Thirty-five-years ago, when I first started working in advertising, a talented sales trainer named Lee Neary taught me an invaluable lesson:
“You have to stay ‘top of mind’ with your customers
and consistently do helpful things that are
related to the customer’s business.”
He taught me to mail my prospects and customers interesting industry-related articles on a regular basis. Then to go a step further by using a yellow highlighter to point out the salient info on the piece for the customer. I’d go to the library and skim trade magazines related to my customers’ industries, searching for articles to copy, mail, and highlight that might help them or give them a leg up on their competition.
Later in my career, I taught my own sales teams to flag “share dates” in their monthly planners. These were reminders for them to send something to Customers X, Y, and Z each month.
Today’s successful businesses are doing the very same thing with their customers — they just brought the communication venue online. Companies share and forward valuable tips and tricks via social networks and email instead of snail mail. It’s the same thoughtful idea, just using a newer, quicker medium.
Insider Tip: Be sure what you send is relevant; avoid Digital Pollution. And really smart businesses are also periodically sending postal letters, cards, and even packages once in a while — to keep things truly personalized and interesting!
Not only are businesses sharing articles of interest with their customers, savvy companies are harnessing the power of content marketing by creating their OWN original content.
The smart money has always been — and will continue to be — on CONTENT STRATEGY. It’s one big “Help Festival” on the internet, with people putting all sorts of relevant and valuable information just a click or a tap away. Why not show the world your industry expertise by developing meaningful, helpful content yourself!
Your customers judge you and your business on how helpful you are in meeting their needs and solving their problems. So ask yourself:
“How are you being helpful to your customers so they
think of you the next time they need your products or services?
Keeping yourself “top of mind” with your customers is just one more reason to make content development part of your strategic marketing plan. Is your business positioning itself to be remembered?
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Your business is a brand. It’s a living, breathing being that you’ve nurtured, raised, and carefully shaped to be a reflection of yourself, your ideals, and your goals — for the purpose (in most cases) of generating an income.
Your brand is no longer stationary and relegated to brick-and-mortar real estate. Today, your burgeoning ecommerce business model must also have adopted and integrated virtual real estate to stay competitive in our global marketplace.
Now, I think it’s safe to say it would infuriate most business owners if their property was littered with garbage.
Your property is an extension of your image —
of how you handle your customers, how you conduct business, and how you get things done.
Most business owners work hard to build and project an image of trust for their customers, who have competing demands for their hard-earned dollars. You don’t want anything to detract from assuring your customers that your product or service is worth every penny.
If you were looking to contract out landscaping services, and upon driving up to their place of business, the landscaper had crab grass, weeds, dead patches of grass, and garbage on their lawn, would you trust them with your own lawn? I think not.
You also don’t send your sales representatives to potential clients every day, harassing them to the point that they refuse to even listen to you anymore.
Well, these same principles apply to your business and to its virtual real estate throughout the social media ecosystem, in respect to keeping it orderly, clean, and relevant to what your customers are looking for. In other words, you want to avoid a term called “Digital Pollution.”
You have to be conscious of what you’re doing with your virtual real estate and how it’s affecting others, as well as your business.
Do you perform regular email marketing in which you have attracted double opt-in readers who truly find value in what you’re doing? Be careful of sending them too much information. Flooding someone’s inbox is a sure way to see your unsubscribe list numbers reach all-time highs. And for those who may be more impatient (like myself) if you overwhelm me with messages, I’ll simply hit the Spam/Junk button in my email program to make your messages disappear for ever after.
So, be mindful of your subscribers, and don’t inundate them with marketing messages. Your brand/product/content should be about QUALITY, not QUANTITY.
In my opinion, acceptable rates for receiving eNewsletters or company information is once per month; bi-weekly; or at MOST, once per week. Any more than that, and I’ll disregard your brand message and content in a heartbeat.
Don’t pollute your readers’ inbox.
Twitter and other social media accounts have a sensitive group of followers as well, and you need to treat these properties as gently as you would your email subscribers. Your social accounts can potentially have tremendous value. Don’t ruin them by leaving your garbage lying around there, either.
One interesting thing about some businesses and their brands is how often they promote other businesses, especially those competing with them, throughout social media. Many do this to the extent that it has digitally polluted their virtual real estate and their brand isn’t recognized for its own content anymore, but for promoting others’ content and brands. Now, I have no problem with teamwork (in fact I wrote about it here). Creating valuable business partnerships is a key way to help an economy grow. However — a line must be drawn to control your brand messaging.
It’s easy to use your virtual real estate to send messages to the hundreds (if not thousands) of people who follow you, but you have to remember to keep it exciting, relevant, and most importantly — your OWN message.
Keep people coming back to YOU. Don’t send them away to others for a solution that you could be giving them. You’re the one with the great ideas and plans.
Don’t pollute your email, blog, or social media real estate with irrelevant links, re-tweets, shares, likes, pins, diggs, and whatever else you can do at such a high frequency that you lose your audience.
Those that may have been very loyal to you and your message may get lost in the clutter and potentially abandon your brand due to all your Digital Pollution. Share this insight on LinkedIn:
Worried you might be a Digital Polluter? Let me know in the Comments below, and we’ll give you an unbiased opinion of how your business is coming across.
See all articles by Nicholas Putz