The Internet is exploding with users sharing information while contribution more information than ever. In essence, there’s a huge prevailing sense of community throughout the web sphere. Businesses and marketers now don’t have the luxury of depending on customer perceptions that are formed based on their PR efforts or advertising campaigns.
Instead, customers now depend on user reviews and “the word from the rest of the world” on perceptions relating to your brand, products or services. Word of mouth now also has social media, as a powerful and instant way for users to share information with others.
As such, every marketing effort you make online or offline should have something to evoke a response from this community. Is there a way you can link marketing promotions to meaningful community engagement? Here are some ideas:
Promote more freebies
Sending out relevant promotional items as a part of your marketing campaign is just the first step. Now that you have a database of customers who look forward to hear from you, why not leverage that a little more? Everyone loves freebies. After the first wave of promotions with your usual promotional merchandise such as personalized stubby holders, stickers, pens, hats, etc., send out more freebies. Make sure you give away items that relate to your business.
Respond to every email, comment, or mention
Building a community has one powerful, necessary ingredient: your personal touch. Everyone markets; few businesses or business owners can engage personally. As you receive email queries, comments on your blog posts or on your status updates (on Facebook or Twitter) or even a mere mention anywhere on the Internet, “respond” to your readers or customers.
Some of the best businesses – both online and offline – have coupled personal community engagement with effective marketing strategies. That’s an open secret. It just takes patience and tremendous effort to do it.
Are you game for it?
Push engagement by sponsoring a cause
We all have a responsibility and even a strong intention to help others, no matter where you are in the world. It’s just that we don’t know whom to support and the exact way to go about it. Some businesses (you should be in this list) sponsor charitable causes or promote social work. By buying products and services of such businesses, customers get the dual benefit of getting what they want while also contributing to a cause to help others who are underprivileged or victimised.
Highlight your customers, one after the other
Feed ego, make money – this could one of the best, most practical pieces of advice a business can get. Marketers can leverage the fact that everyone likes to feel special. Instead of just sending out promotional items and emails, choose to do a case study on your clients or maybe highlight them on your website. Make a special mention for each of your customers – complete with their bio, images, and links to their websites (or social media pages).
If there’s no engagement, there’s no trust and there’s no “likability” factor in your business. Traditionally, and it continues to this day, people buy from others only when they like or trust you.