A businessman in the 21st century is either excited or perplexed at how selling has taken on a whole different turn today. With the whole slew of multimedia and online platforms where one can have a field day with his marketing messages, making a business pitch may feel like being in an awfully foreign country whose language you do not speak: you know there is much to gain by exploring, but what do you do? And which way do you go?
First of all, a corporate website is almost a requisite. No matter what business you are engaged in, chances are you have customers that are digitally literate, if not digitally dependent. Customers expect to be able to access information when and where they want to.
While there is an entire array of social media a business owner can use with minimal maintenance, a well-planned and strategically designed corporate site can be your company’s constant advertisement. The site, however, should carry a personality that is consistent with your brand. It should also be easy to navigate through, especially for purposeful web visitors and potential customers.
A good understanding of search engine optimization (SEO) tools can boost the visibility of your site in searches, which translates to increased visitors. There are also various tools that allow you to obtain relevant statistics on your site, like where your visitors are at and how they found you. Google Analytics, for instance, gives basic information on your site traffic, as well as insights into how your visitors behave in your site before they make important decisions – such as bailing out and leaving your site, submitting an inquiry form, or finalizing a purchase. The blogging platform WordPress features built-in Blog Stats and SEO tools.
RSS (Rich Site Summary) Feeds are also a good idea. When you allow your readers or visitors to subscribe to your site via RSS, they get updated content from you without having to log in to your site too often. This does not exactly take away from your site’s readership, as the RSS feeds can be made clickable.
Another idea to consider in designing and planning your corporate site is making provisions for automated email updates, which allow visitors to receive an email for each new post from you.
For starters, however, building and maintaining a corporate website might seem daunting. If web development (or even blogging) poses a challenge you’d rather deal with later in the business game – then, consider being on social media.
Unless you’ve been hiding under a proverbial rock, you probably know how social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube have launched products and ideas (even people) from obscurity to popularity. Social media is really word-of-mouth brought several levels up. What makes social media the new media?
First, FRIENDS are the best product endorsers. People tend to act on peripheral awareness; when they see what (or who) their friends and other people around them liked or which places they checked into, they tend toward checking them out, at least. That’s a good first step in gaining customers – trial and sampling.
Second, these social networks do not only allow access to millions of current and potential customers; they also make possible precision targeting. There are various well-defined social network groups, and the availability of members’ personal profiles makes the lazy marketer froth in the mouth.
Third, social networking sites like Twitter and Foursquare let you find your customers and let them find you as well. They’re the fastest way to send out announcements and promotions (like Cebu Pacific Air does for its cheap fares), even change or correct them instantaneously, if necessary. Check-ins through location-based social networks such as Foursquare, Facebook Places and Friends Around also make customers “wear the brand like a badge”, the business thereby benefiting from the testimonial.
Lastly, these social media also double as public forums/message boards, where businessmen and customers can interact with hardly any barrier. As long as the job of communicating almost real-time with customer is left in prudent and able hands, this should make for some good feedback and basic public relations for your business.
On the other hand, web directory sites like Mahalo.com and Yahoo! Answers engage their readers in some knowledge exchange, much a like an instant focus group discussion – and with clear positive consequences from knowing what people are looking for and what they are saying about you.
Whether you decide to build a corporate site or go the direction of social media, it always helps to remember that the worldwide web is actually as far as you can reach your customers. Having a web presence means being present where your customers are. The movement toward the new media is exciting once a businessman discovers how to “transform” his digitally literate customers into spokespersons, even a think tank, for his brand.
by: Glorydee Magno