Online marketing has officially turned the world on its ear. You don’t even really need to look at statistics to prove that this is happening, but it doesn’t hurt to get some good old fashioned data to drive the point home. According to Forrester Research, the vast majority of consumers aren’t contacting sales persons until they’re almost 90 percent of the way through a sale.
While this may come as bad news to anyone in the sales field, it’s great news to businesses seeking to cut costs. Whereas 20 years ago a single company might have employed a full time staff of sales people actively engaged in bringing customers in, these days social media and content marketing are doing a lot of the legwork – and at significantly lower cost.
Peering Behind the Curtain
What’s behind this big shift? Online marketing, that’s what. With almost startling speed, small business owners have taken to the internet and have learned to use social media channels to reel customers in by the hundreds – virtually eliminating the need for internal sales departments to exist and giving business owners a direct line to communicate with their customers. One of the key reasons can also be attributed to consumers themselves. These days, online content – as well as the ability to gauge the usefulness of a product or services through social media channels – is empowering consumers to make their own decisions and perform their own research before committing to a purchase.
Striking While the Iron’s Trending
If you’re a savvy business owner (or if you’ve ever dreamed of becoming one) you will no doubt recognize an inherent opportunity behind this particularly lucrative trend. But do you know how best to take advantage of it? Surely the next step is not to fire your sales staff and cross your fingers that the buyers will find you. Proactive steps should be taken to better equip potential customers with the tools necessary to do their own pre-sale research.
Encourage Existing Customers to Leave Feedback
Even in the era of the internet, word of mouth still has a place. In fact, word of mouth has never been more powerful than it is now. Especially when you consider the fact that one individual with a computer and an internet connection can reach more people with a single post than someone standing on a street corner shouting their opinions into a megaphone. Potential customers frequently look to the opinions of others prior to making a purchase commitment. As a business owner, it’s unethical of you to pay or bribe others to help spread the good word about your business. However, simply letting your customers know that doing so can help – such as asking for feedback – can go a long way. Think of it as the ultimate call to action. Instead of saying “Y’all come back, now!” consider tacking on the added “… and tell a few hundred of your best friends while you’re at it!” Sometimes customers need to be reminded and they don’t mind it when you give them a gentle nudge.
Put Yourself Out There to be Discovered… All the Time
Creating an online presence is great. Having a website, a Facebook page, a Twitter account, even an Instagram feed are all important tools that every business owner should add to their arsenal. The trouble is, each of these need to be cared for and fed on a daily basis or they’ll simply wither on the vine. The creation of relevant content through blogging is yet another way to increase your brand’s online visibility – but if not done frequently, your “voice” may be swallowed up by the background noise. Frequency isn’t everything when it comes to creating an online presence, but it’s a big part of it. If you don’t have the time or resources to commit to a full-fledged, daily social media campaign, hire help or choose your efforts sparingly so as not to spread your efforts too thin.
Need Help? Get It
For a fraction of what it would cost you to hire a sales staff, you can hire freelance professionals to assist you with your social media and marketing campaigns. Artisan Talent is a creative staffing agency that posts portfolios and resumes of available marketing specialists, web designers, app developers, and more. Artisan can also assist professionals seeking additional opportunities to grow their marketing, graphic design, or web design careers. Contact us today to learn more.