As an entrepreneur I deal with a variety of different vendors and services. The one thing I truly appreciate is dealing with a company that doesn’t continually blast me with sales pitches. Instead they offer value and relevance.
Offer Value and Relevance
What does this mean?
Simply put, if you are an expert in your industry and you offer insights and information to help your customers succeed they will have a higher propensity to want to do business with you. It is added value that will strengthen your loyalty base and encourage a dedicated following.
It is the ‘it’ factor of a great marketing campaign.
It is also a prime example of conversational marketing – a term coined by The Cluetrain Manifesto, a set of 95 theses organized and put forward as a manifesto, or call to action, for all businesses operating within a newly-connected marketplace. It described a fundamental shift in thinking. The gist is that businesses should start thinking of marketing as a bottom-up operation rather than a top-down one.
The notion of connecting directly to customers online is prevalent and important in today’s global landscape. But what is the best way for small businesses to leave a valuable and original fingerprint with customers?
It can start with a very simple mantra – talk to your customers, not at them.
How to Talk to Your Customers
Start by offering a weekly newsletter to share tips and tools to help your customers succeed. Also, whitepapers and free ebooks and incentives are great tools. The idea is, “Knowledge is the currency of change.” Empower your customer to make educated decisions and they will become your biggest fan.
A great example of this in action is a newsletter I signed-up for from Toddle, a web-based service that offers businesses great newsletter designs with user-friendly customization. It is simple and easy to use and you can send a newsletter at a fairly low cost. I have utilized various email newsletter vendors, and they are among my top five in terms of design, usability and creativity.
Upon receipt of the email it included a great reference tool to jump start your online marketing — a simple 12-month online marketing plan. Their marketing checklist includes the basics and room for you to personalize it based upon your business need. It’s also vetted, which means the sender let me know that they have utilized it successfully and it helped him to stay focused and on track.
This is a great example of building a link between your business and customers. I don’t sign up for many newsletters because I don’t enjoy spam – but this one is definitely worthwhile. Remember, while your business may be great, customers are only interested in the value you provide to them.
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