The way people spend their leisure time is changing, and successful marketers change their marketing plans to shift with consumers.
According to an article by Mya Frazier for Forbes, Lexus chief marketing officer Dave Nordstrom said that 50 percent of the brand’s marketing budget goes to digital and emerging technologies.
[source: Chron Small Business] Luckily for small business, Internet marketing doesn’t have to be expensive. You may not have the budget to reach people through television advertising, but just about anyone can vie for attention within the online sphere.
Ask your existing customer base to take a survey about their social networking habits, in exchange for a product discount. As with any other marketing initiative, you need to understand who your market is and what they’re looking for before you attempt to connect and offer information.
Connect with customers on Facebook by designing a company page. You should also have a personal profile on the popular social networking site. Let loyal customers know your page exists by handing out fliers with purchases, or including an announcement in your e-newsletter. For people active online, Facebook is generally like home base. Once you’ve connected with people, you can assess their interests and understand where else they spend time while online.
Assess your Web traffic in detail. Sure, you may have a company Website, but you can’t know if it’s doing its job without an analytics application. Pay-for solutions are available, but Google Analytics lets you get started free of charge. Look at what search terms are bringing people to your site. If they’re not relevant to your business, it could be time for a search engine optimization overhaul. If people are bailing from your homepage, you might need to do a usability evaluation of your Website.
Get on online indexes, such as Yellowbook and Superpages. Basic listings are free, and getting a presence on these sites increases the number of hits for your business when potential customers run Google searches.
Advertise with a group discount site, such as Groupon. Run a deal with one of these sites and your business will practically promote itself. Group discount sites offer price cuts on company products and services, only accessible if enough people join in to “unlock” the deal. Interested consumers pass the link along to their friends, exposing more people to your company. In return for a one-time discount, you gain a network of new customers.
Start blogging. Establish yourself as a thought leader in your line of business by reaching out to other bloggers in your industry. Comment on their posts and leave your blog’s URL behind, so they can return the favor. Link your blog to your company’s Facebook page, so customers active online also have the option of following you.
Choose other media channels selectively. After you’ve established an online presence, you can track where your customers are engaged to select your next steps strategically. Keeping a few well-managed points of online contact is better than having many subpar channels that you forget to track or update. If customers are blogging about Twitter posts, you might want to consider starting your own account. If they post links to YouTube on Facebook, maybe a promotional video should be your company’s next step.