Using the internet to promote and market your company can be an effective way to increase business opportunities and drive customers towards your brand. Although print and media advertising are still viable in today’s economy, they are becoming less effective as people become more immune to commercials and turn their reading interests towards online material. Therefore, it is imperative that businesses meet their customers where they are: the internet.
Internet use has skyrocketed. Internet World Stats estimates that in 2009 there were 259,561,000 users in North America alone (current US population ~ 340 million). That’s around 76% of the population using the internet! That’s a huge opportunity to access millions of people, given the right format. There are several ways to reach out to these potential customers and turn them into loyal clients.
Let’s look at a few key principle components and how they can positively impact your customer base:
1. Facebook and Twitter – Let’s face it. Social networking is a necessary evil in brand recognition and internet promotion. It’s a quick, easy method to update your customers and track your brand loyalty. By offering deals and specials via social media, you’ll be able to determine who is following your company and how important digital word of mouth truly is.
2. Blogs – Weblogs are an easy, effective way to keep your content fresh and notify customers of special events, sales, and etc. A static website without recurring fresh content is as good as dead. Fresh content helps keep your site relevant, which also keeps it ranking well in the almighty search engines. Blogs offer companies a valuable tool for content updates and company announcements.
3. Forum Communities – Peer networking is a great way to get your name out there among other business owners and customers. Customers may stumble across your answer to a question and decide your extensive knowledge is just the trait they’re looking for in a company. Forums also offer companies an opportunity to engage customer concerns and provide superior customer service.
4. Online Advertising (e.g. Google Adsense) – Keyword searches are the most prominent way a potential customer can find your business. If your site is not optimized to appear at the top of search results, chances are you will not be found. This is where an online advertising budget comes in handy. You can spend as much or as little as you choose to list your company on the internet. From buying ad space on individual sites to bidding on search engine keywords, there are countless methods to place links to your company’s information.
5. Email Newsletter – Actively sending your customers content and information about your company can help mitigate the problem of customers not being able to look at your other online tools. As some companies block various sites (especially Facebook), it is getting more difficult to reach people during the work day. And let’s be honest, most people aren’t working non-stop as they sit in front of their computers. This is where an effective email newsletter can help as companies tend to be a little looser with their email restrictions. Building a newsletter can give a quick reminder for your customers to check in with you. You can also easily distribute sales and coupons, specials, and event announcements. Just make sure you create your distribution list honestly and offer the option to unsubscribe.
By implementing some, if not all, of these online tools, you can leverage your business on the web and increase your company’s exposure and potential.