Stop Selling, Start Socializing!

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English: A business ideally is continually see...

A business ideally is continually seeking feedback from customers: are the products helpful? are their needs being met? Constructive criticism helps a business adjust offerings to meet customer needs.                   (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today the choices of where and how to advertise have become overwhelming for most business owners.

I regularly talk with business owners who are either confused or have decided not to participate in the new advertising technologies that are now available.


A business ideally is continually seeking feedback from customers: are the products helpful? are their needs being met? Constructive criticism helps a business adjust offerings to meet customer needs.                   (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Advertising Has Changed!

Technology has forever changed how businesses must interact with their customers, consumer behaviors for those 40 and under are significantly different from previous generations as the majority now “shop online, but still buy in stores”.

Business owners no longer need to rely on the “shot gun” approach to advertising by only “broadcasting” their advertising messages. Understanding why you’ve chosen to advertise with a particular type of media is crucial to successful campaigns that can prove an ROI.

Former advertising strategies were about the masses, but are now about the individual. This has fueled the explosion of social media the past few years. Social media has given the individual a voice and others opinions (now called “reviews”) on products or services and have become the standard for shoppers when researching purchasing decisions. If your online advertising provides “reviews” from other happy customers it will influence and drive sales with those recommendations from other happy customers. Search engines, like Google, will also like you better when you have reviews about your business all around the web.

Stop Selling, Start Socializing

People today are immune to sales messages simply because we are all overwhelmed by the volume of advertisements that are continuously bombarding us.

The power of information has shifted from the business owner as “the expert” to putting the consumer in control of what they can learn before making purchases.

Depending on your industry, the strategies and methods you use to find prospects and customers will vary, but online is now the place consumers begin nearly 90% of the time.

Social media is now a force in the sales process that now can influence buying decisions in very different ways from other advertising methods. The “online community mindset” is providing “safety in numbers” and we want to buy from businesses that are being recommended by our friends, neighbors and relatives because that helps us to feel more secure in our purchasing decisions than going it alone.

But traditional “sales tactics” have become less effective as people have been conditioned to ignore sales messages and advertising due to over exposure. That has created a condition called “ad blindness” meaning much of what a business spends in traditional media and online is never even recognized in the mind unless someone has an immediate need to purchase what is being advertised or a “branding image” forms in the mind.


Going Mobile

The devices used to access information have clearly changed as well, mobile devices now outnumber PC’s and are increasingly being used to access information. However, smaller devices create additional challenges for web design as well as advertisers.

Does your business need its own mobile app or will a mobile optimized version of your website work?

These can be make or break decisions for many businesses depending on who your customers are and how they learn about your business.

People now have access to information about anything and everything they want or need to purchase, a business is now the one who provides the majority of the information they are looking for online when searching.

So how does a business “get found” by online shoppers and become the local expert?

Through providing valuable Information!

Today the business that provides the information consumers need and want, when they are looking, wins more often.

That first customer contact now often begins with the vitally important online relationship; if you can solidify it through personal contact (if they like what you provide them upfront as information for free) then you will nurture your business growth by continuing to manage those relationships and the sales cycles of your products and services.

You may not need to do anything for some things about your business to show up in certain “directories”.  There are many companies that provide business information for free just to try and get more people to use their websites. Eventually your business listings may show up in a search inquiry but don’t count on building an online relationship by just providing your business name, phone number and address, people want more than that from the companies they do business with these days.

Set up online business profiles using descriptive “keywords” that will cause you to be found when people search using those words that describe your business.

As technology has become more a part of our lives, people are craving social relationships from those they do business with.

A business must create online pages of information about the business that make prospects feel they are working with “real people” rather than a faceless corporation, on this level a small business can easily compete and win over a larger one.

“Having a relationship” is how many now prefer to do business. Businesses that provide interaction on social media channels and stay in consistent contact using email, mobile devices and a quality website, will continue to grow in the future. It is vital to stay in touch with those who have done business with you in the past and continue to manage the sales cycle around building those relationships using technology tools.

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