with your promotions and serve your fans, friends and followers content and information that they will find useful.
If you need help developing a successful social media network for your business, give Digital West Media, Inc. a call at 760-619-2401 or email firstname.lastname@example.org