Is Your Small Business Building Committed Relationships?
Successful Small Business Marketing is About Building Relationships
Unless you live under a rock, you’ve heard that the Internet is a great tool for small business marketing! More likely, you’ve been bombarded with such messages non-stop, especially from people trying to sell you Internet marketing. Typically, these messages ignore the exact tenets required to make the Internet work for your small business marketing – relationships and content.
If you receive message after message demanding that you “buy this” or “try this,” those messages become invisible rather quickly. The marketing theory behind this is that if enough people hear or see the message, you’ll get enough buyers to make it worth your while. This is similar to the end caps in grocery stores or Wal-Mart. They put products there that they want you to try, that they want to get rid of, etc. Because the end of aisles are seen by the most people, it’s a numbers game and they’ll make the sales they need. But small business marketing on the Internet doesn’t work the same as a physical store, people can delete your message, block your email, not visit your site, or simply train their eyes to skip ads.
While this seems like an argument against the effectiveness of small business marketing on the Internet, I think it is what makes it an even more powerful medium. Consider this, do you really want to compete only on how many people see your ad and what percentage will click on it and eventually purchase from you? Unless you have a monstrous marketing budget, you can’t win at that game. But, what small business marketing can do much better than big business marketing is engage with people.
Think about your favorite shop or vendor. It might be a deli, a lawn service, a contractor, plumber, restaurant, coffee shop, etc. Chances are that one of the reasons it’s your favorite is the relationship you have with the people and by extension the relationship you have with the business. Can Wal-Mart form a relationship with their customers online or in their stores? No, it isn’t something they could ever do. They compete on price, not relationships.
You, on the other hand, can build relationships with your prospects and customers in your small business marketing efforts and the Internet is the most effective tool to use to build relationships on a large scale.
You are able to build a site and post articles that are helpful for your customers. You can and should let some of your personality shine through on your site so visitors get to know you a bit. When you do this, people start coming back to see what you’ve written and they’ll also see any ads or offers you’ve placed on your site (not obnoxiously). If you provide them with a means, many will sign up to receive messages and articles from you. Think of that – your customers are telling you that they would like to read what you have to say and are asking you to send them information!
You can’t abuse this permission or create a site that is overly promotional or your small business marketing won’t work. You need to build relationships and provide value. In marketing terms, this is relationship marketing and attraction marketing and a small business can do this in ways that a big business can’t even come close to. Imagine, if you get an article sent to you from Wal-Mart; do you for a second feel that it is personal or that you know them? On the other hand, if I get an article from you and I’ve signed up for your list, I feel like I know you a bit and am interested to see what you are sharing with me.
Build your small business marketing online correctly. Provide value. Provide content. Share your personality. But, most of all, don’t expect that you will sell people on their first visit, you’re creating long-term relationships that will keep on paying dividends for both of you! Best of luck in your small business marketing efforts!
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