The New Rules of Marketing and PR
Online marketing and communications tools are in constant flux. Often, this makes competing in today’s marketplace feel overwhelming. And just listing your services on a web page, hoping someone picks your business over the competition, is mostly ineffective. The good news is that it’s easier than ever before to market effectively. Easier and much less expensive. But you need a plan … an online marketing strategy for how to connect with your buyers and constituents on the Internet.
The New Rules of Marketing and PR, by David Meerman Scott, is a great resource for developing and implementing an online marketing strategy. With the focus on buyer needs (not what you sell), Scott explains how to use numerous online tools and strategies to share your expertise with potential clients. This can help establish a relationship, build trust, and lead to new sales.
The first step is to identify your target audience or buyer personas . During this process, you learn to focus on your buyers’ goals and aspirations. What problems do they face? How can you solve these problems? The strength of this approach is that your marketing becomes less about you and all about your buyer.
After you determine your online audience, the best way to reach out and connect is through the use of blogs , published white papers, and other freely shared content. Every day your buyers go online to find solutions to problems. Your opportunity is to solve these problems by publishing “how to” videos, “top ten” solutions lists, answers to “frequently asked questions,” and more. And by sharing your expertise, you can build trust before any one has even talked about costs! In this way you convince your buyers that you are the trusted source they can turn to again and again.
Many business professionals are well aware of the power of online outreach, but fear they don’t have enough time in their already-busy schedules to maintain a blog, a Twitter feed, or a Facebook page. Even worse, they fear that by increasing online visibility, people will say bad things about their business and leave nasty comments—a very real concern.
But whether you maintain an online presence or not, your customers are already telling others what they think. What’s important to realize is that online forums and other social media may give buyers an easy way to share their negative comments, but it also gives business owners an opportunity to respond to that feedback and show customers that you’re listening, you “feel their pain,” and you want to do something about it.
I heartily recommend the New Rules—it’s been a great resource for my business. Consider getting a copy and let me know if you’ve had success with it too.