Engagement Marketing: Changing the Relationship Between Businesses and Consumers

A hot new spinoff of social media marketing has altered the way companies are engaging their customer base. It’s called Engagement Marketing, also known as “participation marketing,” and is a strategy that is specifically designed to engage consumers and allow them to have an influence on the brand. It is no longer about companies relying on passive marketing and persuasion to gain new clients; it has become an interactive two-way street.

Branding has also become easier and allows for businesses to cultivate more personal relationships. As we move more towards a “relationship age,” and away from an “information age,” interactions between consumers and companies are becoming more closely connected, and the value of these relationships is now more important than ever.

1. Branding: Give Your Company Exposure and Build an Online Presence

Branding is an important aspect of every successful business. Recent studies show that building a social media presence can boost your company’s search engine rankings. SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is only one part of the overall ranking, and other factors such as the popularity of your website are included. Social media links and blogs can help give your company exposure, as well as build an online presence by engaging consumers and giving them an opportunity to have a voice. The easier it is to find your company and see that other people are involved online, the more business you will get.

2. Lead Generation and Networking: Getting New and Potential Clients

Engaging customers and building your brand online is becoming an important facet of everyday business. By using online networking tools such as live chats, blogs, and webinars, companies are able to become more transparent and trustworthy. By offering ways for people to interact on a personal level, consumers will begin to trust your products and services.

Also, the more attention your website receives, the more potential your company has to gain new clients. People tend to trust companies that have a strong online presence over companies that don’t have active websites or social media profiles. If your company Facebook profile has a lot of “fans,” or supporters, it will bode well for cultivating new clients.

3. Product Research: Test Your Products and Services via Social Media

Creating a direct and open dialogue with customers allows you to ask them how they feel about your products and services. By including comment fields on your blog and sending out surveys or emails, you can get a good idea as to how your company is doing and how satisfied your customers are. If you were planning on coming out with a new product, but weren’t sure how your loyal customers would receive it, you can ask them online. Perhaps you can offer your fans on Facebook a trial period for your new product and see how customers react. It will save you time and money in the long run, and you can get your product on the market faster.

4. Improving Customer Relations

By improving the way you interact with your customers, you can improve how your business operates. As you find out new ways to incorporate your customer’s opinions and feedback, you can change your business model to adapt to market trends.

There are many ways to gather this information such as including a field on your website that allows for customers to send you an email and tell you about how you’re doing. If you have a blog, leave room for readers to comment on your articles to get them thinking about the services your company offers. The more opportunities you provide your customers with to give you feedback, the easier it will be to meet client needs and expand your business.

Be Successful At Direct Marketing The E-Mail Way

As I write you are probably sitting on a very usual list of customer contacts – past, present and potential (my 3 Ps of customer type). So how do you get the most out of it? Your next step is to utilise this database by communicating with your customers in the most economical way – e-mail.

E-mail marketing is not only the cheapest form of Direct Marketing known to man it is also the quickest way by which you can communicate with customers and the most effective method (see below) but also you can ‘tailor’ you message to suit:

The Customer Profile
The information you wish to impart
All the while bearing in mind that the purpose of your e-mail is to:
Build a business rapport with existing customers
Encourage customer loyalty
Encourage repeat business
Encourage additional business from existing customers
Introduce new products to existing customers
Advise special offers/ sales and more to existing customers
Acquire new customers
Before you begin creating your ‘missive’ that you wish to e-mail then you need to remember key factors about the e-mail screen.

First of all let’s ponder a moment on who the mail is from. Yes, it is you (idiot I hear you call me) but there is a couple of important questions that must be considered here.

Is your business known to the recipient?

If it is are they likely to want to read what you are e-mailing them about?

If you business isn’t recognised by the recipient then again -

Are they likely to want to read what it is you have to say?

Whichever, former or latter, you need to have a distinctive ‘subject’ – the next section of an e-mail.

If the recipient has agreed to receive information from you (recall your database laws!) then you still need to be concise about what your following message is all about. So it could be something as simple as Newsletter No:23 or Special Offer or Sale Now On – or something along these lines that is attention grabbing.

The same but perhaps even more importantly so, the subject needs to make the recipient want to read on as to what it is you are actually contacting them about.

Thus your third area, the message itself, needs to be as concise as possible, not beat about the bush, no waffle, just warm interesting information within which, or at the end is a call to action. This can be as simple as asking them to open up an attachment that might have further details, a discount voucher perhaps, a revised/ sale price list, full details of a new product…you get the gist of it. Or it could be a ‘hotline/ VIP’ telephone number. A website address or even a discount code to enter when buying on-line.

A word from the wise. People don’t just open up attachments ‘willy-nilly’, especially from an unaccredited source. There are many horror stories and warnings about opening up an attachment from an unknown business so make certain that the message area of your e-mail assures people who to open an attachment will not bring down their entire computer.

Market Your Pipeline Using Other People’s Money

Are You Marketing Smart… or Shooting from the Hip?

In this article you will learn how to be very strategic in your marketing efforts and how to invest your resources wisely in order to convert qualified prospects into customers.

My marketing strategy is to sell more products.

It’s important to understand the relationship between sales and marketing. Marketing is more strategic in nature and provides the foundation for sales. Everyone in a company is in marketing whether they realize it or not. Every activity that touches the customer either directly or indirectly is a marketing activity. Engineering, manufacturing, shipping and receiving, customer service, technical support and accounting are a few examples of indirect marketing. They each have some interface with the customer. They help set the brand personality. What kind of company are we? How will we be perceived externally? How will we treat our customers? Our vendors? Other more direct marketing activities include branding, pricing, public relations, affiliate partnerships, advertising and competitive analysis. These marketing activities lay the foundation for all our sales activities. Sales on the other hand falls into one of three categories, identifying and capturing qualified prospects, converting qualified prospects into customers, and maintaining an ongoing trusted relationship with the customer for value exchange.

I’m not a marketing genius, where do I start?

The following key questions will give you a very good start on better understanding what your selling, to whom, why they’ll buy it and how you’ll present your value proposition.

1. What exactly is our product and what does it do?

2. What is the target market and what is its personality?

3. What benefit is the target market looking to get out of our product?

4. What is our Unique Selling Proposition – What makes our product different, better, or more desirable than other similar products available?

5. How will this be conveyed to the customer?

6. How will we prove it?

7. How will our product stand out above its competitors?

8. Who are the top competitors and what are they doing right and what are they doing wrong?

Is your marketing message an information flea market?

Every marketing message whether it’s a magazine ad, an infomercial, or a sales pitch should follow a few key design principles. You want one thing to stand out in the customers mind, one thing that they’ll remember in the morning. Send them too many messages and they’ll remember nothing. You must clearly understand what your objective is. It may not be to close the sale. It may be to get them to request more info, to set an appointment, or to introduce you to the decision maker.

Your message should be constructed to support the following design principles:

1. Lead with your Unique Selling Proposition

2. Close with your solid Most Wanted Response (MWR)

3. Enhance Desire with Key Benefits

4. Create Rationale with Features

5. Build Trust and Credibility

6. Eliminate Risk

7. Make a Compelling Irresistible Offer

8. Tell Them Exactly What To Do

Answer the obvious questions in your prospect’s mind.

Your prospect will have several questions in the back of his mind that he may never ask, but he won’t buy until they are answered. Your objective is to answer these questions before they are asked or before your prospect just walks away.

1. Do I really want this? – Emphasize benefits

2. What exactly will I be getting? – Provide a description and a picture of the product.

3. Is it of good quality? – Answer with testimonies and perhaps features.

4. How can I trust this merchant? – Show a photo, tell your story, explain the guarantee, display trusted agencies.

5. What happens if I don’t like the product? – Describe your guarantee and return policy.

6. How do I order? – Show the next step. Make the order process obvious.

Write effective sales copy.

Words Sell! The delivery of your message must be carefully crafted to maximize the conversion of your visitor to your most wanted response. The next newsletter issue will go into great detail about how to draw your prospect into your message.

When you’re done, re-check it, double-check it, and write it again.

Carefully prune your message until it concisely communicates with as few simple words as possible. Here’s a checklist to help you refine your message.

1. Does the message finish with a solid most wanted response (MWR)?

2. Is the opening line a “Big Gun”? Does it transmit the major benefit, the USP, to the prospect? Do the next couple of paragraphs build on that?

3. Scan through each section of the message. Is there a logical progression that builds to the MWR?

4. Are all the major benefits covered? Have you enhanced desire by painting word and graphic pictures of the benefits?

5. Have you helped the prospect create a rationale by describing key distinguishing features?

6. Does the MWR Closer Section build an offer that makes the MWR irresistible? Is the offer so good that you’d be afraid to pass it up?

7. Have you offered proof and major credibility-builders? Do you get an overall good, believable solid feel from the message?

8. Have you eliminated the risk (i.e. guarantee, etc.)? Is that clear to the visitor?

9. Is it all bundled in a clear call to action where the visitor is told exactly what to do?

10. Is the visitor reminded of the major benefits again?

11. Is there a strong and logical reason why action is required right now?

12. Does the visitor understand exactly what she gets? Don’t take this for granted.

13. Does the message maintain a “you-oriented” focus throughout the message? Have you eliminated all references to I, we, my, our, and us.

14. Read it all out loud to a colleague or spouse. Does anything ring hollow, embarrass you, or just plain doesn’t work? Fix it.

15. Once it is as good as it can be, spell-check it. Then proof-read for spelling errors missed by the spell checker. Review it for reasonable grammar. Double-check it if a lot of changes are made.

I’ll just send my prospect to my company website.

Sadly, too many companies send their prospects and the click-throughs from promotions to their company website’s home page. Unless you are offering a single product with a micro-site, this can be a big mistake. The average home page doesn’t provide a clear path to the product you are advertising, nor is it suited to follow a particular ad, cinch the deal, and bring in the sale. Instead, the average home page provides a half-dozen rabbit trails that your potential customer can explore before she gives up in disgust and impatience. A professionally crafted marketing message, on the other hand, is designed to accomplish a specific targeted objective.

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You’ve learned how to be very strategic in your marketing efforts and how to invest your resources wisely in order to convert qualified prospects into customers.