Online Marketing – Embracing Change

Telephone and Yellow Pages

Recently the telephone celebrated the anniversary of the first ever phone call on March 10th 1876. The telephone came to us by way of Alexander Bell who made that first call on something that looks very strange alongside todays smart phone. Alexander Bell thought the phone was an intrusion upon his true work as a scientist. Wonder what he would say now?

You may wonder why we started by talking about the telephone? Two reasons:

  1. Smart Phones are driving the localization of online search
  2. Yellow Pages came from the need to know peoples phone numbers

Yellow Pages first started 8 years after that first call; because a printer ran out of white paper.  In 1909 the first Yellow Pages business directory with coupons was printed in St Louis.  For around 100 years not much changed, a business paid to promote itself by advertising in this printed directory.  Promoting your business expanded to include TV, Radio and Print with the same style of interruption.  Then came the internet and permission based marketing.

Change is Difficult For Advertisers

Whats true for Yellow Book is true for most advertising mediums.  Nothing much changed because it was easy. What changed in TV, Radio, Newspaper advertising before the internet? Again; not much. Post internet changes were minimal; a condescending passing references to the business online website or Social Media page.  Basically advertising was and still is lazy, pay money and get results was, and to some extent still is, the culture. Now things are changing and they are changing rapidly. The average person today is inundated with information from a wide variety of sources, they have the option to really pick and choose the who, what, where and how. As a consequence consumers are more educated than ever before. Dealing with an educated consumer requires change. When you are used to simply increasing your spend to get more exposure it is difficult for business owners to embrace change. Online Marketing demands change for success.

Change – What Change?

If your asking yourself that, stop reading – you missed the point. The first and most critical change component brought about by online marketing is from interruption to permission. There are a number of components to becoming a fully integrated permission based marketing machine.

Online reviews and feedback

The funny thing is if you are in business it is very likely you already have reviews and feedback online somewhere.  The point is to make sure you are in the flow and to some extent controlling its direction.  The whole reputation management thing makes us smile, if you are doing it right you don’t need to manage your reputation.  There is enough good out there to far out way the negative.  If your are monitoring feedback and reviews it will provide you a road map for success in your business.  Of course reviews, testimonials and positive feedback will in themselves increase your business.

Social Media engagement

The most common question we get asked is how do I make social media work to increase my business.  The truth is that is the lazy way to think: What can I do to quickly get results.  Social Media doesn’t work like that, it is about truly getting your message out there not to make sales but about the fabric of your business.  If your business is your passion it will shine through, people will engage with your business because they want to, generally because you are providing them with something they need.  What if when everything is in the open and people don’t need what you provide?  You probably have a bad business model.

Free flow of information

The internet is an incredible market place, it completely changes the rules.  Now you cannot tell people what you can do for them and expect them to pay. No; now you have to show them what you do, give them the tools to do it themselves and allow them to judge whether it is worth paying you instead. Sure it seems like business suicide and for some it is, ultimately it tests your business model.  If you can explain everything about your business, how you do it and the customers still need your products and services you are on the road to success.

Consistent online presence

Like the manager who goes on vacation reads a book about a new management techniques and returns to terrorize his employees with it for the next week, you can’t simply read a few blog posts and leap into online marketing.  You have to embrace the change from top to bottom in your organization and understand this is a long haul.  Develop a long term strategy that allows you to over time fully integrate your business online.

The next step

Review your business online presence.  Do you have a website?  Is it representative of your business? Review your social media presence decide which platforms work best for your business.  Start blogging about your business and how it benefits people.  Look at your current local presence ensure the information provided is correct and consistent.  This is where we return to smart phones.  People use them like mobile directories to find what they are looking for while they are out and about.  The prominence of your local online presence decides how often and where you will appear in the results when they search.  Read reviews and feedback about your business get involved in your business online presence.  Get professional advice:  Turn The Page Online marketing provides free consultations for businesses looking to move forward with a comprehensive online marketing strategy.

Author turnthepage

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