Internet Marketing Tools to Stay Close to Customers

In recent writings, I have emphasized the importance of using efficient means of deploying precious marketing budget moneys during these tough economic times.  Clearly, staying close to your customers, while always important, is even more so in such an environment.  Internet Marketing again proves to be a valuable tool here.

Consider that 70% of adults are online as well as close to 98% of grade-schoolers.  The internet is now truly mass media and clearly growing in usage as measured in percent of time spent online.  A great deal of the growth in usage is due to increasingly large percentages of time spent “in the buying process.”  Adults are spending 20+% of their time online while teens and other grade-schoolers are spending an astonishing 45-55% of their available time online.

Email

While not a new concept by any means, email marketing, if targeted to existing customers and opt-in recipients, is a great way to keep your name, your products and services, your insights and your interest in customer care in front of your audience who have already done business with you, as well as, those who have opted-in to receiving continuing information from your company.   The keys to successful email marketing are as follows:

1.    Targeted – only known names – clients and opt-in recipients.  No Spam.
2.    Nurturing and Informative – must have value and not with an obvious sales orientation (deals and offers).
3.    Regular Publication – it must be consistent, repetitive and reliable to establish an expectation as part of the regular publications that the audience actually reads.
4.    Offer to opt-out on each and every publication to be religiously honored.
5.    Direct and targeted linking to relevant website content for further, supplemental information.
6.    Valuable for the recipient.  Useful information for the sole benefit of the reader’s business operations.  Those that freely give will ultimately get more in return.

Email Marketing is very inexpensive and relatively easy to implement.  It requires a strong commitment to content as all Internet Marketing does.  Using the principles above, you will reinforce a genuine and growing sense that you are on your customers’ side during good times and bad.  Your clients’ need to view you as a partner and as a welcome visitor to their inbox.

The Social Media

You need to understand the process consumers use to make decisions before you will embrace the Social Media as an important part of your Internet Marketing Strategy.  It starts with “Word of Mouth.”  Online “word of mouth” is through many independent portals such as:

1.    Blogs
2.    Consumer / Product Review Sites
3.    Social Review Sites such as MySpace, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Linked-In and others.

Here, real research, conversations, give and take takes place.  Real people speak with great passion about their experiences, likes and dislikes, insights about products, services, customer support and all manner of highly valued information.  Your products and services, your website needs to be there.

As with all internet marketing, it’s about content.  Useful, nurturing content in the form of articles (text), user testimonials (text, audio or video), product demonstrations (video), new insights on the use of a product, anything that furthers interest and excitement in the use and pleasure experience of your products and services.

Most folks see the social media as places for entertainment and they certainly are that.  However, they are also widely used to share and gain information to help make buying decisions.  BE THERE!

The best way to do this is to hire an Internet Marketing Company who INCLUDES Social Media as a part of their Internet Marketing Services which will also include Search Engine Marketing (SEM) and Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

SEO

There is a great deal of content at Optimum 7 (www.optimum7.com/internet-marketing and www.optimum7.com/news) regarding this cornerstone part of any credible Internet Marketing Strategy.  SEO is your long and lasting commitment to long term internet marketing visibility and relevance.  Here you can ultimately achieve FREE and lasting traffic so long as you maintain the commitment to the process.  By being FOUND by exactly those googlers who are seeking your products and servers based on top rankings is the most powerful force in marketing today.  Here’s why:

1.    It is keyword targeted.  So, if you have your website optimization strategy targeted to your most highly relevant keywords, you will be found by the most targeted audience … AND …

2.    At precisely the moment in the buyers time-frame that they are READY TO BUY.

3.    “The best things in life are free” and here you can achieve just that.  What a great and efficient way to deal with economic downturns than to be visible.

As you can read in our content, SEO is about content and commitment.  You must select, and work closely with a proven Search Engine Marketing Company with demonstrated expertise in all of the key processes and sub-specialties of Internet Marketing; Search Engine Optimization, SEO Copywriting, Social Media, Viral Marketing, Email Marketing and more.

Of course, I will continue to write further on these important considerations.  However, during these difficult economic times, go on offense and use both short term and long term cost effective strategies to fully commit to your success.  When the economy does recover, you will be way ahead of your competition and therefore exceptionally well positioned.