Who is my customer? This is one of the first and perhaps most important questions to ask when starting a business. This question is, in fact, so crucial that it dictates a large part of how a business is run, where it is run, and why. Much so that one may even argue that in business, the customer is everything.
Today, not surprisingly, the customer is your average person who is perpetually online and glued to social media. Which is exactly why digital marketing matters, not just to the big player, but maybe even more so for the startup. You have to position yourself where they will be most likely to notice you. Unfortunately, the success of a marketing campaign is not hinged solely on whether you exist in the same platform that your customer does. In fact, it can get quite tricky. But with a few simple yet telling metrics, you can gauge with ease whether your marketing strategy is doing you good…
Your Online Presence is Enriched by Actual Engagement
One of the misconceptions that businesses make is that you can boost your following by buying them, bloat the numbers on your social media accounts, and it will automatically mean a good reach. That is not, however, the case. What’s the point in buying followers that don’t engage with you? Followers that you buy are only as good as numbers on your page.
You know you’re making a mark when you look at your online footprint and realize that you are actually engaging your audience in a meaningful way–people are actually interested in your content, which in turn rouses an even wider reach and expands the conversation. Technology has made many engagements complicated these days, but the tried and tested word of mouth never goes out of style. And when you have people talking about you, you can safely say you’re doing it right.
You’ve Built a Brand, and the Internet Knows It
“In 5 to 10 years’ time, consumer-based businesses that aren’t growing a social media presence will fail,” says Nick Abraham, entrepreneur and founder of Elevate Marketing, who built his own marketing agency from scratch by boosting businesses through social media branding.
There is no way that a business can thrive nowadays without taking into account the competitive nature that the Internet and social media have added to the way that we do business. According to a study by the Pew Research Center, “three-quarters of online adults in the US now use social media sites.” Many big brands have switched up gears and no longer bank on billboards and TV ads as they did in the past decades. Instead, we see established brands competing against each other on social media. And for good reason. The Internet is where the eyes are. That’s what gets people’s attention. Naturally, that’s the ball field. So if you’re not in it, you’re already as good as out of the game.
You’re Natural, and Your Content Resonates with People
People have grown so tired of perfect. We all know that when something looks too good to be true, it probably is. Stock photos, for instance, are too flawless that they don’t resonate with real people. It’s no accident, either, that more and more people are drawn into the “real talk” bandwagon. People have seen so much photoshopped, curated, filtered content that there is a growing clamour for the #nofilter in all things, even in our businesses…
In fact, according to Nick Abraham, “We are exposed to 6 to 10,000 ads on a daily basis, and so subconsciously, our minds skip most online content that represents or resembles advertising.” People are automatically turned off by perfect content, especially in business pages, because it instantly gives off the idea that you are only trying to get them to buy something.
You Make People Feel Like They Matter
Which is exactly what customer service is for. People must feel that they are not just numbers on your sales charts for the month. In this digital age, that has become a challenge to accomplish. Many of our business transactions are done online. More and more people are shopping online, for example, instead of going into physical stores. The increase in transactional interactions has made way for an even bigger desire for connections–the sound of a human voice, instead of a cold stock email.
However, it can become difficult to manage several active accounts when you’re trying to be visible everywhere on the Internet. It can get challenging enough to respond to every single inquiry or complaint, much more so to make each transaction meaningful for every customer.
At the end of the day, it matters not just that people get a response, but that they get it quickly and that their needs are attended to in a way that makes them feel they are more than the purchase. Even when people are initially complaining about a product or service, they can be won over by customer service that goes above and beyond. And you’ll know when you’ve done that because happy customers always come again.
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