You likely already know that to be a successful small business marketer, you need to be where your customers are online—social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn; online review and ratings sites like Yelp; and in the inbox with email marketing.
Yet even if you have an active Facebook page, a growing Twitter following, a healthy amount of email subscribers, and good reviews on Yelp, it may not necessarily translate into customers (and profit) for your business. If all of those “Likes,” re-tweets and comments aren’t generating new business, here are three questions to ask yourself:
Are your messages focused?
You may offer a lot of products and services but if you focus on your differentiators, you’ll be able to demonstrate your expertise and dominate a market segment.
For example, a retailer specializing in high-end kitchen gadgets can show customers how to use the latest tools, offer cooking classes, and write about topics such as “what to look for when buying carving knives.” These actions will draw in customers looking for specific kitchen tools and while they’re shopping, they’ll discover other products offered by the retailer.
How responsive are you?
It’s human nature to respond to the most positive and the most negative comments yet the majority of your customers are going to fall in the middle of those two extremes.
Knowing this, you should always respond when a customer engages with you – even if they’re making a small gesture such as a “Like” or re-tweet. Your actions can be as simple as thanking them for sharing your content, responding to their comments, or sending a brief, personalized note when they subscribe to your newsletter.
Have you asked for referrals?
When a satisfied customer raves about your business, that’s the time to ask if they wouldn’t mind letting their friends know about you or if they’d be willing to provide a quote for your website or newsletter.
As a more proactive tactic, identify your long-standing customers and vocal fans and ask if they wouldn’t mind helping spread the word by forwarding articles from your newsletters or commenting on your Facebook page.
You can also create a special offer for your most active customers. For example, hold a private event featuring a sneak peek at a new product line or menu item or a discount on service when your customers bring a friend along.
Remember that many social media participants read more than they post. Yet if you are focused, responsive and transparent about growing your business, you’ll be able to transform your online presence into profit.
Gina Watkins is a leading expert on e-marketing for small business – and has a real passion for helping businesses to succeed. Her ongoing series of dynamic lectures are filled with real-world examples, humor and results-driven wisdom garnered from more than two decades of sales, business development and marketing experience. In addition to owning her own business, she is an award-winning direct marketer, has been featured on WUSA Channel 9’s Mind Over Money show, Dr. Gayle Carson’s Women In Business radio show, Morgan State’s Briefcase Radio program, and in numerous other media. In her role as Constant Contact Regional Development Director, she’s presented to more than ten thousand seminar attendees about the keys to success with easy, affordable, highly effective technology tools that grow trusted business relationships.